Sunday, 30 December 2012

When a High Court judge says that the Third Commandment isn't important to Christian belief, it's time to start looking for the nearest catacomb...

Mr Justice Langstaff ruled on the case of Celestina Mba, a Christian care-worker, who was forced to leave her job after being repeatedly scheduled for work on Sundays despite having her employers having been told before they hired her that, as a Christian, she would not work on Sundays. Despite the evidence that other workers were  able and happy to cover Sundays, and therefore no business case could be made for compelling Ms Mba to work on Sunday, The High Court judge said " Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs"

Presumably he's never heard of the Ten Commandments.

The Telegraph's report says 

Mr Justice Langstaff, who as president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal is the most senior judge in England and Wales in this type of case, upheld the lower tribunal’s ruling which said it was relevant that other Christians did not ask for Sundays off. 
The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected, the court said.

So if we can discard the Ten Commandments as being a core part of Christianity, what else wouldn''t count as a "core componant" of Catholic belief in a court simply because lots of people who call themselves "Catholic" do or do not do them?... The mind boggles.

None of this is particularly surprising - if anything I'm amazed that it took so long. I was saying that exactly this would happen only a few months ago to Mr Annie-Elizabeth, and he thought I was sounding paranoid. Ha! I very rarely wish I was wrong (like most wives, I'm rarely wrong - I think almost always being right is a special dispensation of grace that comes to wives with the sacrament of marriage) - but in this case I sincerely wish I was wrong. 

Want to get really paranoid? Look at prime office space in Central London,  lying empty for two days out of seven: it's astounding that there isn't more call for a 7 day business week. The argument would be made,  initially, as it was with Sunday opening (but quickly recinded), that nobody would be forced to work on a Sunday.The NHS is toying with the idea of implementing a 7 day working week, Sunday shopping is the norm, and Sunday is no longer special (or even relevant according to the High Court) then what barrier is there to all businesses slowly adopting an "efficient" 7 day model. Of course people would be given two days off together: they just wouldn't be the weekend as we know it. Childcare? Come on, there's nothing the government would love more than getting their ideological paws on the nation's children for even more hours a week. Think of the opportunities! A seven day working week would allow full-time mothers - those scourges on the nation's economy - to work on the days when their husbands were at home. In time they could be persuaded to synchronise work patterns and give up any loony ideas of influencing their offspring. Hell, the state schools will do a much better job. And yes, I did mean, Hell.

Well, with this pretty picture of dystopia-not-quite-yet here I'm off to dig a catacomb, and it may not simply be a metaphorical one. Isn't it about time you considered doing the same?

All quiet on the blogging front...

...not necessarily through choice over the past few weeks. We had a rather tumultuous month in November -   involving illness, injury and most upsettingly our beloved Bull Terrier having to go back to her breeders forever for reasons that were neither her nor our fault. After much heartbreak the last thing we needed was a criminal drama, but that's what to got in the form of a burglary on the night of 29th November: I was at home alone with the children  (Hubby was away on business) and came down in the morning to find the conservatory doors forced, the house ransacked and our van stolen. Every electronic item that worked was taken - including a 12 year old video camera containing old film of our children when they were younger. My laptop with all our family photos from the previous six months (which hadn't been backed up), and the brand shiny new iPad that I used to blog from Rome earlier in the month. I had been using it that evening to refresh the children's memory of the Alma Redemptoris Mater - I had pulled up the manuscript and we had been singing it along with sound files from a monastary and I'd been congratulating myself on being an exemplary mother ;-) Ah, pride and falls...

I can see an end to the admin - detectives, insurance companies, replacing items - and life is starting to feel as though it's back on the track labelled "as normal as it gets around here"... expect the blog to get back to regular irregular posting from here on in.

Belatedly wishing my readers a happy and holy Christmastide,

AE xx

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Regina Coeli on St Peter's - toddler style

Yes - he kept singing: even the rain didn't deter him.

