Insisting on Doing it Your Way? – Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love

The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love, Rev. George A. Kelly

Do your parents treat you as a baby, deny you responsibility, act as though you can’t take care of yourself? That’s probably been a major complaint of teenagers since Cain and Abel..

Do they put on too much pressure – expect more of you than is reasonably possible? Dozens of youngsters you know probably could make similar complaint. Do you fear that you’re not attractive to the opposite sex, worry that you won’t achieve your full growth as a man or woman?

Countless other teen-agers have similar worries. Millions of yesterday’s teenagers had them. Millions of tomorrow’s teenagers will have them, too.

There’s another gripe of teenagers I’ve heard dozens of times. It is: “My parents don’t understand that times have changed.”

Teenagers of my own time said that, and tomorrow’s teenager undoubtedly will say it too about you if you become a parent.

There’s some truth in the statement. Times do change – but basic problems don’t.

For example, a generation ago a girl who rode alone at night with a boy in a horse-drawn buggy was thought to be taking a terrible risk. Times have changed; people now use cars. But the problem’s still there. The girl who allows her boyfriend to park his car in a secluded spot takes no less of a risk then the lass of 1910.

Thirty-five years ago, parents had a job getting teenagers to bed on time; the youngsters wanted to stay up to hear dance bands on the radio.

Yes, times have changed. Now the “Late Show” on television is the attraction. But the basic question – What’s the right time to go to bed? – is still with us.

Run down the list of your other problems. You’ll find that they really haven’t changed much, if at all, from those your mother and dad faced at your age.

You can probably prove this yourself. If you get a chance, warm your parents up and then ask them in a confidential way about their problems when they were your age. What you’ll learn will surprise you.

You’ll find that they too had difficulties in adjusting to their own parents, in getting along with friends, in their school work. They probably were as uncertain about their futures as you are of yours.

The point of all this? Just that they’ve been through the mill. Now they’re older and can look back, seeing how they could have done this or that better, and how they might have avoided this mistake or that.

And if they knew then what they know now, they’d have made fewer errors and would have achieved a much greater success with their lives.

If you want to become an adult the easy way, therefore, take advantage of their experience. By following their advice, you’ll often be able to avoid pitfalls they perhaps fell into.

If you use their experience to help you, you’ll reach adulthood much sooner, much more confidently and much more successfully than if you insist upon making the same mistakes that they did.

I don’t want to give the impression that parents are always right. They aren’t. But then, who is? They probably have their faults. Even now, they may not be able to see some problems clearly. They may have personality shortcoming or prejudices which prevent them from giving the best possible advice under all circumstances.

But I think you’ll agree that their batting average is pretty high.

You needn’t follow them blindly. If their advice proves wrong for some reason, you can adopt a mode of action which conforms more closely to your own experience.

But if you reject their advice without really seeing whether it’s good or not, you’ll find more often than not, that you’ve been doing things the wrong way.

Learning from others is the smart way to learn. Millions have walked this earth before us. There have been centuries of time to consider the common problems of living. It follows that answers to just about all our questions are ready and waiting for us to use.

Of course, we learn almost all we know from the teachings and experiences of those before us. If this weren’t so, we’d still be in caves trying to grow our food by scratching a twig along the ground.

Most times we’re willing to learn in this way. When you were told you’d be killed if you jumped from the Empire State Building, you took somebody else’s word for it. You don’t have to sit in a blazing fire to learn that you can be burned. And while you’ve probably never seen Moscow, you’re willing to believe it’s the capital of Russia because you were told so.

Most of us develop blind spots, however. For one reason or other, we refuse to face facts. We insist upon going ahead with our own ideas, and defy what experience would teach. We all have this characteristic to a small degree, but if we have it to a greater extent than average, we’re really heading for trouble.

I’m thinking of Maryjane. She was a good student in high school. She was willing to learn everything about English, History, Math and any other subject her teacher taught her.

But she had a blind spot: she refuse to heed what experience taught about becoming involved with a married man. She met him at a dance. After a few dates, he told her he was married but living away from his wife. Now, it’s hard to find an expert any place who wouldn’t have told Maryjane to ditch that man quickly, because he could only cause her grief. But she refused to learn from others.

After about five years, he tossed her aside and, still married, picked up a younger girl. Today Maryjane knows that others gave her the best advice she could have been given.

But by insisting upon doing things her own way, she made a serious mistake.


“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.” – Pope Pius XI
These are great books for the young people in your life!




























































































































































































































































Tidbits from Fr. Lasance and Fr. Lovasik

From My Prayer Book, Father Lasance

The Practice of Charity

Seek occasions to please the Heart of Jesus by the practice of holy charity in always thinking and speaking well of your neighbor, assisting the poor according to your ability, spiritually and corporally, considering Jesus Christ in their person, and doing nothing to them which you would not wish to be done to yourself.

Be patient toward all, in order to give confidence to each one, and above all to the poor who come to you in their need. Be a friend to everyone and an enemy to no one; then you will become like unto God.

Charles IX, King of France, once asked the poet Tasso who, in his estimation, was the happiest. Tasso replied without hesitation: “God.”

“Everybody knows that,” continued the king; “but who is next?”

And Tasso answered: “He who becomes most like to God.”

The Highest Pleasures

The highest, the best, the most permanent pleasures are those which are not sought, but which come from the faithful fulfillment of life’s duties and obligations.

Indeed, eager search after pleasure in any direction is always fruitless, because it implies a condition of mind to which enduring happiness is a stranger.

Selfishness and enjoyment may dwell together for a brief season, but the latter will soon wither away under the absorbing influence of the former.

Don’t Go To Heaven Alone

Don’t go to heaven alone! Take somebody with you. Mothers, take your children with you. Pray as long as you have breath in your body – never despair and never give up the hope that your loved ones, no matter how far their footsteps have wandered, will one day stand with you before the Great White Throne.

Let Us Go About Doing Good

If we are educated, let us, in the Master’s name, instruct the ignorant; if we possess wealth, let us use it as God intended; if we have health, let us cheer some drooping soul.

If we enjoy any singular opportunities, consider them prayerfully, and in so doing we shall find that the moments that really shine out in our lives are those in which we have buried self and gone out into this busy and sinful world, and have endeavored, by prayer and effort to do the will of Him, whose one great mission was to go about doing good.


