Showing posts from April, 2014

Icon of the Virgin Nicopeia

April 30 is the feast day of Pius V.  He is the pope who asked everyone to pray the Rosary during the Battle of Lepanto.

In looking at videos and pictures of the lucky people who were able to go to Rome for the two popes' canonizations, I saw a picture of this icon, the Virgin of Nicopeia in the church of San Marco. She has an interesting history.

The name itself, Nicopeia, means bringer of victories.  It was first mentioned in the first half of the fifth century.

 The word Nicopeia indicates the place, Constantinople. There are actually many different types. The early Byzantine and widely spread style usually shows Mary seated on a throne in a frontal position with her feet on an imperial footrest. She is richly dressed in purple and the costume of the empresses. Seated on her lap is the Child, whom she supports with her left hand on the his left leg and her right hand on his right shoulder. This solemn and majestic pose is often accompanied by two angels holding the orb and the…

She Who Was Nothing

Today is the Memorial of one of my heroes, St. Catherine of Siena.  She is a favorite because she was a nobody.  In her prayer conversations with God, she would often ask Him "why," and His response would be "...because I am God, and you are not."  She didn't know how to read nor write.  She wasn't schooled because females in her time in history, were not, neither were most men.  However, she may have learned how to read later in life, because she wrote many letters and her dialogues with God.  Although, her friends, Catherati, so to speak, may have helped her.  Many people followed her.

I love the fact that she was a lay woman, not a religious sister or nun.  She was in the exact state of life she needed to be to do the work God gave her.  If she were a nun or sister she would have been under obedience to a superior and that would have been the end of her mission, for sure.

As I mentioned, she was unschooled.  Hence, the fact that she conversed with polit…

Day Off

Languid reflections mirror your resting image,
Hushed lapping sounds as the water gently kisses your hull,
Quietly the day of rest is spent,
breath deeply the joy of relaxation,
no tension, no stress, no billowing waves,
no bellowing calls, no fish to haul,
Gently rocking at the dock,
Warming breezes waft in the early morning sun,
peace has come, no work to be done,
No stress to overcome,
nothing better than a day
spent with your loved ones A Day Off...
    * Pic and reflection from MEK's Pencil in the Hole

Sunday in Penance

Last night was one of the worst nights I've had in a long time.  We were babysitting overnight.  My granddaughter woke up crying too many times to count.  I felt that I had no choice but to get into her bed and sleep with her.  Well, I didn't sleep.  I kept my ears open for my alarm to ring at 6:00 because I was scheduled to Lector the first Mass for the Second Sunday in Easter.  I certainly didn't want to wake her up so early.

I had a lack of sleep headache most of the day. I was back from Mass and she was still asleep--lucky!

She was gone by noon, so I went to the Divine Mercy services.  I was so tired.  I planned to go to Confession and come home.  A nap was in my future.

The lines for Confession were long.  I almost fell asleep waiting.  My confessor was good and I liked him, but the penance he gave me made my jaw drop.

My penance was to stay for ALL the Divine Mercy services:

Exposition/Adoration of the Eucharist
Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Veneration of the I…

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Compared to when I usually post Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival, I'm late.  I've been busy and I'll write separate posts about what I was busy about, later.  Now, I'm focusing on Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival, which I do every Sunday with some other bloggers.  You are welcome to click over to the blog, This and That and the Other Thing, to see what I am referring to.

But first let me answer R'Ann's question about what I do for the parish.  Presently, I only Lector because I belong to a lot of groups, e.i., two book clubs, two Bible sharing, and a prayer group.  I belong to other non-religious groups too.  I could very happily spend all my time volunteering and belonging to groups I enjoy.

What did I do this week?

Monday --  Boston Marathon poem

Tuesday -- Childhood memories :-(

Wednesday -- My visit to the Peabody Essex Museum

Thursday  -- Prompt writing and Spirituality

Friday -- The value of a Bible

Saturday -- Giuseppe Girotti, O.P.


