30 August 2009

Angels in unexpected places

Had an interesting weekend. Before we even made it out of the city limits on our way to the cabin, we had to have the car jumped (or jump started if you need a translation.) We stopped for lunch at Sonic, only to have the car not start -- all the gizmos on the dash board just twitched nervously when I tried to turn the engine over.

A kind fellow in a big truck, a hee-man angel, got us on our way by lending us his socket set and then providing a jump. We immediately drove across the street/freeway to the nearest automotive place to get a battery. $500, two hours and a new battery with alternator later, we were on our way.

Still had time to make it to the fish fry near our cabin. It was the last weekend of the seasonal event and we hadn't tried it yet. I was the only one to have fish. It was just OK. I had the three-piece cod instead of the lake fish, probably made the wrong choice.

The next day, hubby and my daughter got up not feeling well. The temps were frigid and it was misting, making it an all-around dismal day.

I planned to attend Mass that night by myself and leave the kids with hubby. When you're sick, staying home along with kids is, well, unfun. After a few hours of rest, hubby was feeling well enough to make it to Mass with me.

At the parish we attend, the priest is a good guy. There are several minor things he does that bother me, but I'm grateful to have him in the area. During the petitions, when I should've been paying attention, my mind was wandering to next month, when we will probably start staying in town and attending our home parish. It was a nice thought to not have to deal with EMHCs (at the anticipatory Mass, there were three EMHCs even though there were only about 30 people in attendance), my kids will get to see altar boys in action instead of the priest saying Mass alone, the Sign of Peace for the laity will be gone and no more hand-holding during the Our Father or having to watch Farmer Jones' interpretation of the Orans posture next to me.

And, no more having to see most everyone come to Mass in shorts and flip-flops. I do think you should wear your best. If your best is jeans, then wear them. But, just because it's summer, doesn't mean God is on vacation. He comes to us in complete generosity and humility -- our outward appearance should reflect our inward disposition. There was a man there in shorts, which wasn't even appropriate for the weather, not to mention Mass.

As my mind came back to the crucifix behind the altar, I was thankful for such a beautiful, realistic work. In this rather small and modern parish, it is stunning.

After Mass, on the way out, my son had to stop and shake the priest's hand. The gospel reading had been from St. Mark, so my son said to the priest, "Guess what?" A phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of all parents as they wait for the subsequent response. "My name is Mark." The priest looked at me in wonder. I told him that, "It was the Gospel according to Mark." Then he smiled in acknowledgement.

As my son and I were walking towards the car, I heard a woman behind me say, "Ma'am?" Like lightning, my mind was racing as to who could be addressing me since I don't know anyone in the town or parish, I hadn't left anything in the pew, my kids weren't terribly behaved, and there wasn't anything stuck to my shoe. "Ma'am?" I heard again and knew she was talking to me.

I turned around to see a woman about my own age walk up to me. She handed me a stash of dollar bills and said, "I got a few extra dollars in my check this week and want to give it to you to get something for the children."

I was stunned and speechless. I mustered, "Why, thank you ma'am. That is very kind of you." She walked away and that was it. I had $20 in my hand. No explanation, just the kindness of a stranger.

Certainly, we didn't look destitute (since we bring dress clothes along each weekend to wear to Mass). I think I heard the lady say as she turned and walked away, that she wanted to encourage families who brought their children to Mass (Father Z should take note!). I guess I shouldn't assign a motive to her generosity, but it definitely makes one wonder (and my mind wander as it did during Mass).

So, just in case, the kids and I are writing her a Thank You card and hope to see her next week at Mass to give it to her. Hubby and I plan to let the kids buy something at Leaflet Missal and also get them ice cream. Hubby argued that the money should "go back to God," but I said that the woman specified that she wanted us to do something "for the children"...she could've just as easily dropped the money in the collection if that was her intent.

Her actions make one wonder. Her actions touched and uplifted my family. Her actions will stay with me for a long time. God bless her.

(Picture, Gustave Dore, Beatrice from the Purgatorio)

28 August 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Sorry there was no WKJ last week. St. Alex was on sabbatical.

I'm recovering from spending all day at the fair. We didn't get home until almost 9pm. My legs are still numb, and I could use another bag of mini doughnuts.