From a precious little pamphlet written by Father Lovasik:


“Encourage him to talk about himself, especially his life away from home. Begin by asking him leading questions about his work. This is not to suggest you be prying or overly inquisitive. But steer the conversation to things he is interested in and then encourage him until he is wound up in his subject. When you see that he is enjoying the conversation, keep it going by your comments and questions. Then learn to listen.” – Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood


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+++ R.I.P. Tribute to Mary E. Gentges (“Aunt” Mary)

My Tribute to “Aunt” Mary

 by Leane VanderPutten

Two months ago, little did I think that I would soon be writing a tribute to my dear friend, Mary.

We’ve known Mary for a long time…many years. But we really got to know her about fifteen years ago. What a blessing that was for our family!

Mary had never married but she considered herself an “Aunt Mary” to many of the young people in the area. She became Aunt Mary to my older girls, too. You would often see their vehicle at Mary’s quaint little home as they ate lunch with her, chatting, laughing, and sharing stories over Italian sodas.

Movie nights with Mary, watching good old movies from days gone by, were a highlight for my girls.

At that time, Mary had many piano students. She loved working with the young people. She had a winning way with them.

I remember going to visit her around Christmas time. Her house was decorated for the children…she had many of those dear little lit-up cottages in a beautiful scene that she knew would capture the hearts of her piano students. Of course, her Nativity Scene took precedence and the charm of those days gave insight into Mary’s artistic nature.

Mary and creativity were synonymous. She made beautiful Ladder rosaries, she was a photographer and took many pictures of my oldest daughter, Virginia’s, wedding and made a beautiful scrapbook as a wedding gift. She had a thriving Ebay business where her descriptions for her interesting, vintage items and her rosaries were unsurpassed.

One year, with the Talent Show coming up, Mary, my girls and I put our heads together and decided to do a dance/singing skit to a song from My Fair Lady. We worked and worked at it, meeting often to get the choreography down. Mary sparkled during those times. Her laugh was infectious and her enthusiasm overflowed! How happy she was after the play was a success and rated the best act of the night!

Mary was a writer. She had written many articles in the past for Catholic periodicals. She had many ideas budding in that resourceful mind of hers. She told me not to tell anyone but she was one day going to write the sequel to Jane Eyre. And Mary could have done it!

But it was not meant to be. Mary’s father got sick. Her family meant much to her. She always talked of her parents, the impact they had on her. She has all their love letters they wrote to one another when “Daddy” was serving in WWII packed neatly in a much-worn box.

Mary and her mother tended to her father and took care of him until he died.

At that same time, her dear mother began to get dementia. Mary diligently looked after her for the next several years. It was trying for Mary and she felt very alone in this battle. Many of her dreams were put aside so she could do what her love for her mother and God ordained her to do….

When she finally had to admit her mom into a nursing home, the staff could not believe that she had looked after her as long as she had…considering how advanced she was in this disease.

Mary, in her loving way, helped me through a very hard time. She was my mentor at that time and I will always be grateful. She became to me an “Aunt Mary”, too. The kind of aunt that you knew would always be there for you.

We have heard of those amazing Catholic women in the past that remained single in the world, to serve the Church and to serve others…their great influence felt in many circles. This was Mary.

Mary and the Catholic Faith went hand-in-hand. Her faith was the underlying thread that ran through everything she did…unobtrusive yet confident.

She was a beautiful soul. She loved God, she loved her dear parents and she spread her love to those who became her friends….and there were many.

She became a big part of our lives and will always live on in our hearts as one who was big-hearted, witty, generous and full of vibrant faith.

Then we heard that Mary was sick….very sick. In a whirlwind of hospital visits, prayers and trying to wrap our heads around how sick she really was, Mary declined rapidly.

Six weeks after she had been diagnosed, Mary went to her eternal reward.

She is gone but I know she is still there for us…and we will be there for her…offering Masses and praying for her and to her.

Dear Mary, rest in peace. We love you. You will be missed.



A Very Beautiful Tribute to Mary by Mary Ann Tardiff

In Memoriam
Rosary Crusader in the Front Lines

Those of us old-timers with the good fortune to have subscribed to Father Fred Nelson’s excellent newspaper THE MARYFAITHFUL remember a regular feature written and illustrated by a Mary Elizabeth Gentges. These articles introduced a wide assortment of  little-known Chaplets – beautifully drawn in ink, and explained the method of praying each of them.

In the fall of 1981, this same Mary Gentges came for a visit to St. Mary’s campus, and fell in love with it. As she was leaving to go home, her new friends told her, “You’ll come back… you belong here.”

Mary visits Campus in fall of 1981

And so it came to pass. Shortly after, Charles and Florence Gentges and their daughter Mary (whom they always called “Bitzi”), closed the small-town Ben Franklin store they had run as a family for years, and migrated to Mary’s town – to the picturesque Victorian house that would be their home for the rest of their lives.

Mary Elizabeth enrolled in St. Mary’s College. While a student there, she lived on campus and worked hard at her studies. After graduating she began a career of service to St. Mary’s, above and beyond the call of duty, in numerous capacities: on Crusade magazine – as editor, writer, photographer, puzzle maker, etc., on St. Mary’s magazine (she had previously contributed to Angelus magazine), including writing a chronology of historic St. Mary’s Mission and campus, as the ubiquitous Campus Photographer for all occasions, as the typing teacher, and in countless special projects requiring her special talents – as well as helping her parents at home, making rosaries, giving piano lessons, etc. etc…

Mary’s College portrait, 1984

    Mary was devoted to her parents and took very good care of each of them in their last days. Caring for her mother, who became ill with dementia, was especially stressful and exhausting – emotionally and physically – but Mary found helpers and kept Momma at home for as long as was humanly possible.

Mary with her parents on their 50th Anniversary, 1995

She had never married, and was sometimes oppressed by loneliness after the loss of her parents. But Mary always kept busy, and always had projects and ideas. She had plans for the fall of 2017. Mary was hoping, “if God gives me back my health,” to have a rosary booth in the next Flint Hills Shakespeare Festival. But instead God gave her something more important, more “CRUCial” to do – something to benefit all of Christendom.

Last October a new Rosary Crusade was declared. We were all called upon to be crusaders, saying rosaries and making sacrifices, and Mary was asking herself what sacrifices she might make. As if in answer, her final illness manifested itself in a painful stiff neck, which worsened steadily over a period of months while the excruciating pain spread and became disabling and finally incapacitating.
When hospitalization became unavoidable, Mary left her beloved home, her projects, her plans, her constant cat-companions Shadow and Bootsie, the watercolors painted by her father, the family heirlooms, all her earthly possessions … and never returned.