Beatification Commemorating the Martyrdom of Fra Girotti

Lost in all the hoopla of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII is
The Beatification of Giuseppe Girotti, OP.   Picture:  Body:  On the 27th of March 2013, the Holy Father Pope Francis authorized Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to Promulgate the Decree on the Martyrdom of the Servant of God Giuseppe Girotti, a professed priest of the Order of Preachers. His beatification will take place on Saturday, 26th of April 2014 at Duomo di Alba in Cuneo, northern Italy, the city of his birth.
The solemn celebration will be presided over by the delegate of the Holy Father, Cardinal Giovanni Coppa. Also expected at the celebration are; Bishop Giacomo Lanzetti, Bishop of the Diocese of Alb with the priests, religious and faithful of the diocese and other bishops. The Master of the Order, Fr Bruno Cadoré will also be there, accompanied by a host of Dominican brothers, sisters and laity.
The entire preparation is a combined effort of t…

My Best Book

As a blogger, and gluttonous reader (belong to two book clubs and writer of reviews for Tribute Books, Tuscany Press, and Catholic Fiction), I love the flow, sound, and images of written language.  I just love the written word.  But the book I always return to, more thanIsland of the World, more than The Liturgy of Flowers in a Mary Garden, and David Lang's DoesThe Bible Support Catholic Beliefs, is the Bible.

The aforementioned books meet certain needs I have in certain moments.  Reflection comes from Island of the World and The Liturgy of Flowers....  The Liturgy of Flowers... gives me inspiration and beauty.  (See You Tube above.) The Island... offers hope and imagination.  David's book is well worn from thumbing.  It's my "go to" reference book.

But the Bible is so much more than that.  Hardly a day doesn't go by, in which I don't  have a need to look up something.  It has everything for everybody: wisdom, direction, help in various situations, love …

Bethanien Spirituality

If you've ever wondered what I'm about, here's the basis of my spirituality.


The other night in my writing workshop I was given the prompt, "freckles."  How appropriate, that I should be given that particular one!

In five minutes I wrote.

My mother tells me that the sun loves me very much.  And to prove his love for me, he kisses me.  That kiss from the sun leaves a freckle.

My sister tells me not to worry, they'll fade as I get older.

My brother tells me to wear makeup to hide them.

Daddy tells me to forget about them, besides, he likes them.  He thinks they're cute, and makes him think sunny, happy thoughts.

I believe them all:
     *  the sun loves me
     *  they will fade in time
     *  makeup can disguise them
     *  Daddy likes them

They're cute.  They make people think sunny, happy thoughts.

So?  I was only give five minutes to write!

Silk Chasuble

Look what I found in the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, MA.  This is a chasuble from the 18th-19th century, in China.  It's made of silk.  It was probably made in Canton or Macau.  Chinese textiles made for foreign patrons often featured vines and leaves and peonies.

Just imagine the history this chasuble went through, giving glory to God.

The style of needlework on this piece is typical of the time.  The embroidery thread is silk, as well as the material it is sewn on.  IHS is a Greek monogram for the name, Jesus Christ.  The Greek monograms were used even in Latin.  Even St. Vincent Ferrer used IHS, and it became a characteristic iconographic image associated with him, before the Jesuits adopted the symbol as their seal.

The Family Barometer

You can tell how the family is by the atmosphere around the dinner table.  I'm sorry to say, that as a child, I was the cause of a lot of tension.  No one could get me to eat what I didn't like, and I didn't like most things.  I remember hiding crust in the sugar bowl.  Throwing food to the dog.  Hiding meat in the mashed potatoes.

The worst was when I spilled milk, twice in a row.  My father would slam his hand down on the table and scream obscenities, "Every gd time we sit down to eat, she spoils it."

But I wasn't doing it on purpose.

That's why I never pushed my kids to eat.  They didn't want what was served, "fine."  Just no dessert.  When they were older, they were allowed to get up and make themselves something else.

No big deal.