Category: Missionary Martyrs

This Jesuit, who worked among the Huron Indians, made numerous attempts to convert the Iroquois. On his third missionary trip to America in 1645, he was captured and slain.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Demerits for using Google and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!


27 August 2009

Novena prayer to St. Monica

Thanks to the very thoughtful Ray, who sent me this. He got it from CPO. I don't know how I fell off their list. St. Monica, ora pro nobis.

BTW: Today is the start of the State fair. My son, upon hearing that it was also the Feast of St. Monica, figured it just made sense that they would start the fair today in celebration. We'll be eating some mini doughnuts while we're there today, along with a bunch of other things.

Saint Monica Triduum of Prayer

August 26th, 27th and 28th
Feast of Saint Monica: August 27th & Feast of Saint Augustine: August 28th

Daily Novena Prayer

Dear Saint Monica, once the sorrowing mother of a wayward son, be pleased to present our petition to the Lord God of heaven and earth. (Pause to mention intentions in silence.) Look down upon our anxieties and needs, and intercede for us, as you did so fervently for Augustine, your firstborn.

We have full confidence, that your prayers will gain favorable hearing in heaven. Mother of a sinner-turned saint; obtain for us patience, perseverance, and total trust in God's perfect timing. In His appointed hour, in His merciful way, may He respond to your prayer and ours, which we offer through you. Amen.

Parents' Prayer to Saint Monica

Saint Monica, patron of Christian parents, we entrust to your protection, the children whose names you can read in our hearts. Pray for them, that they may be granted strength to combat weakness, victory over temptation, guidance to resolve their doubts, and success in all their undertakings.

May they enjoy good health of mind and body, see beauty and worth in all created things, and serve the Lord with firm faith, joyful hope and enduring love. Amen.

Prayer for Our Children

Dear Saint Monica, patroness of all parents, please take our children, especially those who have turned from the ways of Christ and His Church, under your protection. Let them always remain faithful to their Baptismal vows. Give them the strength to walk always in the ways of the Lord, despite the temptations and false values they find in the world today. Pray for them that they may share with you the joys of eternal life. Amen.

Prayer in Adversity

O Blessed Saint Monica, after a lifetime of tearful prayers, fasting and sacrifice, you were at last granted the happiness of witnessing the conversion to Christ Jesus and His Church of both your son and husband.

Intercede for us that we might experience the same peace, faith and acceptance of God's will so that we may live all our years in serenity and go joyfully to our heavenly home secure in the knowledge that our loved ones are on the way of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Petition

Dear Saint Monica, once sorrowing mother of a wayward son, be pleased to present our petition to the Lord God of heaven and earth. (Pause to mention intentions in silence.) Look down upon our anxieties and needs, and intercede for us, as you did so fervently for Augustine, your firstborn.

We have full confidence that your prayers will gain a favorable hearing in heaven. Mother of a sinner-turned saint; obtain for us patience, perseverance, and total trust in God's perfect timing. In His appointed hour, in His merciful way, may He respond to your prayer and ours, which we offer through you. Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We turn to you with grateful hearts, dear Monica, as we rejoice and render thanks for your powerful intercession. You 'have carried our pressing needs to God and have obtained for us the trust, perseverance and patience we desired.

Please continue to plead for us in all our needs, spiritual and temporal, and teach us to be truly thankful for all the blessing bestowed upon us. Amen.

26 August 2009


or not?

Just a curious thought I had the other night.

I've been very busy with a large variety of things, so haven't been blogging much. As my father, the swearing saint would say, I've been hellishly busy. (I think he must've spent some time in Purgatory with a clothes pin on his lips for his colorful language...but he was a sailor!)

Anyway, I was at my alma mater, the local CINO university, taking care of a few things and using their computers. Hubby and the kids were with me, and after I finished my work, we walked around campus a bit.

We found ourselves in the building containing the post office boxes. Even in this digital world, I think all students are still assigned a PO box, as I was back in the day before anyone had e-mail. Heck, we used Lotus 123, if we used a computer at all. People had a VAX account, but no one used them.

I stopped at my old PO box, which is now in the basement of the student union and tried my old combo. Right, left, right...open.

Yep, after over 20 YEARS, my combination still works on my old PO box.

Somethings never change.

Funny how much of the university has.

