Monday, August 10, 2009

Domestic Church: Room by Room - Sacramentals

As many of you have read in our introductory post, this blog has been completely directed from God. He stirred in me to start this and I will do as He wishes with it...which leads me to something really exciting! How important is it that we surround ourselves with all things Catholic? I'm not implying that we lock ourselves in our homes and don't socialize with others that aren't; this, actually, would go against our Church teachings. What I'm saying is that for us to go out and spread the Word of God, we have to start with a solid foundation in our homes.

This month, we will be having active discussions on creating a Domestic Church in our homes. In my quest for new ideas in our home, I virtually met up at Faith and Family Connect, with Catholic author, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. She has written several books on this topic and we spoke about my desire to spread the news of her wonderful book entitled, The Domestic Church: Room by Room. At the end of August, we will raffle off two of her books to two different Catholic Mamas.

One will be the aforementioned title and the other is her book, Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering. I will give you details on how to sign up for the giveaway at the end of this post. ;)

My family's decision to homeschool (after many months of prayer), was only made possible because the Lord willed it. In turn, our lives have changed tremendously for the best. We are a more united and prayerful family than we were a year ago. As I reflected on this past year, I realized we grew stronger as a couple and as a family and it had to do with two things, one, opening our lives more to the Lord, and two, creating a Domestic Church within our home.

So how do you create a domestic church, you may ask? Lets begin, room by room and see the appearance of our homes. As I think of this, it reminds me of something Father John Corapi said once - possibly in his conversion story. (If you haven't had a chance to hear it, it is the BEST and most powerful conversion story-see next short blog, a condensed version of it!) Long story short, as the Lord was calling him back to Church, he wanted to be in a safe place, "were Satan would be scared to go" and he decided (with his mother's persuasion) to go back home and contemplate on his life. Why was his parent's home a safe place? It wasn't that this home was in another state it was the fact that it was bombarded with Sacramentals! There are pictures of Mary, Jesus, the saints, Crucifixes, scapulars, saint relics, family altars, Holy Water fonts, etc., there. He says it best and in the funniest way, his parents home said to Satan in big block letter, "KEEP OUT! or ELSE!" So for starters, look around your home. Does it say, this is a Catholic home? Do you have all the sacramentals that our rich faith avails us? What are sacramentals? Here's a great excerpt written by Catholic author, Regina Doman on this subject:

"Sacramentals run the gamut from blessings of consecrated virgins to articles such as relics and rosaries. Some, such as holy water, are used by almost every Catholic. Others are more personal, such as devotionals to a particular saint.

Sacramentals have embellished the official liturgies of the Church or sprung from the cultures of different peoples and different times.

For being Catholic is more than the bare bones: attending Mass, receiving Communion twice a year, going to confession, getting confirmed, married and buried in the Church. It is even more than practicing virtues and avoiding sin. It is a way of life in which the body, its senses and spirit are intermingled.

Sacramentals, by their very voluntariness, their apparent status as extras, can supply the externals that make the Catholic way of life singular and outstanding.

Sacramentals are not superstitions, holdovers from pre-Christian days, or Catholic substitutes for the longing of pagans to dance around trees and mutter spells. There is a part of us that longs for something tangible we can hold on to, something to look at, something to touch, something to sing, chant or recite, something that interacts with the senses. The sacraments, those sacred mixtures of matter and the Holy Spirit, fulfill that need. And so, in a lesser way, do sacramentals."

To read the whole article, go here.

So, want to know how to win one of her fantastic books? It's simple... do one or more of the following:
  1. Leave a comment after this post, on what Sacramentals we'd find in your home and why are they so important in your Domestic Church.
  2. Subscribe to our RSS feed (see the button above on the left).
  3. Blog about this topic and link back to this blog. Remember to come back and leave a comment with your link to get credit for your post on "Sacramentals".
  4. Add yourself to our "Follow Us" section.
Each of the above options will give you an entry per item you do, so you have four chances of entering! At the end of the month, we will post the two winners. It's that easy!

