Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treating at Bluebonnet House 2010

Thanks to all who came out! We hope to see you on our next trip! If you have pictures you would like to add, please contact Julia Motekaitis, we'd love to have yours here too!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Exterminate the “Nag Bug”! The Gentle Virtue of Self-Control

Here's an excellent article that touched on a little bit of what we discussed today:

Exterminate the “Nag Bug”! The Gentle Virtue of Self-Control

I really enjoyed this quote towards the end of the article:

"The great medieval mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux, taught that there are four levels of love: Love of self for self’s sake, love of God (and others) for self’s sake, love of God (and others) for their own sake, and love of self for God’s sake.
I realized that, to love someone for his own sake (rather than what I need from that person), is a liberating choice. It keeps me from trying to control another human being . . . and keeps my focus on how I can be a blessing to the one I love, rather than one more problem to manage. Even if the other person never changes (a real possibility), this approach minimizes the effect of the problem in the marriage, and on the family. It also gives God a chance to work in the heart of the other person."

St. Luke, the Evangelist

Father, you chose Luke the Evangelist to reveal by preaching and writing the mystery of your love for the poor.  Unite in one heart and spirit all who glory in your name, and let all nations come to see your salvation.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blessed John Henry Newman

Cardinal Newman's motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or "Heart speaks unto heart", gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our Lady of Good Remedy

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of Good Remedy.
R. That we may deepen our dedication to thy Son, and make the world alive with His Spirit.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Lady of the Rosary

This feast was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in thanksgiving for the great naval victory over the Turks at the battle of Lepanto on this day in the year 1570, a favor due to the recitation of the Rosary. This victory saved Europe from being overrun by the forces of Islam.

The purpose of the rosary is to help us meditate on the great mysteries of our salvation. Pius XII called it a compendium of the gospel. The main focus is on Jesus—his birth, life, death and resurrection. The Our Fathers remind us that Jesus' Father is the initiator of salvation. The Hail Marys remind us to join with Mary in contemplating these mysteries. They also make us aware that Mary was and is intimately joined with her Son in all the mysteries of his earthly and heavenly existence. The Glorys remind us that the purpose of all life is the glory of the Trinity.

The rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are with us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saint Mary Faustina

Divine Mercy

Eternal God,
in whom mercy is endless
and the treasury of compassion
- inexhaustible,
look kindly upon us
and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments
we might not despair
nor become despondent,
but with great confidence
submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is Love and Mercy itself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Catholic Radio for Bryan/College Station

Just wanted to give a shout out to our Catholic radio stations in town.  Please consider listening to them and supporting them.  Check their websites for programming schedules.

KACB - 96.9  Aggie Catholic Broadcasting

KEDC - 88.5  The RED-C Apostolate

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reconciliation Times for Bryan/College Station

St. Thomas Aquinas
Wednesday 11:30am - noon
Friday 11:30am - noon
Saturday 3:30pm - 5pm

St. Mary's
Monday 4:30pm - 5pm
Tuesday 4:30pm - 5pm
Wednesday 4:30pm - 5pm, 8:30pm - 9:30pm
Thursday 4:30pm - 5pm
Friday 4:30pm - 5pm
Saturday 4pm - 5:15pm

St. Joseph's
Wednesday 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Friday 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Saturday 4:30pm - 5:30pm

St. Anthony's
Thursday 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Saturday 4pm - 4:45pm

Christ Our Light (Navasota)
Saturday 5pm - 5:30pm

Love Put to Action

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action”
–Mother Theresa

Click on this link to read a really good post.  I especially like the quote she chose (above) that she ended her post with.  What a great reminder for us when we feel bogged down with endless chores. 

Now I'm off to do some laundry!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Children's Prayer for the New School Year

I know we are several weeks into school now.  But, I just found this prayer at  What a great idea to have our children praying for their education and their teachers. 

Prayer for the New School Year

Spirit of God,

fill our hearts with a desire

to seek truth and rejoice in beauty.

Help us to know what is pleasing to you

and to understand what is right

and good in your sight.

Give us the spirit of learning

that we may please you by our thoughts

and love you in your creation.

Give all teachers

your constant encouragement

and guide them in their good work.

Spirit of God,

make us effective witnesses of your truth

to all whose lives we touch.

We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord.


