Self-Conscious Sue and the Ice Cream Social

by Leane VanderPutten

It was a lovely afternoon with the branches of the trees swaying in the breeze. Suzi was looking out the window as she was wiping the last of the dishes.

Tonight was the Ice Cream Social. All the young people in their parish, the neighboring parish and maybe even some out-of-towners would be there. There would be ice cream, games, a live band. It should be fun. The weather was mild and lovely.

But Sue’s brow was furrowed. She wasn’t thinking of the ice cream, the games or the weather. She was annoyed with herself…Why did she have to be so self-conscious around people? Why couldn’t she be more relaxed and comfortable? She knew others could tell she was self-conscious, and that made it worse.

While the outgoing, smiling girls made the boys and their comrades feel comfortable, Sue’s gestures were stiff…awkward…which made others feel awkward, too. So she was subtly avoided.

And tonight would be the same. Yes, Sue wanted to go, but she knew what would happen…again. She would struggle the whole evening pretending she wasn’t self-conscious. You can only fool yourself and others for so long.

She knew Charles would be there, too. She respected and liked Charles. He had an easy-going way about him. He was head of the Altar Servers, was religious, yet not with an air of fake piety.

Charles was genuine and liked by many. Tonight, once again, she would look on, wistful as the crowd gathered around him, chatting, laughing and having a good time.

It was hard on her.

And that’s why her brows were furrowed.

Her mom noticed. “Something wrong, dear?“

Sue winced. She didn’t really want to talk about it. It wasn’t something that could be solved by talking. She had learned that in the past.

Her mom sensed the reticence to talk and, not wanting to pry, said a little prayer for her daughter as she went to fold the rest of the clothes. She knew her daughter struggled with these things…

Sue finished the dishes and went to get dressed for the Social.

As she was passing the coffee table, she noticed a book perched on the corner. It was called “Quotes of Wisdom”. She went over and fingered the pages.

“Mom must have just got this book,” she thought.

She didn’t have much time but she opened it up and her eyes fell upon a quote by C.S. Lewis.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.” She heard this quote before but this time was different. It struck a chord with her.

It’s true, she thought. She went to these parties, thinking of herself…how awkward she was, how shy she felt, how she wished she was like so-and-so or how she yearned Charles would pay attention to her.

Something clicked in Sue this time. “I’m going to do this party different,” she thought. “I’m going there and I’m going to think of others. I’m going to offer a hand to the hostess if she needs help. I’m going to notice if anyone is in need, or feeling awkward like I do, and be extra friendly to them. If I end up in a conversation I’m going to ask questions about them and let them talk.”

Sue’s heart was feeling lighter. As she was getting ready for the party, though, she began to slip back into her worry-mode. “What about this…. “What if I….”, etc.

Whoa! She stopped her thoughts. She mentally gathered those worries and fears in her arms, imagined herself looking into the tender and loving eyes of her Blessed Mother and laid those burdens at her feet.

“Please take care of them, my Mother!“

She threw on her wrap, said goodbye to her parents and walked the short way to the Social.

All through the evening she would feel herself wanting to hide or found herself slipping into self-condemning, intimidating thoughts. She would stop herself each time and leave them at Our Lady’s feet. It helped. It wasn’t easy or perfect, but she knew things were different this time.

And as the evening was coming to a close she actually had a small number of smiling friends form a bit of a circle around her.

Sue looked at her watch. It was late, she knew she had to get home. She finished helping the hostess cleanup.

She went to the closet to get her light wrap she had brought. All of a sudden, a hand reached up and took the wrap from her.

“Let me help you.“

She turned. It was Charles.

“Thank you.“. She said, her eyes sparkling.

As she dashed off into the night, the breeze playing through her hair, she looked up into the starry night and whispered another heartfelt “Thank you!”

Thought for the day…..

Father Irala from Achieving Peace of Heart:

No one who lives for himself alone lives as fully or produces as much as he who lives for others and does good for others.

When you are dominated by your unconscious mental activities, you lead a negative life which is colored by a sickly egoism.

You are always thinking of your own troubles and finding ways to lessen them. You can find no time to busy yourself with others or do any positive and progressive work. You see the enemy everywhere and are wholly taken up with fleeing from him.

Such a person lives, as Fosdick puts it, as if in a room lined with mirrors. Wherever he looks he sees himself.

But when he busies himself with others, several of these mirrors are changed into windows through which he can see other faces, other lives and other more pleasant landscapes.

This Maglet (magazine/booklet) is for you…dear young (and not-so-young), Catholic, Feminine Soul.

