Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If All the Swords in England

If All the Swords in England, A Story of Thomas Becket by Barbara Willard, Bethlehem Books, 181 pp. (Clarion Reprint).

The year is 1164. Hot-tempered Henry II is on the throne of England. But all is not well--at least not well in his opinion--because Thomas Becket will not concede to him more power. Thomas refuses to sign the constitutions at Clarendon, extending Henry's authority over Church matters. Thomas will not yield. Henry is furious and relentless.

In this lively historical fiction account we follow twin, orphaned brothers separated into two households: King Henry II and Thomas Becket's, providing insight into the disputed factions. Simon becomes a scribe for Thomas Becket and Edmund is pressed into service as a page for King Henry II.

Not just a follow the facts story, but an interesting read that engages the reader's heart to want to know what will happen to Thomas, what will happen to Simon, will Simon and Edmund ever reunite? We learn how Henry's anger, not only effects Thomas, but innocent people as well. Even though many of us already know Becket's outcome, Willard weaves a fascinating tale of high drama, undaunted courage, and evil intrigue.

Monday, April 26, 2010

mater et magistra

mater et magistra now has a blog! You can find it
If you love this wonderful magazine, please let others know.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What can a criminal teach me?

Tear in the Desert by Ron Camarda, Ron Camrada, 2008, 288 pp.

What can a criminal teach me? Of course, he is not just any criminal, but the one who died beside Christ.

I have to say, I didn't finish the book, Tear in the Desert (I needed to read other things), but the author's comment about the repentant criminal struck me as something we should all consider.

"So often I want to pray to that criminal on the cross beside Jesus: Teach me how to admit our guilt and most importantly, to ask, plead, and cry out, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.' 'Remember Dale!'"

Sadly, the author is referring to a soldier who had just died from wounds in Camp Fallujah in Iraq.

May we always remain close to Jesus and have the strength, courage, and wisdom to cry out, "Jesus, remember me when you enter upon your reign" (Luke 23: 42, NAB).

Tear in the Desert, A Journey into the Heart of the Iraq War with Navy Chaplain Father Ron Moses Camarda

"The Heaven's Declare the Glory of God" (Ps. 19:1)

Cat’s Eye Nebula

Eleven concentric shells of gas surround the dying star of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, one of the most complex planetary nebulae ever discovered. Learn more

Credits: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

For the Hubble's 20th Aniversary, google earth is sharing 20 of their favorite images. To find more, 
earth. google
You can view the entire gallery of these spectacular pictures on the Hubble Site 

To read more about the fascinating topic of astronomy and the Vatican Observatory, you may be interested in
 The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican.

To read a review, you can go to
National Catholic Register

"and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Ps. 19:2).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Year of the Priest: St. John Vianney

"O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in you."

--St. John Vianney

Quote available on bookmarks by
Illuminated Ink

Year of the Priest: Children's Book Titles

For the Year of the Priest, I have compiled a list of children's books in print about priests. St. Joseph Picture books, comic books, and coloring books also have titles about priests. Although this list is organized by publisher and reading level, these books are of interest to all ages and other retailers and homeschool companies also sell these books.

Mary's Books
Dujarie Reprints
Level 1 (Gr. 2-Up)
Andrew The Apostle
Saint Blaise
Saint Hyacinth
Saint Anthony
Saint Charles
Saint Stanislaus Kostka
Saint Simon Stock
Saint Peregrine
Saint Dominic
Saint Stephen
Level 2 (Gr. 4-Up)
Bring Me An Ax- Saint Boniface of Germany
The Archer Saint-Saint Hubert
Music From the Hunger Pit-Saint Maximilian Kolbe
I Serve the King-Saint Francis Borgia

Neumann Press
Dujarie Reprints (Gr. 2-Up)
A Story of St. John Bosco
A Story of St. John Vianney
A Story of St. Lawrence

Other Titles (Gr. 4-Up)
Giant of the Western Trail, The Life of Fr. Peter De Smet
Priest on Horseback
Encounter the Saints (series) (Gr. 3-Up)
Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Damien of Molokai
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Saint Isaac Jogues
Saint John Vianney
Saint Maximilian Kolbe 
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Adventures of Saint Paul
Ages 7-9
Read a review here.

