Some thoughts on a garden and sainthood – Pope Benedict XVI

“Visiting a botanical nursery garden, one is amazed by the variety of plants and flowers, and often one is drawn to think of the imagination of the Creator who has given the earth a wonderful garden. A similar feeling of wonder strikes us when we consider the spectacle of sainthood: the world appears to us as a garden where the Spirit of God has given life with admirable imagination of the multitude of men and women saints, of every age and social condition, of every language, people and culture. Every one is different from the other, each unique in his or her own personality and spiritual charism.”

Pope Benedict

(Magnificat meditation from Nov. 1, 2022, Solemnity of All Saints)

I read this meditation and felt a bit of affirmation for our Little Flowers program which strives to present all of these same themes wrapped about the many virtues God has given us. There are saints enough for each of us to find one (or two or more) that will resonant with us or inspire us, flowers enough to delight us and virtues enough to perfect us into a better image of Christ.

Extra prayers for you, your family and your own loved ones now gone during this month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Titles of Jesus – Do you know how many?

Just came across this amazing article/list from Msgr. Charles Pope (from 2019) on the “Many Titles of Jesus from Scripture”:

https://cathstan.org/posts/many-titles-of-christ-from-scripture-2

How many? Over 150! 150! Sure, I knew Good Shepherd, Vine, Light, Son, Creator but had forgotten/not realized “Horn of Salvation” and beautiful “Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley”.

I found it as a result of hearing this quote from St. Gregory of Nyssa:

“Christ is the artist, tenderly wiping away all the grime of sin that disfigures the human face and restoring God’s image to its full beauty.”

As a wanna-be artist, I found this image of Jesus particularly inspiring. Praying on it and considering it really perked up my prayer time and I wanted to find other titles/images I didn’t know about. Didn’t expect over 150! Just wanted to share….

Are you familiar with Our Lady of Good Hope?

With a quick shout out to any Little Flowers or other Behold Clubs up in the Diocese of Green Bay area I just read a great book about Our Lady of Good Hope by Marge Steinhage Fenelon: America’s Mary – The Story of Our Lady of Good Hope (available from OSV) which is from your area. Who knew?? Well, I am sure you all did, but I did not!

Despite being a cradle Catholic; I had no idea of this visitation. I was also embarrassed as my father was a first generation child of Belgian immigrants (from the Flemish side). I was failing on knowing both my Catholic and Belgian history; but, no longer on either account! I know so much more about the Church’s growth in the USA, but also how a good number of Belgians came to our country.

It is a detailed, but easy to read, telling of an American visit to Adele Brise in 1859 from the Blessed Mother. It begins with a good lesson on how the Church handles all possible visitations, each one with careful examination before making any declaration. It ends with excellent citations and notes for those who are research-minded. And, in the middlem, are wonderful photos – both old and new – along with a truly wonderful account of this lesser known visit from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I am left with a new confidence in Our Mother’s love for me as an individual, and our country (along with the world) as a whole. I am a lay woman as was Adele and have chosen as a mother/homeschooler. Just as the Blessed Virgin asked, I am striving to “teach the children of this wild country what they need to know for salvation.” (both mine and others)

Reading those specific words sent my heart afire as our country seems more “wild” than ever. However, now when I worry about how I am doing and how it is all going, I can rely once again on the Blessed Mother now as Our Lady of Good Help.

(as an aside, if you are a homeschooler/teacher this book would make a great addition to any lessons on American history and immigration.)

Happy Feast Day! Happy 30th Anniversary

Happy Feast Day to all the Little Flowers around the world! As we enter our 30th anniversary, we want to share our prayers and love with all of you. At our recent zoom meeting (recording to come soon), we announced our theme of this momentous year – “Be a Light to the World!”

We want to strive to bring Christ, the Light of the World, to others; to help lighten others’ burdens while we also strive to become holier, one virtue at a time.

May this next year be full of blessings and graces for you and your family.

Prayer for Little Flowers Girls

Did you know we do a monthly Zoom meeeting? We just got done with our August meeting which we called a “Deep Dive Into Wreath One”. Joan and I covered the basics of meetings, what is a wreath, introduction to the virtues, saints, etc.

We were joined by Moms from California, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio and CANADA!! It was really nice and I hope the Moms were glad they spent the hour-ish with us.

At the end of meeting, I shared our prayer entitled “Prayer for Little Flower Girls”. Joan and I composed this prayer leaning heavily on the poetry of St. Therese herself. Feel free to share this with your LF’s and consider adding it to your meetings.

Dear Jesus,

I thank you for the gift you have given me through my faith and my family.

Please remain my sweet support, come reign in my heart and give me your smile – just for today!

At each beat of my heart let me renew this offering to you an infinite number of times, until the shadows have disappeared, I may be able to tell you of my love in eternity.

It is my joy to love you, Jesus, so, please continue to guide my little boat over the stormy seas in peace.

Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Mary and our patroness, St. Therese we pray, Amen.

Happy Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena, illustration from The Golden Book of Famous Women,
Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, (1872-145), British Museum, London, UK

Have you ever seen this illustration? Neither had I until seeing in it in the April 2022 issue of Magnificat. Of course, no one has ever seen all the amazing art that has been created but once in a while a piece of art, like this, comes before us and we are taken aback. Here is a Catherine, Doctor of the Church, a solitary woman standing before a group of powerful men; holding her own.