Lex orandi lex credendi: Pontifical High Mass at Basilico di San Pietro in Vaticano

Originally posted 3/11/2012, thoroughly updated and photographs captioned 10/11/2012

Here are some pictures of today's pilgrimage in thanksgiving for Summorum pontificum organised by the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce. There have been Masses and traditional devotions organised in the run-up to today, but the Pontifical High Mass (Mass of the Immaculate Heart Of Mary) at the Altar of Saint Peter's Chair celebrated by Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is the high point of the Pilgrimage. The Holy Father granted a Plenary Indulgance (under the usual conditions) to the faithful who attended the Mass. 

Following Adoration, the procession of Priests and Pilgrims leaves San Salvatore in Lauro

The Mass was, as expected, beautiful, reverent, and inspired great hope for the future of the traditional liturgy. There were hundreds of pilgrims: I calculated from a quick chair-count from the dome afterwards that, including those standing, there were probably almost a thousand people in the congregation. It was the usual healthy demographic mix that is so common at extraordinary form Masses everywhere: lots of young people - teens, twenties, thirties - in addition to young families and older people. It was - as EF Masses tend to be - racially mixed and with a visible number of disabled people as well. I mention this because the great irony of EF Mass congregations being perfectly "politially correct" in terms of demographic distribution when compared to the average parish, never fails to amuse me. Is anything more inclusive than the Universal Mass in the Universal Church in a universally understood language? I digress...

It feels as though Rome he been taken over by young traddie priests: the Borgo Pio is teeming with them, there were scores (I lost count) on the Sanctuary - it's wonderful and it's the future.  As my husband pointed out, there were very few priests there older than him: the vast majority were in their 20s, 30's and early 40's (poor DH is in his mid 40s).  We have run into several friendly and familiar faces:  the famous  Fr Z, Monseigneur Wasch of the incomparable ICKSP, and Fr Andrew Southwell from St Bedes, Clapham Park but currently clearly enjoying his sabbatical in the Eternal City.

Today started out with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at San Salvatore in Lauro followed by a procession through Rome to St Peter's Bascilica for the Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated by His Eminence, Antonio, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Winding through Rome's narrow streets, four abreast, while singing the Litany of the Saints was, frankly, amazing. We certainly amazed some restaurant patrons who seemed completely freaked out by the presence of a slowly moving procession of singing pilgrims; and that was before the scores of Biretta'd, cassock and cotta'd clergy at the end of the procession passed them by! The traffic was stopped for the procession at major intersections, and the whole of via della conciliazione was closed to allow the pilgrims to process towards St Peter's. I was profoundly grateful that the first memory my children will have of entering St Peter's Basilica will be with a procession of praying, singing pilgrims walking directly up the centre of Piazza San Pietro and through the central doors of the Basilica to the Cathedra Petri and Bernini's amazing creation
 "...designed to display the chair on which, according to ancient tradition, St. Peter sat and taught Roman Christians. Pope Alexander VII had the ivory-covered chair put into the gigantic bronze cathedra, with the statues of the Doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine of the Roman Church and St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom of the Greek Church. The religious significance is extremely clear. The Doctors of the Church were always consistent with Peter's teachings as they expounded theological doctrine.
The gospel does not change because the Holy Spirit, portrayed as a dove flies along the span of the centuries, assisting and accompanying its church. The chair or cathedra of Peter symbolizes the perpetual continuity of the doctrine and its promise of infallibility. It triumphed over all heresies throughout the centuries." 
[from, emphasis mine)

 It's been a long but spiritually nourishing day. I'm profoundly grateful to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for Summorum Pontificum as participation in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has brought many graces to our family - and it was evident today that we weren't the only ones. I spoke to pilgrims who'd come from Brazil to thank the Holy Father and show their fidelity to him. There I was thinking that we'd done well to get four young children to Rome from SE England; I was humbled by what I heard today: young and fit, our journey has been s doddle in comparison to so many who came from around the world.

I prayed for my readers, for other Catholic bloggers, for our priests, our seminarians, for friends and for family, Most of all I prayed for the Holy Father, that his generous liturgical vision continues
 to bear fruit.

The procession crosses the Tiber towards Castel Sant'Angelo

The Roman traffic was stopped to allow the procession to proceed in dignity. It was a long procession, and some of those drivers will have been waiting for quite a while. Despite this there appeared to be good humour all around from bystanders, although some bewilderment on the faces of touists as the procession wove through the narrow streets near San Salvatore.