It is a compilation of traditional, valuable Catholic articles on the subjects that touch the hearts of serious-minded Catholic young ladies.

There are articles on courtship, purity, singleness, vocation, prayer, confession, friends, tea parties, obedience, etc.

This information is solid, written by orthodox Catholic writers (most of them gone to their eternal home) that cared about the proper formation of a young Catholic adult in a confused world.

Take this information to heart and your journey through adulthood will be filled with many blessings!

It is 40 pages, packed with information. See photo for Table of Contents. Available here.


Gemma’s Poem and Some Nice Reviews

For Throwback Thursday….

I thought I would share with you today a poem that our Gemma (11 yrs. old) wrote:


We are in a world right now that could explode any moment!

We are in a world right now that could turn into a torrent!

Look at all the humans that fright and scare all day.

They think of that tragic thing that could happen any way.

For me I just don’t worry and do my daily works.

I don’t act frightened and scared and think that life is short!

God is protecting me and I know that so I say

A little prayer of protection and go upon my way!


And here are some very kind reviews that were left on Amazon and my Etsy shop by those who purchased my Maglets. Thank you so much, Ladies!! <3

“This is a delightful publication! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and have pages marked for future reference. As a busy mother of five, I have a hard time sitting down and doing spiritual reading, but my soul longs for it, especially things that will help me to be a better wife and mother. This book breaks it down into “bite sized” bits that I can read and finish in the bits of time I get for reading. So inspirational! Thank you! My mother-in-law ordered me the next one (Advent/ Christmas issue), and now I get to practice the virtue of patience until it comes in! I can’t wait! Thank you for such a thoughtful publication that is full of wisdom and loving guidance!” -AC

“This is the first in what hopefully will be many little maglets. It’s great for Catholic moms, especially those of us who have large families and are busy. It is made up of nice little readings from various priests and other Catholic resources; very inspiring and solid, nothing wishy-washy. It’s nice to sit down with a cup of coffee and just read an article or two and mull over them. Definitely centers me more on my vocation and WHY I am cleaning up that mess the little ones made for the 3rd time today. 🙂
These would make an excellent gift for Christmas; or a stocking stuffer (they are perfect size!) I know there is now a Christmas one out too!” –N. Porter

“JMJ This is a charming book that is sure to delight. Many helpful bits of advice for mothers of all ages. A great gift for the engaged, newly wed, expecting and experienced mothers. Small and compact, easy to read and always brings a smile, sometimes a tear.” – SoCalGal

“A beautiful maglet chock full of gems. A must have for any family. Easy to read. A great reference source. A perfect gift to get all your friends. The author is quite a special lady and am grateful she worked so hard to create this for us.” –Linda R.

“These maglets are so encouraging especially to those looking to live out, joyfully, our vocation as wives and mothers. Lots of great quotes and articles.”

The package of all 4 Maglets is here. To get them singly click here.

4 Maglets

If you like the maglet, please leave a review on either Amazon or Meadows of Grace….or both! It is much appreciated!




Traditional Family Weekend 2018 – Photos, Videos….

Sometimes it’s hard to live a joyful, Catholic life in an un-Catholic world. That’s when you reach out and bring Catholic Culture to your own little world!

And that’s what we did years ago when we had our first Traditional Family Weekend. Yes, it’s been 15 years, we have had our bumps and made our mistakes but we have seen very good fruit come from these weekends. Couples have met, families have interacted, good times have been had, our souls have been nourished.

Here are some pictures and videos (look for the videos underneath the gallery), of our Family Weekend this year in June. It was very hot but it didn’t stop the young people from playing volleyball outside, doing water balloons and playing soccer!

We were blessed this year to have Fr. VanderPutten with us from Nigeria. We had not seen him for a couple years….last year he spent his vacation in Fatima for the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions. So it was great to have him! He always adds spice to wherever he goes. He brought his Nigerian friend, Edwin Mary Akadu, who stayed with us for the week they were here. We got to know him well and grew to love this holy, African man.

Below is the gallery, click on the first picture to view, then look for the videos underneath the gallery…

Below are some pictures of the Talent Show. Father Kodet, who has been with us for three years, will be leaving us soon to bless another parish with his winning and fatherly ways! He was always willing to spread the love of Christ to others….and often had his concertina in the back seat of his car to pull out and entertain those around him. Here is a video of Father playing at the Talent Show.


What a pleasure to have these young men perform! The kids loved the vibrant sounds of the fife and drum!