It hadn’t occurred to Mary to offer herself as a Victim Soul – and she was horrified at being called one by anybody. Yet God knew perfectly well that she would do whatever He asked of her, and do her best. And so she had been drafted right into the front lines of the Rosary Crusade, where she battled bravely, suffered patiently, and ultimately died. Over and over she had offered the pain, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and finally helplessness and humiliation, to Our Lord – particularly for the intentions of the Rosary Crusade.

Visitors to Mary’s hospital room were often consoled to find themselves smiling and laughing at her characteristic dry wit, which she never lost until she lost consciousness. But most consoling of all was knowing that she was so ready for death when it finally came: on March 12th, 2017 – Transfiguration Sunday, in the Month of St. Joseph. We have every reason to hope that she is now on her way home to God, and we can imagine the beautiful reunion with her parents in eternity, but I think Mary E. would shake her head, make a wry face, and insist that we remember she is a poor sinner in urgent need of our prayers.

Mary’s death has left a hole in St. Mary’s that can not be filled, and her friends are heartbroken. But because of our love for her we must pray for her and not forget!

Mary E. a little over a year before she died

Please join us in paying our debt of gratitude to a valiant comrade in this vital crusade: Eternal rest grant unto Mary Elizabeth, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon her. May she rest in peace! Amen.








A Matter of Life and Death

The last two weeks have been a time for our family to really take stock on this journey called Life….where it begins and where it ends.

Six weeks ago, our dear friend, Mary, went into the hospital to have an MRI. With no warning, except that she knew things were not right, she was told she had stage four cancer.

The next six weeks for Mary were spent in the hospital. My daughters and I went to visit and talked about old times. She held our hands and told us not go. We laughed and we cried.

Mary wondered if this was really the end. She hoped for a miracle.

It has now been almost a week since we lost our dear friend. We are all still trying to wrap our heads around it….so quick, O Lord! If we had only known, how much more time we would have spent with her…

Near the end, our Rosie spent hours with “Aunt Mary”. She was there, in the hospital, shortly after our dear friend died and called me on the phone right away. I rushed over to the hospital and we knelt beside her and said the Rosary, through tears.

Death is not the end. Mary has gone to a better place and left us behind. She was an only child of two dear parents, who, I’m sure, were waiting for her on the other side. I am praying for Mary and asking that she doesn’t forget us.

Thank God that death is not final. Thank God we have the Faith. It is our solace in what could be a very cold and final end. We WILL see Mary again. God IS good and knows what is best. Goodbye, dear Mary.

The night Mary died, a baby was born….a little sweet granddaughter named Rita Mary.

It is my son and daughter-in-law’s first child and we were very surprised because she came earlier than the due date. Though I wouldn’t say her birth was easy (I don’t dare say that within earshot of the mother) it was relatively quick in the whole scheme of first labors.

I got the call in the morning from my son and waves of emotions…ones quite opposite to what I had been feeling over the phone call the previous morning…came over me.

This is grand baby number twenty-two! Life begins again. The journey starts for little Rita Mary.

Through valleys, up hills, in sorrow and through joys, Rita will wend her way through life.

One day, she will be where our dear Mary was a week ago. And how she spends those years in between will determine the outcome.

Life is short. Eternity is long.

Our Faith gives us all the tools to live a happy life (as happy as mere mortals can be) and to die a happy death. We are very fortunate and we need to do all we can to make this journey…our own journey….fruitful in the service of our King…the one we will be spending eternity with.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord…. Please say a Hail Mary for our dear friend, Mary.







Conversation – Light and Peace, Quadrupani

The following is taken from the book written in 1898, Light and Peace. These wise words will guide us as we engage in conversation throughout each day.10801864_388350718008130_8666022093184922281_n

Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts

Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in a house.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (St. Matthew, c. V., vv.15-16.)

Contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subversion of the hearers. (St. Paul, II Tim., c. II. v. 14.)

Conversation should be marked by a gentle and devout pleasantness, and your manner when engaged in it, ought to be equable, composed and gracious. Mildness and cheerfulness make devotion and those who practice it attractive to others.

The holy abbot Saint Anthony, notwithstanding the extraordinary austerities of his penitential life, always showed such a smiling countenance that no one could look at him without pleasure.

We should be neither too talkative nor too silent,—it is as necessary to avoid one extreme as the other. By speaking too much we expose ourselves to a thousand dangers, so well-known that they need not be mentioned in detail: by not speaking enough we are apt to be a restraint upon others, as it makes it seem as though we did not relish their conversation, or wished to impress them with our superiority.

Do not conclude from this that it is necessary to count your words, as it were, so as to keep your conversation within the proper limits. This would be as puerile a scruple as counting one’s steps when walking. A holy spirit of liberty should dominate our conversations and serve to instill into them a gentle and moderate gaiety.

If you hear some evil spoken of your neighbor do not immediately become alarmed, as the matter may be true and quite public without your having been aware of it.

Should you be quite certain that there is calumny or slander in the report, either because the evil told was false or exaggerated or because it was not publicly known, then, according to the place, the circumstances and your relations towards those present, say with moderation what appears most fitting to justify or excuse your neighbor.

Or you may try to turn the conversation into other channels, or simply be content to show your disapprobation by an expressive silence.

Remember, for the peace of your conscience, that one does not share in the sin of slander unless he gives some mark of approbation or encouragement to the person who is guilty of it.

 Do not imitate those who are scrupulous enough to imagine that charity obliges them to undertake the defense of every evil mentioned in their presence and to become the self-appointed advocates of whoever it may be that has deserved censure.

That which is really wrong cannot be justified, and no one should attempt the fruitless task: and as to the guilty, those who may do harm either through the scandal of their example or the wickedness of their doctrines, it is right that they should be shunned and openly denounced. “To cry out wolf, wolf,” says Saint Francis de Sales, “is kindness to the sheep.”

The regard we owe our neighbor does not bind us to a politeness that might be construed as an approval or encouragement of his vicious habits.

Hence if it happens that you hear an equivocal jest, a witticism slurring at religion or morals, or anything else that really offends against propriety, be careful not to give, through cowardice and in spite of your conscience, any mark of approbation, were it only by one of those half smiles that are often accorded unwillingly and afterwards regretted.

Flattery, even in the eyes of the world, is one of the most debasing of falsehoods. Not even in the presence of the greatest earthly dignitaries, will an honest, upright man sanction with his mouth that which he condemns in his heart. He who sacrifices to vice the rights of truth not only acts unlike a Christian, but renders himself unworthy the name of man.

