The experience that stays with them for a lifetime!!
We have enjoyed another year of Totally Catholic Vacation Bible School here at St. Brendan's Church. The children like it so much that they come back year after year - and when they are old enough they graduate to “Counselors" to help with the younger children. Sometimes the counselors come back even when they are in college! It is a blessing to assist the children experience the Bible as the stories are dramatized. They participate in the action, becoming actors themselves ~~ and this helps the Bible come to life for them. Although there are different segments to the VBS morning, most of the children really enjoy the drama segment which we are involved with and look forward to it each day. We delight in acting out the parts and seeing the crews' faces light up at different moments. What more important Book is there? It is the Love Letter from Our Heavenly Father - and we have the privilege of guiding the children through it. When our 7th grade CCD girls are asked about the prophets, a lot of them remember the stories from their VBS days. Many VBS graduates have said that their times were so enjoyable and memorable.
Virgin Mary - Most Virtuous!
Our Lady's virtues sparkle in heaven AND on earth!
This picture was taken today ~~ the sun was pouring into our chapel, shining brilliantly on Our Lady's crystal rosary and causing a rainbow of many shimmering colors to radiate on Her dress. The gleaming circles point to the virtues of Mary that are numberless - and are manifested on earth in a variety of ways. As the moon reflects the brilliance of the sun, Our Lady reflects the glory of God, referring all her glories back to God. Her virtues can even be discerned in nature: for example, in the white rose -- her exquisite purity; the white Madonna lily - her immaculate purity, her innocence and her virginity; the tulip -- her fullness of grace. The Rose of Sharon bears a title attributed to Mary in Sacred Scriptures and so much more.
Saint Josemaria, in Friends of God, no. 281 said: “If we become identified with Mary and imitate her virtues we will be able to bring Christ to life, through grace, in the souls of many who will in turn become identified with him through the action of the Holy Spirit. If we imitate Mary, we will share in some way in her spiritual motherhood. And all this silently, like our Lady; without being noticed, almost without words, through the true and genuine witness of our lives as Christians, and the generosity of ceaselessly repeating her fiat, which we renew as an intimate link between ourselves and God."
Though Our Lady's virtues are uncountable, St. Louis de Montfort listed Ten principal Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He strongly suggests that we commit these virtues to memory and strive to imitate them in our daily lives. What are her 10 virtues?
St. Maximilian said to strive to be a GREAT saint!! -- so, with Our Lady's help, we can practice virtues to a heroic degree and we can, indeed, become saints - Great in the eyes of Our Lord!
Our Lady's Aura
What do you notice about these pictures I took about a week ago? Do you see the AURA, a sort of light or mist, around the lilies? When I took the pictures, I saw this “mist" in the camera lens, but I thought is was my eyes or imagination. (I have not been able to duplicate this.)
And this image below? No aura. We surmise that it is because Our Lady is back in her “summer home" - her place of honor near the fence and flowers where she is placed when winter has passed ~ now, she replaces the cloud. Perhaps there is a natural explanation, but one thing is for sure: Divine Providence is at work!! It is undoubtedly a sign. This glow is a manifestation of Our Lady - that wherever she visits, Her holy fragrance permeates the area and she always leaves special graces. It's up to us to accept them and respond.
In researching Our Lady and light - I stumbled upon an approved apparition Of Our Lady to a pious lady in Italy in 1722. “The Virgin appeared in a glorious light, surrounded by a host of seraphim and was extremely beautiful. She wore an imperial crown and had a girdle adorned with jewels that surpassed the beauty of the stars. On her shoulders was a blue mantle. On her left arm, she carried the Child Jesus. With her right hand, she lifted a sinful soul from the horrible throat of Hell, keeping it from falling back in. On the other side, a kneeling angel held up a basket filled with hearts, which he presented to the Divine Child in His mother's arms. He took the hearts one at a time and inflamed them with his love. The Virgin Mary said she wished to be called Maria Madre Santissima del Lume (Mary Most Holy Mother of Light), and repeated it three times, and said not to forget that." To make a long story short, an artist painted the vision which was guided by Our Lady herself, and this painting was carried by Father Genovesi, SJ missionary priest wherever he preached. “According to tradition, the visitation of the picture would always result in great love and devotion to the Virgin, thereby making it very difficult for the people to part with the picture. This started the practice of leaving a faithful copy of the picture in the chapel or church of the place visited by Father Genovesi." For the rest of the story, see:
JUST WHAT IS THE CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD?
“If we want to help the child grow near to God, we should, with patience and courage...seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The child himself will be our teacher if we know how to observe him.” - Sofia Cavalletti
In Catechesis of The Good Shepherd, the method used is designed to assist the involvement of children and adults in a common religious experience in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant.
We believe that God and the child have a unique relationship with one another particularly before the age of six and that the growth of this relationship should be assisted by the adult, but is actually directed by the Holy Spirit within the child. Children need their own place to foster the growth of that relationship.
Sofia Cavalletti, along with her colleague Gianna Gobbi, began to work with children in 1954 in the area of children’s religious formation. She was first inspired to understand children’s spirituality, following a discussion over a passage of scripture with several children. The children’s engagement with and response to the discussion caused her to seek a deeper understanding of the relationship between God and the child and, after much study, she developed a program to help the children to “experience God."
We have been blessed to share in these experiences with the little children and witness their awe and their joy as they grow in their spiritual journey.
For a three minute video explanation see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwO_CWLKwOE
Flowers are shining jewels in God's creation - dazzling the eye and uplifting the soul with their beauty. Ahhh, to be an elegant and fragrant rose, filling the air with sweet aroma - much like a soul in the state of grace. We can't all be roses, but we have to be what we were created to be; holy and blameless in His sight and in joyful exultation and thanksgiving for his magnificent gifts.
In her autobiography, “Story of a Soul,” St. Therese Lisieux wrote:
“Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understand how all the flowers God had created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understand that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. So it is in the worlds of souls, Jesus’ garden. He has created smaller ones and those must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when he looks down at his feet. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being what he wills us to be.”
We post events, news and reflections in this section of our site and be sure to come back regularly for updates.
TO ADORE OUR LORD!
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Immaculate seek daily to draw closer to Our Lord. Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is fundamental to Our spiritual life as we seek to conform our hearts unto His. Additionally, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrows, we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Her to bring us closer to Her Son.