Hannah and Gemma are up to their antics again as they assure people that life is not perfect at the VanderPutten home….hehe


Wow! Skillful drums!! Take a look!


The girls practiced this song with Ernie…a lot. They finally got it down and when they got on stage, Ernie accidentally had the capo on the wrong fret of his guitar. Threw them all off and….well, let’s just say….this is not that video. Blah.

Anyway, this is their practice of the song…


John and Gemma never cease to amaze us with their talents!


Virginia (Gin) and Rosie sing “All I Ask of You” from the Phantom of the Opera









The Catholic Mother (Part Four) – Piety in Mothers, The Teaching of Purity

The Catholic Mother (Part One) – Assault on Family Life, Family Means Motherhood

The Catholic Mother (Part Two) – Motherhood and Children, Education and the State

The Catholic Mother (Part Three) – The Profession of Motherhood, A New Age, Wise Sacrifice

Fr. Bede Jarrett, O.P.

Nihil Obstat: PERCY JONES, Censor Diocesan

Imprimatur: D Mannix,

Archiepiscopus Melbournensis

June, 1958

Piety in Mothers

Right in early childhood piety needs to be taught to children; but even in early childhood children are very different from each other in their attitude to piety. Some seem naturally pious, or at least naturally interested in religious things, or naturally devout and reverent; others seem wearied and troubled by piety, are restless under it, irked by it.

These are merely natural traits of temperament and do not really mean very much. Those who are restless at prayer are, as often as not, restless anywhere; anything that calls for initiative, as prayer does, makes them uncomfortable. They are difficult at occupying themselves, entertaining themselves; they must be entertained by others, need to be amused, cannot amuse themselves.

But it does not always follow that restless children are of this character. Sometimes the reverse takes place. Sometimes it is those who need to be entertained who relish churchgoing. Their temperament is satisfied by what they look at.

So it seems to be impossible to decide why some children are naturally pious and some are not. Certainly it is not always a continuing interest. Some begin like that and end very differently; some never seem to have a love of piety in childhood and yet have it in youth.

This early attraction or distaste for religion can be well set aside as of no absolute importance.

What mothers have to do certainly is to study their children; each child is different. That is the beauty of a home, that children can be studied individually and with sympathy.

In nearly every family, for instance, there is one who is different from the rest. However, the point to be realized is the delicate way in which mothers have to deal with each child in teaching it religion.

First, the mother has to insist upon religion, not as a matter of liking or not liking, but as a matter of duty; yet the duty must not be made distasteful.

Religion of itself is interesting to a normal child. First a child is curious for information. It wants to know things. Hence catechism can be made most interesting to a child. But this depends on the teacher.

Some questions and answers should be learnt by heart. Not all of them need be, for not all of them matter. Some certainly do. But the child should not be burdened in its learning.

Here, then, is the delicacy of the business; on the one hand the child should not be plagued with religion, on the other hand the child should be taught to recognize the demands of religion as of a duty, over and above mere liking and disliking.

Merely because it does not want to pray, it should not be excused from praying; merely because it does not want to obey, it should not be excused from obeying.

It needs to be taught prayer in such a way that it shall find prayer interesting. The Rosary is often meaningless, and worse, to a child. A decade is as much as it can manage at any one time.

The character of Christ, on the other hand, can always be an inspiration to a child; the stories of the Gospels, the scenes, the parables, His patience, courage, endurance, fortitude, fearlessness, His love of birds and flowers and the harvest, His choice of carpentering His love of the sea and the hills and of gardens at night for praying in, His forgiveness, all can be of interest as well as help to a child.

With all these he should be familiar at his mother’s knee. She can teach him to pray by showing him how to form his own prayers, how to ask and thank and praise, how to be silent and listen, how to gaze at Christ. She will have no difficulty in explaining the Blessed Sacrament to him, or the Incarnation; she should have no difficulty in guiding him how to talk to God-which is all we mean by prayer.

But talk here also includes silence and contemplation, for a child is born a contemplative usually. It wants so often to look and be still and say nothing. Let it be helped to do that.

But no one can teach except what he has learnt himself. No mother can teach prayer who does not practice it. No one can give what he has not got.

The Teaching of Purity

Purity must be taught. But purity is not the opposite to impurity. Purity is the thing in itself, impurity is its lack. Purity is the positive dedication of love to Our Lord in such wise that love is not killed, but cleansed.

To love God is not to deny the need to love man, still less the need to love a man, a woman, a child. Purity means that the love of God helps us to love other people, and not merely to love ourselves in other people.