In small social gatherings try to make yourself agreeable to everybody present and to show to each some little mark of attention, if you can do so without affectation. This may be done either by directly addressing the person or by making a remark that you know will give him occasion to speak of his own accord,—draw him out, as the saying is.

It was by the charm and urbanity of his conversation that Saint Francis de Sales prepared the way for the conversion of numbers of heretics and sinners, and by imitating him you will contribute towards making piety in the world more attractive. In regard to priests you should always testify your respect for the sacerdotal dignity quite independently of the individual.

Disputes, sarcasm, bitter language, and intolerance for dissenting opinions, are the scourges of conversation.

Although this adage comes to us from a pagan philosopher, we might profitably bear it always in mind: “In conversation we should show deference to our superiors, affability to our equals, and benevolence to our inferiors.”

Generally speaking, it is wrong for those whom God does not call to abandon the world, to seclude themselves entirely and to shun all society suited to their position in life. God, who is the source of all virtue, is likewise the author of human society. Let the wicked hide themselves if they will, their absence is no loss to the world; but good people make themselves useful merely by being seen.

It is well, moreover, the world should know that in order to practice the teachings of the Gospel it is not necessary to bury one’s self in the desert; and that those who live for the Creator can likewise live with the creatures whom He has made according to His own image and likeness.

Well, again, to show that a devout life is neither sad nor austere, but simple, sweet and easy; that far from being for those in the world an impediment to social relations, it facilitates, perfects and sanctifies such; that the disciples of Jesus Christ can, without becoming wordlings, live in the world; and that, in fine, the Gospel is the sovereign code of perfection for persons in society as well as for those who have renounced the world.

Fénelon, who perhaps had even greater occasion than Saint Francis de Sales to teach men of the world how to lead a Christian life in society, wrote as follows to a person at court:

“You ought not to feel worried, it seems to me, in regard to those diversions in which you cannot avoid taking part. I know there are those who think it necessary that one should lament about everything, and restrain himself continually by trying to excite disgust for the amusements in which he must participate.

As for me, I acknowledge that I cannot reconcile myself to this severity. I prefer something simpler and I believe that God, too, likes it better.

When amusements are innocent in themselves and we enter into them to conform to the customs of the state of life in which Providence has placed us, then I believe they are perfectly lawful.

It is enough to keep within the bounds of moderation and to remember God’s presence. A dry, reserved manner, conduct not thoroughly ingenuous and obliging, only serve to give a false idea of piety to men of the world who are already too much prejudiced against it, believing that a spiritual life cannot be otherwise than gloomy and morose.”

If all confessors agreed in instilling these maxims, which are as important as they are true, many persons who now keep themselves in absolute seclusion and live in a sad and dreary solitude would remain in society to the edification of their neighbor and the great advantage of religion. The world would thus be disabused of its unjust prejudices against a devout life and those who have embraced it.

Never remain idle except during the time you have allotted to rest or recreation. Idleness begets lassitude, disposes to evil speaking and gives occasion to the most dangerous temptations.



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“The need for admiration is manifest in the young boy. He doesn’t realize this, but it is part of his makeup. When his parents observe his manly qualities and express their admiration, it builds his confidence and helps his growth into manhood, encouraging all the potential within him. Equally important is the kindly feelings it awakens toward his parents, creating a bond of love between them. When he feels close to them he is fortified against youth problems which lie ahead. Because this acute need is not understood by many parents, admiration is sadly lacking. Some young men survive a life of correction without praise, but many don’t. There are sad casualties along the way. Some who could have become shining lights fall by the wayside.” -Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood


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Ah, St. Patrick, Steadfast and Unchanging Man, Pray for Us!

The whole story of St. Patrick is exciting. I highly recommend reading more about him. When I think of St. Patrick being kidnapped, I shudder. And how many of us shudder when we here of the abductions of children in the streets of today? If you have any of those “motherly” fears, pray to St. Patrick.  He most assuredly will protect our children.

These following Gaelic prayers are beautiful and you may want to adopt one or two. Or just light your green candle and say them on St. Patrick’s Day which could be the beginning of a meaningful custom in your home.

The Year & Our Children: Catholic Family Celebrations for Every Season

The feast of St. Patrick as popularly celebrated is badly in need of surgery. In an attempt to rid the occasion of indignities and restore to this saint some of his due, we have had recourse to the Confession of St. Patrick, an inspiring read-aloud for this night.

It has been called by Oliver St. John Gogarty, in his I Follow St. Patrick, “the oldest and perhaps the most important document in British history.”

Here I will interject and include a link to get this document. Mrs. Newland condenses it in her book but it is too long to include here.

Confession of St. Patrick

Here are some beautiful Gaelic Prayers that can be said in honor  of The Feast of St. Patrick.

 From The Book:

Some Gaelic Prayers

As soon as we discovered “The Prayers of the Gael,” a small volume of Irish prayers, we set about learning some.

They are marvelously suited to children – and, of course, to grown-ups.

Here is one to try for a change from your usual Grace before Meals:


May the blessing of five loaves and two fishes which God divided among the five thousand men, be ours; and may the King who made the division put luck on our food and on our portion. Amen.

 And here is a prayer for the family to help them keep a sanctified Sunday. It is a lovely prayer to say in the car on the way to Mass:


A thousand welcomes to thee, Blessed Sunday,

Now coming to help us after the week:

My feet guide early to holy Mass,

Part my lips with blessed words,

Out of my heart banish wicked thoughts,

That I may look upon the Son of the Nurse.

Since it was the Son of God who bought us,

I rely for my soul’s protection on Thee, 0 Jesus,

May God establish Thee within my heart,

Mayst Thou clear the stain and soil of sin from me

And fill mine eyes with tears of repentance. Amen.

Here is another to be said by all together in the kitchen in the morning, before setting off to work or school:


The grace of God and the blessing of Patrick

On all I see and all I undertake,

From the time I arise in the morning

Till I go to sleep at night. Amen.

And this beautiful one for going to bed. First for the children, and later for the mothers and fathers:


May I lie down with God and may God lie down with me,

May I not lie with evil, nor evil lie with me.

Brigid’s girdle around me, Mary’s mantle beneath me;

0 Blessed Michael, hold my hand,

And make my peace with the Son of Grace.

If any evil thing pursue me, May the Son of God protect me

For a year from this night, And this night itself, and ever, And always. Amen.

There are many more, too many to include here. Best of all, for us, is the ancient St.

Patrick’s Lorica, or Corslet, or, as it is more commonly called, “The Breastplate of St. Patrick.”

We have used this for our family prayer on his feast day, with a grown-up reading one line and the family repeating it, then another line read and repeated.