Friday, September 17, 2010

St. Robert Bellarmine

"Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful." Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of your fatherly rule? What command, Lord, do you give your servants? "Take my yoke upon you," you say. And what is this yoke of yours like? "My yoke," you say, "is easy and my burden light." Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does no press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? And so you were right to add: "And you will find rest for your souls." And what is this yoke of yours that does not weary, but gives rest? It is, of course, that first and greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty, and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God?"
Is it not true that you promise those who keep your commandments a reward more desirable than great wealth and sweeter than honey? You promise a most abundant reward, for as your apostle James says: "The Lord has prepared a crown of life for those who love him." What is this crown of life? It is surely a greater good than we can conceive of or desire, as Saint Paul says, quoting Isaiah: "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him."

from On the Ascent of the Mind to God by Saint Robert Bellarmine

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian

God our Father,

in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

You have given Your people an inspiring example

of dedication to the pastoral ministry

and constant witness to Christ in their suffering.

May their prayers and faith give us courage

to work for the unity of Your Church.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows

"As we contemplate this Mother, whose heart a sword has pierced (cf. Luke 2:35), our thoughts go to all the suffering women in the world, suffering either physically or morally. In this suffering a woman's sensitivity plays a role, even though she often succeeds in resisting suffering better than a man.

It is difficult to enumerate these sufferings; it is difficult to call them all by name. We may recall her maternal care for her children, especially when they fall sick or fall into bad ways; the death of those most dear to her; the loneliness of mothers forgotten by their grown-up children; the loneliness of widows; the sufferings of women who struggle alone to make a living; and women who have been wronged or exploited. Then there are the sufferings of consciences as a result of sin, which has wounded the woman's human or maternal dignity: the wounds of consciences which do not heal easily. With these sufferings too we must place ourselves at the foot of the Cross."

Pope John Paul II

...As we honor our Blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows, we honor her as the faithful disciple and exemplar of faith. Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: “Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life.” Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Exaltation of the Cross

"How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life" (Theodore of Studios).

We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee,
for by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Monday, September 13, 2010

St. John Chrysostom


the strength of all who trust in you,

you made John Chrysostom

renowned for his eloquence

and heroic in his sufferings.

May we learn from his teaching

and gain courage from his patient endurance.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Since our topic in Chapters 10 - 12 of Graced and Gifted discusses organization, I would like to share my kitchen drawers with you.  I have found that preparing meals is a lot less stressful when you know where your tools are.  It doesn't take a whole lot of time or money to create a good organizational system in the kitchen.

It might seem odd to have pens and pencils along with oven mitts, but the phone happens to be right next to the oven.  So, it works.  The white plastic baskets were purchased at WalMart for around $2 total.

In this drawer, I have covered the bottom with non-slip material.  The knives used most often are towards the front, with those used less often at the back.  These utensils are next to the oven, since that is where the meats will be prepared and pizzas cut.

The island is where I prepare my baked goods and do other meal prep.  You can see I have some of those white plastic baskets again.  As for the cookie cutters, there's no real point in trying to keep them neat.  They have their own separate space.

I chose a drawer that is out of the way to put the items that aren't used as often, but that are still needed.  Again, utilizing the non-slip material.

I splurged on the silverware drawer.  We have deep drawers on this side of the kitchen due to the bar, so I needed an extra-large organizer.  This organizer costs around $20, and it was well worth it.  I even purchaed one of these for my bathroom drawer.  It's perfect for all the stuff we need to primp ourselves with in the morning.

I like to have all the appliance manuals in the kitchen.  They are good to have on hand.  But if you are lacking space, make a separate file in your filing cabinet.  So, if you have a question about the oven, you'll know exactly where to find the information.  It's also good to have a stain marker on hand to make quick touch-ups to your cabinets.

My cabinets have actually stayed organized since I took these pictures, and it's not because I'm some amazingly organized person.  I thought through where the most logical place would be for each item - where would I use it in my kitchen.  Once you do that, and come up with your organized layout, it's easy to keep it up.

I hope this encourages you to go organize your kitchen or some other area of your home that could use some help.  Be sure to measure your spaces before you go shopping for baskets and such.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Housework is God's Work

Cleaning Management from Graced and Gifted by Kimberly Hahn

As you manage clutter, you simplify the cleaning process, but cleaning still must be done.  The best book for cleaning organization that I have read is called Sidetracked Home Executives:  From Pigpen to Paradise, written by two sisters, Pam Young and Peggy Jones.  I read this book during a night of labor with my firstborn, and if a book is funny during labor, it is a good read!  These sisters were more disorganized than anything I imagined possible, and they found a way, working together, to bring order out of their chaos. 

These easily sidetracked homemakers have given many people hope.  One of their mottos is "We Change Lives With 3 x 5s!"  They list all possible jobs for cleaning any room in the house (in the back of their book) in terms of daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly and seasonal chores. 