To love passionately may be to serve self only. To love passionately is sometimes to love the passion of love, its thrill, its stir, the pleasures it gives us, and not really at all the apparent object of our love.

Thus to love passionately may be only to love self, not another. Passion can go hand-in-hand with decent, pure love, will be found nearly always to some degree in all love, but it can easily usurp love’s place, if we love merely to have the pleasure of loving. Love is not the same as pleasure; love is as much at home with pain.

But purity means that Our Lord’s friendship is a third in all our friendships. Into our human friendships the body enters as well as the soul. That is as it should be. We are compacted of body and soul.

This love that involves the body in it will not hurt us, for Our Lord can be remembered as present in every moment of every lawful love. The Church has even a blessing for the marriage-bed. For marriage is not something to look down upon, but something to be looked up to.

It was the Manicheans and Albigensians who taught that the marriage act was unclean; and yet the Church has been condemned by many for persecuting them, for wishing to exterminate them. No doubt to exterminate them was a drastic remedy to apply to their disease; but the occasion infuriated Mother Church.

She believed in the Incarnation. She believed that matter could be hallowed, that the sacraments were holy, that marriage had been blessed with a sacrament, that to decry the marriage-act was blasphemy against the Creator of mankind.

For that reason she was bitterly intolerant. Yet in our time such is the ignorance of people that they accuse the Church of teaching what she condemned as worse than heresy seven hundred years ago.

“Be nothing solicitous; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be known to God.“ -Phil. 4:6 Douay Reheims

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Now Available! The All-New, Full-Color Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two!

Catholic mothers everywhere are looking for innovative ways to teach their children the basic truths of our Faith. There is so much out there to offer to those mothers on this journey… much in the way of the latest software, latest videos, etc.

Maybe we need to get back to basics!? …The basics of forming those young minds with tools that our grandmothers and those before them used.

Here is a book that fulfills that need...The Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two! It is a 140 page fun-packed book, vibrantly full-color,  filled with brand-new nursery rhymes that have a touch of our Catholic Faith peeking through the rhythmic lines.

My Catholic Mother Goose Volume One has touched many lives and now you can purchase Volume Two that will have a new and lasting impact!

A peek at some of the pages…..

The All-New, Full-Color Catholic Mother Goose, Volume Two is available here.

Catholic Mother Goose, Volume One is here.

Special Package of Catholic Mother Goose, Volumes One and Two is here.

“The love of parents is made manifest only through sacrifice, respect for the human nature of their children, companionship and a deep interest in the studies, the work, the play and the progress of their children. It does not injure the children by coddling them; it does not stunt them by unreasonable severity in its demands and punishments.” -Fr. Donald Miller, C.SS.R., 1950’s

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Patience With Our Own Faults and Imperfections

Picking ourselves up after we fall, not getting discouraged, not beating ourselves up……Father Jacques Philippe explains why this is fundamental to our climb in the spiritual life….

1380523_393556400820895_4541340826263499193_nSearching For and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

When one has gone a certain distance in the spiritual life, when one truly desires to love the Lord with all his heart, when one has learned to have confidence in God and to abandon himself into His hands in the midst of difficulties, there remains for him, however, a circumstance in which he often risks losing his peace and tranquility of soul and which the devil frequently exploits to discourage and trouble him.

It concerns the vision of his misery, the experience of his own faults, the failures he continues to experience in such and such an area, despite his strong desire to correct himself.

But here also it is important to be aware that the sadness, the discouragement and the anguish of soul that we feel after committing a fault are not good and we must, on the contrary, do everything we can to remain at peace.

In the daily experience of our miseries and faults, this is the fundamental principle that must guide us. It is not so much a question of our making superhuman efforts to completely eliminate our imperfections and our sins (that which is, in any case, beyond our reach!), as it is a question of knowing how, as quickly as possible, to recapture our peace when we have fallen into sin or have been troubled by the experience of our imperfections, and to avoid sadness and discouragement.

This is not laxity, not resignation to mediocrity, but, on the contrary, a way in which to sanctify ourselves more rapidly. There are  a number of reasons for this.

The first reason is the fundamental principle that we have already mentioned many times: God acts in the peace of one’s soul. It is not by our own efforts that we succeed in liberating ourselves from sin; it is only the grace of God which attains this end. Rather than troubling ourselves, it is more efficacious to regain our peace and let God act.

