Awesome Discipleship Program Based on St. Ignatius

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola! He’s touched my life in many ways through the years. I attended a Jesuit high school for a year and a half, and had my intellect opened to the connections between art, literature, religion, and history during my collegio classes at Seattle Prep. When I moved to Anacortes part-way through high school, a wonderful old Jesuit serving in the San Juan Islands, Fr. Steckler, gave Catechism lectures at my parish. Blew my mind! I had no idea there was such depth and richness, such a coherent, logical system, such beauty, truth, and goodness illuminating the truths of the faith. May he rest in peace. What a great man. At that time, Fr. Spitzer also gave a talk at my parish about Marian devotion. (Before he made it big.) Later, Fr. Spitzer would be the president of Gonzaga University while I was there. Continue reading →

NFP Awareness Week – Hormonal Contraception Linked With Depression

July 23-July 29 is the USCCB National NFP Awareness Week. This is a great time to raise awareness about NFP in your ministry or parish.

The Pill has been correlated with higher risks of certain forms of cancer, blood clotting, and lower libido. This new study from Denmark finds its correlates with increases rates of depression, especially among teen girls. Shouldn’t they develop a way for couples to manage their fertility in a way that respects womens’ bodies and doesn’t harm their health and wellbeing? They did! It’s called NFP.

 

Mary Magdalene: Telling the Story

                                    Saint Mary Magdalene,
                                    who by conversion become the beloved of Jesus,
                                    thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives
                                    through the miracle of love.
 
                                    You, who already possess eternal happiness
                                    in His glorious presence,
                                    please intercede for me
                                    so that someday I may share in the same
                                    everlasting joy.
                                                                                              Amen.
 
For years, I have been captivated by the person of Mary of Magdala. I’ve dreamed of writing a picture book to tell her story to a new generation. This dream was conceived several years ago when I attended St. Mary Magdalen parish in Everett, where I was, for a time, the “Troop Shepherd” for my daughters’ American Heritage Girls scouting troop.  I spoke to the girls about this incredible woman, and was amazed at what I found as I researched my little talk for them. Mary Magdalen was a wealthy, independent single woman living in first-century Palestine–a woman of influence. A woman broken, and healed, and made new. A woman of whole-hearted passion, energetic and practical, but full of longing, like the Bride in the Song of Songs. A woman to whom Jesus revealed the heart of the mystery of his mission: to offer us a share in his Sonship of His Father. She was a woman of dignity sent on mission. She is woman who shows us how to live the new evangelization and the feminine genius.

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A Better Way to Care for Women’s Health

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Bella has painful and irregular periods.

Anna suffers from endometriosis.

Marylin deals with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Pamela has acne.

They were all prescribed the birth control pill to control their symptoms.

But there is a better way! A way consistent with the dignity of women and authentic sexuality, a way that treats underlying causes and respects a woman’s total health, a way free of the Pill’s risks of depression, weight gain, nausea, cancer, blood clotting and early abortions.

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Paris Day 2: Towers of Notre Dame

Ready to see Paris!
Ready to see Paris!

We awoke on a beautiful Saturday morning after our first nights’ sleep in Paris rested and ready to explore. Our first adventure was to climb the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral. When we awoke that morning (at a jet-lagged 4 am!), I had no idea that in a few hours, we’d be climbing the stairs of the famous scientist and future Saint, Servant of God Jerome Lejeune.

What can I say: Paris is magical like that.

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Fr. Jacques Hamel

I would like offer gratitude and love for all our priests, especially our parish priests, and I honor with deep sorrow the martyrdom of Fr. Jacques Hamel yesterday, on the feast of St. Joachim and Anne, in St. Étienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy, France. This priest was described as grandfatherly, and he died on the feast of Jesus’ own grandfather and grandmother.

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Why and How We Took Our Family to France

I’ve had the goal of traveling to France with my family to France for six years, since completing my doctorate. My dissertation featured St. Therese of Lisieux, and I wanted to take the trip as a way to celebrate its completion, to visit St. Therese’s sites, and to share my love of the country with my family.

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Nathan and our girls in front of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux.

So much about France sparks joy for me: its rich spiritual and cultural heritage, its lovely language, and its tasty food. Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary have appeared there, numerous saints have walked its soil, and the Catholic faithful have raised lacy cathedrals, sung sublime music, and lavished works of love and mercy in that country, creating an Catholic culture that has proved enduring. Continue reading →

Heading Off to France! Day 1: Vancouver to Paris

We were packed and ready to go to Paris before midnight on the eve of our departure! This was a huge win for Nathan and I, as historically, we’ve been up well into the wee hours packing our family up for a trip. It’s quite possible that in the evenings leading up to departure I may have experienced massive anxiety symptoms, which I may have soothed by searching for and then giggling over Pride and Prejudice memes on the interwebs.
Fortunately, Nathan has a secret ninja skill: he is MasterPacker. Also, he just buckles right down to work and doesn’t scorn me if I fritter my time away by laughing myself to tears over P&P memes when I should be, for example, sealing our liquid toiletries in plastic baggies. Continue reading →

Cluny, and Beata’s Birthday

Yesterday we visited the remains of the Abbey of Cluny, and Beata turned 5!

Cluny was the head of a network of a hundred monasteries in its heyday. We’ve visited several medieval sites by now, including Mont St. Michel, which had been an Abby also, and is once again! Yay for the Communauté de Jérusalem taking up residence and praying there recently! Also, we’ve seen several cathedrals and castles, as well as the Musée du Moyen Âge in Paris, which is housed in a former medieval abby (confusingly also named Cluny, not sure why) built on the ruins of Roman baths. (That is us with my grad school mentor’s wife and daughters, whom we bumped into in the gift shop at the Musée du Moyen Âge, followed by Notre Dame de Paris and Mont St. Michel)

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