Everyone says the dinner table should be a place of happy intimacy.  I've tried to do that in my own family because I remember my childhood's table being a place of hostility.  My fault, I'm s…

Ballad of the Boston Marathon

Ballad of the Boston Marathon                       (bombing 2013)

“I’m thinking of going to the Marathon, leaving early in the morn,  and watch the runners cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon.”
“No! You know what a mess traffic is, today will be more than crazy, parking will be impossible and expensive, and the crowds whipped to a frenzy.”
“We’re taking the ‘T’ to Back Bay Station. The finish line is there. And my friends will guide and protect me, we’ll be good and take care.”
The mother finally smiled in acquiescence, to think her child safe and happy with sensible companions. All too soon that smile was erased.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Alleluia!  He is risen.  Truly risen!

It's Easter and it's also time for linking up with my fellow bloggers at R'Ann's.  I urge you to click on over there to read some good blogs.

What's your Easter tradition?  Ours is an Easter egg hunt.  My kids were in the twenties and still insisting on it.  Now we do it for my grandchild.

This week, actually two weeks, have been wicked crazy.  I've had company the whole time.  The first week I had my nephew's family, here to visit UMass.  This week, I've had the President of the Lay Fraternities of the Southern Province, Col. Jo Ann Cotterman, O.P..  She is here to talk to my "cloistered brothers."

Meanwhile, I managed to squeeze in these posts:

Monday -- cleaning the prison cemetery

Tuesday -- Book Review of Alive

Wednesday -- Re: Judas

Thursday -- The Last Supper

Friday -- Explanation of the Tridiuum

Have a wonderful Easter. We have good reason to celebrate.  He is risen; truly risen!  Alleluia!

The Easter Tridiuum

My brother (Irish Dominican) explains the Easter Tridiuum.

The Last Time

We all know we're going to die, but we don't think about it.  We've all had friends with cancer, if not ourselves.  Sometimes the cancer is terminal.  Now, that brings about a new definition of knowing when we are to die.  Everything is seen with different eyes.

Some of these people sometimes make a conscious effort to say "goodbye" to their loved ones.  If they can, they want to spend time with them.

Even though he didn't have cancer, Jesus knew he was about to die.  He knew this was the last time he would be spending with his disciples.  He made it very special.

We remember, Lord.  Thank you for remembering us.  Thank you for loving us.

Surely it is not I, Rabbi?

All my life, I've gone to Mass.  I've heard the story of the Last Supper, all my life.  Today, I heard and learned something new.

The disciples never used the title, "Rabbi," when addressing Jesus.  He told them not to.  Others who were not close to him, called him Rabbi, e.i., Pharisees and Sadducees.

So when Judas asks "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" everyone at the table must have perked up.  Something's amiss.

Yes, this is a foreshadowing of Judas' separation from the disciples.


Piers Paul Read has written a few books that I often recommend.  So when I picked up Alive and the cover read, “# 1 New York Times Bestseller,” “Sixteen men, seventy-two days, and insurmountable odds—the classic adventure of survival in the Andes,” I thought Piers Paul Read had authored another great work of fiction.
It wasn’t until I was on page 8-11 that I started having my doubts.  Definitely, when I spotted a map on page 13, the possibility that Alive may not be fiction dawned on me.  That’s what I get for skipping “Introductions.” 
The Acknowledgements, Introduction, and the Interview with the Survivors, in the back of the book, confirmed the fact that Alive by Piers Paul Read was non-fiction.  By then, it was too late.  I was hooked. 
I don’t only read fiction, after all.  But Alive is so unbelievable, it could very well be fictitious.  The survival of these men is so miraculous, it could be a tall tale.  But it’s not.  It’s made all too real by the author’s telling of the truth.

Potter's Field

We volunteers in prison ministry in the Bethany Community, got together this day to clean up the prison cemetery.  This is where unwanted men go.  If an inmate dies, and the family does not claim his body, he ends up in Potter's Field.

Here it is.  First glance told us that there were a lot of branches and sticks to pick up.  We also decided to rake up as many pine needles as we could, too.
This is Sister Ann picking up here and there. And this is Gary picking up.