Coming home to Rome: the via della conciliazione was closed to traffic to allow the procession to pass. We gathered many pilgrims along the route: people were waiting for us to pass, others appeared to decide to join spontaneously. By my estimate there were at least twice the number of pilgrims arriving at Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano than left San Salvatore in Lauro. We were about ten rows (of four abreast) when the procession left - by the time we arrived we were about thirty rows back!

Walking straight up to the centre door of Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano

I was very happy that this was the way my Children entered St Peter's Basilica for the first time: through the front central door, praying and singing.

Pilgrims waiting for Mass to begin. The seating area in front of the Altar of the Chair of St Peter holds just under 500 people, and there were around 100 extra chairs to the right (I took photos of the seating area from the dome later on to confirm numbers of seats). All were filled and there were some people standing at the back. We estimated that there were almost a thousand people at the Mass.

We lost count of how many priests were on the Sanctuary, but we noticed the Benedictines, FSSP and the ICKSP.

His Eminence, Antonio, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera,Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Incensing the Altar

The last Gospel

Last Gospel

It was a long day for smaller pilgrims. He was full of beans and in full voice the next day though!

Utterly inspired. Totus tuus.

Not a clown or puppet in sight, and they're completely transf

Visit to the friendly Swiss Guards (or, properly, Pontificia Cohors Helvetica)

Friday, 2 November 2012


We've just arrived, en-famille, this evening to our apartment in the Borgo Pio. After delicious pizza (potato pizza - who knew?!) and courgette and other delicacies we got four very sleepy children ready for bed and prayed our family Rosary and night time prayers: two were fast asleep before the end.

Tomorrow, Deo volente, we'll be at the High Mass organised by Una Voce in thanksgiving for Summorum Pontificum celebrated at the altar at St Peter's tomb.  I will pray for Catholic bloggers and readers of Catholic blogs.

It's a warm, calm and quiet night. The lights are on in the Holy Father's apartment windows: I wonder what he's thinking about, reading, or studying. It's somehow very comforting to know that he's so close by.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Happy Feast of Saint Gerard Majella

O good St Gerard,
powerful Intercessor before God and Wonderworker of our day,
I call upon thee and seek thy aid.
Thou who on earth didst always fulfil God’s designs,
help me to do the Holy Will of God.
Beseech the Master of Life,
from Whom all paternity proceedeth, to render me fruitful in offspring,
that I may raise up children to God in this life
and heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory in the world to come.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

The old sow that eats her farrow...

News yesterday that abortion megabusiness (no honestly we're a) charity Marie Stopes are opening an abortion clinic in Belfast despite massive local opposition brought to mind Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man where Stephen Dedalus describes Ireland as "the old sow that eats her farrow". Until now Ireland has been (officially at least) an abortion free zone both North and South of the border. It is interesting that pro-life issues are one of the few places that have traditionally seen unity between Catholics and protestants in the northern six counties.

The Belfast Telegraph has a vote as to whether Marie Stopes Ltd International should have been allowed to open the clinic. You can let them know what you think here.

Please pray that this diabolical enterprise is ended.

Yeat's words in The Second Coming seem equally apt:

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for the unborn of Ulster.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Feed your mind, save your soul... a subscription to The Catholic newspaper, published by The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay.

The F.SS.R. say "As many of you may know, we publish a quarterly magazine/newspaper called "Catholic". In it you will find Catholic news and current information, lives of the saints, edifying articles from the Catholic world both past and present, beautiful colour photos and lots of other material to help you live a good, holy, Catholic life and secure your salvation. You can take out an annual subscription here:"

I can confirm that it's a great read - unputdownable: good food for mind and soul. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I don't want a gay marriage. So why am I being forced to have one?

Whaddya mean "unnatural"? You bigot!

 One of the more sophomoric slogans of pro-gay marriage campaigners is "if you don't want a gay marriage, then don't get one!" You can almost hear the hyuck-hyuck-hyuck snigger after the exclamation mark.