The second reason is that this is more pleasing to God. What is more pleasing to God? Is it when, after experiencing a failure, we are discouraged and tormented, or when we react by saying: “Lord, I ask Your pardon, I have sinned again. This, alas, is what I am capable of doing on my own! But I abandon myself with confidence to Your mercy and Your pardon, I thank You for not allowing me to sin even more grievously.

I abandon myself to You with confidence because I know that one day you will heal me completely and, in the meantime, I ask You that the experience of my misery would cause me to be more humble, more considerate of others, more conscious that I can do nothing by myself, but that I must rely solely on Your love and Your mercy.” The response is clear.

The third reason is that the trouble, the sadness and the discouragement that we feel regarding our failures and our faults are rarely pure; they are not very often the simple pain of having offended God. They are in good part mixed with pride.

We are not sad and discouraged so much because God was offended, but because the ideal image that we have of ourselves has been brutally shaken. Our pain is very often that of wounded pride! This excessive pain is actually a sign that we have put our trust in ourselves – in our own strength and not in God.

Listen to Dom Lorenzo Scupoli whom we have already cited:

“A presumptuous man believes with certainty that he has acquired a distrust of himself and confidence in God (which are the foundations of the spiritual life and therefore that which one must make an effort to acquire), but this is an error that we never recognize better than when we have just experienced a failure.

Because then, if one is troubled by it, if one feels afflicted by it, if it causes one to lose all hope of making new progress in virtue, this is a sign that one has placed all his confidence, not in God, but in himself, and the greater the sadness and despair, the more one must judge himself guilty.

Because he who mistrusts himself greatly and who puts great confidence in God, if he commits some fault, is hardly surprised, he is neither disturbed not chagrined because he sees clearly that this is the result of his weakness and the little care he took to establish his confidence in God.

His failure, on the contrary, teaches him to distrust even more his own strength and to put even greater trust in the help of Him who alone has power: he detests above all his sin; he condemns the passion or vicious habit which was the cause; he conceives a sharp pain for having offended his God, but his pain is always subdued and does not prevent him from returning to his primary occupations, to bear with his familiar trials and to battle until death with his cruel enemies….

It is, again, a very common illusion to attribute to a feeling of virtue this fear and trouble that one experiences after a sin; because, though the uneasiness that follows the sin is always accompanied by some pain, still it does not proceed only from a source of pride or from a secret presumption, caused by too great a confidence one’s own strength.

Thus, then, whoever believes himself affirmed in virtue, is contemptuous toward temptations and comes to understand, by the sad experience of his failures, that he is fragile and a sinner like others, is surprised, as if by something that never should have happened; and, deprived of the feeble support on which he was counting, he allows himself to succumb to chagrin and despair.

This misfortune never happens to those who are humble, who do not presume on themselves and who rely only on God; when they have failed, they are neither surprised not chagrined because the light of truth which illuminates them makes them see that it is a natural result of their weakness and their inconstancy.


ene-temperedprecious opportunities

We cannot serve the flesh and the spirit; the two masters. What we are seeking to do is more important than what we seek to avoid. The positive aspects of the Kingdom are good works, piety, prayer and sanctity. Description of Heaven (the Kingdom) which is our goal. Our real life is the eternal life. Everything we do on earth is a merit or a demerit for that end. Discussion of peace. True love of self brings us to true love of God. What is true charity? The tranquility of order. Evil can never put men at rest. The peace of Heaven can exist on earth…

Coloring pages for your children…..

Need some inspiration? Visit these Book Lists for some great reading suggestions!

My Book List

Book List for Catholic Men

Book List for the Youth

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An Intelligent Choice of a Mate – Fr. Lovasik

This article is for the single folk out there…and for parents of young adults (this is always good information for parents so we can instruct our children properly).

This book is an excellent choice to help one on the path to choosing a good mate.

Solemn engagement of my daughter and son-in-law with Fr. VanderPutten:

our solemn engagement 2012 008

Clean Love in Courtshipby Father Lovasik

Be on your guard against elements which make for separation and divorce. One of the chief causes of these disorders is that the couple discovers after marriage that they are mismatched; they have little in common. They are uncongenial in temperament and disposition; they differ in moral character and in religious outlook, in culture and tastes.

Association loses its charm; boredom sets in and finally leads to aversion. Test yourself to find out if you are really called to married life with this particular person. As soon as you realize that such a union does not and cannot appeal to you, gently discontinue the courtship regardless of consequences.

It is better to part as friends in good time than to be compelled either to live together very unhappily for life, or to separate as enemies later on. After all, it is the purpose of courtship to learn this very thing.Courtship should be entered upon with a deep sense of responsibility and mutual respect.