Ignatius Press
Vision Books (Gr. 4-Up)
The Cure of Ars
Edmund Campion
Father Damien and the Bells
Father Marquette and the Great Rivers
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child
Saint Benedict
Saint Dominic and the Rosary
Saint Francis and the Seven Seas
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus
Saint Isaac and the Indians
Saint John Bosco
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars
Vincent De Paul, Saint of Charity

Tan Books and Publishers

Mary Fabyan Windeatt (Gr. 4-Up)
The Cure of Ars
St. Benedict
St. Dominic
St. Francis Solano
St. Hyacinth of Poland
St. John Masias
St. Louis De Monfort
St. Paul the Apostle
St. Thomas Aquinas

F. A. Forbes (Gr.7-Up)
St. Athanasius
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. John Bosco
St. Vincent De Paul

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Shepherd in Combat Boots, Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division

A Shepherd in Combat Boots, Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division by William L Maher, Burd Street Press, 1997, hc, 2002 pbk, 189 pp.

What makes a hero? In our modern society, we often associate heroes with professional sports. Some "famous" player leaps into the air making an unbelievable catch in the final moments of a game resulting in national attention. But there is another kind of hero, the quiet, unsung hero, someone who selflessly places himself in harms way to save the life of another. Fr. Emil Kapaun is one such hero.

Father Emil Kapaun deserves more than recognition, honor, and respect. He deserves to be emulated. That in some way is the motive behind his actions, to have others follow Christ and that also is the harder thing for us to do. He did what many of us falter at doing. He did the right thing; he had a properly formed conscience based on the teachings of Christ and he acted on it. He placed himself in harms way over and over again because he was ministering to Christ living in each one of the people he was assisting, whether or not that person recognized Christ.

Father Emil did not do this to receive a fancy trophy or shiny medal, but because he loved others with the compassion of Christ. May we all follow his selfless example in our daily lives when we are called to act upon our conscience even when the world and those around us would act otherwise.

William L Maher shares Fr. Emil's life story in his fascinating, well-documented biography, A Shepherd in Combat Boots, Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division. 

Surrounded by Chinese enemy forces, cut off from help, and grenades flying, Fr. Emil chose to stay with the wounded American soldiers rather than try to escape. Refusing to leave the wounded men, they were eventually herded into prisoner of war camps after a grueling, heartless march of freezing temperatures and little food over mountainous terrain of close to 100 miles. Mercilessly, men to weak to walk were shot and killed. His heroism, faith, and courage bolstered the morale and saved the lives of many others.

Fr. Emil was a parish priest who served in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. He experienced the horrors of prisoner of war camp in Korea, where he died, trying to make it a better place for others. Everyone should read the chapter on the tactics the Communist Chinese used to break down the morale of the soldiers in prison camp. There are some very interesting analogies to our present society.

From the opening pages, the reader is drawn into Fr. Emil's life story. In this hard to put down biography, we learn of a man who was willing to take up Christ's cross and follow him. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Lady of Shalott



The Lady of Shalott (1832)

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Part I
On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
       To many-tower'd Camelot;
The yellow-leaved waterlily
The green-sheathed daffodilly
Tremble in the water chilly
       Round about Shalott.

The Daffodils by William Wordsworth

The Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud)
by: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
      WANDERED lonely as a cloud
      That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
      When all at once I saw a crowd,
      A host, of golden daffodils;
      Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
      Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
      Continuous as the stars that shine
      And twinkle on the milky way,
      They stretched in never-ending line
      Along the margin of the bay:
      Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
      Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
      The waves beside them danced; but they
      Out-did the sparkling waves in glee
      A poet could not but be gay,
      In such a jocund company
      I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
      What wealth the show to me had brought:
      For oft, when on my couch I lie
      In vacant or in pensive mood,
      They flash upon that inward eye
      Which is the bliss of solitude;
      And then my heart with pleasure fills,
      And dances with the daffodils.



Daffy-down-dilly has come to town
In a yellow petticoat and a green gown.

--Mother Goose Rhymes

Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila Prayer

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Year of the Priest: Chaplain Emil Kapaun

As he prepared to become a priest, Father Emil Kapaun wrote these inspiring words to friends. This is only part of the letter

"Think what it means!! To offer up the Living Body and Blood of Our Savior every day in Holy Mass--to absolve souls in Holy Confession and to snatch them from the gates of hell in which they would suffer for all eternity.