There may be a serious point contained within this slogan: if Call-me-Dave Cameron actually pushes through his promised amendments to marriage legislation, the British government will have to redefine the nature and purpose of marriage. It is this point that seems to me to be least understood by the man on the #37 Clapham omnibus whose point of view tends to be "well, if gay people want to get married, I don't see why they shouldn't...". The mainstream media has largely ignored the issue of the redefinition of marriage, focusing on perceived "injustices" in the status quo. As many commentators have described far better than I can (see Marie Therese here and here (h/t Mulier Fortis)) from a rights and purely legal point of view there is currently no discrimination against gay couples in British law: civil partnerships confer the same legal rights as marriage, but recognise that marriage is different and distinct based as it still is on a stable sexual relationship geared towards the procreation and rearing of children; and this even in secular law where non-consummation is still considered reason for divorce.

I would argue that gay couples, if anything, have more rights at present than other individuals in British society. Two sisters or two friends who have lived together but are not in a relationship cannot use legislation to confer legal rights / inheritance / succession onto their friend / sibling. Really, to be fair, civil partnerships should acknowledge that human relationships come in all shapes and sizes. I had an elderly, blind piano teacher when I was in my teens. She had had the same carer / companion for over 50 years but they were not in a  sexual relationship: a civil partnership would have acknowledged their interrelationship in a far simpler way than the only other option which was a complicated combination of living wills and ordinary wills.

And then there's the rather delicate question of the nature of marriage and consummation. I've read several imaginative and rather jokey accounts, as well as a few tasteless ones, of what might constitute consummation in a gay marriage. The fact is, that the adoption of gay "marriage" will make consummation a nul point. Marriage will no longer be linked to procreation, it will be about two people who are in love. Awwwww. Sweet that, but will  it last a lifetime? And what exactly is the point? Could it be about the Big Day? I reckon that it's driven in part by the wedding industry: I'll bet that someone has the commissioning documents for "My Big Fat Gay Wedding" already waiting for the change in legislation. I'd also put money on the fact that at least one large publisher will have a glossy gay "Wedding" magazine ready to hit the shelves within days of the announcement of the change to the law.

Back to my original point (the soup's bubbling on the stove and I'm typing against the clock): why should I be forced to have a gay marriage? Because that's exactly what's going to happen if this bandwagon rolls on uncontested. I don't want a marriage denuded of its meaning. Why should the definition of my marriage change just because a small a vocal minority are demanding that ALL marriages change to accommodate them? Why is new ideology being retrofitted to old law? Just as it's outrageously unfair to change the terms of someone's employment contract without notifying them (pity the poor registrar who, after 20 years in the job, is told to like it or lump it when civil partnerships came in) it's equally unfair to change the legal nature of every marriage in the country without asking permission of those who are married. Since when was the following small print at the bottom of the marriage certificate:
 "Terms and conditions apply. Government may choose to redefine marriage on an electoral whim. Past performance is no guarantee of future integrity" ?

Cognative dissonance award of the week...

...goes to Telegraph columnist Judith Woods who wrote about her reaction to seeing graphic pictures of aborted babies in a pro-life display in Belfast (last paragraph of article). Spotting "a sandwich board on which were photographs: gory, graphic, nausea-inducing images of aborted foetuses" Woods felt an " instinctive revulsion at these babies’ broken bodies being displayed for propaganda purposes" and concluded that "such desecration of the dead must be banned – everywhere."

That's right - the revulsion wasn't at the fact that these babies had been dismembered and killed, but that the photographs were on display in an attempt to save other babies from the same fate.

So, killing babies isn't a problem, but showing people what abortion looks like should be banned. Welcome to the Brave New World.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Love the Latin Mass? Support Summorum Pontificum? Fancy a trip to Rome?

On 1-3 November this year, traditionalists from around the world will converge in Rome for a pilgrimage timed to coincide with the beginning of the Year of Faith, to support the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum.

The pilgrimage will culminate in a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 10 am on Saturday, November 3 in St. Peter’s Basilica, the beating heart of the Catholic world.

To find out more, visit Una Cum Papa Nostro - the website of the Coetus Internationalis Summorum Pontificum who are organising the pilgrimage and Mass.

We're going to be there: it took Mr Annie Elizabeth about 60 seconds to start booking the flights on EasyJet once I'd told him then news. Hint - the sooner you book the cheaper tickets are!  Reasonable convent accommodation is available - see the Una Cum Papa Nostro website or see the recentish LMS blogpost about the pilgrimage.

