Our Lady’s Rosary Makers – Not What You Think

IMG_4401Sixth graders are on fire.  They have made hundreds of cord rosaries and it appears we are still early in the process.  Eighth grade Giana Girls are also engaging in the process.  Even some fourth graders have gotten involved.  Sister Mary Guadalupe is the main instigator, and she is willing to teach a new Rosary Devotee how to tie a knot any chance she gets.

This week a small group of sixth graders came to me with a charitable request.  IMG_4397One of our kindergartners has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.  The girls, some of whom have very close associations with leukemia in their own families, wanted to help that kindergartner and her family.  They’d like to market their rosaries for her.  I love how their hearts that are making the connection that we could do this to help another.  The boys will be helping, too, but this core group has a good dose of the feminine genius that we will fan into flame.  They have the green light from me to proceed with their plan.  They have a strategy for posters as well as a time and place to engage not only the school community, but also our parish and a couple other parishes.  Some have also begun to reach out to their family members.  The leadership ability of these young people is growing, as is their charity to those in need.

IMG_4402We have been communicating with the cord manufacturers to see if they, too, would like to contribute to our cause.  I’m wondering who they think is on the other end of the communique.  Sisters in their 80s are a grace for the Church (someday I hope to be one), but that is not the “Rosary Makers” of today, here at our school!

Just yesterday a few eighth graders proposed a project to promote solidarity and prayer for the same intention…more on that next week.  In the meantime, join us in prayer for that little one and her family.  Many of our children have “tied one on” literally.  May they tie Rosary knots for charity and the good of the Mystical Body with regularity throughout their lives.

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Only a Good Friend Tells Me There is Breakfast on My Face

A while back a few of the little people in my life were visiting with me after lunch.  I had some fragment of lunch on my habit.  One of the little ones said, “Sister you have something on your……on your……..on your altar.”  How do you not laugh at their comments! We all need a little chuckle especially during Lent.

In Baptism each of us is given a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  My altar is the desk of my office, my pew in chapel, the dining room table, the kitchen, the garden.  From each of these I offer to the Lord a sacrifice of love.  Some are so easy to give, even a joy to give, others, well, not so much a joy, but probably even more meritorious to give.

If I had a child, or better yet children, in diapers, I would put a crucifix over the changing table.  Just high enough that the little one wouldn’t be able to reach it at the maximum size for that changing table.  That would be my place of sanctity, the best place to offer to God a sacrifice of love.  (I have yet to run into anyone who says, “I just love changing a good dirty diaper!”)  As a former student of mine who now has seven children said to me just this week,  “I’m counting on God’s grace for all the little things I do to keep our home running.  I couldn’t do them without Him, and I wouldn’t do them all if it weren’t for Him.”  That’s a woman becoming holy.  God be praised.  May we all be among the faithful becoming a bit more holy.  Where is your altar of sacrifice?

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Hey, what are you doing in my soul?

On rare occurrences, a phrase strikes me as so true that it seems like it flowed  right out of my soul, or straight from God’s heart to mine, where it fits like home.  The Litany of Trust has more than just a few such lines.  We, as CKs, used the litany of trust as the novena prayer for our recent retreat for young women discerning important life matters.

For me, each of the lines is cause for a long meditation. As it is Lent, if the Litany does the same for you, I wonder if there is a place for it in your Lenten practices too.

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that I am unlovable,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the false security that I have what it takes,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From all suspicion of Your words and promises,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your Will,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From anxiety about the future,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From resentment, or excessive preoccupation with the past,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From restless self-seeking of the present moment,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From disbelief in Your love and presence in the midst of suffering and trial,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of what love demands,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From discouragement,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

 That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That you are with me in my suffering,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my sufferings, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your plan is better than anything else,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You always hear me and, in Your goodness, always respond to me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You provide the grace to forgive myself and others,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my life is a gift,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will teach me to trust You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You are my Lord and my God,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That I am Your beloved one,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Sister Faustina Maria, SV

I have worked with Sister Faustina Maria on a few occasions.  She is not a Saint from long ago, but a young Sister filled with life in the Sisters of Life in New York City.  God bless her, clearly this Litany is the fruit of prayer!  Thank you for your willingness to share the fruit of prayer, Sister.  It seems appropriate to close with the Church’s symbol for trust and hope, the ANCHOR.  It helps us stay firmly grounded amidst the storms of life.

anchr

Blessed Lent to you all!

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Is my child resilient?

Has your child ever been unsuccessful at something? Maybe he or she got a bad grade, or struck out at a ball game. Maybe an older sibling got to a higher level on a video game. Setbacks, even little ones, are a part of everyday life. But have you noticed how your child handles these?

A lot of research for more than 20 years has been devoted to a quality called resilience. Here’s a formal definition:
Resilience is a person’s capability to cope and thrive in the face of adversity, to recover from difficult situations and adapt to stressors.