Intelligent choice of a mate must not look only to mutual physical attraction, but more so to harmony of tastes,feelings, desires, aspirations, and of temperament. It must weigh spiritual more than physical values.

What has begun as a mere sex intimacy is not likely to end in a happy marriage. In courtship you must also be honest and honorable towards your partner.

Reveal yourself and your family and personal stature with sincerity and truth to the extent to which he or she has the right to this information. However, there are certain things of a family or personal nature one need not and must not tell, such as personal repented sin. They are best left buried and forgotten.

No one except God should ever know of past sins. As soon as you know that a person has no prospect whatever of marrying you, you are in duty bound to discontinue receiving his attentions.

After you are engaged to be married, you can no longer keep company honorably with others, as long as this engagement holds.Listen to the wise voice of the ancient Church which has seen millions of young couples through happy marriages and has only their earthly success and eternal happiness at heart.

The Catholic Church warns you in advance that you will pay a heavy penalty for negligence, haste, and rashness in choosing a partner.

Before she admits candidates to the priesthood, she requires them to spend long years in training and discipline, meditating all the while on the seriousness of the step they contemplate.

Yet Holy Orders imposes no obligation of greater duration than that imposed by matrimony.  Refrain from beginning to keep regular company too soon. If you begin to do so at sixteen or seventeen years, you expose yourself either to the danger of a premature marriage with its frequent mistake of poor choice or you court the hardly lesser evil of an immoderately long courtship with the attendant disadvantages.

You tie yourself down to one person and thus lose the social advantages and contacts that will have a great influence upon your later life. You expose yourself in a special way to temptations against chastity, because this love affair may be a very prolonged one, and the danger of violating chastity increases as the affection is prolonged.

If you begin “to go steady” while you are a student, you will find it almost impossible to do justice to your studies.Since courtship limits your interest to a single person, it should not be undertaken until you are in a position seriously to consider marriage in the not too distant future.

This presupposes that you have attained the age to understand the great responsibilities of marriage and that you have enough financial resources to establish and maintain a home.

Marrying in haste nearly always means repenting bitterly at leisure. Do not prefer to be sorry to being certain.While the Church warns against courtships of undue brevity, she likewise counsels against those of excessive length.

No hard and fast rule can be laid down determining the exact length of courtship. It should be of sufficient duration to allow young people to learn the character and disposition of each other quite well.

This can usually be done in a period ranging from six months to a year. Ordinarily regular company-keeping should not be protracted much beyond a year. Aside from the obvious moral dangers involved, long courtships are undesirable because they often end in no marriage or in an unhappy marriage.

Grievous injustice can be done to the girl if the man terminates the courtship after monopolizing her attention for several years, and depriving her of other opportunities. Courtship is not the end but the vestibule leading to the great Sacrament.

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There will be some things, of course, that very soon they will not want to do for her..dull, dreary things, fetching, cleaning, carrying. But these also they must be trained to do. The mother will often want to save time and trouble by doing them for herself, but if she does she will hurt her children’s character. She must train them young to work for others, to be unselfish, to give. -Dominican Nun, Australia, 1950’s

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The Rejected Suitor




by Anne Ross Kootz

There so is much accumulated wisdom, so easily accessible now, for young women who want to live holy lives. How to: prepare for roles as traditional wives and mothers; enjoy a chaste and successful courtship; begin a happy and fruitful marriage with a God-fearing man. is itself a first-rate source of this information.

Gratefully, I scan this and other sources of womanly interests, though I am the mother of sons, only. I have spent myself for more than 26 years trying to form ornery, grimy little boys into strong, virtuous, and devout future husbands (and priests.) You see how I might also have an interest in anything that will help other mothers rear their daughters as future wives!

In all this wealth of information, however, there is a neglected element deserving of a closer look.

Recall: God-fearing Catholic men are just like any others when it comes to our fairer sex. We fascinate them. Yes. Absolutely. Fascinate. Most men manage to keep themselves under cool control, but within their minds and hearts… lightning is flashing, bells are ringing, and storms are raging when in the presence of the Feminine. These men are to be commended for their self-mastery!

Because of this fascination, good men really want to please us. Eagerly! With tremendous effort! Sometimes they will even ask their mothers what to do, because mom might remember being a girl.

So, what is the problem? Because we fascinate them, men are vulnerable to our attention, and lack of attention. A quick smile will send him, interiorly, into flights of happiness. One short, but pleasant conversation will put a spring in his step for days. Usually we are adept at genteel behavior. Sadly, sometimes we are focused on our own interests, forgetting that hidden weakness in a man’s armor. A thoughtless word, or snub, can injure his heart without our ever intending it!