So Mamas, start commenting, posting, blogging, adding, etc.! to get your hands on these great books!


Widely published and deeply experienced in both family life and religious life, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle counted Blessed Teresa of Calcutta among her personal friends. She maintains numerous Web sites and has founded several Catholic apostolates and ministries. For more information on this wonderful Catholic author, please visit here. For a daily dose of inspiration, visit Donna's blog at

For a review of the Domestic Church book, check out this Catholic Blogging Homeschooling Mama's site.


  1. I just found your wonderful blog and I'm so excited! I look forward to your inspired posts in the future!

  2. Thank you Angela. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit! I hope you come back and visit. Also, tell us about the Sacramentals in your home so that you may be entered in our Catholic Book Giveaway! God bless you! :) LittleFlower1220

  3. Just wanted to mention that the link to take you to a review on my book "The Domestic Church: Room by Room" takes you to a blog that appears to be empty. I don't see a review there. Perhaps my computer is being fluky at the moment. In any case, there are many reviews on my review page at my website:

    Thanks for featuring my books!

    God bless!


  4. Hi Donna-Marie,
    The link works! It is a mom named Katie who reviewed your book for the Catholic Company. :)

    Thank you for offering your wonderful books to our readers!
    God bless you! Erika

  5. This is one of my personal goals this year, to make our home more focused on our faith. We have at least one holy picture in everyroom.. minus the bathrooms. A crucifix in every bedroom, pictures of the sacred heart and immaculate heart. Rosaries are hanging on their rightful place until its time to use them and a holy water font by the door. My main goal this year is to make a 'family alter' and keep it up with the litergical year and to celebrate main feast days.

  6. Ahhhh...CeAnne, you've hit it on the spot...our next topic of discussion is going to be creating or spotlighting home altars! Our personal goal as well :) God Bless, LittleFlower1220

  7. Ah, yes! It's working now. Thanks again, Katie for your lovely review. :)

  8. Only from recently being around other Catholic moms did I realize the lack of sacramentals we had in our home. We did have a crucifix, though. In the past year I've added a wonderful prayer shelf which holds our rosaries and holy cards. My husband gave me a picture of the Angelus which hangs in my kitchen, and my latest purchase is a beautiful and large picture of Jesus holding the Sacred Heart. Now, when people walk in the door they know, this is a Catholic home! Thank you for offering this giveaway, I also subscribed through the RSS feed so I now can check daily on my google reader :)

  9. Thank you, Party of Eight, for your comment. Isn't it wonderful how we, Catholic Mamas, learn from each other? Also, thank you for subscribing to the blog feed. :) God bless you!

  10. This couldn't be a more timely post for me. I too, am really trying to set up a home altar for us. I look forward to your next post. Currently we have a crucifix in each bedroom and various other Catholic pieces, such as the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Charity from St. Andrew's Priory. They have the most beautiful ceramics.

    Thank you for your blog!

  11. What a lovely blog! We homeschool too and I have found that while schooling our 8dc here, this house has changed into more than just a schoolhouse...not to mention that I find that homeschooling is God's very convenient way of educating 2 generations at once!

    I have been decorating my home in "early american convent" since I got married. The more in love I grew with God, my spouse, and my children not to mention my vocation, the more I wanted that kind of love reflected in our home. If you walk through the door, it becomes very apparent that this is a home where God is welcome...a peaceful (if not loud) place to rest from the world.

    I know I am very visual and need to think above the dirty dishes to the real purpose for them. I need to remind my heart of it's thankfulness to God for providing food that created those dishes and the the bodies that were nourished and the moments shared...etc...Every place I work...or shall I say 'we work',... it is easy to find something that points higher to a bigger purpose for the work.