Her bio is familiar to us, one of 26 children born to her mother (though at last 1/2 died in infancy), she was a mystic from her youth, a Dominican laity from the age of 16, and later in life a vocal advisor and critic of both secular politicians and Church officials. This illustration seems perfect for a woman whose conversations with God are recorded in her Dialogue, where we can find Him telling her, “I am who I am, you are she who is not.”

Critiquing the illustration for the Magnificat, professor of art, Elizabeth Lev, says this, “For the Catholic eye, there is more to this image than a woman taming the papal court. Catherine’s life was marked by a series of men – scholars, prelates and nobles – who had heard of her fame and sought her out as either a kind of curiosity or as a woman who needed to be put in her place. With her simple certainty, profound wisdom, and evident special graces, she confounded her detractors and even converted some to her service.”

Their looks are either quizzical, or demanding or dismissive. Where any of them swayed? Of course, some surely were as some continued to be. Her designation as a Doctor of the Church reminds us what she wrote, what she says, remains of value for us for all time.

And what has she written? “So let your heart hold back no longer. Let the city of your soul surrender – for Christ has set fires everywhere, and there is nowhere you can turn, physically or spiritually, without encountering the fire of love.”

I love thinking of those words and pondering this picture. Her side-eye, her downward glance seems to be directed at us as well as those men. How are we with God? Have we abandoned the city of our own souls and set up our tents in the world? I know I am as guilty as the next of finding my phone more easily than my rosary.

But not today. Today in honor of St. Catherine of Siena, I will spend some time exploring the city of my soul more closely. I will pray Jesus help me to do as she proclaimed, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the whole world on fire.”

Sunflower, Faith, Wreath I,
Catherine of Siena

If you would like to explore Miss Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale’s amazing book, you can find it here:

https://archive.org/details/eleanorfortesque00fort/mode/2up?view=theater

She is illustrating some fictional women such as Hester Prynne written by Nathanial Hawthorne and sharing poetry such as from Samuel Coleridge.

Her beautiful illustrations of our saints – Joan of Arc, page 60, St. Catherine, page 168 and St. Clare, page 180.

Come on and Zoom with us!

We’d love to see you today at our April zoom meeting! We’re meeting at 2:00 p.m. EST, and seeing you would make our day.

We’ll be talking about how to celebrate your families with a Tea Ceremony, we’ll be talking about our upcoming camp and how to do one at home. We’ll be taking your questions and more (including a free giveaway to everyone to spends an hour with us)!

Hope to see you there – and I mean that literally! Due to a hiccup at my house, I might not be able to see you this month 🙁 I know Joan will do a fantastic job without me, and I’m hoping I get home in time to see all of you!

We’re live on Zoom this Friday!

Today’s Gospel is the beautiful telling of Mary Magdalene at the garden from John 20:11-18. There are several quotes from it that really give me pause:

“She stayed outside the tomb weeping…” – how many times have I stayed away from Jesus because I refused to share my pain with Him?

“She thought it was the gardener….” – how many times have I missed recognizing Jesus because I expected His arrival in some other means, or through some other person?

And most beautifully, “Jesus said to her, “Mary”” – She recognized Him when He called her by name, as He does to each of us, every day.

She thought He was the gardener. For us, that imagery is perfect as we work for that “gardener”! We are planting seeds of virtue we hope will help our children grow into saints! What a beautiful, powerful RISEN gardener we are working with.

And, where does the time go as we do this work? A month has already past and Joan and I are excited to be hosting our 3rd live zoom meeting with all of you.

We have so much to talk about – how about Tea/May Crownings? Summer Camp 2022? Registration is now live! Our participation in the upcoming 3rd annual Virtual Catholic Homeschool Conference scheduled for June 10-11, 2022? We have another special giveaway planned and, as always, we are here to answer any of your questions, hear your suggestions and the amazing things you are doing in your own Little Flower garden.

We hope you make the time to spend an hour with us on April 22, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. EST! I’ll post the link on Thursday. See you all then!

How about a plenary indulgence this Lent?

With Palm Sunday just days away, there is still time for a plenary indulgence before the end of Lent.

A plenary indulgence is a grace granted by the Catholic Church through the merits of Jesus Christ, Mary, and all the saints to remove the temporal punishment due to sin. The indulgence cleanses a person of all temporal punishment due to sin; however, it must always be accompanied by a full detachment from sin. 

Nat’l Catholic Register, Francesca Pollio Fenton/CNA

For the full article and details about your options for gaining these graces check out the article https://www.ncregister.com/cna/there-is-still-time-to-receive-a-plenary-indulgence-during-lent

My own Bishop Most Reverend William E.  Koenig has asked the following:

“Catholics from throughout the Diocese of Wilmington are invited to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at any of the 56 parish churches in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, on Monday, April 11, 2022 from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., during the first-ever diocesan-wide ‘Reconciliation Monday.’ The event is designed to make it more convenient for Catholics to receive the sacrament at the end of Lent and beginning of Holy Week, in anticipation of the celebration of Easter.”

As we homeschool my kids at home are looking forward to heading over the Church around the 3:00 p.m. hour. We usually take advantage of our Saturday afternoon slots (4:30-5:00 p.m.) before our Saturday evening Mass of Anticipation or our parish’s evening services typical for Advent and Lent or this time of day will be a bit different, and as my 14 yr. old says, ‘kinda weird, kinda cool’.

Here’s hoping your own family’s plans for the end of this Lenten season is full of blessings and graces.