When someone simply wants to engage you in conversation, common courtesy suggests you give at least a few minutes of your time. If you already know a man, and welcome his attention, conversation comes easily. As for a potential suitor, whom you do not yet know well, a few friendly chats could lead to pleasant discoveries! Impromptu opportunities abound – for instance, invite him to wash dishes with you after a party!

But what if you do know him, for many months or years now, and really aren’t interested? What can a lady do to deflect unwanted attention? Evasion is the easy, automatic response. But is it the right response?

When you avoid a man because of his unwanted attentions, you merely drag him along. He wonders if you are simply shy, and he should persevere gently until you are more comfortable with him. He may suspect you don’t like him, or there is simply no sparkle for you, and he should back away. He just doesn’t know. And he can’t read your mind. This situation confuses him. Remember, he wants to please you. He is trying to find out how to do this. How can you help him? Use words!

Here are some suggestions. First, practice the virtue of charity at all times. In the case of the unwanted suitor, this means you must be courageous enough to find words to tell him.  Maybe you appreciate his kindness toward you, but would prefer to keep your friendship on a purely casual level. Do you already have a mutual agreement with another man? He may not want to hear it, but he will prefer the truth to the uncertainty.

Collect your thoughts before speaking to him. Focus for a moment on his positive attributes. Then your remarks will give him hope to find an good woman who will appreciate him. Is he an attractive man? Intelligent, warm, humorous, kind? Is he admirably devout? Does he sing or serve at Holy Mass? Observe his qualities, and acknowledge them. Does God have a better match for him?  Take the time to write your ideas. When you have formulated your best response, please tell him at the next reasonable opportunity.

You can, of course, write him a letter. But telling him in person, discretely, may better support his inherent human dignity.

What circumstances might permit this private communication? Where you can be seen, but not overheard, by others. For example, walk with him for a moment in a parking lot, or at the edge of a sports field. Out of doors is best, as fresh air and open spaces will help him manage his disappointment.

Once you make it very clear, verbally, kindly, you are not the one for him, he will be briefly stung. But he will probably recover quickly, and be free to notice another woman – perhaps one who has been hoping to get his attention. Thus you may be doing two acts-of-mercy in one!

“Love one another as I have loved you.” Your goal is to live a holy life now and gain eternal life in heaven. The exciting time of young adulthood, with vocation discernment and courtships, is part of that process. You can leave a trail of wounded hearts, or a legacy of graciousness. Bestow a treasury of warm memories on all who know you, including that rejected suitor.



“No—the age of chivalry has not so utterly passed away… the spirit which animated the knightly institutions of old still remains to inspire lofty aims, sentiments of the most exalted and self-denying generosity, and deeds of chivalrous daring and heroic self-sacrifice, as worthy of eternal remembrance as those that ever graced the lives of a Godfrey, a Tancred, or a St. Louis.” – Fr. Bernard O’Reilly, True Men As We Need Them, 1878, Painting by Franz Gullery

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The Catholic Mother (Part Three) – The Profession of Motherhood, A New Age, Wise Sacrifice

The Catholic Mother (Part One)

The Catholic Mother (Part Two)

Profession of Motherhood

All this makes the profession of motherhood a very high responsibility. Indeed, it is a profession more challenging than any other profession in the world.

There are professions which demand of those who practice them that they should be ready to face death in the discharge of their professional duties. Thus a soldier and a sailor have to be ready to give their lives upon demand. A doctor, a nurse, a priest, have each of them often to risk their strength, or even their lives, if the need of human service demands them.

But yet soldier, sailor, doctor, nurse, priest, may live to ripe old age without actually having to put their lives in jeopardy. They may never be in danger from the duties of their profession.

A mother is not like that. She has not only to be ready to endanger her life: she has actually to risk that danger. No mother but has actually faced that risk when she has acquitted herself again of motherhood.

Hence motherhood asks of every mother a character of heroism. Mothers are the most constantly heroic of mankind.

Mothers have therefore nearly always been found on the side of religion, for religion demands heroism of its followers.

Religion is not an opiate, for religion does not help people to forget, but to remember. It does not dull people. It does not say Take, but Give.

Religion asks everything of its believers, for religion is love, and love is the most demanding, the most costing, of all the passions of man. That is why Our Lord compressed the whole of religion into one commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart. whole soul, whole strength.