Addendum: the time of the Mass has been changed to 3pm on Saturday 3rd November to accommodate the celebration of the annual Mass for deceased members of the Sacred College of Cardinals by the Holy Father that morning . Please see here for details.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The coolest bonfire imaginable... this one from the annual Papa Stronsay BBQ and bonfire last Saturday: I have bonfire envy!

It's obvious that the F.SS.R. don't do things by halves: when the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer decide to do something, they do it properly - and that includes bonfires.

There are more great photos on the Papa Stronsay blog.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A tale of two cities...

...Or how to break things if they aren't working already (in Switzerland)... or make them better before they go wrong (in France)...

"Saint Pierre des Latins", Nancy, France

On our recent visit to Switzerland we discovered that, although we were surrounded by EF Masses at [F]SSPX churches we would have to drive over an hour into another diocese to find a legitimate EF Mass I asked the priest there why there were none closer to where we were staying, particularly considering the proliferation of [F]SSPX Masses which presumably indicated a need and desire for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The answer was depressing in its simplicity: the Bishop of the area in which we were staying has Écône in his diocese. Because of this the Bishop has declared that he will never permit the older form of the Mass to take place under his authority, despite there being at least two dozen regular EF masses by the [F]SSPX in his area.

Before you start to hyperventilate, compare and contrast this with the situation in Nancy, France where we stopped the following Sunday for Mass at the wonderful Eglise Saint-Pierre with Abbé Husson of the FSSP and where the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has been said regularly since 1991 with the blessing of the local Bishop under Pope John Paul II's motu proprio: Ecclesia Dei. After Mass I asked Abbe Husson how it came to pass that Eglise Saint Pierre had nurtured and served a community devoted to the older form of the Mass. It was a simple story, he said: after the [F]SSPX schism and excommunications, a local sedevacantist priest started saying the Latin Mass. Determined that none of his flock should stray for want of spiritual sustenance, the local Bishop not only gave a parish to the FSSP to say legitmate Latin Masses, but he gave them a jewel of a church in the city centre.

Thank God for far-sighted Bishops! 

Saturday, 25 August 2012


It has occurred to me a few times that if Dan Brown had wanted to make his ludicrous novels even slightly believable he would have chosen the [F]SSPX rather than Opus Dei to be his secret society. Think about it - secretive Swiss bunker hideout vs Roman office block: I know which would make a better yarn. Except the SSPX doesn't have a bunker (as far as I know, anyway!), but when have the facts ever stopped a sensationalist novelist?

The International Seminary of Saint Pius X and Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Ecône

I've harboured an unhealthy interest in the doings of the SSPX for nearly a decade - I have no truck with the schismatic fringe: if anything I've studiously avoided direct contact with groups outside the authority of the Church because I'm aware that a propensity to rebellion is one of my weaknesses and I can see how, in the words of Ecclesia Dei "while it is true that the participation in the Mass and sacraments at the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute "formal adherence to the schism", such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a mentality which separates itself from the magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff". As a revert to Catholicism, deeply desiring to protect that most precious gift of faith with which I've been entrusted, that's not a path that I want to start travelling.

On the other hand, I've seen some of the greatest treasures of Catholic clergy coming either directly or indirectly from an SSPX milieu, albeit having made the move to full communion with Holy Mother Church and submitted to the authority of the Holy Father. I think this is the key for me - submission to authority. And yet, one could argue that without fuel provided by the SSPX, the brick-by-brick renewal-of-the-renewal ( (C)Fr Z) would not be happening. I think of the wonderful FSSP parishes here in the UK as well as those we visit when abroad, and most particularly I think of that powerhouse of prayer on Papa Stronsay - the Golgotha Monastery of the F.SS.R., formerly the Transalpine Redemptorists who have just this week been given full canonical status, bringing to a close the whole process of reconciliation with, and canonical establishment in the Catholic Church. Deo gratias! 

