Letting Your Children Fight to Find Peace

conflictUp until last weekend, it had been a long time since our family had taken a trip together. In 2012, we had collected enough points to fly our entire family of seven to Europe for two weeks, where we stayed with old friends and toured Belgium and the North of France, made new friends and ate snails and waffles and bread. But in the six years that followed, we stayed pretty close to home, me and my husband, Jamie, jetting off on our own here and there, but always leaving the kids at home. Continue reading

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Summer Reads for Catholic Book Lovers


For many book lovers, summer brings the possibility of days spent relaxing with a good read.  The dilemma arises: what to choose?

A self-confessed bibliophile, I am blessed to have many friends whose souls and characters are enriched by being book lovers as well.  They come from all walks of life: priests, consecrated, lay Catholics, and other friends who have excellent taste in literature.

Reading can be more than an intellectual or entertaining pursuit. Good books of all genres are like mirrors held up to our souls and minds, helping us to understand ourselves, others and the world more deeply. Continue reading

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‘Pallida Mors’


Hercules Wrestling with Death for the Body of Alcestis by Sir Frederic Leighton

Midway through a melodious ode about spring brimming with life and replete with dancing nymphs and Cytherean Venus—picture Botticelli’s Birth of Venus—Horace suddenly introduces Pallida Mors, pale death. It shocks, it dazzles, it pains the reader that in a meditation of sun-filled meadows and sprightly flowers greedy death dips its fingers into the scene and as Horace says “impartial, knocks at the door of both the poor man’s shack and the rich man’s villa.”   Continue reading

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Soul Sisters of the Sacred Heart

One fresh April morning, leaving St. Peter’s Basilica, I walked across the Tiber river, through a maze of beautiful Roman streets, and found myself standing in front of the iconic Pantheon.  Breathtaking as it is, it wasn’t my destination.

I continued around the corner and went into the more modest Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, where my friend St. Catherine of Siena lies in repose.  She is a good friend, and someone I love to spend time in prayer with.  But this morning, I simply greeted her with a smile and a quick hello, and then walked over to the dark back-left corner of the church. Getting up close to the grate of the side-chapel hidden in the shadows there, I settled in to pray before my favorite image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, exchanging smiles of heart with St. Catherine, and the friend who joined us there, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

The first time I saw this painting, it hit me powerfully. My first impulse was an unspoken exclamation, “I want to be there with them, adoring Jesus together with them!”  And then I realized… I am. Not in a painting, but in reality. Continue reading

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The Problem with Minimalism

minimalismFor quite some time, my husband and I have considered ourselves “minimalists”. We make weekly trips to second-hand depots where we pass on things we once thought we needed. We second- and third-guess our purchases, asking ourselves and each other “do we really need this?” before allowing it into our home. Most of our cupboards and drawers are half full, and in several rooms, we’ve had to take down shelves because we simply had nothing left with which to fill them. “Is this room too bare?” I asked my mom after another recent purge. “It’s… sparse,” was her reply. Perfect, that’s just the way we like it. Continue reading

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A Reflection on Friendship of the Soul

friendshipI originally wrote this reflection with my consecrated brothers and sisters in the Legion and Regnum Christi in mind, but I think it can still be helpful (at least analogously) for any Christian who is seeking a deeper friendship with God. I’m currently studying the Classical Humanities in Cheshire, CT, and am preparing to go to Rome to continue my studies for the priesthood. It is a tremendous blessing to have so many companions from which to draw this reflection and experience of friendship of the soul.

The times we live in can be so blind to the gifts of God. And we, children of our times, are subject to the same blindness of heart. A book or even many books could be written about today’s crisis of real friendship and its misunderstood place in our society. I simply want to share my reflections over a question that perhaps we wonder in our hearts, yet we struggle to articulate: Does friendship really matter for a consecrated man or woman who has heard and answered the Lord’s call? This isn’t just a “friend” on Facebook or a colleague you’ve worked with for many years, and have learned to tolerate their rough edges. I am speaking of a friendship of the soul. First, let me describe what sort of friendship I am thinking of and then we’ll consider why it could be worthwhile. Continue reading

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Being Present in the Waiting Room

waitingI love taking my daughter to her fiddle lessons. They’re held in an old two-story house downtown, each room of the house having been converted into an instruction space for a different instrument. Guitar lessons are at the back of the house in what used to be the kitchen, and the drum kit is set up at the front behind two (acoustically insulated) French doors in what once was the living room. What was the upstairs bedroom at the front of the house is now dedicated to piano and voice lessons, the middle bedroom is for the electric guitar, and the back bedroom is devoted to those learning the fiddle and banjo. One room upstairs is set up as a waiting room, lined with folding chairs and furnished with books, toys, and one ancient green velvet armchair that welcomes me each week. And every Tuesday evening for exactly one-half hour, I get to sit in that green velvet chair, tune out the sound of five or six lessons of dissimilar instruments going on all at once, and read my book, totally guilt-free. Continue reading

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Internship: The Dream Mission

In the Legion, we call an apostolic assignment a “mission.” Last year, I got the dream mission.

Legionary vocation director Father Edward Hopkins welcomed me to SEEK 2017, the San Antonio conference hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). Taking a break from my role as a teaching assistant to Legionary novices and humanists in Cheshire, I flew south to talk and listen to enthusiastic college students about the priestly vocation. How exciting! Continue reading

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Life: What Was True Yesterday Remains True Today

lifeAnd I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:18

It would be easy to get depressed by the Irish referendum. Two-thirds of voters said they wanted restrictions eliminated on abortion.

Two-thirds of the Irish took the pro-death side – although I doubt many thought of it in those terms.  They voted for the right of a woman to choose, a modern progressive position that puts Ireland squarely in line with most of the “first world.” Continue reading

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Confession for Perfectionists

confessionI might be the only person who loves Mondays — in fact, it’s my favorite day of the week. Now that all my kids are in school, it’s the day I get to take the house back from the chaos of the weekend and get back to work on my own projects. But even when the kids were little and the routine of the weekend didn’t differ much from the routine of the week, Monday always felt like a fresh start. It was a new beginning, another chance to eat healthier, to stay more organized, to stick to my schedule. This week I’ll do better.

Not surprisingly, I’m also the kid who eagerly anticipated the first day of school: the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, a stack of empty pages, a box of pristine crayons. The start of a new school year accompanied a list of resolutions: this year I’ll be more organized, this year I’ll be less shy. Continue reading

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