"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Monday, October 30, 2006

All Saints Potluck

Last night, we celebrated our annual All Saints Potluck at our parish. The children look forward to it every year and plan who they want to be well in advance of the date. On the other hand, I tend to put their costumes together at the last minute, sometimes changing who they are going to be out of necessity. For instance, this year, Theresa wanted to be St. Zita. Instead, she dressed up as St. Catherine of Siena. She was quite happy to do so, but she told me that next year she wants to be St. Zita.

My animal lover wanted me to decide who he should be. It was quite easy. Of course, I chose St. Francis. He was quite happy to tell me what he wanted to say about St. Francis and to be surrounded by fake birds. He did confide to me that he wished they could be real animals.

Bernadette wanted to be her patron saint and wrote some beautiful clues about her. But alas, I really did not feel up to sewing this year (all of our costumes were made by mixing and matching previous years' costumes) and so she decided to be Blessed Imelda Lambertini. I thought that this was very appropriate, as Bernadette will be making her First Communion in a few months.

I am happy to say that Catherine dressed as St. Rosalina of Villeneuve. This is who she wanted to dress up as. In doing so, our family and friends learned about a saint who we had not been aware of previously. However, after I saw the above photo, I wondered whether I should have taken the time to make a St. Faustina costume for Catherine.

What did we do at the All Saints Potluck. We ate some delicious food. Listened to the clues that the children provided, regarding who they were. Finally, the children played organized games.

Prior to leaving, I found myself thanking God for some wonderful friends. Catherine became sick towards the end of the evening and vomitted in the carpeted stairwell. Several moms offered their assistance. One of them did not want me down on my hands and knees and so she (Barbara) got down and cleaned up my daughter's vomit. I do not mean to make anyone queasy, but I am still in awe of Barbara's giving nature. She is one of the most selfless people that I know. Dear God, please help me to be selfless and giving.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

God has blessed me with a good friend (Rosalie), who I met at a swimming pool, shortly after moving to our current home. Rosalie has received all three levels of training for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (something that I would like to do, but God has not called me to do). Two years ago, Rosalie, guided by the Holy Spirit, started an Atrium in her home. Brendan attended the Atrium and grew in his love for Jesus. Last year, he was not able to participate and he really missed doing so. I knew how he felt, but for various reasons, it was not feasible.

This year, Brendan is happy to be participating in the Atrium once more (I wish Theresa were doing so too). Every Friday, I take him to Rosalie's house. He walks in, takes off his shoes, placing them under a bench. If necessary, he removes his coat and hangs it on a peg. Then, he quietly walks into another room and sits down on a mat.

When I pick him up, he voluntarily shares with me what he and the other children did. He mentions, Lillian ringing the bar tone, Joseph making leaven and how big it got, and that he traced. He shows his siblings how to carry a chair and roll a rug. He asks me to do certain things in our home that he has experienced in the Atrium.

What changes have we made in our home due to Brendan's participation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? During Advent, we use a snuffer to extinguish the candles (Brendan has taught us how to use it). An appropriately colored cloth graces our prayer area. Brendan enjoys helping me change the cloth based on the liturgical year. We have a Mass kit that he and his siblings like to use. We have plants (two philodendrons) that the children are responsible for watering. I have found that Brendan brings home what he learns by participating in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and our lives are made richer because of it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Poetry Friday

After Apple-Picking
by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

10 Random Facts about Meme

I've had the honor of being tagged by Alice at Cottage Blessings and Margaret a.k.a. Minnesota Mom. Now for the challenge:

1. I am a middle child.

2. I was born in

3. Before moving to the United States, my family stayed in Switzerland and Canada. We visited various shrines, etc. while in Canada.

4. We entered the U.S. in New York and then proceeded to drive across the U.S., stopping at all the shrines along the way, until my mom found a state in which she wanted to live. When we arrived in Oregon, she had to decide whether we should go North or South. She chose North, but often said she should have chosen South. When we drove into Seattle, it was the middle of winter, clear weather with an incredible blue sky ~ my mom fell in love and ultimately helped shape the rest of our lives.