These and a hundred or more duties and responsibilities make a person realize that the Vocation to the Priesthood is so sublime that the angels in heaven were not given a vocation to the Priesthood, no, not even the Blessed Mother who was never stained with sin--not even she was called to be a priest of God--and here I am called!!"

--A Shepherd in Combat Boots, Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division by William L. Maher.

A Shepherd in Combat Boots, Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division

For more photographs of this Servant of God.
Photographs of Emil Kapaun, The Witchita Eagle,

The Chronicles of Narnia

He was reading it again. I don't know how many times he's read this series, but it's definitely a lot. There are not too many books a person can read over and over again and still find substance and enjoy. My husband was reading The Chronicles of Narnia.

He was reading it out loud to the children. This is a past time he enjoys sharing with the them. Sometimes, he reads after dinner, sometimes while they are washing the dishes, and sometimes while they are all snuggled on the sofa. We prefer to read books, rather than watch TV, which doesn't mean we don't watch TV, because we do. We don't watch it very often and usually movies borrowed from the library.

He wasn't reading it because we don't have any other good books to read. Since we own a rather extensive library of several thousand that wasn't the reason. He was reading it because we have seven children (three no longer living at home). Each time he reads the series he is reading it to a new group of children. The youngest now, at nine, is old enough to fully absorb the fullness of the story.

Who knows? In a few years, he may read it again, just because. After all, can anyone get tired of reading a really good book, a book that surpasses most others in its message?

Chronicles of Narnia

Friday, April 9, 2010

"O God of Loveliness"

 O God of Loveliness

O God of loveliness, 
     0 Lord of heaven above,
How worthy to possess
     My heart's devoted love!
So sweet thy countenance, 
     So gracious to behold
That one, one only glance
     To me were bliss untold.

Thou art blest Three in One, 
     Yet undivided still;
Thou art the One alone, 
     Whose love my heart can fill.
The heavens and earth below, 
     Were fashioned by thy Word;
How amiable art Thou, 
     My ever dearest Lord!

To think Thou art my God,--
     O thought forever blest!
My heart has overflowed! 
     With joy within my breast.
My soul so full of bliss, 
     Is plunged as in a sea,
Deep in the sweet abyss
     Of holy charity.

O loveliness supreme, 
     And Beauty infinite;
0 ever-flowing Stream,
     and Ocean of delight;
0 Life by which I live, 
     My truest Life above,
To Thee alone I give 
     My undivided love.

--St. Alfonso Liguori

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shearing Time

We missed it. I had really hoped to take the children to see how sheep are sheared. But it was not to be. The plague struck! Michaeleen, however, was kind enough to send this before picture. The beautiful sheep pictured is Jayna. She is a pure bred Shetland. Her owners are Michaeleen and Thomas Hinca from JoshEWEa's Garden. In our modern society, too often children think clothes and food magically appear. They think, "Just go to the grocery or department store and pick out what you want."

Here are Nathan and Natalia.

And not to be outdone is another mother and her twins.

For a view of another kind of sheep. Michaeleen sent pictures of Tunis sheep. Notice the red coloring.

Since the theme is lambs, I added one more picture of lambs. These are Tunis sheep lambs.

A lovely book which details the process by which clothes are made is Pelle's New Suit. Unfortunately, when they reprinted it, they made it into a smaller version. But many libraries own copies of the older version.

Pelle is a resourceful little boy, whose clothes are getting smaller as the wool on his sheep is getting longer. He decides to cut it and goes through the steps (with the help of others) to make himself a new suit. With each step, he barters to do something in return for the person providing a service for him. Many libraries have copies, but it has been republished in a smaller version.
Pelle's New Suit


Another picture book, which shows the process by which a coat is made is A New Coat for Anna.
It is after World War II and Anna's mother does not have much money to buy her a new coat. But that does not stop her. She decides to trade the little she has for the services of a spinner, weaver and tailor.

A favorite author who captures the essence of farm life in Scotland is Kim Lewis. If you like The Shepherd Boy, you will enjoy her other books about adorable children, lambs, and puppies. In this charming tale, James hopes to grow up to be a shepherd like his father. Along the way, we see lambs born and grow, as well as sheep clipped, dipped, and sold. Through the whole year, he carries his stuffed lamb with him, watching, waiting, and hoping.