Some graves didn't have crosses.  Some had cement squares with numbers.  Some had both.  Sister Ruth said some men are buried with no markers, what so ever.

             It is a corporal work of mercy to bury the dead.  Today the Bethany Community honored our brothers by doing what we could.  There were no names, some had numbers, some had nothing.  Where once these men lived, with a family, with love, with a life, with dreams, and hopes, here they rest eternally.  May God have mercy on them.  Rest in peace.

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

It's that time again, where we bloggers all link together at This and That and the Other Thing blog and tell about our week.  Here's mine:

Monday -- Black Madonna

Tuesday -- Book Review of the Terminals

Wednesday --  Street Confessionals

Thursday --  Book Review of Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves

Friday -- A Prayer Group Tale

Saturday -- Choices

Sorry for the curt post.  I have company up to Easter.  Have a holy HOly Week.

You are what you Choose

People are funny.  They can be so irrational.  They can believe something for so long and never ever change their mind, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence.  Then something will occur and they might, or might not.

I'm thinking of my sister who wouldn't look for a family photo my brother was asking for.  She kept saying, "I don't have it."  She was telling the truth.  In her mind, she didn't have that picture.  Years went by.  One day, her husband came across that very picture.  When she saw it, she said "Oh, I didn't know he wanted that one."  He had described it perfectly down to the most minute detail.

You see, she was very, very upset over an ex-son-in-law.  And for some reason when my brother used the term "family photo," she envisioned pictures that included the despised "ex." This was even after everyone told her numerous times, over more than a few years, that the much sought after photo was of her and us sib…

The Prayer Group's Prayer

Father Diotrophes wondered what the prayer group was up to.  They were mumbling a lot and shuffling around, even more than usual.  Oh, he was sure that sooner or later they’d be bothering him about one thing or another, and whatever it was would really be annoying.
Sure enough, they all crowded around him like they were one organism. 
“Father, Father!”   He couldn't make out what they were saying.  They were all talking at once.  So he just said, “No.”
“But Father, Father, we want to bury our old rosary beads.  That would be the respectful way to dispose of blessed objects.”  The group pleaded.
Father Diotrophes warily asked, “Where?”
“On church property,”  was the response.
“Well, of course.  How appropriate!” thought the pastor.
And everyone went away happy. 
That is until the pastor was walking the grounds and surveying the spring buds sprouting.  The tulip bulbs he planted in front of the statue of St. Theresa weren't up yet.  Father Diotrophes wondered why.  Everything …

Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves

Dancing ShadowsTramping Hooves is the name of a collection of short stories by Dianne Ascroft.      They really are short, short stories.  That’s what I liked about them.  You could read one in one sitting.  And they are nice family friendly tales.  You could read them aloud to any group, without censorship.  Any one of them could be published in the local newspaper, as a common interest story. 
There are six stories, altogether.  My favorite was the last story, “Going Home.”  The author explores the definition of home, in this thought provoking story.  In an original twist, the daughter kept referring to her childhood home as “home,” even though she had moved away many years ago.  I think anyone who has experienced moving away from home, can relate to it.
The reader can tell that these stories relate to the author’s life, who in real life, is an American living in Ireland.  Her Irish neighbors are her inspiration.  But they could be anybody’s neighbors.  There’s more to her storie…

Argentine archdiocese places confession booth on the streets

Squeamish Caution

The Terminals by Michael F. Stewart is the subject of this book review.  I don’t know where to begin.  You wouldn’t believe it.  You won’t believe it.  I have never read anything like this before.  Dante’s Inferno comes to mind—maybe.  But Stewart’s gnostic hell is more graphic than Dante’s.  If you have a weak stomach then this book is not for you. 
In fact, nobody should eat or munch on any goodies while reading The Terminals.  Your stomach is guaranteed to turn.  That’s not saying that the story isn’t good, because it is.  I was hooked and kept on reading, in spite of my IBS. The story revolves around Col. Christine Kurzow, who feels responsible for her troops who were blown up in Afghanistan.  She’s suicidal.  Actually, all the characters in this novel are suicidal, hence the title, The Terminals.  These people who are going to die are referred to as Terminals.  (I’m trying very hard not to give out spoilers.)  The Terminals descend into death to solve crimes.
If you don’t unders…

Saint Who?