Carefully and distinctly recited, with a thought for what each line means, it is one of the most magnificent prayers in all the world. (We use it on other days, too.)

The entire prayer is longer than this, but this excerpt is quite enough to tear your heart.


I rise up today Thro’ a mighty strength,

Thro’ my invocation of the Trinity,

Thro’ my belief in Its threeness,

Thro’ my avowal of Its oneness To the only Creator… . I arise today,

God’s strength guiding me, God’s might sustaining me,

God’s wisdom directing me, God’s eye looking before me,

God’s ear listening to me, God’s word speaking for me,

God’s hand protecting me: The way of God stretching out before me,

The shield of God as my shelter, The hosts of God guarding me against the snares of the demons,

Against the temptings of my evil desire,

Against the evil inclination of my will,

Against everyone who plots against me,

Anear or afar, alone or in a multitude… . Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ after me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left hand,

Christ in my breadth, Christ in my length,

Christ in my height, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me… .

As a last treat, there is this marvelous bit from Mr. Gogarty’s I Follow St. Patrick to be read aloud.

First teach your children the Latin words Gratias agamus, meaning “Let us give thanks.” He was a “steadfast and unchanging man.”

That is the verdict of a contemporary witness – and the same a king – on him.

The story arises from the fact that the Saint had set his heart on founding what was to be the headquarters of all his church organization on the Height of Macha, the present Armagh.

Not far from his own dwelling at the eastern foot of the hill, King Daire granted him a little holding, on which a circular space was marked out one hundred and forty feet in diameter, and ramparted round with an earthen wall.

Within were erected a Great House, a kitchen, and a little oratory, according to what seems to have been the plan of the primitive establishments of the Saint and his company.

But the Saint wanted the site of what was to be his chief ecclesiastical city on the heights. At first the King refused to grant a space on the summit.

He fell ill, but was restored to health by holy water which the Saint had blessed.

Then the King paid a visit to the lowly settlement and presented the Saint with a bronze cauldron brought from over the sea.

“Gratias agamus,” said the Bishop; but he said it rapidly (a man of his temperament must have spoken rapidly), in the Latin of the colonies, and it sounded in the way it has been preserved for us phonetically, “Gratzacham.”

This was not enough for Daire.

His three-gallon cauldron acknowledged by but one word, and that unintelligible!

He sent his servants to bring back that which the Bishop apparently could not appreciate. And these reported that all the Saint said as it was being taken away was “Gratzacham.”

“What?” said the King, “Gratzacham? He said that when it was being given, and he says it when it is being taken. It is a strong spell that is used for getting and losing. I will give him back his cauldron.”

And the King came with it and presented it in person: “Keep the cauldron, for you are a steadfast and unchanging man.”

And he gave him the land which was his heart’s desire.

Ah, St. Patrick, steadfast and unchanging man, pray for us!

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In honor of my dear old dad who was full of the blarney! 😀


“Mothers, as far as possible, be at home with your children. As you nourished your child before he was capable of eating solid food, so in the early formative years, nature has determined that you must nourish your child in virtue.” -Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook


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My Response is My Responsibility


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For Throwback Thursday….

I listened to this podcast more than once and got much out of it so I wanted to share it with you!

Based on the Podcast My Response is My Responsibility by Emerson Eggerichs of Love and Respect Ministries




Think about this phrase for a moment, “My response is MY responsibility”. This is a very powerful phrase!

There is the story of a time during WWII Nazi Regime rule. A Christian French man who had been harboring Jews had been captured. German soldiers brought him before an SS Soldier known as “The Torturer”. Surprisingly to those around him, the French man was at peace and it shone through his eyes and his face.

The SS officer was not impressed! Taking it as insolence, he yelled, “Get that smirk off your face!”

Others who had entered into his presence were terrified and showed it.

The SS soldier once again looked at the French man and screamed, “Don’t you know who I am??!!”

“Yes, I do,” said the French man, “You are called ‘The Torturer’ and you have the power to have me tortured. You also have the power to condemn me to death” There was a pause. “But you do not have the power to get me to hate you.”

This story shows so clearly the control we have to be free from sinful attitudes and responses within ourselves even under the most trying circumstances! Other people cannot control our inner world.

My Response is my Responsibility – this phrase can change our lives!

People may be able to control us physically but they cannot control our thoughts! People can treat us unkindly but they cannot control our spirit!

I can rule my own inner responses – this is a God-given right. No one can make me hate them.

Even the Gestapo, as worldly powerful as they seemed to be, could not rule over the French man’s inner realm.

How does a person get to the point where they are no longer ruled by other’s treatment of them?

We begin by realizing My response is my responsibility!

We don’t need to mope or pout. We don’t need to give the silent treatment or let the rage build inside of us until it comes out of our mouths like a faucet – remember it is your responsibility to control your inner thoughts, those nasty habits that have gotten so out of hand. Time to look them square in the eye and say – I don’t have to listen to you….I don’t have to respond this way!!

If we let others control how we respond, then they are the master of our emotions. If they are mean and unjust, we will be unhappy. What we are saying, then, is that we are a hopeless and helpless emotional victim to the moods and attitudes of others around us!

When we are around uncaring and mean-spirited people, there is no hope for us. We are at the whim of these negative people and we will have a rotten day!

This does not have to be our reality!

Are you frustrated with your husband? Do you blame him for your unhappiness? Do you say to yourself, “If he loved me properly, I would in turn respect him and all would be well?”

That is making your husband “Lord” of your emotions and happiness.

That kind of power should not be given to another human being.

If this is how we think, then when our husband treats us imperfectly (and he will, as he is an imperfect human being) then we are moody and grumpy; we snap at him, we let that black cloud settle over us. We resort to resentment and anger and depression.

Because our husband, whom we have given power to rule over our inner spirit, lets us down, we are depressed. He is responsible for our happiness!

Ok, so let’s step back….. are we saying we shouldn’t be affected at all by what other people say and do?

Let’s take an analogy. A doctor taps our knee with a little hammer and our leg involuntarily kicks out. This is known as a “knee-jerk” reaction, right?

What about road rage? When someone cuts us off, we emotionally get angry…. but are we saying that we cannot help ourselves when we cuss at the person, try to cut him off in return or other such offensive actions?

Though we have involuntary emotions, that, yes, are acceptable, there are some that cross the line….and we usually know when and what those emotions are.

If our anger is not righteous indignation, if it is unrighteous, and if it has become a habit because we have given into those emotions throughout our life, then this is wrong and needs to be turned around.