For each room they recommend that you list one task per note card, color-coded based on frequency:  blue for daily or every-other-day jobs, white for weekly or biweekly jobs, yellow for monthly tasks, orange for seasonal jobs, red for holiday tasks, pink for personal tasks.  Twenty-five years ago I could not afford colored note cards, so I cut construction paper to the size of index cards and created the same system.  Today you can download the information you want, customize it for your home and print cards yourself.

Once each task is listed separately, time the jobs and designate any task as a mini-job if it takes less than ten minutes - many tasks are five-minute (or less) jobs.  Determine a time each day by which you will complete the daily jobs.  When you are ready to begin, closely follow the cleaning routine that you have set up, noting challenges.  The secon week, only make slight adjustments - you are working on a new habit.  The third week, evaluate and fine-tune only.
If your children (or someone you hired) help you clean, add instructions to the cards, so they know how to do each task.  Either designate who should do the chores and when, or shuffle the cards and have the children draw one.  Include on the card what supplies are needed to complete that chore, and store those supplies near the point of use.  It may not save you money on supplies - unless you find them on sale - but why not at least save time by having cleaning supplies located in each bathroom, for instance, or in a designated closet on each floor?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

God our Creator,

it is your will that man accept the duty of work.
In your kindness may the work we begin
bring us growth in this life
and help to extend the kingdom of Christ.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Lady of Surprises

O, Mary my mother and Our Lady of surprises,

what a happy joy you caused the wedding guests, when you asked your Divine Son

to work the miracle of water into Wine

What a happy surprise for them, since they

thought the wine had run dry, I too Mary,

love surprises, and as your child,

may I ask you to favour me with one today.

I ask this only because you are

my ever caring Mother, Amen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

St. Gregory the Great

Father, you guide your people with kindness and govern us with love.

By the prayers of Saint Gregory give the spirit of wisdom to those you have called to lead your Church.
May the growth of your people in holiness be the eternal joy of our shepherds.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shaped By Our Wounds

by Vinita on September 29, 2009

It’s important to understand that healing involves more than the wound. A wound can usually get better; and most pain will eventually subside. Situations resolve, and life goes on. But the need for healing remains. Why?

The need for healing remains because of what happens to us when we are harmed. Perhaps you are critically injured in a car accident. After surgeries and painkillers and then weeks in rehabilitation, you get your life back. Only it’s not the life you had before. The life you return to has absorbed a whole new realm of fear and helplessness. The weeks of dealing with pain have changed the way you operate from day to day. The recurring memories of the crash have formed new, disturbing patterns inside you. Long after the scars fade, you will need healing.

We are shaped by what happens to us. Every wound—the death of a loved one, a lost friendship, a long illness, a disruption due to change in job or income, a dashed dream—each event and emotional season works on us at every level. If we do not allow God to infuse every day with fresh faith, life can devolve into a misshapen and fearful existence. If we do not cultivate trust in God’s constant care and the Holy Spirit’s ability to renew us constantly, our lives might become mere long memories of hurt and disappointment. If we do not walk with the compassionate Jesus, inviting his friendship to strengthen our hearts and minds, we could easily become more defined by our wounds than by our gifts.

It’s quite common to hear someone say, “Oh, I’m over it,” when referring to a difficult situation she’s come through. “I’m moving on now, but thanks for asking.” Our culture is so focused on action and productivity that we feel an obligation to recover quickly from whatever has hurt or discouraged us. But if we get quiet and sit with our deeper wisdom, we become aware of how profoundly we’ve been affected by events. We may need to cry or take a walk or stare absently out the window.

When we come to such a moment, it’s time to pray. It’s time to ask God for the healing that can reshape what the hurt distorted. I confess that ever since the accident I am much more fearful of driving. You admit that since that horrible break-up you have shut out nearly every person who’s tried to get close to you. We are living out patterns that owe their power to bad memories. God means for us to live out patterns energized by hopefulness and peace.

The exercise for the week is based on Lyn’s chapter, “Hoarding Our Gifts”.

Does being wounded block your service to others or your ability to receive God’s gifts in any way? If so, describe how it does.

Set aside time this week to be quiet and in prayer. If necessary, do this with your spiritual companion. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the patterns in your life that indicate a need for continued healing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Spiritual Meaning of Balance

by Vinita on July 13, 2009

When most people refer to balance, they envision a successful juggling act. A balanced life is one in which, simultaneously, I keep all my projects going and all my relationships healthy. I achieve this balance by sheer strategy and willpower.

In Christian spirituality, balance has more to do with temperance, which means that we allow our deepest principles to hold our passions in check. As Paula Huston explains in chapter 2 of By Way of Grace, temperance has been misconstrued in popular language to mean an unhealthy denial of life’s pleasures. But from earliest times Christians have valued spiritual balance.