Much to my surprise, I came across a saint I became acquainted with a couple of years ago.  I was reading Magnificat, April 2014, "Saint Who?".  Not only did I know who Saint Meinrad was, but I could improve that article.  Saint Meinrad had one of Europe's famous Black Madonna's.  No where in the article does it mention that.  That's very strange.  That would be the first thing I would mention.  There's about four hundred Black Madonna's.  Age, fire, and type of wood explain the black color, but they're considered rare and precious.

I was blessed to visit the Benedictine Abbey and attend Mass there.  No cameras are allowed, but I blogged about the experience, here.

The statue is kept behind bars.  So the Einsiedeln Madonna reminded me of my "cloistered brothers."

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Sunday is the day, my blogger friends and I link together at R'Anns, and blog our week's posts.  We also usually answer a question.  This time the question is about wearing mantillas.  I have a couple of them, I have worn once, at most.  No one in my parish wears one.  Although, one lady wears this tiny lace circle on her head.  I find it odd and silly.  However, I abide with whatever the local custom is, as St. Anselm advised St. Monica, when she asked about the manner in which the Romans were receiving communion.  "When in Rome, do what the the Romans do."  So when I go to the Traditional Latin Mass, I wear a mantilla because that's what the other women there, do.

My posts this week:

Sunday --  I made a Smile Box.

Monday --  Communion and Sister Mary Clare's story.

Tuesday  --  Book Blast and an April Fool's joke.

Wednesday --  Catholic Fiction posted my reviews.

Thursday and Friday--  Sex and Money

Saturday --  Communion

Go click on http://rannthisth…


One of the pillars in the Order of Preachers (commonly known as Dominicans) is community.  Because of this, prayers are being offered for the members of our family in the Ukraine, and everywhere else in the world, where the  family is residing in turmoil.

The students of Bologna, who are blessed to have the Ark of St. Dominic in their chapel, have an oil lamp as a symbol of this prayer of community.  The Ark is where St. Dominic's remains lie.

Every week, the students, after compline, with the chanting of Spem Miram, process to the Ark of St. Dominic.  They light an oil lamp which is kept going as a sign of the ongoing prayers that are offered for the Dominican family in Kiev, Ukraine, and wherever else our family is in trouble.  A portion of the oil from the lamp will be sent to those who need our prayers, and another portion will be sent to the Master of the Order.

 See more at:…

Sex Party

Tonight my six week old pregnant daughter had a sex party.  Sometimes it's called a revealing party.  There was cake and balloons and fun.  Here are some pictures.

The cake had chocolate question marks on the top.  The candy was blue and pink.

It was only when the three year old, future big sister, cut the cake open, did we see the sex of the coming baby.

It's pink!  Thanks be to God.

Prayers are requested, for the health of the Mom during her pregnancy.

Once again I'm repeating this post.  I'm appealing for donations to help with Fr. MacRae's appeal.  Please read below and open your heart. The National Center for Reason and Justice announces a new federal court appeal filed by Attorney Robert Rosenthal for wrongly convicted priest, Fr Gordon MacRae. Editor’s Note: The following is a TSW guest post by Ryan A. MacDonald. I am once again pleased to write about a major step in the effort to free Father Gordon MacRae, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire now in his twentieth year of unjust imprisonment. In a memorable quote in “The Trials of Father MacRae” in The Wall Street Journal last May, Pulitzer-prize winning author and columnist, Dorothy Rabinowitz summed up an appeal to state courts to overturn the unjust 1994 sexual assault convictions of this falsely accused priest. “Those aware of the facts of this case find it hard to imagine that any court today would ignore the perversion of justice it represents.” …