27 August 2010

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Happy Feast Day of St. Monica!

Here's a question in four parts. I think Chris and AA could get several, but can they get all of them?

Category: In the cards

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Who do the spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds represent.

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!!

25 August 2010

Ancestor charts

The one hobby that I have had for most of my life is genealogy. I think the blend of history and discovery are what hold my interest.

I'm becoming more and more disappointed with information I find on the internet. I recently checked a popular genealogy site and found someone took information from my family tree and added things that are wrong, blended it all together and re-published the information. The tree actually cites sources, but the sources are all trees other people have mashed together as well. The result is a huge mess.

And, there is my own family that uses incredibly poor scholarship in piecing our common lines together. It's become a run-away train. I'd blame the evil black box of the internet, but the problem really lies in people's willingness to take what the internet says as gospel. Their own genealogical version of sola scriptura.

Ages ago when I lived in Seattle, I used to spend hours looking through rolls and rolls of microfilmed census data at the National Archives (I believe it's was God's plan to move me away from the archives because children were in my future...I don't think my kids would see much of me if an archive was nearby ;)). When records started to become accessible on-line, it was a huge time-saver. It was also very dangerous because it relied on the accuracy of the saintly, but fallible, transcriber. I've still had to go back to the original mircofilm because of transcription errors when I know for certain an ancestor should be on the microfilm.

As much as I'd love to jump at the break-throughs in my remaining genealogical brick walls, I don't want to connect my tree to an ancestor that's not my own. Though picking a name off the internet that kinda-sorta-almost matches is tempting and makes life easy, the self-deception is kinda-sorta-almost always painful.

Primary sources, not the internet or someone's interpretation of the sacred genealogical scriptures, is still required. No analogy intended.

20 August 2010

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Have a blessed weekend everyone.

Category: In the beginning

The earliest Monastic settlements in Ireland emerged at the end of the 5th century. This first identifiable founder of a monastery established a monastery at Kildare. This monastery was a double monastery, with both men and women ruled by the Abbess, a pattern found in many other monastic foundations.

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!!

19 August 2010


Mum of Six tagged me ages ago for this and I was too busy with all my devotions to get to it until now. Yup.

My Five Favorite Devotions
1. Chaplet of St. Philomena
2. Rosary
3. Novena to the Poor Souls in November
4. Divine Mercy
5. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

15 August 2010

Some where in Wisconsin

During my week's vacation at the cabin I read Joseph Pearce's biography on Hilare Belloc, Old Thunder.

I shouldn't read biographies since they leave me feeling like I know the person enough to address them on the street. Several people have mentioned that biographies make them feel an artificial relationship with someone they never knew. It's odd to remind myself that all I know about Hilare Belloc, aside from the few works of his that I have read, my information comes from one person who never knew Belloc himself and has only tried to "clothe him" with the traces the man left behind.

Although Pearce's use of language remains annoying (I loved his book on Shakespeare because the subject fascinated me, but his words, especially starting out, are heavy...how many people (aside from Chesterton) repeatedly use the words jingoist or penury) and some of his speculations are truly just that, I can understand why he attempted to bring some life to his subject. Genealogists try to do the same. Tracing ancestors back through time, following their every move, trying to piece together their trail.

Slightly more than a decade ago, I sat on the steep hillside along side my great-great-grandfather's well-weathered grave marker. It took years of research to follow him to an obscure and mostly abandoned cemetery in southern Wisconsin where he had rested for generations without family visitors.

What I got from tracing my grandfather was how he, like most of my ancestors, sacrificed to come to this country for their faith. Undoubtedly, there were numerous reasons these ancestors had to immigrate to the US, but for so many of them, their faith was readily apparent and central to their lives. I love the surviving first-hand account about how another branch of Irish ancestors used to say the rosary each night in Gaelic.

My family, unlike Belloc's, was not fortunate enough to have had a prolific writer provide so much detail about the day-to-day struggles of what it is like living and persevering as a Catholic. Belloc is quoted in the book,
"I always like being in America, and find it most amusing. The newspapers tell one very little about Europe. The similarity of the language makes them sometimes talk about England as though they knew it better than the other countries, but it is just as foreign to them as all the others."

No wonder Belloc had a love of history and a desire to write it from a Catholic perspective. He knew the danger in disconnecting from the past.

However slight and vicarious they may be, biographies do allow us to see things from a different perspective. For me, researching my ancestors, like reading Belloc's biography to some extent, has allowed me to see their faith and why they cherished it.

06 August 2010

Long Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

On vacation!!

Category: Controversial Catholics

This Servant of God advocated distributism, for awhile worked on the staffs of Socialist publications, engaged in anti-war protests, and was an anarchist.

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!!

The first correct answer in the form of a question wins the highly coveted WKJ ribbon to display on your blog, cubicle or refrigerator door.

05 August 2010

Natural resources

Spent the past few evenings hanging out at the local Catholic university library doing a project for my homeschool group. Although the library has been remodeled quite a bit since my days there, the distinctive smell of the book stacks takes me back to the days when I used to eat my lunch in the poorly lighted corridors. Decades ago we used text books, library books and had no computers, save an old VAX account that went no where.

Another thing hasn't changed, but I didn't know it back then. It appears to be true until this day. College students at a private Catholic university aren't checking out good Catholic authors.

I've checked out a few "standard fare" Catholic authors from the library in the past several months. The library still uses the little slip in the back of the book with a date stamp -- they've obviously been using this method for generations. I checked out "How the Reformation Happened" by Hilaire Belloc only to find in the last 60 years that this book has sat on the shelf, it's been checked out about a dozen times (the scant dates go back that far). That means the university librarians have probably handled the book more often to move it during construction and renovation than a new freshman has reached for this book as a source for a history paper.

It wasn't just this book. There were shelves of Belloc's works that stood taller than me. Multiple copies of nearly everything. Multiple copies that have sat neglected on the shelves.

I dug out a smattering of others in a fairly wide spectrum that you'd expect a better showing from: Christopher Dawson, G.K. Chesterton, Fr. Stanley Jaki, Joseph Pearce, Scott Hahn, etc. The book of Father Jaki's that I checked out had been sitting on the shelf for 10 years, brand new, never having been used until I checked it out.

And, sadly, some of the "Catholic" books I've searched for aren't even found at this library. One in particular I had to get through InterLibrary Loan from the University of Minnesota. Some others were at Macalester, the liberal school just down the road; and some were at Concordia and St. Kate's.

Although in the library's defense, their search engine sometimes does not show books that the library does have (try searching under Crusades and Belloc and you won't get any listings, although, if I remember correctly, the library has several copies).

I don't know what's worse, that students aren't aware of these books or their authors and aren't using them, or that the tools to search for the books don't "find" them.