Friday, 25 March 2011

The witness of a Northern Saint

(St. Margaret of York)
Imagine you are a convert from Protestantism, happily married with three children and you help your husband run his business. You are practising your faith, praying every day for more than an hour, fasting four times a week and going to Mass and confession regularly – and all this under the Catholic suppression of Queen Elizabeth 1

You risk your life helping and concealing priests, the penalty for which is death. You send your son to Douai, France for Catholic schooling. For this, and because a secret hiding place was found, you are arrested and, because you refuse to plead, you are pressed to death, sandwiched between a rock and a wooden slab while weights are dropped upon you.
Such was the example of the life of St Margaret Clitherow – faithful Catholic mother, wife and martyr.

Saint Margaret of York.

Pray for us.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

St Joseph's Joys and Sorrows

Today being the Solemnity of St Joseph, my mind wandered to Spain and to the beautiful setting of the Shrine at Torreciudad. There, running up the rise towards the Basilica, you will find the Way of the Joys and Sorrows of St Joseph. Until walking this several years ago I had never really meditated on the person of St Joseph and his role in the Holy Family. The Joys and Sorrows are:
     The Doubt of St Joseph (Matt 1:19)         The Message of the Angel (Matt 1:20)
     The Poverty of Jesus Birth (Luke 2:7)   2     The Birth of the Saviour (Luke 2:10-11)
     The Circumcision (Luke 2:21)               3    The Holy Name of Jesus (Matt 1:25)
     The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34)    4    The effects of the Redemption (Luke 2:38)
     The Flight into Egypt (Matt 2:14)          5   The overthrow of the idols of Egypt (Is 19:1)
     The Return from Egypt (Matt 2:22)       6      Life at Nazareth (Luke 2:39)
     The loss of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:45) 7     The finding in the Temple (Luke 2:46)
 What an example for fathers! A man who trusted God in all the sad, worrying, bewildering, frightening and frantic moments that all families experience and how, through it all, he was able to be a faithful guardian, a loving husband, a courageous protector, dependable and ever obedient. 
  Let us pray today for all fathers and for all Josephs especially The Holy Father

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


In view of recent events in Japan I decided to reread my book about the 1973 Apparitions of Our Lady  in Akita to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa. They began with rays of light emanating from the tabernacle so that Sr Agnes fell prostrate before it. Then came the stigmata and finally the spoken messages of Our Lady and the weeping statue. All of these signs and spiritual happenings are a timely reminder for us to pray our Rosary daily. We should pray for peace and  for the conversion of sinners. Also offer sacrifices and do penance in  reparation for our sins and the sins of the whole world. What better time than Lent to renew our efforts in this?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Dinkies or Family Life?

Just been away on an art course this past weekend. Very enjoyable and part of my CPD (continued professional development). On the course was a married couple, two 'dinkies'. I think they are the first I have ever met though I believe they are a common breed. This couple had retired early, very early, and could do so (they were happy to relay to the small group) because they had made a conscious decision not to have any children. So as Double Income No Kids (dinkies) they were now living their dream, playing art and presumably had plenty of money to do that. Momentarily I felt a little envious - they looked young and very relaxed and were doing what they wanted themselves. But it was only a moment's thought. Even in secular terms what does this teach about hope, lineage, the meaning of life? It is to focus in on the here and now. There is a sadness here and I felt sad for them.It is not a look forward to eternity.  Yes, God sometimes wills a couple to remain childless, but to choose it as a married couple is to live selfishly. Marriage is about family. The husband,the wife, the child; love = new life - this  mirrors  the Trinity. The family = the image and likeness of God.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Natural Family Planning and other expertise.

Tonight my husband and I taught part one of an NFP course at home. It is a while since we've had any customers! Once we had discovered, early in our marriage, the wonderful benefits of NFP, physically, spiritually and emotionally, we were determined to out this secret and we are still busy with that work! This information should be a marriage requirement for Catholic engaged couples. It is, in a handful of American dioceses but not in the UK. Once couples have come to an awareness of their gift of fertility and are confidently using the Sympto Thermal Method (the only one incidentally which teaches all symptoms) their next question is always 'why did we not hear about this in our Catholic school/marriage preparation class?' Isn't this criminal? - why are our bishops not guiding their flocks in this important area,the best way  to strengthen marriages?
Our families in the Holy Family Guild share their expertise. Our members comprise lawyers, breastfeeding counsellors, financial advisors, theologians, academics, bankers, home schoolers as well as NFP teachers and much more!