24 August 2009

The Venn diagram which is my life

Shortly after my husband and I got married, we moved across the country because my husband got a job in the aerospace industry. Immediately upon arrival we became part of a large, loose-knit group of young engineers who frequently moved from one company to another within the industry. Everyone was in the loop, filled in on where so-and-so was currently working and what they thought of the various companies. It was an interesting time and the industry fascinating. Belonging to a group of engineers, getting together each Friday night for pizza and card games, was great medicine to help cure some of my homesickness.

However, I grew up living in one house and couldn't see myself moving frequently as many of our friends (who came and went with regularity to other companies and then back again), and living in densely populated places like California, Texas or Washington, DC. Moving to Seattle was adventuresome enough for me.

This turned out to be a wise decision in retrospect. My reluctance to get on the aerospace roller coaster allowed my husband to stay in one job, with one company and establish himself there. When the aerospace market tanked and many friends lost their jobs all over the country, we were spared from that upheaval.

It was interesting how all our lives overlapped, despite working for different companies and sometimes large distances.

When I finished up my engineering studies, I found the same was true within my sphere of engineering. There was always someone you knew at any given conference. More than likely, you knew a speaker and had worked with them either peripherally or substantially on the project they were presenting. It seemed you knew at least someone at just about any company that had anything to do with the field you worked in either as a supplier or customer.

It was a great big, interesting Venn diagram.

After we moved home to Minnesota and had our children, it was a period of disconnection. We had moved away from our friends and were starting over. I was no longer working, and the new friends we had made with have children while the environment hubby worked in was much smaller and didn't provide the opportunities for socializing that we were previously used to. Further, both my parents had passed away and my brother was living in Europe.

Then we got involved in different Catholic circles and it felt like the aerospace industry all over again.

It's comforting to know people at church and in various homeschool groups or prayer groups. In fact, it seems no matter what we do lately, each function has someone we know from another group we are in. Blogger friends are now personal friends, church friends contain homeschool friends; Cub Scouts will overlap several groups. What a blessing it is to have a support network, a diverse and far-reaching Catholic social network, to help each other along through these times.

What a blessing it is for my children to see that they aren't the only ones to say Grace, attend Mass, say prayers or have a devotion to a saint. I think if more Catholics tapped into this network, the more they would be carried along with prayers and with temporal and spiritual support.

We "went it alone" for several years after my son was born and know how isolating it can be. It's good to know we aren't the only wacky Catholic-ees around.

It is not good for man to be alone. Gen 2:18

17 August 2009

The pilgrimage

Last week we went down to Briggsville, WI, to visit the St. Philomena shrine. Previously, St. Philomena had two feast days on the calendar, now she has none. Traditionally, her feast day had been on August 11. Our group was there on the 10th for Mass, the rosary, and a procession around the church. All the young girls of the group brought up a flower to place at the statue of the great saint.

St. Philomena provided us with good weather and a wonderful day!!

07 August 2009

Weeklong Kneeler Jeopardy

We will be on "pilgrimage" this week. Part of the family would consider going to the Shrine of St. Philomena in Briggsville, WI, the pilgrimage, but others would consider our trip to the Wisconsin Dells the true pilgrimage. It's the kids' birthdays, so we are combining a the trip to the shrine with a visit to the Dells since they are only about ten minutes away from each other. Something for everyone...a physical, mental and spiritual break.

Have a wonderful week!!

Category: The spoken word

The sentence: "Dogma: I am God," is an example of this. Also, "No, sir, away! A papaya war is on!"

Extra points if you can add one of your own.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Demerits for using Google and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

06 August 2009


I'm kind of surprised at this, but when most of the questions make me pause and consider the ramifications and then pick "Neutral" because there are mitigating circumstances on both sides of the argument...such as government involvement in things. Well, yeah, we need rules, but we certainly don't need Big Brother. I think the questions could use some tweeking.

Go figure, I'm really neither Authoritarian or Libertarian.

They've had this at the State Fair for many years, but the categories "right" and "left" are labeled something different. Too bad they don't have a bin for Catholics because on some issues we are very conservative and others we tend to be liberal.

My Political Views
I am a right social moderate
Right: 3.48, Authoritarian: 0.4

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: 0.51

My Culture War Stance
Score: 3.37

Political Spectrum Quiz

04 August 2009

The psychology of bumper stickers

Paging Dr. Freud...or maybe Descarte would have a better retort