Each person tends to blame their own bitterness, harshness and contempt on the other person. We claim it is involuntary; the other person caused the anger…..

Please hear a simple and profound truth….people do not CAUSE us to be who we are, they REVEAL who we are. Ouch. My response is my responsibility. The Nazi did not cause the Frenchman to react in kindness; he revealed the kindness within him.

How many times through the day is our inner person revealed: Those times when the kids are tugging on our skirt and we snap at them “What do you want AGAIN!” Little Jill spills her milk and we look at her and say through gritted teeth, “You are the most careless child I have ever met!” Hubby comes home tired and sees no dinner being fixed and complains (maybe unjustifiably) and we yell at him and give him the silent treatment the rest of the night.

These dear ones don’t CAUSE our anger, they reveal it. We do not HAVE to react this way….no, we don’t.

In each of these instances, we blame Johnny, Jill and our hubby. We say to ourselves, “I would never blow my stack if everyone behaves! Life stinks!”

We choose to live under the delusion that life experiences cause us to be upset and angry. Although we would never voice that we are a victim, this is how we sometimes live.

Living this way, in victim mode, changes the nursery rhyme:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Humpty Dumpty was pushed.”



Let’s just blame humanity. I would be happy if it wasn’t for people! Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

We have unrealistic expectations and requirements that everyone else around us (and especially hubby, since he is a grown human being) needs to meet! He must… perfect. 😛

We want to assign blame; there is something inside of us that wants to justify our bad behavior.

As Emerson points out, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t have anyone to blame because he didn’t have a leg to stand on! 😀

Our Lord says these things come from the heart of man. It is something within us that cause us to react in these unedifying ways. I have evil thoughts because I have chosen to think bad things. I have a hateful reaction because it is in my heart. I slander because it is in my heart to bad mouth people and the list goes on….

Our response is not another’s responsibility.

This message is challenging.

It is hard to face up to.

These challenges may be small, everyday things, but it can also be huge struggles and sufferings like the French man.

We do have freedom to respond with dignity.

Can I do this when my blood is boiling? Can I choose not to react angrily?

This idea of blaming someone else of my bad attitudes is inappropriate. This doesn’t mean that bad behavior is to be sanctioned. This doesn’t mean that the other person doesn’t have to deal with their issues. They do. But that’s a different matter than my response to him. This is what we are talking about here.

We must not think that if we respond with dignity and love, that we are letting the other person off the hook. We have to come to the point that we realize that we can speak what is true and NECESSARY. But we do so in a kind, loving and respectful way. This empowers us.

If we become uncorked, it does not help us to govern the situation.  Your husband will eventually close his spirit if you are continually “letting him have it”! He will not want to be around you. You will have no credibility with him.

You may win a battle here and there by coming unglued and blaming everyone, but eventually you lose the war. This is a painful reality.

Let’s begin to react properly. But we need to give ourselves some grace. This is a process. We may know it, but our application of it will not be perfect.

Like the French man, in a concentration camp who made it through….. He observed and came to these conclusions:

Our purpose as humans is not to seek power or pleasure but to seek purpose. No situation has the power to control us. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves!

Everything can be taken from a man except one thing, to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.

Between unloving or disrespectful behavior and my response, there is a space. In that space is that power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.

The one thing another can’t take away from me is the freedom to choose how to respond to what someone does to me.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, the freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

Our great freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.

The French man’s story really leaves the rest of us without excuse at some level. How in the world can I come uncorked when the person cuts me off in the road, or hubby is angry?

I do have a choice. Like the French man I can change my responses.

Remember, My Response is My Responsibility! Will I take this to heart?


FF Quote for the Day
“Happiness in marriage must be earned. It is something you must work out for yourself, chiefly by forgetting yourself and serving others. No marriage is a success unless less you make it so, and that takes persistent effort and, still more, a constant and humble reliance on God.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook
 Who can resist those little ditties, those lovely little sing-song verses called Nursery Rhymes!
Songs and rhymes for young children have been passed down from generation to generation. They are fun, children love them, and they provide a warm, nurturing experience for the whole family.
Nursery Rhymes can be very valuable in a child’s reading development. They are short and easy to repeat and they become some of the child’s first sentences. They also help the child practice the rhythm of language….pitch, volume and voice inflection.
Our own children grew up learning and repeating Nursery Rhymes. It was very enjoyable and it was an easy way to teach the children the use of rhythm and rhyme.
How much more meaningful those little poems would have been if there had been more depth in the considerations behind each little verse! That is where this book comes in. It gives us some lovely rhymes that can, and should, be committed to heart by your children.
Not only will it provide all the benefits of reading and memorizing, but it will supply some simple reflections that will turn those little minds to what is most important in their life….their Catholic Faith.
It is important that young children learn to memorize through verse. Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them.
So, parents, here is a teaching tool that can help! Encourage your children to learn the poems in this book. Let them peruse the pages and look at the pictures. You will find that it will be a meaningful experience for all!

Inspire and delight your children with these lighthearted and faith-filled poems. Take a peek here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Giveaway for my book and the bracelet! I will pull the name from the hat Tuesday, May 10th!

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Mixed Marriages/A Trinity of Love – Clean Love in Courtship, Fr. Lovasik


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From the little book Clean Love in Courtship by Father Lawrence Lovasik

Mixed Marriages

The nature and purpose of marriage demand true piety and virtue in both parties in order that they may assist and sanctify each other. There can be no true unity of mind and heart if they differ in this most essential matter of religious belief.

The Church law says ‘‘The Church most strictly forbids mixed marriages everywhere.” (Canon 1060.) Thus she implicitly forbids courtship between Catholics and non-Catholics.

When the Church does permit mixed marriages by granting special dispensation, it is only with reluctance and under certain well-defined conditions.

The divine law forbidding these marriages when there is proximate danger to the faith of the Catholic party or their children cannot be dispensed by any human authority whatsoever.

Experience has proved the following facts about mixed marriages:

I. One of the great barriers to unity of mind and heart is difference in religion.

II. Mixed marriages have been and continue to be the cause of an alarming and ever-increasing number of fallen-away Catholics.

III. The majority of the children of mixed marriages are either not reared in the faith or early lose their faith.

IV. The modern non-Catholic’s attitude toward marriage is so different from the Catholic’s attitude that mixed marriage almost invariably leads to serious disagreement between the man and the woman, particularly about birth control, Catholic education, religious practices.

