Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Five Patron Saints You Didn't Know About

"Man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and seek." ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas knew what it meant to be happy. He knew that it meant to no longer be seeking or desiring anything else. He knew that meant you needed to be with God, next to Him, face-to-face. Thomas, as well as the over 10,000 other patron saints, are all perfectly happy. Having sought after and fulfilled their destiny by now being face-to-face with God, each patron saint has the ability to intercede on our behalf. Being face-to-face with God gives them the unearthly ability to hear our prayer, take it directly to God, and pray along with us.

In each of life’s circumstances we have a patron saint there for us. St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Valentine of love and happy marriage, and St. Christopher the patron saint of travelers are amongst some of the most well known patron saints, but what about those we are less familiar with?

All Saints day is November 1, and what better way to celebrate and commemorate their lives than to discover a few new patron saints that may be able to play an active role in our lives. Let’s take a look at 5 patron saints that may not be as well known, but may play an important role in our lives:

  1. St. Isidore of Seville – Isidore is best known for his work in education and writing an encyclopedia used as a textbook in classrooms for many years. He believed in harnessing the knowledge of the world for the glory of God. He has been suggested as the patron of the Internet.
  2. St. Apollonia – Apollonia became a martyr after throwing her body in a fire when told to curse her God. Just before her death, she had been beaten and all of her teeth knocked out. Thus, she became the patron saint of dentists and toothaches.
  3. St. Jerome Emiliani – Known for establishing a congregation dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of youth. Jerome is the patron saint of orphans and abandoned children.
  4. St. Rita of Cascia – Rita was forced to marry at a young age, keeping her from her desire to become a nun. The man she married was cruel, and later died, along with her sons. Rita later became a nun working in prayer and charity. She is the patron saint of difficult marriages and parenthood.
  5. St. Aloysius Gonzaga – Aloysius suffered from kidney health problems from a young age. Knowing he wanted to be a priest he studied the saints. After a vision from the Archangel Gabriel, he learned of his imposing death within the year. He was ordained a deacon at the age of 20, but was never able to become a priest. He is the patron saint of teenagers and Christian youth.

Whether you are suffering from an obscure neurological disorder, are in the field of acting or advertising, leaving soon for college, living in England or Uruguay, or are a member of the military, take comfort in knowing there is a patron saint that is able and willing to intercede on your behalf. 

GUEST POST WRITTEN BY: Jessica Doran Haas of St. Patrick's Guild

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saint Hildegard of Bingen Doctor of the Church

Guest post By Megan Hoyt

Hello friends of Hildegard! Happy Feast Day! And when I say Feast Day, I don’t just mean a celebration of the life of St. Hildegard of Bingen. I also want to share some of my favorite Hildegard recipes so you can create your own feast at home today with your children.

Here is a hearty Hildegard breakfast you can start your Feast Day with – Spelt Porridge. 
Many thanks to the kind folks at Marx Foods for this delicious recipe!

Baked Spelt Porridge with Vanilla, Huckleberries & Maple Sugar

Though it looks like one, this isn’t sweet enough to be a dessert. Instead it’s an incredible breakfast that can be served hot or cold, with or without milk. Baking it in the oven rather than stirring it on the stove gives it a denser texture and frees you from the stove.
Drink Pairing: Strong Cup of French Press Coffee

Ingredients: Makes 6 Servings

1 cup 
Cracked Spelt Cereal
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 ½ cups Whole Milk
1 cup Water
1 tsp 
Tahitian Vanilla Extract (could substitute Bourbon Vanilla Extract)
1/3 cup 
Maple Sugar
1 pinch of Salt
1 tsp Orange Zest, microplaned or very finely minced


1 cup Wild Huckleberries (Fresh or Frozen)
¼ cup Maple Sugar
1 tsp Orange Zest

Optional: Micro Marigold Florets for garnish


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees & rub an 8×8 baking dish with butter.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cracked spelt and toast it, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned.
3. Move the toasted spelt to a bowl and stir in the milk, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, vanilla extract, 1/3 cup of maple sugar, salt and water.
4. Pour the spelt mixture into the baking dish. Put the dish on a baking sheet or cookie sheet (just in case it bubbles over). Move the dish to the oven.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, then check the porridge – it will set up almost like a brownie when done.
6. While the porridge is baking, combine the huckleberries, remaining teaspoon of orange zest and the remaining ¼ cup of maple sugar in a small pot. Simmer until a thick sauce forms.
7. Serve hot or cold, with or without milk.
Note: This porridge can be frozen in the baking dish for later use. When you want to eat it, just move it to your refrigerator until thawed, then serve cold or reheated in the microwave.