St. Ignatius spoke of people having “disordered affections”—being ruled by desires rather than free to make wise choices. When we don’t practice temperance, eventually our affections will become disordered. A temperate person honors her desires and passions as gifts from God, but she does not constantly rearrange her life according to the ongoing flux of those desires and passions.

I’ve discovered that whenever I feel pushed, desperate, or hurried, that’s a signal that I need to apply some temperance. When I am driven to act—by my fear, my need to impress, or my own impossible expectations—I allow my perfectly good passions to run away with me. Passions themselves are not bad, but they were never meant to be in charge either.

Most of us can relate to Paula’s story; her desire to give her daughter the perfect wedding led to weeks of frenzy and overwork. One time, when my sister and brother-in-law were visiting, we’d had a full day of sightseeing and had returned home to cook a nice dinner. At about 8 p.m., I started pulling out ingredients to make an apple pie, and my sister stopped me: “Are you on speed?” she asked, laughing at my insistence on providing a homemade dessert. I decided that it was more important to relax and watch a movie with my family than slave over a pie we were too tired to eat anyway.

As an editor, I have to practice temperance; otherwise I would never finish making a manuscript “perfect.” As a writer I practice temperance when I decide that, no, a sixteenth rewrite of that scene is not necessary.

Parents must practice temperance when it’s time to let go of children, even though we know we could help them organize their lives or choose their friends. Our good desire to help those we love must be tempered by wisdom.

One of the best gifts of temperance is that it frees us to enjoy our loves. When I write, I can throw myself into it completely. And when temperance tells me it’s time to stop writing and do something else, I can put down my work and enter the next thing wholeheartedly.


Identify situations in which you feel pushed, or hurried, or desperate. Can you describe what’s going on, and how you might apply some temperance?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Praying By Hand

by M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O.

Hail Mary:  The Ave

The Ave also has a gospel origin, though not entirely.  It was not offered there as a prayer, and the form we know only gradually came together.  The earliest rosary or psalter of Mary was made up of the earliest form of the Ave - simply the angelic salutation: "Hail, Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you."  In the little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as it was recited in the monastic choirs, the antiphonal response to this angelic salutation was the greeting that Elizabeth gave to her cousin: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."  The carryover to the psalter of our Lady was quite natural.

Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) asked the faithful to add "Jesus Christ."  In the course of the following centuries, however, the title "Christ" got lost.  Perhaps it was because one of the earlier popular forms of the rosary added a different modifying phrase after each repetition of the Ave (Jesus, born of Mary; Jesus, risen from the dead; and so on), and the inclusion of the Christ title proved too cumbersome.

Up to this point, the Ave is not a prayer in the sense of a petition.  It is simply an honorific salutation.  Phrases from the offices of the monks, such as "Pray for us, O holy Mother of God," led to further additions to the Ave.  Various phrases were used until "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death" became common by the end of the fifteenth century.  Pope Saint Pius V canonized this wording in his breviary in 1568.

It would be hard to doubt the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding this long evolution, for the result is an exquisitely beautiful prayer.  With one of heaven's great spirits as our mentor, we approach Mary with gracious delicacy, honoring her greatest prerogatives: that she is totally pleasing to God, filled with God, worthy to be the mother of God.  We honor her for what she is: woman.  And we delight her in honoring her child, calling him blessed.  Graciousness opens the way for grace.  We can now make our petition.  We pray to the mother of God, knowing that nothing ca be denied her.  (Remember Cana.)  She, as a mother, knows our needs far better than we, so we content ourselves simply to ask her intercession for us now, caring for our present needs, and at the hour when we will experience our greatest need and most want a mother near.  It is not surprising to me how often a Christian who has used the rosary through life holds it in his or her hand at the hour of death - a witness of faith, a pledge to heaven, a silent but powerful prayer.

pgs. 23-25

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (Prophet and Martyr)

The Last Prophet’s Last Offering

John the Baptist was born about six months before his cousin, Jesus Christ. We remember the Virgin Mary, who had just conceived the Word of God, hurrying to meet her cousin Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of her miraculous pregnancy. Elizabeth was considered far too old to conceive a child, but she waited with faith and hope, and the love of the Lord, Who was faithful as He always is. She and Zachariah, her husband, made a promise to God that they would name their child John.

The birth of John the Baptist is commemorated on June 24, and his martyrdom on August 29. John had been sent by the Lord to prepare the way for the Messiah. He is the last prophet before the Birth of Christ. He was actively “preparing the way of the Lord” by baptizing and boldly proclaiming the need for people to repent of their sins. His message was directed to the poor and weak, and the rich and powerful. He dressed in camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey, yet people were drawn to his message of repentance and forgiveness, and flocked to him to be baptized. Christ Himself came to John to be baptized, to mark the beginning of His public ministry. Humble, John tried to refuse but did baptize Jesus, and we see here the first “Theophany” — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present as distinct Persons.

