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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Travel Chronicles: Euro Edition

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Everybody keeps asking me if I'm excited about going to Rome.  Sure I am, but mostly I'll be excited when I'm actually in Rome and the stress of travel prep is out of the way.  The to-do list covers a whole sheet of paper, but is slowly being whittled down until the final entry: PACKING.  At the moment, however, I'm just trying to put the last pieces together so that I can actually pack.

Today's job, after several hours of substitute teaching, was to order euro.  (Apparently the plural of euro is euro, for anyone {like me} who thought it was euros.)  Weeks ago, I'd called around to several different banks to find out if any of them handled foreign currency.  I finally found one that told me I didn't have to be a member to order.  So today mom dropped me off at that bank and went to run a couple of errands.  I got into the bank, and found that I apparently did have to be a member.  Drat.  So I spent the next half-hour standing outside the bank in the cold wai…

The Nature of Love

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Life is Precious

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Today, a major event is happening which will be ignored by the media.  Today, millions of people will brave freezing temperatures and snow to stand or walk in the middle of Washington, D.C. and all across the United States.  Today, young men and women, clergy from many denominations, families, and religious brothers and sisters will form a seething mass of people bundled against the cold.  Today, those men and women will be united to rejoice in the gift of life, to mourn its persecution, and to suffer for its protection.

I'll be attending Indianapolis' local observance of the March today, since I can't make it to D.C.  I've heard it said that the March for Life has no effect, since it's ignored by the media and lawmakers alike.  It does have the very beneficial effect, however, of letting supporters of the pro-life cause experience solidarity and the union of prayer and sacrifice.  Sometimes the defense of life can seem very lonely, especially if you're in a wor…

Feast of St. Agnes

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Today is the feast day of my confirmation patroness, St. Agnes, to whom I have had a devotion since I was little.

There is a beautiful article on St. Agnes here (thanks to Fr. Z for the reference).

I took St. Agnes as my patroness because I saw in her another Catholic girl, about my age.  Her heroic purity was a model, and I still ask her intercession to protect my purity; but mostly she seemed very human and accessible to me.  Maybe I read her story so much that she just seemed real, or maybe God was giving me the grace to draw close to this virgin martyr in a way that I particularly needed and still need.  St. Agnes is a model not just of purity, but also of humility, a virtue which I sorely need!  She showed immense strength in a time that, in most girls' lives (or at least in mine) was a time of weakness, an in-between childhood and maturing.  I know that at the age of twelve I wanted to be an adult but knew I wasn't.  St. Agnes, however, had the courage and fortitude of an …

Murmurings and Reading

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I'm coming down off the high of Christmas.  I got three full, amazing weeks of that season - one with my family, one with Kevin visiting my family, and one with me visiting Kevin's family.  It's back to the grind of Rome prep.  I have less than a month before I step onto the plane, and there's so much to do!  It feels so weird to not be unpacking at Christendom tonight.  Really, really weird.  It's unsettling to be not stressing out about leadership and classes, not hugging all my newly-returned friends, not planning to go to the March for Life, not trying to make my bed and sort out all my clothes with five people in my room chatting.  Instead, I'm still at home, planning my life for the next 3 months of travel and the following 3 months of (hopefully) an internship.  These musings aside, I really am excited about Rome, and the trips to Crete and Ireland that I'm planning with friends.

One incredible gift that this break has given me is the chance to read. …

2014

It seems necessary to do a New Year's post while still in the month of January. I've been trying to come up with words but it just isn't working. At the moment, I'll express myself in the words of an old poem and prayer, which I found in my prayerbook 'Blessed be God'. 
A year is dead, a year is born;
Thus time flies by on silent wing:
Thou, Lord, alone canst guide our course
And safe to heaven Thy people bring.

For all past gifts we render thanks;
For graces new we humbly pray.
Oh, grant that we and those we love
May ne’er from faith and duty stray.

O Lord, our daily wants supply;
Protect from sickness and disease;
And deign to give, O God of love,
The blessing of unbroken peace.

Oh, blot out all our ancient sins
And give us strength to fall no more;
When fight is o’er and victory won,
Then crown us on the eternal shore.