V. A non-Catholic can always end marriage in divorce, which is in complete opposition to Christ’s law. But marriage for the Catholic is a lifelong contract. Christ so ordained it, and the Catholic so regards it.

VI. If the Catholic in a mixed marriage is faithful to his religion, he is extremely lonely; he feels isolated from his partner, and he finds it almost impossible to explain the situation to the children.

VII. Marriage itself presents enough problems without adding the problems that are created by religious differences. Since the possible marriage with a non-Catholic, grand, noble and honorable though he or she be, presents so many strong dangers to the faith of the Catholic concerned, you must be careful to tell your confessor at once of the hazardous courtship.

This should be done in order to obtain advice. If you insist on marrying a non-Catholic, you should take the person to the priest, at least six weeks before the marriage that there may be ample time for the necessary instructions.

Though the non-Catholic does not intend to become a Catholic, he must at least know what his future partner believes, what promises must be made, the nature of marriage, its duties, responsibilities, and privileges.

Catholics should marry their own kind. Conversions before marriage are often more or less pretended and are seldom the fruit of sincere conviction. Those who embrace the Catholic religion merely to obtain a certain partner in matrimony usually are no credit to it.

There are exceptions, but experience shows that very few mixed marriages develop fortunately for both parties. Nine out of every ten Catholics who contract a mixed marriage do it to their own and their children’s serious detriment.

If you are prudent and eager for peace and happiness, you will resolutely prefer the single life to any kind of mixed marriage.

A Trinity of Love

Love, courtship and marriage are part of a divine plan. The flame of love that burns in the bosom of sweethearts is kindled by no human hands, but by a spark from the love that is eternal and divine.

It is God’s perfect gift to man. If you have always loved, prized and guarded purity and innocence as your most precious personal possession, your wedding day will be a truly happy day.

If you have prepared for marriage by a courtship characterized from beginning to end by a high mutual esteem, ideal love and devotion, angelic purity and unfailing self-restraint, begotten by the fear as well as the love of the Lord and a tender, reverential regard for one another, then you will taste the sweetest happiness that God grants to man in this vale of tears when the priest binds you in the deathless union of the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Then God will bless your union with that most wonderful of all His gifts, a little angel inhuman flesh. You will understand the fair romance and the sweet mystery of life when that baby binds your hearts still more closely together in a blessed trinity of love.

You are not only husband and wife, but mother and father. You will love each other with a love as strong as life itself.

In that sanctuary of the home, a tabernacle of holy love, you come as near to that celestial paradise as you ever can on earth.

“The wise mother, having an eye to the future, will at once seek to initiate her daughter into the mysteries of housekeeping. Most young girls are interested in domestic affairs, and are never happier than when allowed to have their finger in the domestic pie; but in this as in other things a thorough grounding is the most satisfactory.” -Annie S. Swan, Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making, 1894




Finer Femininity Maglets are small publications compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. They consist of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two.

The Spring Maglet is available here.

All 3 Maglets are for sale here.





The Wife Desired Has a Sense of Humor

Father Kinsella talks today on a certain “lightheartedness” that allows one to see the humor in situations…a very good quality to have. Serious-mindedness is necessary but it is tempered with this “sense of humor”.


The Wife Desiredby Fr. Leo Kinsella, 1950’s

A person may have a sense of humor without being a professional humorist or comedienne. Relatively few are gifted to travel in this rarefied air. It is more difficult to write humor than scientific treatises. One obvious proof of this is that there are libraries full of scientific books while works of humor are few.

One person is able to appreciate or even be enthralled by a sunset.
Another is able to put the sunset down on canvas and thus convey it to others. One can love music. Another can create it. The second person is an artist.

It takes special talents, the right environment, and application to bring about an artist. Comparatively speaking, real artists are rare. Although we could use more of them, yet life would become unbearable if all people became artists. God keeps a balance in nature. All birds cannot be singing canaries, and we are happy for it.

Not many wives can be humorists or comediennes. Again, for this we can be grateful. But wives can have a sense of humor. They can have the fine perception of seeing things in their true perspective.

A sense of humor is the faculty of being able to see through things, to see the real worth of things. It could be called a sense of equilibrium. Not being lopsided herself the woman with a sense of humor can detect the lopsided. Because her vision is in focus, she can see and enjoy the incongruous.

A flower or a sunset is a reflection of a spark, so to speak, of God.
But these beautiful things are not a part of God: so, a sense of humor keeps even the artist from going daffy over flowers and sunsets and becoming a Pantheist. The wife may feel strongly about flowers and sunsets, but she doesn’t lose her sense of balance and become too serious about them.

The most serious thing in life is sin. Food, drink, and gold are just materials to keep us alive, means whereby we work out our eternal destiny. They exist for us. When we begin to exist for them and become gluttons and misers, we sin. We lose our sense of humor.

Our ability to see through things, our sense of humor, prevents us from getting too serious over gold, roast beef, and martinis.

A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is mental relaxation. The bane of all athletes is to “tighten up.” to get too serious over hitting home runs, high diving, and so forth. As soon as a golfer or bowler “tightens up,” she is off her best form.

A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental “charley-horse.” She “tightens up” mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective.

Many years ago an effort was made to involve me as referee in a sort of neighborhood civil war. Little junior, let us call him Willie Baxter, was three years old and full of lemonade one day. He wandered two doors down the street under the window of an aged spinster.

With a reputation of being a neighborhood crab she lived alone on the second floor of her two-flat building. She had had her eye on Willie before he began to poach on her property. As he began to pick flowers under her window, she was all ready for this affront with a pail of water. Willie was not too sure what happened, but his instincts told him that it was time to high tail it for home.

Before he could reach home base, the defender of public morals and private property had Willie’s mother on the telephone blessing her out. Willie arrived looking as if he had just swum the Channel.

His appearance spurred mother on to a more direct contact with the assailant of her child. She ended up a few safe yards from the spot of Willie’s dastardly act and entered a screaming contest with the old lady.

By this time the old retired fireman on the first floor came to life from a nap. Thinking that the building surely was on fire, he rushed out the side door with a pail of water. Misinterpreting the designs of the erstwhile firefighter, the young mother beat a hasty retreat to her home.She felt that at least one of the Baxters should keep her powder dry.

In the meantime Willie had pretty much become used to his soggy breeches and was having another glass of lemonade. Mother could carry on and finish the feud. Willie felt that he had done his bit in starting it.

Willie’s mother lacked a sense of humor or at least lost it momentarily. Instead of sitting down and having a good laugh over the lesson, which her little Willie had learned the easy way, she lost her sense of perspective and ruined her disposition for the rest of the day. Unwittingly, of course, she provided high comedy for the neighbors. The world is full of unremunerated comediennes.