Mothers perhaps more easily understand this than others (except young men, perhaps, who are learning it by falling in love).

Moreover, not only are mothers heroic because they are constantly being challenged to risk their lives, but also because more than any others they find their profession to be a whole-time job.

Mothers are never unemployed, or should not be, for their children are not merely to be born of them but tended by them until death parts them. Children take a deal of tending, children of all ages; and here, in the number of a mother’s children, even their father is to be reckoned.

To the mother, her very husband is always a child. He needs looking after as much as any of them, but he must not realize that she so judges of him. He is even more sensitive than the children are to the indignity of being publicly looked after by the mother. That only means that she must wait on him with the greater tact.

But her cares are only increased the more by this, and her employment is only the more continuous. She has to go on looking after them as long as any of them are still at home; that is what inevitably happens, for she is the home.

The family carries the nation, she carries the family. The whole of Christendom rests on the mother’s knee.

A New Age

Mothers are sometimes discouraged by their experiences to believe that these old ideals of motherhood are done with. In some moods they are led to think that the world has altered and that children no longer obey their parents nor will be governed by them as they once did.

It may be true. But if it is true, the cause for it is manifest. If a whole generation of youth no longer is governed by its parents, no longer reverences them, is utterly selfish towards them, the only people who can have brought this about are the parents themselves.

Individual cases indeed do not prove that individual parents have failed, for good parents can have ill-bred children and, contrariwise, careless parents may have children who worship them.

But it remains true that a whole generation can fail only because the generation immediately before it disregarded its duty.

The excuse is sometimes made that the young folk grew up in the war without a father to look after them. That alone would not have caused the trouble. The real cause was not that the fathers were not present, but that the mothers were absent. They went to work, or were touched by their excitement, and neglected their duty because, in that pitiful phrase, they wanted a good time.

Wise Self-Sacrifice

Perhaps, after all, the cause of that selfish generation of children was not exactly because mothers were negligent of their duty in that they did not look after their children. The selfishness of children may be due to another cause which, however, will not free the parents from blame.

It may be unselfishness that has been the mother’s undoing. To be self-sacrificing is admirable and motherly; but it has its disadvantages. It can be unwise.

Let us put it in this way. A mother will come to the priest and complain of her child to him. “Father, I have done everything for him, and now he turns round and is most selfish to me.”

Poor mother! All the more shall we pity her because his selfishness is in part her fault. Why did she do everything for her child? She should not have done everything. She should have let him do things for her himself.

When children are little, the mother does everything for them since they cannot do anything for themselves. But gradually she has to steel her heart against doing everything for them. They must be trained to do things for themselves. They must not be forever dependent on her. She has to train them to get on without her, to be independent of her, to live their own lives, to look after themselves.

Even that is not enough. They must not only be trained to do things for themselves, they must be trained to do things for her. And they will want to do many things for her; that is their nature, they will want to help.

There will be some things, of course, that very soon they will not want to do for her..dull, dreary things, fetching, cleaning, carrying. But these also they must be trained to do. The mother will often want to save time and trouble by doing them for herself, but if she does she will hurt her children’s character. She must train them young to work for others, to be unselfish, to give.

It is an almost inevitable effect of a large family that the children of themselves grow up generous and tolerant. This is thumped into them by the aid of many fists. But with a small family, it has all to de done by the mother and father. They have to do for their children what brothers and sisters would have done for them, for, whatever happens, the work needs to be done.

Mothers, then, must not allow their self-sacrificing nature, their heroism, to prevent them from demanding sacrifices in return from their children. Their needs and not her needs must be remembered. They need to be trained to give. Of their very childhood they are impulsive and generous, but this spontaneous character of theirs can be hurt. It can also be developed. Let mothers look into it.

That only is wise self-sacrifice when it encourages and demands sacrifice. A generous mother can reduce her children to selfishness, a mother who does everything for her child has actually taught that child to be selfish. She has no right to complain of his subsequent ingratitude. Her folly has ruined her child.

That is why it has happened that good mothers have ill-bred children; they were not really good mothers, for goodness includes prudence and wisdom.

Really good mothers are also wise mothers.

“The man takes you to the movie, to dinner, to a dance, to a party, or for an automobile drive, but you owe him no liberties for this. If you are an earnest Catholic girl, you will retain the grace of God and your self-respect, while enjoying the esteem of all good men. You will even make evil minds pause, dazzled by the purity in your eyes, the modesty of your actions, and the reserve in your words.” -Fr. Lovasik, Clean Love in Courtship (afflink)

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