    This house is His and His things and His work is all about this home. Sacramentals are all over...from the blessing over the doors, to our home altar with it's beautiful bible stand and open family bible accessible to all. There are rosary beads scattered by every bedside and comfy chair. We have limited shelf space, but there are plenty of books on those shelves for every level of learning from baby to adult that have to do with our faith in one way or the other. These types of "living books" pass the worthiness test of gracing the shelves with heroic virtue of the saints and love for the extraordinary mysteries of God. Collecting some of these out of print treasures is a fun pastime for us!

    There are things for the children to TOUCH (with care) as they love to learn with their fingers! We are always decorating the walls with symbols of the faith in art work, both art expression and art appreciation. If we glance this way or that, there is no place were they eye and heart aren't reminded that God is all about us and remind us that we have our mission as a family.
    It is a beautiful way to live! Our time here, our 'work' is made more purposeful. Holy reminders make every sense more blessed and make every moment...not ordinary, but EXTRA ordinary! :o)

  12. This is an interesting topic, one not often carefully considered and sometimes totally misunderstood. It _is_ possible to have a superstitious attitude when it comes to sacramentals, but they nevertheless do exemplify what Aristotle knew: "Man learns through his senses." The sacraments exemplify this more profoundly, but still....:)
    One can take this a step further, and recognize the sacred in the ordinary. God speaks to us through His written word in the Scripture, but also through people and places, and even through things themselves. We do not always recognize the sacred among the secular, but Thomas Howard can help:
    “Despite the changes in the scenery from one age to another, the drama itself does not change. God is still the Most High God, and our life is still set about with blissful and terrible mysteries, and sacrifice is still at the center of things; and we are bidden to offer sacrifices....It is the argument of this book that we do, in fact, walk daily among the hallows; and that our task now is exactly what Abel’s or Solomon’s was; namely, to offer whatever we do have, in the presence of the Divine mysteries, as a continual oblation. To do this we will have to recover the sense of the sacred as being all around us. But where? At least one place, among others, which may be hallowed anew as the place where the celebrations of all the mysteries may occur, and where all of life may be offered up in oblation to the Most High, is the family household. Within these four walls, under this roof, the lamps are lighted. The offering is here; the vigil is here; the feast is here; the faithful are here. All the eating and drinking, and the working and the playing, and the discipline and serving and loving that go on here....they are all holy.”

    To answer the specific question on sacramentals in our home, I suppose I'll start with the Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus...because He's staring at me. :) He reminds me, as I read or type, of His mercy and love...and I am sure that has a positive effect on my postings. In our kitchen we have a crucifix and my favorite Madonna and Child picture: "Kissing the Face of God." One cannot see a crucifix without realizing that appearance are sometimes deceiving...because the MOST beautiful and powerful gift of all has such a terrible and discouraging appearance. The print reminds me that we are each mothers (though she did a consistently perfect job and I really have to work at doing even justice to the incredible gifts God has shared with us!) and Mary will help me be a better one...while also reminding me that Christ made each of us her child also. The best mother ever is mine, too, and she will help me if I just ask and let her.
    It'd probably take more time than anyone has (or cares to have ;)) to go through our whole home and mention each sacramental, but I will mention our family room because it is the room we spend a lot of time in, and also where we say our family prayers. We have a large crucifix hanging on the wall. It belonged to Jean's Dad...and he died looking at it. For that reason, it is not only a reminder of Christ's love but of the eternal home we hope to share with those we can no longer spend time with now. Beneath that is a statue of the Holy Family, and candles on either side. When we say our family prayers (rosary Mon-Thurs., Way of the Cross on Fri., Compline on Sat. and Sun.) we turn out all the lights and light the candles. It really helps me avoid distractions...although Sam pouncing on my bare toes is definitely not conducive to focused prayer...unless it is a prayer of gratitude for this sweet child...and each of his siblings.