Since it is the Easter season, I thought it very fitting to have a post on lambs and sheep. The shearing time I did not plan. Maybe next year, we won't be sick.

The Lamb by William Blake

                               The Lamb by William Blake

                          Little lamb, who made thee?
                                Dost thou know who made thee?
                          Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
                                By the stream and o'er the mead;
                          Gave thee clothing of delight,
                                Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
                          Gave thee such a tender voice,
                               Making all the vales rejoice?
                          Little lamb, who made thee?
                               Dost thou know who made thee?

                          Little lamb, I'll tell thee,
                               Little lamb, I'll tell thee:
                          He is called by thy name,
                               For He calls Himself a Lamb.
                          He is meek, and He is mild;
                               He became a little child.
                          I a child, and thou a lamb,
                               We are called by His name.
                          Little lamb, God bless thee!
                               Little lamb, God bless thee!

                          --William Blake

Lamb of God

Lamb Of God

Lamb of God,
You take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,
You take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,
You take away the sins of the world.
Grant us peace.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The Angelus

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
          Hail Mary. . .
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to your word.
          Hail Mary. . .
V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
          Haily Mary. . .
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worth of the promises of Christ.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One misty moisty morning

 One Misty Moisty Morning

One misty moisty morning,
    When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man,
    Clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment
    And I began to grin.
How do you do? And how do you do?
    And how do you do again?

--Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme

Rainy Day Song

"Robin in the Rain" by Raffi from the Singable Songs for the Very Young

Robin in the rain,
Such a saucy fellow.
Robin in the rain,
Mind your socks of yellow.
Running in the garden on your nimble feet,
Digging for your dinner with your long strong beak.
Robin in the rain,
You don't mind the weather
Showers always make you gay.
Bet the worms are wishing you would stay at home,
Robin on a rainy day -- don't get your feet wet,
Robin on a rainy day!

Singable Songs for the Very Young

Rainy Day Art Project

Rainy Day art project.

The wonders of the internet! I found several art projects for rainy days.

  • Option 1: materials needed, watercolor paper or poster board or paper plate, washable markers.
Draw a landscape or shapes. When finished take outside in a light, misty rain or spray with water.
Spring Rain Art Project
Rain Art
Rain Art

  • Option 2: Lots of ideas at Preschool Education:  Scroll down to Rain Painting. Take children outside. Sprinkle food coloring on paper plates. Watch the patterns form.
Rain Painting

Rain by Robert Louis Stevenson

                      The rain is falling all around,
                           It falls on field and tree, 
                      It rains on the umbrellas here, 
                          And on the ships at sea. 
                                -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Rain by Peter Spier

Rain by Peter Spier, 40 pp. multiple editions, OP
As I am typing away, the thunder is roaring intermittently and the rain gently beating down. So it's raining outside. What are you going to do? In this delightful wordless book, we explore the many ways of enjoying a rainy day. Unfortunately, it is out of print. But there are many copies available in the library. Peter Spier creates a magical, yet realistic view of a rainy day as two children discover the joys of a rainy day.
Rain by Peter Spier

Come Holy Spirit Prayer

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and enjoy His Consolations, Through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Monday, April 5, 2010

He is Risen! Alleluia!

He is Risen! Alleluia!

Friday, April 2, 2010

"If you would like to know God, Look at the Crucifix"

If you would like to know God, Look at the Crucifix
If you would like to love God, Look at the Crucifix
If you want to serve God, Look at the Crucifix!
If you hope for eternal Happiness, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how much God loves you, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how He tries to prevent you from the yawning jaws of hell, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how much He will help you to save your immortal soul, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how much you should forgive others, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how much your faith demands of you, in humility, poverty, charity, meekness and every virtue, Look at the Crucifix
If you wonder how far your own unselfishness should go to bring others to Christ, Look at the Crucifix!
If you want to understand the need for self-denial and mortification, Look at the Crucifix!
If you wish to live well, Look at the Crucifix
If you wish to die well, Look at the Crucifix

St. Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Were You There When They Crucified My Lord"

Simple, elegant, and heartfelt. Kathleen Battle's hauntingly sorrowful rendition of "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord" creates a somber mood for Good Friday.

 This song is found on Grace.

Available from ArkivMusic

St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.