According to St. Mark’s Gospel (6:14-29), John had publicly criticized King Herod for living with his brother’s wife. (This was not Herod the Great, who had tried to kill the infant Jesus, but rather one of his sons.) Herod had John arrested and imprisoned, though he had no definite idea of what to do next. St. Mark tells us that “Herod feared John, knowing him to be a holy and upright man…. When he heard him speak he was very much disturbed, yet he felt the attraction of his words” (Mk 6:20).

Herodias, Herod’s sister-in-law, had no such respect for John. Embarrassed by his speaking out against her living arrangement with Herod, she was determined to have him killed. Her daughter (traditionally known as Salome) performed a dance at Herod’s birthday feast which delighted the king and his guests so much that he publicly promised to grant her anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. Prompted by her mother, the girl asked for John’s head. Because of his guests, Herod reluctantly agreed, and dispatched the executioner, who beheaded John. When his disciples heard of this, they came and took away the Baptist’s body, and then informed Jesus. Speaking of John, Jesus said, “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine

God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and wear us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise.

(From Prayers of the Saints: An Inspired Collection of Holy Wisdom, ed. Woodeene Koenig-Bricker - San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996)

Friday, August 27, 2010

St. Monica

O God, You observed the devout tears and pleading of St. Monica, and granted to her prayers the conversion of her husband and the penitential return of her son, Augustine.  Grant us the grace to implore You also with earnest zeal, so that we may obtain, as she did, the salvation of our own soul and of those belonging to us!  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Our Lady of Czestochowa

Holy Mother of Czestochowa, Thou art full of grace, goodness and mercy. I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions, my soul and body. I beseech Thy blessings and especially prayers for my salvation. Today, I consecrate myself to Thee, Good Mother, totally, with body and soul amid joy and sufferings to obtain for myself and others Thy blessings on this earth and eternal life in Heaven.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The mission of FAMILIA is to help women live their vocation to marriage and parenthood in all its fullness. Teams of 8-10 women meet bi-monthly for an hour and a half to read the Gospel and study the teaching of the Church through the Catechism and writings of Pope John Paul II. It is interactive with time for questions and answers regarding the material and also time for personal sharing. It is a time to make friendships with other women who share a desire for a closer union with Christ and His Blessed Mother.
The first year is entitled "Authentic Feminism" in which we learn to see ourselves as Christ sees us. It consists of 9 sessions.  Both morning and evening sessions are available: at St. Thomas Aquinas on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, 9:30-11am starting on Oct 8; at St. Thomas Aquinas on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays from 7-8:30 pm starting Oct 12; evenings at St. Joseph Church, the day yet to be decided.
It is a 4-year program, but it is not required to participate in all 4 years. There is a workbook specific to each year that each participant orders online and the cost is approx. $49. (We have a few scholarships available if someone needs financial help. Inability to pay should not discourage anyone.)
Childcare will be provided for a small fee. If you have questions/concerns/need more information, please call or email Meredith Olson (olsonjm25 at aol dot com 695-6440) or Patty Veazey (pveazey at gmail dot com 777-5045).
Sign-ups are on-line now at Books are ordered online at that website for $42 plus shipping.

A Wife's Prayer

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You instituted marriage in the earthly Paradise and in the New Law You elevated it to the dignity of a sacrament, attaching to it many graces.  Grant to my husband and me the grace to live holily in so sacred a state and, by the practice of Christian virtues, to act always as is becoming a Christian couple.  As Your minister joined our hands at the holy altar, so may we journey through life with one heart and soul, tasting its pleasures with moderation, enduring its sorrows with resignation and, at all times, mutually assisting and consoling each other.

May Your true and holy fear strengthen us to serve You uprightly with pure heart and eyes and lips, in mutual esteem and for bearance!  Grant that the children born of our union may be pure of heart and well-disposed in mind, and that they may gladly walk in the way of Your Commandments.  Teach us to be faithful images of the Holy Family of Nazareth, of the blessed foster-father Joseph, of the most devout Mother Mary, the most blessed Mother of the Child Jesus, that we may be made worthy to live under their protection, to die in their favor, to be forever blessed in their company.