View of the SSPX seminary, Ecône

As it happened we found ourselves driving past Ecône as we left Switzerland for Italy a couple of weeks ago. I say "driving past" - we were actually on a motorway that passed the place on the map that had "Ecône" on it and I asked my husband who was driving if we could take the exit that was most likely the closest. Now I've always imagined the SSPX seminary to be a series of old buildings huddled on the edge of a small Swiss mountain town, probably with a baroque church completing the ensemble. I imagined priests in birettas and seminarians in soutanes swarming to and fro in the town beneath the bemused gaze of stout Swiss burghers. I was expecting something hushed and holy and ancient that had T-R-A-D-I-T-I-O-N written all over it.

My first surprise was that the town of Ecône does not exist. Nor does the village of Ecône. In fact the reason that the place was so difficult to find (if one was to rely on roadsigns as we did) is because Ecône does not really exist. There is a place called Ecône - it's what the French would call a "lieu-dit" or "place called" rather than a place in and of itself. Ecône is simply the SSPX seminary (which was given to the SSPX by a group of wealthy Swiss laymen in 1970 and opened in 1971) and a small power station. And that's it. Nothing else. Electricity pylons, a church , a few buildings (cloister, dormitories, offices) and an empty car park. The view is spectacular - although marred by massive pylons: as I stood there I kept thinking that there was a message in that view, but it would take someone with more poetic insight than me to unpick it.

Statue of St Pius X,  SSPX Seminary, Ecône

It was quiet. We parked the van and I walked into the seminary quad. I didn't see a soul. I could hear voices and - incongruously - laughter from an open window. I photographed the statue of Saint Pius X and wandered over to the chapel. Reading the bulletin board outside I was struck by a notice (top left in the photo below) which read:
Appropriate attire is required (trousers for men
Skirts correct length and covered shoulders for women). the
personnel is entitled to refuse entry to visitors not respecting
this rule (Michelin Green Guide, early XXI century)
Noticeboard outside Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Ecône

 I liked the fact that the Society referred to something outside themselves as a reference point: I thought the notice showed a combination of humility and humour. Why doesn't every Catholic church have a sign like this?

Inside was a surprise: in the narthex were two round racks with a selection of coloured scarves - silks, voile, cottons - hanging neatly on round hangers. It felt a bit like one of those miniature branches of Tie Rack that one finds in train stations. No excuse for an uncovered head or shoulders then; and not a boring black mantilla in sight. The congregation must be a joyful rainbow of colour.

The inside of the church is (as I remarked in the "guess where this is?" post) surprisingly minimalist whilst being completely traditional. The ceiling timbers are particularly striking: they are intended as a tribute to St Joseph, spouse of Our Lady to whom the chapel is dedicated.

It wasn't the intense, baroque  space that I had imagined, but rather a calm and peaceful place saturated with serenity. I knelt and prayed that the SSPX might be fully reunited with the One True Church in obedience to Christ's Vicar on earth and that the ongoing negotiations bear fruit.

Views from the front doors of the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,  Ecône

Leaving the church I walked back to our van and, after admiring the views one last time, we drove back to the motorway to continue our journey. I hadn't seen a soul the whole time we'd been at Ecône; the whole thing felt rather like a dream.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Wonderful footage of the F.SS.R. public profession on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Those of you who, like us, would have loved to have been able to get to Papa Stronsay for the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer's public profession of vows will enjoy this lovely video of the ceremony.The F.SS.R website says "Bringing to a close the whole process of reconciliation with, and canonical establishment in the Catholic Church, the members of the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer made their public vows in the presence of the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B. Bishop of Aberdeen, on the 22nd August 2012."
There are also some beautiful photographs of the day on the F.SS.R. blog
God bless the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Novena for home-educating mothers

As I'm frantically choosing what the children's learning will involve and how we're going to approach it this academic year, I was sent this lovely novena for home-educating mothers (or, as it originates in the US, "home schooling" mothers). The title describes it as 

A Nine Day Novena
With prayers adapted from
“Mother Love, A Manual for Christian Mothers”
by Pius Franciscus OFM, Cap.
Published in 1888 by Fr. Pustet & Co.

There are beautiful prayers on the different days for the mother's vocation as wife, mother, educator, home-keeper (sic), invocations to saints who are special patrons of Christian mothers as well as to Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help and to Saint Anne, as well as a prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is illustrated with

I will be praying it, and I've shared it as I'm sure that I'm not the only one who could do with this sort of spiritual sustenance at this time of year.