Here is a recipe for Spelt Bread, if you are not a fan of porridge:

Spelt Bread

Ingredients (Original recipe makes 2 big loaves)
  • 8 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/4 cups milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, sesame seeds, salt, molasses, baking soda and milk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Placing a tin of the same size over the top of the loaf while baking gives it a lovely crust.
Hildegard believed these cookies would bring joy to the heart and energy and vitality to the body. Here is her recipe:

1 ½ cups butter or shortening
3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
½ tsp salt
6 cups flour
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
2 ½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 cup ground or chopped almonds
1. Cream shortening or butter and sugar together.
Mix dry ingredients in another bowl.
Add to creamed mixture.
Mix thoroughly, kneading as necessary to mix all the flour.
Make into rolls, then refrigerate until cold.
Slice rolls into thin cookies.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Megan Hoyt is the author of Hildegard’s Gift, recently released by Paraclete Press. Check out her website for more fun ways to celebrate Hildegard’s life and Feast Day, including her special coded alphabet and coloring sheets from the book.

“Spelt porridge, spelt bread and spelt coffee constitute the ideal breakfast.”
                                                                                             –Hildegard of Bingen

Friday, June 13, 2014

Father Kenneth Walker Funeral Fund

Two short years ago, a couple of young men dedicated their entire lives to the service of Holy Mother Church, mothers and fathers offered their sons to the Holy Priesthood, among these was the young Deacon Kenneth Walker.  Father Kenneth J. Walker and his classmates were ordained to the Priesthood one beautiful Saturday morning in May, in year 2012, AD.

He was assigned Associate Pastor at Mater Miserecordia Parish in Phoenix, AZ with Father Joseph Terra as his Pastor. Just a month shy of his second anniversary to his Ordination, Father Walker lost his life to a violent crime.  Please pray for the repose of his soul, and the full recovery of Father Terra who was badly injured but now is making full recovery.

While my family only met Father Walker one short moment at another FSSP event, it was evident that he was full of joy for the Lord and meeting him made a lasting impression on me.  Many accounts I have read for those fortunate to have called him brother or friend, tells a tale of a young man who from a ripe age knew the Lord was calling him to the Holy Priesthood.  Also, a man who loved God so much and who truly lived the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, he lived to love God, to know God and to serve God with all his might.  Reports tell us that Father Terra, though badly injured, was able to administer Last Rites to Father Walker while they awaited the police and ambulance to arrive.

Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiestcat in pace.

Interested in supporting this beautiful family of eleven children?
A friend of the Walker family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with funeral and travel expenses. Please help us spread this far and wide and give this beautiful family some support:

and memorials for Fr. Walker’s family may be sent via the Community of St. John-Marie Vianney:

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Walker
c/o St. John Vianney Chapel
14611B Waterman Crossing Road
Maple Hill, KS 66507

Lets use social media to spread the word and give this family our love!

Bloggers:  Please help spread the word of this fund, feel free to copy and paste this information on your blog.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Come Holy Ghost, Enlighten My Mind {Printable}

I have the privilege of teaching CCD to a group of ALL boys this year.  As we get closer to First Penance, Father wanted me to teach them this special prayer he loves.  It is a prayer to help them as they examine their conscience and it goes like this:
"Come Holy Ghost , enlighten my mind, strengthen my will, that I may know my sins, be truly sorry for them, and humbly confess them."

Isn't it just beautiful? So the printable I created has five pages, here are the instructions for all five of them {though they are pretty obvious}.  What I did was print the first page as a cover page and the additional four front and back to save on paper, then I stapled them on the left hand side like a little book:

1. Cover Page, to color.
2. Page 1, to trace the prayer and color.
3. Page 2, to color and practice the prayer.
4. Page 3, to color in the picture and also the bubble letters.
5. Page 4, to practice the prayer and also copy it on the lines.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Days

Here is my most recent article written for CatholicSistas.com for a series entitled {Catholic} Homeschooling 101:

Okay ladies, do not laugh but here it is: a foolproof plan for your {Catholic} Homeschool day!  Seriously, I’ve been working on this little list for years now and have had a chance to institute it with my lovely {but very headstrong} five little blessings and guess what?  IT WORKS!  And since it works {and I struggled so long to find something like this} I had to share it.  So here it goes; of course, some days this plan won’t work because illnesses happen, babies are born, etc., etc., but under somewhat normal conditions, this plan really does work:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Steps to Creating a Monastery in your {Catholic} Homeschool