Taken from Mother Love:  A Prayer Book for Christian Wives and Mothers

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

St. Bartholomew

substain within us the faith
which made Saint Bartholomew ever loyal to Christ.
Let your Church be the sign of salvation
for all the nations of the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

St. Rose of Lima

God, You filled Saint Rose with love for You and enabled her to leave the world and be free for You through the austerity of penance. Through her intercession, help us to follow her footsteps on earth and enjoy the torrent of Your delights in Heaven. Amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Queenship of Mary

On August 22, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates a memorial in honor of the Queenship of Mary. This memorial is placed within an octave, that is, eight days after celebrating Mary's Assumption into Heaven. The Queenship can be considered a prolongation of the celebration of the Assumption.

“Let the entire body of the faithful pour forth persevering prayer to the Mother of God and Mother of men. Let them implore that she who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers may now, exalted as she is in heaven above all the saints and angels, intercede with her Son in the fellowship of all the saints. May she do so until all the peoples of the human family, whether they are honored with the name of Christian or whether they still do not know their Savior, are happily gathered together in peace and harmony into the one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 69).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

St. Pius X, Pope

Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven. -- Pope Saint Pius X

to defend the Catholic faith
and to make all things new in Christ,
You filled St. Pius X
with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage.
May his example and teaching
lead us to the reward of eternal life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

St. Bernard

“In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal” (St. Bernard).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. John Eudes

you chose the priest John Eudes
to preach the infinite riches of Christ.
By his teaching and example
help us to know You better
and live faithfully in the light of the gospel.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Subsidiarity Over Social Justice

by Dr. Paul Kengor

We’re hearing a lot about “social justice” lately. If only we heard half as much about “subsidiarity.” When it comes to truly helping the needy, few words are so instructive. Unfortunately, very few Catholics have even heard of this core Catholic social-economic teaching.

When it comes to assisting the needy, subsidiarity encourages localism. Think about it: Localities, whether public or private, from counties to churches, are closer to the problem; they offer a more efficient, human touch than a distant bureaucracy. Most importantly, as the Catechism states (1885): “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention.”

In addition to the Catechism, I strongly recommend Catholics visit the website of the Acton Institute to learn about subsidiarity.

I’m convinced, from study after study, and years of observing public policy, from the New Deal to the Great Society, that addressing poverty in the narrow federal, collectivist way preached by modern progressives—in the language of “social justice”—is counter-productive, fostering rather than lessening dependency.

In fact, the long experience of economies shows that those titled toward collectivism—to a single central government—become so unproductive and lacking in prosperity that they can’t produce the very wealth that progressives want to redistribute in the first place. That’s the self-defeating danger that social-justice engineers face as they shift private charity to a federal collective.

That’s not the policy of the Catholic Church. It’s incumbent among Catholics to learn more about this blessed concept of subsidiarity. Ask your priest about it, or your Religious Ed director. If they haven’t heard about it, look it up together.

Go to the Catechism, open the index, and look under “sub.” You won’t regret it.
For a more in-depth read, check out

Monday, August 16, 2010

Open House - A Success!

Thank you all for coming to our Open House.  It was so nice to see so many new faces.  For those of you that were unable to attend, here is a synopsis of what was discussed at the meeting:

  • We are currently in need of new leadership. Positions available are: Head Leader, Co-Leader, Babysitter Coordinator/Finance, Meal Coordinator, Childcare Activities Coordinator, and a PR Coordinator. Julia Motekaitis recently stepped down from the Head Coordinator position and will now serve as our Service Coordinator. Rebecca Najvar recently stepped down from the Finance position and will now serve as our Blog Administrator. Paula Boulanger will serve as our Social Coordinator.
  • We have added the position of Service Coordinator this year, and hope to have lots of opportunities for us to give back to the community. If you have any service projects that are close to your heart, please contact Julia Motekaitis.
  • Our blog contains lots of great resources, including our calendar of events. If you would like to submit an article, book review or your favorite prayer, please contact Rebecca Najvar. Please, consider becoming a follower or subscribing to the posts, so you can stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Joyful Hearts.
  • Babysitting Funds – We are currently collecting donations to pay for our babysitters. On November 13 and 14, St. Thomas Aquinas will be holding an Ignatius Book Fair. All proceeds will go towards babysitting fees for Joyful Hearts, Familia, The Better Part, and the baptism classes. We also hope to have a permanent bookstore at STA, so that the funds will continue to come in for these groups. Volunteers will be needed for the book fair.
  • We are currently studying Graced and Gifted by Kimberly Hahn. We will resume this book study at our August 30th meeting. Please feel free to suggest other books you think might be a good fit for the group. We also hope to have quite a few speakers throughout the year.
  • In this ever-changing world of motherhood, we sometimes find we have certain needs or issues that Joyful Hearts may not be addressing. Since we only meet twice a month, we are very limited in our time together. You are encouraged to start up a special interest group. For example, last year several ladies got together about once a month in the evening to discuss raising boys. There is also interest in getting a group together to study The Volumes by Ann, a Lay Apostle. We also hope to organize prayer partners (for more information, please contact Erin Dvorak).