5. From the age of 12 or 13, I babysat for 3 wonderful children, Kyran, Kristin, and Kara, almost every week. I also stayed with them when their parents went on trips. When it came time to write my high school memories for my year book. I mentioned them as KKK, not knowing about the awful organization that uses these letters (yes, I was naive). When I learned what KKK means to most people, I was mortified. I pray that anyone who read or reads my memories never thought or thinks that I was referring to the organization. Kyran, Kristin, and Kara will always have a special place in my heart.

6. I was a valedictorian.

7. I double-majored in English and French with a minor in Philosophy, but my favorite subject is Math.

8. I saw Pope John Paul II in British Colombia (of course this doesn't hold a candle to the numerous times that my brother saw him in Rome).

9. I thought that I was being called to be a nun, until I met my best friend, my husband, at a young adult prayer group. We have continued to pray the Rosary together almost every night.

10. List making is not something that I typically do. I keep almost everything in my head from grocery lists, to telephone numbers, to schedules (since having children, I write appointments on the calendar for my family's benefit and mine when I am pregnant). My husband and some of my children are definite list makers, which might be good since I suffer from memory loss during pregnancy.

If you read this, please consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for South Dakota

The November 7 vote on Referred Law 6 (the abortion ban) is critical for the unborn in South Dakota and stands to have an impact on abortion laws in twelve other states. Planned Parenthood is stopping at nothing to try and kill South Dakota's abortion ban. They have unleashed an unprecedented $8 million to assist them in their efforts. As Christians, we have the power of prayer. On October 29, please show your support for South Dakota's law protecting unborn children by starting a novena (9 days of prayer) to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The novena will end on election day, November 7.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, we turn to you who are the protectress of unborn children and ask that you intercede for us, so that we may more firmly resolve to join you in protecting all human life. Let our prayers be united to your perpetual motherly intercession on behalf of those whose lives are threatened, be they in the womb of their mother, on the bed of infirmity, or in the latter years of their life. May our prayers also be coupled with peaceful action which witnesses to the goodness and dignity of all human life, so that our firmness of purpose may give courage to those who are fearful and bring light to those who are blinded by sin. Encourage the citizens of South Dakota to vote YES on Referred Law 6; help them to be instrumental in upholding the abortion ban in their state that they may protect the unborn and give voice to the cry of the oppressed, in order to remind our nation of its commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people. O Virgin Mother of God, present our petitions to your Son and ask him to bless us with abundant life. Our Lady of Guadalupe, protectress of the unborn, pray for us.
(adapted from a prayer said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on January 22, 1999)

"Ask your pastor to put a prayer intention in the bulletin that the citizens in South Dakota vote YES on 6. Get the word out to ask for the Holy Spirit to bless the efforts of those working tirelessly on the campaign in South Dakota. Don't let a day go by that you don't remember this very special fight for LIFE in your prayers, but do anything you can to ask others to pray and offer sacrifice for the total BAN on abortion in South Dakota."

For more information, regarding South Dakota's abortion ban, please read the following article by David Bereit, America Must Stand with South Dakota
Donations can be made by visiting or by calling 605-271-3975 or by mailing a check made out to to: 600 N. Western Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Safe at Home

Catherine and Bernadette arrived home safely on the 19th. They were well taken care of by all of my family during their stay in and around Switzerland. Both girls thoroughly enjoyed their vacation. Catherine is still talking about returning in nine years and Bernadette often says, "Next time, I go to Switzerland..." Both girls have expressed a desire to live there.

Prior to returning home, Catherine and Bernadette were blessed to spend a day with a friend of my brother and sister-in-law (an e-friend of mine who I have not been good about emailing). Isabel homeschools her three children and invited Catherine and Bernadette to join them on the seventeenth. The girls enjoyed learning French from Isabel and getting to know her children better.

Since being home, Catherine and Bernadette have been adjusting to the time change. Actually, Bernadette adjusted immediately. Catherine has had a slightly harder time. The first night, she woke up at 2:00 AM and proceeded to wake Theresa. The girls played together in their room, until I told them to go back to bed. The second night, Catherine woke up at 3:00 AM and proceeded to wake Brendan up. The third night, Catherine woke up at 3:00 AM and woke all of her siblings up...I told them to get back in bed and stay there until I said it was time to get up. Being pregnant and anemic are making me need my sleep! Last night, was the first night that Catherine actually slept until a reasonable hour. I hope that she does the same tonight.

