Showing posts from June, 2013


One of the things I have to thank my parents for is the amount of fine arts and culture they gave us as we were growing up.  I couldn't wait until I was old enough to go to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra concerts with my parents, and although I occasionally fell asleep in the slow movements, it is to the beautiful performances I was exposed to as a child that fostered my love and appreciation of music.  Even more than music, though, I was given the opportunity to attend plays, from Helen Keller to Shakespeare, at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Butler University, and University of Indianapolis, as well as other colleges and high schools around Indianapolis.  Ballets, too, were included - Butler University for the Nutcracker and Swan Lake.  My most favorite birthday present ever was a trip to the Murat for a performance of The Lord of the Dance when I turned 12!  And lest I forget, we also made trips to visit exhibits of ancient art, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, medieval, and many field t…

You Know You're Catholic When...

Anyone else had these experiences?  Just had #4 tonight!  More to come eventually, I'm sure.

1. ...the house is filled with electrical smoke but your mom wakes up and thinks it smells like incense.

2. genuflect before sitting down at a concert or in a movie theater.

3. ...a drop of rain falls on your forehead and you instinctively make the Sign of the Cross.

4. see the letters "BVM" on a license plate and immediately think Blessed Virgin Mary.


5. ...your manager's name is Chris but you keep automatically typing Christ.

6. ...on a form you see Marital Status: S M W D (Single, Married, Widowed) and the only meaning you can think of for D is Deceased; you forget about Divorced.

Morning Prayer: Lorica of St. Patrick

I've started to recite the Lorica or Breastplate of St. Patrick every morning.  It is the best morning prayer for me, since it pretty much covers anything that can happen in a day and asks for the blessing of God on every aspect of our lives.  It also involves Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity, filling the traditional elements of morning prayer.  The imagery and wordplay of the prayer are beautiful - sometimes a phrase will catch my eye afresh and make me meditate on it a little bit.  I needed something that caught my attention in the haze of morning enough to help me concentrate!  Here it is below, as I wanted to share it.  Thanks are merited by Dr. O'Donnell for giving us a copy of the prayer at summer program and then in History 101. 

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through …

Carmelites and Coffeecake

My parents and I had the blessing of visiting my sister's convent this past weekend - Monastery of Mary, Mother of Mercy and St. Joseph in Alexandria, South Dakota.  Sister Michael Joseph of Our Lady of Mount Carmel entered there about three and a half years ago.  It was a lovely visit - I had talked to her on the phone at Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day but hadn't been able to see her for a whole year. 
This visit was great, as usual, but particularly special because it was over Father's Day.  Dad hadn't been able to spend Father's Day with this one of his three daughters for the last three years.  (He hasn't been able to have all of us together for even longer than that - a situation which will be remedied.  Darn 4-H State Band!)  He was able to serve at the altar for Sunday Mass, a Mass offered particularly for all the fathers of the nuns there!  The fathers received a blessing and Sister Michael was pleasantly surprised to see her father up there.

A Catholic Spotter's Guide to Common Saints

So, you walk into a church - for example, my parish, Holy Rosary in downtown Indianapolis.  You look up at the stained glass windows...and the titles on the saints' halos are too small to read.  How do you know which saints are which?  You use the language of iconography, the built-in teaching system used by the church for centuries for the education of the illiterate.  Imagery is important to the human mind, and extremely useful.  Awe whoever you're with by identifying the art in a church before they can read the handy little brochure they picked up in the back!

Three bags of coins - St. Nicholas of Myra, famed for his charity and generosity.  He knew about three impoverished girls in his town who were facing prostitution because they could not afford a dowry for marriage, so he tossed three bags of gold in their chimney to save them.  You may also see him pictured next to a tub with two children in it, referencing another miracle attributed to the saint.

A spiked wheel - St. C…

A Catholic Spotter's Guide to Saints

We humans live and work by visual symbols.  A red stop sign and other traffic signs tell us how to drive.  The Red Cross or the staff with two twined snakes show us where to get medical help.  A company's logo alerts us to their products.  Symbols are integral to our life and society, and always have been.

As Catholics, however, we have a whole sublime layer of symbols that is integral to our Catholic society.  Walk into any old cathedral and you will find that you are surrounded by a world of imagery, a world to which we modern Catholics need a key.  In earlier days, when common folks did not have the luxury of books, they were educated in their catechism and culture through the images on the walls of the church around them.  Statues, paintings, stonework, all worked together to bring the Catholic into a closer harmony with those who went before him; with the tenets of his faith; with the lives of the Church Triumphant; with the culture into which he was born.

Nowadays, having not …

Poem of the Month - June 2013

I include the following poem this month for a number of reasons.  First, it is the month of the Sacred Heart - therefore it is liturgically and in popular tradition appropriate.  Second, June is the month of marriages in our modern culture and my sister was just married.  The Sacred Heart is the truest of love poems.  Third, we are going to visit my dear sister, Sister Michael Joseph of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, this coming week.  Her symbol in the convent, a tiny image that acts as a monogram (for the work assignment board each week, embroidering on her handkerchieves and clothes, etc.) is a little line-drawing of the Sacred Heart.  Fourth, my sister the sister is a Carmelite, and the following poem was written by a great Carmelite saint, St. Therese of Lisieux.
To the Sacred Heart
~St. Therese of Lisieux
O Heart of Jesus, treasured tenderness,
Thou art my joy supreme, my hope, my all!
Thou who didst charm my youth and sweetly bless,
Stay with me now till twilight shadows fall.
Master, to T…


I don't know who you were, but I just logged a thousand visitors on my blog!  WHEE!!!

Wedding Pictures

The official photographer's pictures are here, but I've included some here from my camera and my cousin's. 

Sarah and I went out on Thursday to get manicures and pedicures - our last "girls day" before the wedding!  We both got French manis - I went for pink on my toes, she did dark red.  Awesomely relaxing afternoon before chaos broke loose for the rest of the weekend.

Yours truly, maid of honor!  This is my dress and hair all ready for the wedding.  Better pictures will have to wait until we get the photographer's photos later.  At least you can see the color - when Sarah originally picked it out, the fabric swatches looked atrocious.  The end result, however, was a gorgeous color.

The mother of the bride adjusting the veil.  Sarah had the regular veil and a blusher for Daddy to put back.  Mommy had an awesomely cute green dress, which hopefully you'll get some idea of in these pictures!  She looked so pretty.  I'm kicking myself for not arranging Sara…

Tabernacle and Monstrance

Yesterday at Holy Rosary in downtown Indianapolis, we held our annual Corpus Christi procession.  Although my family's job for this celebration involves a lot of running around getting the three altars set up, it was a lovely procession!  As I was thinking about the feast of Corpus Christi, the procession, and the Holy Eucharist, I thought of something which I want to develop and meditate on a bit further here.

What are the purposes of a tabernacle and a monstrance?  Tabernacle comes from the word for "tent" - a tabernacle is something you stay in, rest in, find comfort and home and security in when you are surrounded by the desert or the wilderness.  A tabernacle is a home-away-from-home when you're on the road. 

Monstrance comes from the word "to show or reveal", the same root as "demonstrate".  A monstrance exhibits to the world something that is worthy of honor or veneration.  A monstrance could be compared to a sedan chair, a pope-mobile, a flo…