Marilyn Vargas has offered to be our PR Coordinator, as much as possible until baby #5 is born in November.  Crissy Hartl has offered to be our Meal Coordinator - please contact her if you would like to receive meals after the birth of your baby.  We have our babysitters scheduled for the rest of the Fall schedule.  (Yay!)  Please let us know of any playdates you would be interested in for our "off" Mondays, and we will get that scheduled.  Please feel free to invite your Mommy friends to the group!

See you on the 30th!

St. Stephen of Hungary

Almighty Father,
grant that St. Stephen of Hungary,
who fostered the growth of your Church on earth,
may continue to be our powerful helper in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

'See the beauty of the daughter of Jerusalem, who ascended to heaven like the rising sun at dawn.'

                                                   -- Benedictus antiphon from Daily Office

"By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful. Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon.

"We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand. Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary's guidance".

— Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience at Castel Gandolfo Aug. 16, 2006.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Maximillian Kolbe

Dear Christ,
Saint Maximillian was imprisoned in Auschwitz where he ministered to the captives and celebrated Mass by consecrating bread and wine that had been smuggled in.  He was matyred after he voluntarily took the place of a young married prisoner condemned to die.  Since he's the patron saint of drug addicts and people in prison, I ask him to intercede for the inmates in our jails.  O, Lord, heal their hearts and protect them from the evil that surrounds them.  I also ask him to pray for the addicts in my family and my friends' families.  O, Lord, set them free from the prison of their addictions. 
Saint Maximillian, pray for us.  Amen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open House!

Save the date!

August 16th marks our first meeting of the Fall Semester. 

We will be holding an Open House from 9:30am to 11:30am.  Childcare will be provided. 

Please invite all moms you know, and those that you don't know.  Now is the time to reach out to all moms and invite them to join Joyful Hearts.

This will be a time to share what the group is all about and get to know one another.  We will resume studying Graced and Gifted at our August 30th meeting.

Please bring a breakfast item to share with the group.  Coffee will be provided.

Please check the calendar for all our Fall 2010 meeting dates and times.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Significance of the Pretzel on Ash Wednesday and during Lent

Pretzels for God: Lent and the Pretzel

Incorporating pretzels into our Lenten program is a wonderful and appropriate devotion. The pretzel being symbolic of prayer and penance is a small but powerful instrument in bringing families to God. This activity includes the history and the significance of pretzels, and a short family ceremony of the pretzel.


Lent is a period of fasting, self-denial and prayer, in imitation of our Lord's fasting, forty days and forty nights, and in preparation for the feast of Easter. It comprises forty days, not including Sundays, from Ash Wednesday to the end of Holy Saturday. The term "penance" should be made clear to children. It means a "change of heart," a victory over sin and a striving for holiness. The sacrifices of fasting and self-denial are only means and signs of this spiritual penance.

A traditional means of reminding the family that it is the holy season of Lent is the Lenten foods which are served only this time of the year. Thus parents and children realize, even at their meals, that prayer and penance should be practiced during these days.

The pretzel has a deep spiritual meaning for Lent. In fact, it was the ancient Christian Lenten bread as far back as the fourth century. In the old Roman Empire, the faithful kept a very strict fast all through Lent: no milk, no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream and no meat. They made small breads of water, flour and salt, to remind themselves that Lent was a time of prayer. They shaped these breads in the form of crossed arms for in those days they crossed their arms over the breast while praying. Therefore they called the breads "little arms" (bracellae). From this Latin word, the Germanic people later coined the term "pretzel."

Thus the pretzel is the most appropriate food symbol in Lent. It still shows the form of arms crossed in prayer, reminding us that Lent is a time of prayer. It consists only of water and flour, thus proclaiming Lent as a time of fasting. The earliest picture and description of a pretzel (from the fifth century) may be found in the manuscript-codex No. 3867, Vatican Library.

That many people eat pretzels today all through the year, that they take them together with beer in taverns and restaurants, is only an accidental habit. In many places of Europe, pretzels are served only from Ash Wednesday to Easter, thus keeping the ancient symbolism alive.

There seems to be no reason why our Christian families should not return to this beautiful custom of our ancient Roman fellow- Christian, especially since we still have these breads everywhere. The children will be delighted and greatly impressed when they hear the true story of the pretzel

From The Year of the Lord in the Christian Home by Rev. Francis X. Weiser, S.J. (Collegeville, Minnesota, The Liturgical Press, ©1964) p. 89, pp. 93-94.