I am so thankful to have my daughters home again. Our family did not seem complete without them.

I hope that the girls eventually write about some of their experiences. I also hope to eventually share photos of St. John Vianney's body and his house. I know that Alice and Alicia will most likely appreciate seeing them.

Thank you to my family for taking such good care of Catherine and Bernadette. Thank you, God, for bringing them safely home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Coming Home

I am waiting with eager anticipation for Catherine's and Bernadette's arrival tomorrow. In the interim, my dad sent a few photos. I have been trying to post them with the appropriate journal (blog) entries that I have been making regarding their travels. Please pray that my daughters and other family members have a safe trip home.

Thank you, Alice and Ana for your kind words during my daughters' absence! Alice, I also appreciated the link about St. John Vianney.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Little Flowers Meeting

Today, the Little Flowers met at my house. They learned about St. Zita and the virtue of orderliness (or being organized). They enjoyed painting shelves on which to store little statues, pictures, etc.

Hunting, the Curé, and Driving a Quad

Catherine and Bernadette spent the weekend hunting. Actually, they didn't hunt. Catherine told me that the children and the mothers stayed at her aunt's parents' hunting house, while the men went hunting. The hunters killed five wild boar.

Catherine spent her time learning French from and teaching English to Camille (another one of my brother's nieces).

Bernadette was happy to share that everyone went to see St. John Vianney's (the Curé of Ars) incorrupt body on Sunday. They attended Mass in an underground church.

My brother and Dad have been touched by some of the things that Bernadette says. They shared the following with me:

Bernadette ~ "Please leave me in peace, so that I can enjoy this solemn moment."
Bernadette ~ "Boppa, your room looks holy." (what my dad heard)
Boppa ~ "Thank you for telling me that my room looks holy."
Bernadette ~ "Boppa, I didn't say that your room looks holy. I said that it looks homey, but it looks holy, too."

Today (yesterday for the travelers), the girls stayed at my brother's house. They played and drove their cousins' quad. When telling me about it, Bernadette exclaimed, "Mommy, I drove it all by myself and it uses real gas!"

I can't wait for Catherine and Bernadette to be home, but I am thankful that God has provided them with this opportunity.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Poetry Friday

The Legend Beautiful
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Hads't thou stayed, I must have fled!"
That is what the Vision said.

In his chamber all alone,
Kneeling on the floor of stone,
Prayed the Monk in deep contrition
For his sins of indecision,
Prayed for greater self-denial
In temptation and in trial;
It was noonday by the dial,
And the Monk was all alone.
Suddenly, as if it lightened,
An unwonted splendor brightened
All within him and without him
In that narrow cell of stone;
And he saw the Blessed Vision
Of our Lord, with light Elysian
Like a vesture wrapped about him,
Like a garment round him thrown.

Not as crucified and slain,
Not in agonies of pain,
Not with bleeding hands and feet,
Did the Monk his Master see;
But as in the village street,
In the house or harvest-field,
Halt and lame and blind he healed,
When he walked in Galilee.

In an attitude imploring,
Hands upon his bosom crossed,
Wondering, worshipping, adoring,
Knelt the Monk in rapture lost.
Lord, he thought, in heaven that reignest,
Who am I, that thus thou deignest
To reveal thyself to me?
Who am I, that from the centre
Of thy glory thou shouldst enter
This poor cell, my guest to be?

Then amid his exaltation,
Loud the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Rang through court and corridor
With persistent iteration
He had never heard before.
It was now the appointed hour
When alike in shine or shower,
Winter's cold or summer's heat,
To the convent portals came
All the blind and halt and lame,
All the beggars of the street,
For their daily dole of food
Dealt them by the brotherhood;
And their almoner was he
Who upon his bended knee,
Rapt in silent ecstasy
Of divinest self-surrender,
Saw the Vision and the Splendor.
Deep distress and hesitation
Mingled with his adoration;_
Should he go, or should he stay?
Should he leave the poor to wait
Hungry at the convent gate,
Till the Vision passed away?
Should he slight his radiant guest,
Slight this visitant celestial,
For a crowd of ragged, bestial
Beggars at the convent gate?
Would the Vision there remain?
Would the Vision come again?
Then a voice within his breast
Whispered, audible and clear
As if to the outward ear:
"Do thy duty; that is best;
Leave unto thy Lord the rest!"