Willie’s mother went so far as to attempt to enlist her husband’s support in feuding with the old lady. I am afraid that she even tried to nag him into “putting in his two cents.” He, however, seemed to know that the poor old lady was a character and that little Willie received no mortal hurt. In fact, I would not be surprised if he did not have to force back a few chuckles over the episode in the bringing up of Willie.

Anyone can understand that her mother’s instincts might carry her away at first. A sense of humor would bring back balance as the hours passed. She would begin to see the humorous side of the episode and bear no resentment against the spinster. She would have been spared the nuisance of contending for hours and days with revengeful thoughts.

If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These wonderful people are a joy to themselves as well as to all who are privileged to know them. A young woman who possesses this crown of spiritual growth is a pearl of great price.

If it is dangerous to get too serious over roast beef or gold or martinis, it is fatal to get too serious over oneself. The devil certainly lacked a sense of humor when he vaunted himself in the face of God. He took himself just a little bit too seriously and laughter went out of his life forever. The light bearer before the God of life became the demon of the shadows of death.

Life is not a stage for buffoons. It is deadly serious. We walk a tight rope between heaven and hell. Of ourselves we can never make it. As long as we keep our faces turned up to God and our hands in His, we shall not lose our nerve and fall. Only those fall who think themselves to stand by their own merits.



We can change the world within our own families. We do not need heroic deeds, exceptional intelligence or extraordinary talents. Every day, our daily duties, our interactions with our family, our living out the Faith in the small ordinary things, will be the thread that weaves the beautiful rug that future generations will be walking upon and building upon….

Finer Femininity Maglets are small publications compiled to inspire Catholic women in their vocations. They consist of uplifting articles from authors with traditional values, with many of them from priests, written over 50 years ago. These anecdotes are timeless but, with the fast-paced “progress “of today’s world, the pearls within the articles are rarely meditated upon. This little magazine offers Catholic womankind support and inspiration as they travel that oftentimes lonely trail….the narrow road to heaven. The thoughts within the pages will enlighten us to regard the frequently monotonous path of our “daily duties” as the beautiful road to sanctity. Feminine souls need this kind of information to continue to “fight the good fight” in a world that has opposing values and seldom offers any kind of support to these courageous women. Inside the pages you will find inspiration for your roles as single women, as wives and as mothers. In between the thought-provoking articles, the pages are sprinkled with pictures, quotes and maybe even a recipe or two.

The Spring Maglet is available here.

All 3 Maglets are for sale here.



Cheerfulness – Fr. Lovasik

From Kindness – The Bloom of Charity, Fr. Lovasik

Cheerfulness and kindness go hand in hand. Cultivate the spirit of cheerfulness from a supernatural motive. This means self-restraint, self-control for the love of God and your neighbor.

Take care not to lose your temper; for nobody wants it. Keep a smile on your face and a kind word on your tongue all day long towards your superiors, equals, and inferiors. You will make others happy, and find happiness yourself in giving joy and comfort to others.

A smile, like a yawn, is infectious. Smile and you will receive a smile in return, but if you should meet a churl, who gives you a frown for a smile, well, with a gracious word to him, take your departure; let this not disturb you. Your Guardian Angel has recorded your good deed, and your kindness will receive a heavenly reward.

Joyfulness of the heart is the life of a man and a never-failing treasure of holiness: and the joy of a man is length of life. –Ecclus. xxx. 23.

St. Paul admonishes us: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice!” (Phil. iv. 4.) And Habacuc sings: the Prophet “I will rejoice in the Lord, and I will joy in God my Jesus. The Lord God is my strength and He will make my feet like the feet of harts; and He, the Conquerer, will lead me upon my high places singing psalms.” (Habac. iii. 18, 19.)

There is an apostolate of cheerfulness as well as of prayer and of preaching by word and example. Like a sweet, fragrant flower by the roadside, whose bright loveliness is a joy to everyone who passes by, our cheerfulness is a blessing to all with whom we come in contact.

A man, or a woman, merely by being cheerful, exerts a quiet yet potent influence for good.

Let us bear this in mind that we can be helpful to souls, that we can encourage them and strengthen them in good by our cheerfulness and amiability.

It is well to do our duty, but sometimes this is not enough for the happiness of others and our own. We must do our duty with joy, with eagerness, with love.

Love must not keep count of what we do, nor stop strictly and sternly at the exact limit of duty.

Let us learn to devote ourselves generously, above all when there is question of fulfilling certain obligations of our state, position, etc., by which we do good to our brethren. Let us learn to show always a smiling face, although our work is distasteful to us or overwhelms us.

And after having worked hard let us take care not to recall in conversation the pains we have taken, the fatigue that we have imposed upon ourselves. Then our duty accomplished will please everyone; God first, men, and last of all our own poor heart.

Our Lord Himself has said: “Be of good cheer!” And He said this substantially many times. Jesus was indeed a Man of sorrows, but He was not a sad man. His face must always have reflected the serenity of His soul. He was meek and humble, gentle and amiable. “He went about doing good to all.”

From the Gospel narrative we can glean that Jesus possessed a cheerful temper, serenity mingled with tender seriousness, a most engaging presence, and a winning personality.

Children came to Him willingly and loved to linger near Him, and how can anyone imagine Him embracing and caressing little children without a smile of loving-kindness? Men followed Him in crowds, fascinated by His charm of manner and of speech.

And into woman’s heart came the thought: What happiness to be the mother of such a son! Among the saints– the close followers of Christ– St. Francis of Sales preeminently commands our admiration and our love for his Christ-like characteristics of cheerful serenity, meekness, humility, patience, charity, kindness, and sweetness of temper.

A gentle writer urging us to encourage others with cheerful kindness says: “You would not leave those plants in your window without water, or refuse to open the shutters that the sunlight might fall upon them, but you leave some human flower to suffer for want of appreciation or the sunlight of encouragement.

Utter the kind word when you can. Give the helping praise when you see that it is deserved. The thought that ‘no one knows and no one cares’ blights many a bud of promise.”


Our Lord Himself tells us why so few become holy, why so few become saints. “The whole world,” He says, “is gone astray because no one thinks in His heart.” Remark the words of Our Lord, “No one thinks in his heart,” that is, no one bothers to understand, to realize, to grasp in all their fullness the wonderful, the most consoling truths of our religion. – Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, An Easy Way to Become a Saint, 1949


Visit the Book List for the Youth for some great reading material!