For all the year’s old sins we grieve;
Our hearts we consecrate to Thee.
Grant us, when all our years are sped,
Our heavenly Father’s face to see.
This year will …

Review: Disney's Frozen

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(This would have been up weeks ago had my computer not decided to freeze up [unintentional pun] and delete the draft.  Luckily I was able to see the movie again, so the refresh has enabled me to actually write the review at last.  Be aware, I have no spoiler filter, so read this at your discretion if you haven’t seen the film.)  Update: Sorry for forgetting to include the actual hyperlink for the music.  I just added it, so go listen!

            Disney’s Frozen is far and away the best animated film I’ve seen for a long time, and certainly the best thing to come out of Disney in years.  Frankly, I’m not sure how this movie managed to make it through Hollywood in the first place, but it has appropriately become extremely popular.  Frozen fixes the many problems of Tangled for an end product filled with beauty, enchantment, and a true understanding of love.
            Very quickly, I’ll outline my few quibbles with the movie.  Disney, do we really have to kill off the parent…

Rome Prep: Madelyn's Gift

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As you may have already noticed, this blog is probably going to become more of a travel journal in the coming weeks and months.  I'll chronicle my preparations and adventures as I approach the junior semester in Rome at Christendom College.

One of the biggest helps as I prepare for this massive undertaking has been my dear friend, Madelyn.  She spent five months in Germany herself, so she's able to reassure and counsel me in a lot of areas.

The Christmas gift she bestowed on me was such a crazy-brilliant-wonderful thing that I have to share it!



Okay, notice the jar.  See the little rolled-up dollar bills?  Well, each of them has a little tag on it, tied up with nicely curled red ribbon.  This is a gift not of money, but of adventure.

All twenty little tags are clever ideas for putting the dollar to use in my Roman excursion.  E.g. a map...a random touristy souvenier...a postcard to her...dark chocolate gelato...a book in Italian...  Madelyn decided to share some of her adventures …

Epiphany: 2014 Patron and Virtue

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I mentioned in my Epiphany post for O Night Divine that my family, following the customs of a number of religious orders, chooses at random a particular saint and virtue for the New Year.  Both are opportunities to learn, to imitate, and to grow.  This year, I have St. Bonaventure to take as my model and invoke, and I was given the virtue of continence to foster.

St. Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church, feast day July 15

- Known as the “Seraphic Doctor”.

- Born A.D 1231, at Bagnorea in Tuscany, he entered, at the age of twenty, the Order of Saint Francis. He studied and afterwards taught at Paris, in company of Saint Thomas Aquinas. After being General of his Order, he was created by Pope Gregory X Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He died during the General Council of Lyons (A.D. 1274), and was canonised two hundred years later, becoming a Doctor of the Church a century later.

- Besides noble Commentaries on Holy Scripture and on the work of the Master of Sentences (the theological and philosophi…

2013: Reflecting

2013 was quite the year, in retrospect.

Kevin and I began a solid relationship when he called my father to ask permission to court me - a relationship which has been a wonderful adventure.  He, and our relationship, has consistently been the best part of this year.  We were able to meet each others families, too!  I know I've loved getting to know his family.

I made it through my fourth and fifth semesters at Christendom College.  They've been tough, intense, gruelling, and generally pretty awesome!  Keeping and strengthening friendships, as well as creating new ones has been a tangible gift from God.  I survived a semester as president of the Legion of Mary; or rather, I spent a semester learning how to open myself to Mary working through me.  Kevin and I discovered the joy of praying together, saying a daily Rosary as much as possible and consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary.

Said goodbye to the seniors in May and greeted them - and other old friends - as alumnae in Oct…

Poem of the Month: January 2014

The Fourth Shepherd - Joyce Kilmer



I

On nights like this the huddled sheep
Are like white clouds upon the grass,
And merry herdsmen guard their sleep
And chat and watch the big stars pass.

It is a pleasant thing to lie
Upon the meadow on the hill
With kindly fellowship near by
Of sheep and men of gentle will.

I lean upon my broken crook
And dream of sheep and grass and men --
O shameful eyes that cannot look
On any honest thing again!

On bloody feet I clambered down
And fled the wages of my sin,
I am the leavings of the town,
And meanly serve its meanest inn.

I tramp the courtyard stones in grief,
While sleep takes man and beast to her.
And every cloud is calling "Thief!"
And every star calls "Murderer!"


II

The hand of God is sure and strong,
Nor shall a man forever flee
The bitter punishment of wrong.
The wrath of God is over me!

With ashen bread and wine of tears
Shall I be solaced in my pain.
I wear through black and endless years
Upon my brow the mark of Cain.


III

Poor vagabond, so old and mi…