Straightway to his feet he started,
And with longing look intent
On the Blessed Vision bent,
Slowly from his cell departed,
Slowly on his errand went.

At the gate the poor were waiting,
Looking through the iron grating,_
With that terror in the eye
That is only seen in those
Who amid their wants and woes
Hear the sound of doors that close,
And of feet that pass them by;
Grown familiar with disfavor,
Grown familiar with the savor
Of the bread by which men die!
But to-day, they knew not why,
Like the gate of Paradise
Seemed the convent gate to rise,
Like a sacrament divine
Seemed to them the bread and wine.
In his heart the Monk was praying,
Thinking of the homeless poor,
What they suffer and endure;
What we see not, what we see;
And the inward voice was saying:
"Whatsoever thing thou doest
To the least of mine and lowest,
That thou doest unto me!"

Unto me! but had the Vision
Come to him in beggar's clothing,
Come a mendicant imploring,
Would he then have knelt adoring,
Or have listened with derision,
And have turned away with loathing.

Thus his conscience put the question,
Full of troublesome suggestion,
As at length, with hurried pace,
Towards his cell he turned his face,
And beheld the convent bright
With a supernatural light,
Like a luminous cloud expanding
Over floor and wall and ceiling.

But he paused with awe-struck feeling
At the threshold of his door,
For the Vision still was standing
As he left it there before,
When the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Summoned him to feed the poor.
Through the long hour intervening
It had waited his return,
And he felt his bosom burn,
Comprehending all the meaning,
When the Blessed Vision said,
"Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled!"

*Painting: Monk Feeding the Poor, by Louis Gallait, 1845

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Sisters of Bethlehem

When Catherine was one, we visited the Sisters of Bethlehem. The Mother Superior (I believe), Sr. Marider, held Catherine and whispered something in her ear. Catherine responded with a huge smile. A friend of ours snapped a photo of the whisper and the smile. When Sr. Marider was asked what she had said to Catherine, she responded, "It's a secret."

Today, my family visited the Sisters of Bethlehem again. They joined the Sisters of Bethlehem for Mass. They ate lunch with Sr. Marider. Catherine and Bernadette led everyone in the bénédicité (we include a long prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with our grace before the main meal of the day ~the girls did so today).

Catherine reminded Sr. Marider of her previous visit. She also told Sister that one day she would return to the monastery and become a nun. Sr. Marider told Catherine to come back in nine years and she would be waiting for her. Catherine sounded ecstatic when she spoke to me on the phone. I could not help but think, "I would like it if you became a nun, but I would prefer you to stay closer to home." Catherine may have guessed my feelings because she proceeded to tell me, "I told Karlee that I like Switzerland and the places we have visited so much that I think my family should move over here."

While at the voirons, my family went to the monastery store (the sisters make beautiful works of art). Sr. Marider told another nun, "I am stealing two souvenirs for two very special girls. I do not think that the Virgin Mary will mind." She gave the souvenirs to Catherine and Bernadette. While in the store, Bernadette stopped in front of something and said that she wanted to buy it as her souvenir of her trip. My dad told me that she couldn't have chosen a better souvenir. It suits her perfectly.

Both girls sounded like they had had a lovely day. My dad (please keep him in your prayers) and my sister-in-law, Marie-Caroline, sounded like they had enjoyed themselves, too. I am sure everyone else did, as well.

Missing my Daughters

As most of you know, I am really missing Catherine and Bernadette. Our home just doesn't seem the same without them.

On Monday, I picked my brother-in-law (Kevin) and two of my nieces up from the airport. Kevin gave me a short letter from Catherine. Kevin and his daughters told me that the girls were doing very well. Catherine is enjoying evertything and Bernadette knows no language barriers. No matter where they go, Bernadette is off in minutes playing with other children. Both girls are being very helpful with their younger cousins. Catherine is also enjoying spending time with her cousin, Karlee. Our relatives are noticing the unique personalities of our daughters and commenting on aspects of their temperaments that my husband and I have been aware of for a long time.