Take Jim and John for example. Both boys are twins in the same class who did poorly on a math test. Both are disappointed. Jim responds by asking the teacher for help to understand the problems he did wrong and studying more for his next test. John responds by sulking and putting himself down, “I’m terrible at math.” He messes around in math class and doesn’t get his homework done. He doesn’t study for the next math test because he figures he’ll just fail again. So what makes the difference for these two boys? They are in the same family environment and have the same teacher. The answer is their degree of resilience.161.JPG

Back in 1962, Albert Ellis proposed an ABC model to explain how resilience (or its lack) works. This model became the foundation for resilience research. In a nutshell, here is the model:

• A is the adversity—the situation or event.
• B is our belief—our explanation about why the situation happened.
• C is the consequence—the feelings and behaviors that our belief causes.

We can’t change the A (adversity), but we can change B (what we think/believe) about the adversity. The C (consequence) then follows upon our thoughts/beliefs. Jim believed he could still do the math but that he just needed more help. This led to the consequence of getting help from the teacher and studying more. John believed he was bad at math, period. This led to the consequence of messing around in class and not studying. The key to the boys’ response was where their beliefs led them.

This is also the entry point for our Faith. The core belief that we are God’s beloved children is the foundation of our identity. Whenever you can remind your children that they are loved by God and that nothing, absolutely nothing will change His love, this belief can provide them with the confidence they need to face adversities in their lives. Perhaps, we need to remember this truth ourselves. When we know God’s love for us, we can then model that love to our children. May this Lent be a time for all of us to deepen in our truest identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Father!

For more information on resilience, check out these sites:
Video illustrating ABCs of resilience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp_tZr4qJp8
PDF outlining the ABC model: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~eap/abcstress2.pdf
25 Ideas For How You Can Teach Your Kids Resilience: http://www.momentsaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/25-Ideas-For-How-You-Can-Teach-Your-Kids-Resilience.pdf

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I (Hate, strikethrough)Love (stikethrough) Need Lent!

I Hate Love Need Lent!  (We have CLEAR ashes this year! Picture examples are sprinkled below.)

God knows me well.  My fickle spirit needs a regular resetting, a regular reminder to cooperate with His grace and strive toward the goodness toward which God calls, a restoration of at least a little discipline in life.  Oh how I need it!  It is so bad, I’m feeling really good about it….so far I’ve kept my Lenten resolutions well and….. it’s just about noon, 1/80th of the way to Easter.

At least I have a positive start.  I’m not below claiming that, so it’s onward and upward, please God!  A friend of Father’s just shared a list of possible Lenten resolutions.  I found them interesting; hope you do, too.  They come from daily family life:

 

 

 

your cellphone (or, texting, shopping online, Face-book, etc. online)

  • television or your favorite television show
  • television before a certain hour
  • television AFTER a certain hour
  • coffee (yes, coffee)
  • caffeine in any form
  • diet soda
  • donuts
  • hamburgers
  • pizza (yes, pizza)
  • chocolate
  • anything with chocolate flavor
  • all snacks or desserts
  • movies, Netflix, movie rentals
  • the Internet
  • March Madness
  • following your favorite sports team
  • video games
  • celebrity magazines
  • golf (an objectively grave moral evil) (only kidding)
  • booze (yes, booze)
  • watching golf on TV
  • a destructive, irresistible “friendship”
  • doubt that some very small goodness matters, it does!
  • foul language
  • picking your nose
  • not grooming properly
  • sports radio
  • satellite radio
  • music radio
  • talk radio

  • restaurants
  • eating lunch outside of work
  • driving when you could walk
  • sleeping in late on the weekends
  • hitting the Snooze Button in the morning
  • fast food drive-throughs
  • shopping for clothes or food
  • soap operas
  • working on cars
  • working in your shop
  • chess
  • fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, skateboarding

  • some of your “alone” time doing any hobby
  • your absolute favorite, passionate hobby (aha, you just fainted!)
  • nagging your husband (you know who you are)
  • criticizing your wife (she knows who you are)
  • interrupting others
  • knitting, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku
  • knitting? (you addicts understand)
  • cigarettes
  • cigars, gum, and “phony candy” breath mints
  • cookies

  • chips
  • cellphone calls in your car on the drive home
  • Bluetooth headset (more difficult than you think)
  • fantasy football, basketball, or baseball
  • ice cream
  • betting on March Madness
  • gossiping at work—say something nice instead
  • stealing “little stuff” from your employer, including time online
  • relations with your spouse (on certain days or weeks)
  • thinking about yourself when you wake up or go to sleep (pray instead)
  • thinking about yourself when you drive (pray instead)
  • buying anything you don’t need

Or stated the other way you could add:

  • cooking breakfast for your kids
  • stopping by your neighbors to say hello for weeks
  • smiling when you arrive at the office
  • eating your vegetables (even you adults)
  • exercise
  • visit or call your “not close by” relatives

God bless and guide you in your Lenten practices as well as those of your family!

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“OK Google, show me ___________.”

OK Google is a function on mobile devices that is voice activated and does what you ask as much as it is able (Siri and Alexa have similarities).  Some small children have used it to learn about things they wonder about.  Some of the things they wonder about are age-appropriate and morally appropriate.  Other things are typical for their developmental stage, but a mobile device is not the place to learn about such things.