    I don't have a blog, so I won't be linking to this or that, but I do know Donna-Marie (e-thereally :)) and am happy to take a minute to encourage and applaud her work.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Oops...I somehow posted twice. Sorry. I really stink at this! :)

  15. What a lovely thing for you all to do! I am a cradle Catholic and have taken the slow road back home after being self absorbed for too long.

    We have pictures of Mary hanging in our home, crucifixes wherever I can find a place for them and spray bottles of Holy Water. I try to get a good squirt in every room of the house at least once a month but am trying to do this on a more regular basis. I know there are spiritual reasons for doing this but honestly, it just makes me feel good with every spray. :o)

    This is my first time on your site so I am going to go browse now. Thank you!

    Laura Holden

  16. My mom always had a crucifix in every bedroom and one, at least, in
    the living room. We have Sacred Heart, Immaculate Mary, Divine Mercy pictures, our family altar, statues, rosaries, crucifixes in our bedrooms.
    We wear scapulars. I want to redo our family altar so it is more obvious that it is a focal point of our living room. Also only my husband makes a point of keeping his holy cards where he can use them to pray with.
    Thanks for a helpful blog.

  17. Maria, I deleted your double post! ;) Oh and too bad you don't have a blog because I love how you write and what you write. I ALWAYS read your posts on MaterAmabilisTTF group, even if it's something that doesn't pertain to me at this time...I always learn something new from you! Thank you for your comment!

  18. Laura, Regina, Jennifer, and Donna Marie,
    Thank you for your comments and for stopping by to read our Blog. God bless you! :) LittleFlower1220 (Erika)

  19. What a wonderful blog! I have tried to make my home Catholic - we have crucifixes in almost every room - but certainly in all the bedrooms. I have a large statue of Mary in my boys' room - the same statue I had in my room as a little girl. I have prayers that my children have written (copywork) posted as well as holy cards and patron saints. I also have a large painting of The Blessed Virgin Mary and infant Jesus in our master bedroom as the centerpiece! I think the main reason for those things to focus on, for me, is that I can always look around and see something to either remind me of a higher calling, or a higher source of comfort in stressful times. Many is the time that something stressful will be going on, and my eye will "catch" on the Cross or Mary, and will stop me from saying or doing something that God wouldn't approve of. It's also a symbol of continual prayer for us as well.

    Thank you for your blog! As a "cradle Catholic", I have been seeking more ways of surrounding our family with more Catholic influences. Living in The Bible Belt of the South, one can almost forget that we Catholics have something special. Thank you for reinforcing that! Bless you!


  20. I read somewhere once that when someone enters your home, they should immediately know that we are Catholic. We have a Shrine with Our Lady of Grace which is a gathering place for prayer time. This is also where we keep our statues of saints. A crucifux is in every room, and we have just added a beautifully framed Divine Mercy picture.

    It seems most of our homeschool crafts revolve around the Catholic church and the liturgical year. Some of these crafts before permanent fixtures in the house, such as the 2 foot high Ten Commandment tablets used for the Moses Halloween costume last year and our Pentecost windsock, that hangs in the doorway breeze.

  21. Hi Joann and Nicole, Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us! I'm learning so much from all the comments plus I love the opportunity to visit your blogs as well. Don't forget to share our Domestic Church conversations with your readers post and link away Catholic Mamas! (Erika signed in as my DH)

  22. I just started reading Domestic Church: Room by Room. I'm so happy to have found your blog! We have crosses in every bedroom and many other rooms. Holy cards and statues of the Holy Family can also be found around our house.

  23. Our home is full of scramentals. Most noticeable are the statues and holy cards on the mantle. We have Saint Benedict medals hung at the front and back doors of our home, as well as a crucifix in every bedroom and door. There is a holy water font in every bedroom and one next to the front door as well. I have tried very hard to make our home a place where it is hard to not see something that reminds us of God or the ultimate goal of all of our lives - to get to Heaven to be with Him.

    I am a convert - so I am eternally thankful to the online Catholic community and Catholic authors who put out materials helping us to live more Christ-centered lives.