Yesterday, Catherine and Bernadette visited Gstaad and Gruyere (Catherine purchased a souvenir here) with my family. Catherine enjoyed their visit and found it hard to believe that Gstaad will soon be covered with at least 2 feet of snow. Bernadette promised to draw me a picture of her favorite thing that she saw today.

There are 8 more days until they come home. Thank you for the comments and support.

Dear God, please continue to protect Catherine and Bernadette. Dear Mary, please wrap your mantle around them. St. Therese, please continue to watch over them.

Support South Dakota

Please show your support for South Dakota's law protecting unborn children by praying, volunteering, and offering financial support. Planned Parenthood has unleashed an "unprecedented $8 million" to try and kill the abortion ban. For more information, please read the following article by David Bereit, America Must Stand with South Dakota
Donations can be made by visiting or by calling 605-271-3975 or by sending a check made out to in the mail to: 600 N. Western Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Weekend

Catherine and Bernadette were happy to attend my brother and his wife's nuptial Mass. They enjoyed the wedding reception, leaving around 12:30 in the morning.

On October 8th, my family went for a drive in the mountains with our girls. I was told that my dad took an excellent photo of Bernadette with a cow. I cannot wait to see it! (Edited on October 18 to add the photo below.)

Today, October 9th, the girls relaxed at my brother's house. There are 10 more days until they come home!

Friday, October 06, 2006


Today (yesterday for the girls), Catherine and Bernadette went with my family to Interlaaken. Catherine thought it was very cold, despite her layers of clothing and Bernadette thought it was freezing. Both girls were impressed with the ice sculptures. They were happy to share that "There were twelve penguins (just like in Mr. Popper's Penguins). There was an eskimo, sitting in front of an igloo, fishing. There were some seals. There were two mice." All of these were carved out of ice. Catherine was surprised to find that the digital camera did not work because of the cold. However, she assured me that her cousins had been able to take some photos and they would mail them to her, upon their return to Washington.

I am truly grateful to God for providing our daughters with this opportunity to travel with my family. Tomorrow, October 7, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, Catherine and Bernadette will see my brother and his wife married in the Church. May God bless my brother and his wife as they are united in His love!

Poetry Friday

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue
by Mary Dixon Thayer

Lovely Lady dressed in blue --
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things --
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels' wings

Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me -- for you know.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue --
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Geneva and the Old City

Catherine and Bernadette visited Geneva and the old city, today. I was happy to hear that the cobbled streets have been maintained. They always fascinated me.

Bernadette is looking forward to dancing at the wedding reception on Saturday and is trying to convince Catherine that she should dance, too.

Catherine assured me that she is taking a lot of photos. Hopefully, the photos are a combination of relatives and scenery.

Our girls will be home in 14 days. We are definitely missing them, but I am happy that they are having this experience.

She's not Missing Us

My older sister asked Bernadette if she was missing us. She responded, "No, I am having too much fun. I do miss Patrick's cute little ways, though."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

They're Only a Phone Call Away

I just finished speaking with Catherine and Bernadette. They spent a wonderful day at their Aunt Marie Caroline's parents' house. Bernadette enjoyed playing with the dog, Tiger. She also told me, "I ate lemon meringue pie and other really good food!" Catherine had brownies for dessert. Both girls expressed their joy at being able to travel with my family to Switzerland. They sound like they are truly making memories that they will always remember. I am so thankful to my family for taking such good care of them.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Catherine and Bernadette left for Switzerland on October 1, the Feast of St. Thérèse. I have entrusted them to her care. We are, obviously, really missing them. However, from all accounts they are having a wonderful time. The first day that they were there, Bernadette rode on my brother's motorcycle with him and in true Bernadette fashion exclaimed, "I never knew riding a motorcycle was so wonderful! This is a lot of fun!"

Today, our daughters went with my family to St. Moritz. Catherine was impressed with an old church that they visited. I am hoping that they sleep well tonight after a long day. I look forward to seeing and sharing their photos. More importantly, I look forward to them returning home safely.

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