When I was in college, I prayed and discerned a vocation to become a sister or a nun.  I was enthralled by the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart; of which I had had the honor of working with and for at a Catholic School in Florida.  Fortunately for me, I was assigned to work with Sister Maria Kolbe whom not only directed me and taught me her ways as a model teacher but, more importantly, she showed me the joy in following Our Lord Jesus in all we do.  I wanted that joy she had SO BAD!  But after years of praying, God told me He had other plans for me.  Years later, I married a man whom also discerned at vocation to the priesthood (to the Fraternity of Saint Peter), we met, fell in love, got married and five children and ten years later, here I am homeschooling.  I could not help but wonder what life would have been IF God had called me to become a Carmelite…you know, after all, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Since coming home to home educate our five precious blessings, I have struggled with many things and one of those was surrendering to THIS life, the life God had called me to.  Always looking to feed the ego, I wanted to be either an amazing teacher (to other people’s children, because society thinks it is more prestigious than teaching my own) OR become a sister in full habit, like the Carmelites. But nooooooo….God had other plans and I was being rebellious and fighting Him about it.  Now, I am not an expert at this at all, *even with* my teaching degree…homeschooling?  staying home all the time?  was He really serious???  So the whys and the tantrums that were going on in my head constantly were arguing with the shush I was yearning for in my heart.  UNTIL that is, last Friday when I went to Confession.  My Spiritual Director heard these words come out of my mouth, “I still struggle with being distracted, I yearn for the outside world, I miss my family, I want adult contact and I am so jealous of my husband who gets all of this!!!  It is not fair!”  Yes, my dear sisters, I was having a full blown toddler tantrum in the Confessional!  Dear Father P was so sweet, he stopped me with his gentle fatherly manner and said, “Dear child, the Lord has gifted you with your own mini monastery at home with your children.  He has entrusted you with five beautiful souls to form!  He has taken you OUT of the world and asked you to look inside of yourself and to create a monastic life for your children.  The spiritual life that will be ingrained in your children and will with them Heaven.  After all, is not that what you want for them?”  AND so it hit me, what I always wanted, to have a contemplative life like the Carmelites had been sitting in my lap all this time and I was fighting it!  Dummy!  {got hit by a 2×4 once again!} I wanted to be just like Saint Therese but God was calling me to be more like Blessed Zelie, her mother!
In the prologue of The Rule of Saint Benedict, the great saint states something that drew me even more towards craving this kind of life for my family, he said:
"The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love." ~ Saint Benedict
“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.” ~ Saint Benedict
Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from one who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice. Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from the heavens that every day calls out this charge: “If you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts (Psalm 95:8).”
Therefore we intend to establish a school for God’s service. In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love. … But as we progress in this way of live and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.

Teaching Reading in you {Catholic} Homeschool

If you are teaching reading to your little one or have a child who is having trouble reading, then it is vital that they become proficient in sight words. Sight words are about 87% of all the words that children read in their trade books. Words like “the” “in”, “a”, “it”, and “is” are all part of this very important list.  These words are phonetically irregular words, meaning you cannot use phonics to decode them so they must be learned by sight.  Knowing sight words is one of the basic building blocks when learning how to read and one that should not be ignored.
What happens if the Reading or Phonics program you selected does not include the teaching of sight words?  I suggest that you do it on your own and it is quite simple.  Am I saying that you shouldn't teach Phonics? NO!  Never!  Phonics is important or just as important as teaching sight words.  Many programs fail to integrate both of these in their reading programs, which is unfortunate but important for homeschooling moms to know.  For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on sight words.
There are two lists but most of the words overlap;  Dolch Sight Words and Fry Sight Words are the two lists you can work from.  In the 1940s, Dr. Edward William Dolch used 220 phonetically irregular words and 95 common nouns to create his Dolch Sight Word List.  He chose words that were most often used in children’s reading books during the 1920s and 30s.  In the 1990s, Dr. Edward Fry took the Dolch researched list and created 1,000 most frequently used words and put them in order of frequency.  Children should be repeatedly exposed to these words so that they learn them quickly.  This bolsters their reading self-esteem, which in turn makes them want to read more.  You would be so surprised how your little Joseph or little Mary is going to want to start reading and selecting books at the library!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Teaching the Love of Writing in {Catholic} Homeschooling

Writing has always been a priority in our Catholic Homeschool from when we first started, I’ve always
provided our children with papers and writing utensils of all kinds.  I have basically been very informal about it.  Always making sure that the children from the moment they can grasp a spoon that they are given ample opportunities to explore with writing.  Yes, I do start them out very early.  It is a very natural approach to teaching the love of writing to my children, even if at the beginning the writing utensils spends most of its life drowned in drool.  At first, this is a messy task but eventually my children learn that putting marker, pen, chalk, crayon, or colored pencil to paper, chalk board, dry erase board, notebook, or construction paper means we write letters and then words which together turn into sentences which eventually will make paragraphs with wonderful stories.  Equally important is matching these words with pictures, beautiful colorful ones and even simple pencil drawn ones.  We are constantly writing and my children don’t even notice that I am sneaking in some very important future writing skills in to them from early on.

As we started day two of this, our fifth homeschooling year, I am able to see how much this has helped my children be comfortable with writing.  This year I am formalizing our writing a little more as my eldest little is in the third grade.  I do realize when I was a school teacher children in the first and second grade were composing paragraphs, which is fine but I wanted to try a different approach.  In my way of teaching I wanted the children always exposed to writing and drawing.  As a Reading Specialist I thought it would be a great way to help children with reading comprehension in the future.  I have noticed that when I read to my children they are constantly examining the pictures on the page as I read the lovely little stories they have been exposed to.  This, in turn, helps them create images in their minds as they are reading to better understand and remember what was read.  It is a known fact that children who write before they read become better readers than those who do not.  So, to me, providing so much writing so early is a win-win situation.  (This does not mean I am not providing reading opportunities either, reading to my children is equally important for both reading and writing.)