The following scenario is real, but reported anonymously here……Some kids last week were talking about what they were going to ask OK Google to show them.  The content was not appropriate.  Thanks be to God, perceptive adults had their ears open and the kids did not actually do what they spoke about.  One of them said, “My parents don’t have OK Google, but my uncle’s friend does.”  Many of us think our kids are safe because we have internet filters on our devices.  Such care is wise essential , but it can’t let our vigilance take a vacation thinking the job is done.  Many a child is exposed to inappropriate content at a friend or neighbor’s house.

Do you have a ready response for when your child tells you he/she stumbled upon pornography?  The question is not if children will see something inappropriate, but when, and what will they do?  We work to keep them from such evils that attack and destroy innocence, but open dialogues that enable them to talk to you when the preventative measures fail are essential if we are to help guide the children through the culture in which we live.

Literature that can lead you through dialogues with your child is of great assistance to some.  Matt and Jen Davis, parents of eight children, came to an SFA meeting last year and presented about a book called “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.”  It is recommended for children aged 3-7.  It is available here with a 2-min. video of a parent sharing about the book:  https://www.amazon.com/Kristen-A.-Jenson-M.A./e/B00J0MGITQ  The following short podcast is a recent interview with Matt and Jennifer Davis about using the book:  http://www.lincolndiocese.org/catechist-resources/christ-our-teacher-podcasts

You may have a ready response for your child when they stumble upon something; planning is so wise.  A proper response is key to keeping children from shame and tendencies to return to the inappropriate material.  Father Kilcawley’s presentation at Integrity Restored helps parents know how to respond.  Father was here for the October SFA meeting with exceptional information.  The website has similar information and we hope to have Father back again.  See http://integrityrestored.com/getting-help/parents/.

May the Good Lord help us to shine His light into dark places.  Remember He can use ALL things for good if we place them in His hands.  We are His children and He is with us.  We are not orphans, but beloved children of Our Father.  Let us call upon Him for help as often as we need it, which for me is pretty much constantly.  He is a Faithful Father, who sends His help.

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Wedding Bells for a Five-year-old?

When I was five I experienced my first wedding.  Three older sisters and my twin brothers were present.  We were in an upstairs bedroom.  My sisters had dressed me up in a fancy dress.  Jim was the priest.  Jon brought in the groom – Benji, a Shetland Sheepdog.  When I was asked if I took Benji for my husband, I said, “I do.”  When Jim asked Benji if he took me for his wife, Jon opened his mouth and said, “I do.”  At the end of the ceremony, Jon threw some beads (that was the rice) and it was over.

(No, it’s not Benji, but this is me with my first Sheltie, Sally, the dog on the right.)

smang-and-bengi

Hopefully, when you read this it brought a smile.  Children can be creative in so many ways!  Plus, they imitate what they see from adults.  I “loved” dogs and somehow that translated to my brothers and sisters that it meant we could “get married.”  None of us really thought that a human could marry a dog, but it was fun to act out.  It was an innocent, and happy, memory that I have of my childhood.

Unfortunately, our children today receive a lot more conflicting messages about love and marriage and family.  Our culture fills their minds with pictures, TV shows and ads that promote distorted views on how God created the human person, the human marriage and the human family to be.  Our culture does not have to have the last word, but it will take concerted effort on our part!

Jesus gave us the Church to be a beacon of light in the darkness.  And a beautiful extension of His Church is our Catholic Schools.  No doubt, each morning as you drop off your child at St. Peter’s, you have a sense of peace in your heart that here, at least, your child will be surrounded by goodness, truth and beauty.  Grandparents Day of Catholic Schools Week was a great visible witness to this goodness as family and school came together to celebrate.  Enjoy the pictures!

 

Here at St. Peter’s, your child will have his/her mind filled with the knowledge of being a precious child of God, created in His image and likeness.  Here, your child will learn that love is a relationship marked by true concern and a willingness to sacrifice for the good of the other, just as Jesus sacrificed for us.  Here, your child will be prepared for the sacraments that open their hearts to the grace of the Holy Spirit working within.

These concepts, and more, are part of what Saint John Paul II called a “culture of life” that fight against the “culture of death.”  In the first five years of his pontificate, he taught the world through his Wednesday audiences what has come to be called the “Theology of the Body.”  He revealed in ways that had never been expressed before in the Church, how the gift of our human body expresses the soul and communicates who we are to one another.

As parents, you have the challenge to help navigate your child through a culture that tries to pull your child down and, while claiming to exalt the freedom and rights of every individual, regardless of the deviant nature of their desires, actually denigrates those freedoms and rights that God gave us from the very beginning.  This short video I recently came across could be helpful and encouraging for you in the role God has given you as you guide your child:

http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/children-video/

In the coming year, the Office of Religious Education for the Lincoln Diocese will be promulgating a Theology of the Body curriculum for our Catholic elementary schools.  This is an exciting endeavor as it will take our current religion curriculum and heighten the awareness of the amazing dignity we have as human persons.  With this deeper emphasis, your child will be even more prepared to face the world with confidence as a beloved child of God.  Please pray for this endeavor and stay tuned for more details in the months ahead.

God bless you!

Sister Mary Angela, CK

 

 

 

 

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