Ceremony of the Pretzel

1. On Ash Wednesday, father or mother may explain the origin of the holy pretzel, so that the children will understand its significance.

2. The pretzel might be served on each plate for each evening meal until Easter.

3. Added to the grace before meals, is the following "pretzel prayer":


We beg you, O Lord, to bless these breads which are to remind us that Lent is a sacred season of penance and prayer. For this very reason, the early Christians started the custom of making these breads in the form of arms crossed in prayer. Thus they kept the holy purpose of Lent alive in their hearts from day to day, and increased in their souls the love of Christ, even unto death, if necessary.

Grant us, we pray, that we too, may be reminded by the daily sight of these pretzels to observe the holy season of Lent with true devotion and great spiritual fruit. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

--With ecclesiastical approbation.

Activity Source: Pretzels for God by Unknown, Pretzels for God, St. Francis Xavier Church, 4715 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ 85012

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day visit to Bluebonnet House

Thank you to all who came out, we had a wonderful time and look forward to next year!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cleaning the House

Here is some great advice from a blog called Everything Moms:

Mama Knows Best - Cleaning the House

We as mama have to be innovative and thrifty all in the same beat. Some how we find new ways of doing things that save us money, time and maybe if we are really blessed...sanity!

I clean on Saturday mornings. Its a time that I can let the kids play and I can do what I need to do. When I was telling my best friend that the other day, she wrinkled up her nose and said, "Doesn't it take up your whole day?"

The truth is that I have such a routine it only takes me 2 hours...max. Another confession is that cleaning is one of my control things. I go to cleaning when life seems a little crazy. as a result, I have picked up some tricks and tips that help the cleaning go faster and be more effective.

* Save the all out, sweeping the ceiling, washing down the baseboards type of cleaning for spring and fall. (Or at least quarterly.) If you try to tackle this type of cleaning every will take you all day!

* Do one task at a time. Not one room at a time. For example dust the whole house first or empty all the trashes in the house. That way if something comes up and you can't finish the house you feel like you have actually gotten a lot accomplished.

What sounds better? I got the whole house dusted or I got the dining room cleaned. See??

* Do the things you hate the most, first. I hate bathrooms, so I do those first. After those, the rest seems easy and I breeze through them.

* Start off with a picked up house. I always, no matter how tired I am, pick up the house last thing on Friday night. If I have to pick up the house, putting things away, it will take me forever to clean!!

* Keep things freshened up throughout the week. I sure won't clean but I may run the sweeper or wipe out a sink here or there. It makes things look nice and it cuts down the cleaning time on my cleaning Saturdays!!

You can check out her blog at:

Please feel free to leave a comment with your helpful cleaning

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review of Holiness for Housewives by Hubert van Zeller

This book was first published in 1951 under the title Praying While You Work. It teaches you just that - how to pray while you work. This book is an easy-to-read explanation of what to expect in your journey towards a meaningful prayer life with God. "This is the first lesson for the Christian wife and mother today: to let go of what may once have been - and under other circumstances might now be - a recollected self, and take on, with both hands, the plan of God. Indeed it is the lesson for every Christian in every age; it is the gospel principle of dying on one plane in order to live on another." Page 15.
Van Zeller seems to really understand the life of a housewife and gives practical advice for building up your prayer life. "It becomes a matter then, of developing a system of prayer within the framework of your God-given duties. It will be your system of prayer - not neccessarily anyone else's. You will have to find a way of communicating with God by means of and not in spite of the calls upon your time and energy and patience." Page 26.
He gives the reader different ways of thinking about prayer. "Prayer, if it means expressed praise, is only one form of communication with God. Prayer, if it means directed effort toward God, can cover all forms of communication with God. Your whole purpose, then, is to work out a way of praying that directs every effort toward God - and to work out a way of directing effort so that everything becomes a prayer." Page. 26. Prayer isn't just a set time away from all the distractions of motherhood, it is in the midst of the distractions, it is your entire life.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

First meeting of 2010 and vote for your favorite book!

Hello Joyful Hearts!

Our first meeting of the year will be Monday, January 18th at 9:30 am as usual. We will start with our devotional "Grace Filled Moments" and then we will spend a little time discussing which text we'd like to read this semester to help us begin this year on the right foot!

Here are some options on the table, and we'd love to hear your ideas and recommendations too.

Choosing Beauty:A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women - Gina Loehr

Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart
- Kimberly Hahn

The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer - Fr. John Bartunek

We so much hope to see you and your little ones at the meeting tomorrow. Many blessings of joy to you in your motherhood!