I wanted to send my love and thanks to all the Little Flower families who came to our recent camp and sent me letters of healing and prayers.
For everyone else, I was unable to attend this year’s camp due to sudden illness. I was devastated and while my Grace went by herself and had an amazing time (thank you to all the Moms who treated her so sweetly), the sadness of missing one of my absolutely favorite things in the whole, wide world made my illness even harder.
The letters you sent lifted my spirits and even made me cry – I missed you all so much. I am feeling much better and your kind thoughts and beautiful cards went along way to make that happen.
I just heard a little talk that I wish had been posted about 8 years ago.
Fr. Mike Schmitz, a favorite among many of us, just posted a 9 minute video for Ascension Presents entitled, “How do I know if I Made the Wrong Choice?” I listened it just this morning before heading out to Daily Mass.
Like I said, I wish I had heard this talk a number of years ago when Matt and I endured more than a few months of struggle, doubt and sadness surrounding a decision we made in regards to Matt’s employment and education.
Now, years past this struggle, we are doing really well and we can see how God walked with us each step of the way. BUT – in the midst of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ of it all, we weren’t well. There was sadness, anger, resentment and recrimination. Of course, we prayed about the decision. Of course, we thought we were doing God’s will. Then why didn’t it work out the way we had expected? Well, that was God’s will as well.
Listening to Fr. Mike this morning brought me such comfort and peace. It also made me laugh out loud- listen carefully for “crock-pot Christianity”!
If you or someone you know is in the midst of some of those same feelings of doubt and accusation towards self or someone else take 10 minutes and listen to this. I will be praying it brings you the same peace it gave me.
Just wanted to share the focus of this month’s Little Flowers’ Leaders Meeting. We focused on how our Little Flowers and other clubs might be able to add a little extra to their meetings during Lent.
A virtue of special importance over the next 40 days might be Perseverance – seeing things through to the end, despite fear or obstacles. “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3). And our catechism tells us that to “To live, grow and persevere in faith to the end we must nourish it with the word of God…” (CCC 162).
Our saint for Perseverance is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Wreath II). And Lent is all about perseverance. We strive each day to avoid that which we have given up, or lean into more prayers and time reading the Gospels. Lent can be a difficult thing and we will often want to give up as it all just too hard. But those acts of emptying ourselves of our wants and our will helps ensure there is more room for Jesus and His will.
If St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s story is not familiar to you, you might want to check out this delightful video from her shrine located in Emmitsburg, MD:
There is also a fun tour offered here – Fish On Friday seems quite appropriate doesn’t it!
If you would like an easy craft, consider sacrifice beads. These can become a great way to keep track of sacrifices made throughout each day in Lent:
You might even think about adding these to your library or gift in an Easter basket:
Regardless of the wreath you are working on or the club you belong to, perhaps taking some time to talk about the challenge of persevering to the end of Lent might be a good idea. We all struggle to keep up with our sacrifices, those commitments we made for extra prayer, sharing with the poor and other Lenten ideas. Remembering saints, like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, struggled to persevere as well may make our Lenten journey more fruitful. She is there ready to help and intercede for you, your family and your club.
Be assured of our prayers as we all strive to grow a little bit holier, one virtue at a time.
St. Leonie Aviat, founder of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales, is a part of our Wreath V. She’s a favorite of mine (among many) as one of their schools is in my town. They are lovely sisters and a joy to see around town and at Church. In addition, my parish is administered by the Oblate Fathers, so today’s Daily Mass was a celebration of her life and words.
You might want to check out her wiki article (where I got this photo) or their website (where you will see a cornflower (!), the flower we chose for her virtue) –
I hope your family are having a lovely Christmas (remember, it is still going on!). As we are on the cusp of 2023, I wanted to share a few thoughts –
Please add Pope Benedict XVI (d. 12/31/22) to your family’s prayers.
Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord and may perpetual light shine on him and all the souls of the faithfully departed. Amen
This year is a celebration the 150th Anniversary of the birth of our patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux on Jan. 2, 2023! How exciting it is that we are celebrating our 25th year during this momentous year! There are so many sites with mention of this, so just do a quick google and you will find something. The Little Flower Basilica (Texas) has a youtube channel and might live-stream their Mass, scheduled 1/2/23 at 6pm (https://www.youtube.com/@LittleFlowerBasilica)
Did you hear about the call for a 9 year (yes, 9 years!) novena for France? Perhaps as a gift to St. Therese we might join in this momentous novena for her homeland.
With Joan of Arc as one of our favorite Little Flower saints, perhaps you and your family want to become soldiers for the freedom of France as she did and join in this effort.
Finally, might you and your children benefit from having an extra patron saint? My family has the New Year’s Eve tradition of heading over to Jen Fulwiler’s Saint Generator and getting a “new” patron for the new year. We’ve met some saints we’ve never known or not known well along with some inspiration to explore the virtues our ‘new’ saint has demonstrated and more!
“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.”
(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.
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….
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 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.