Monday, May 31, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"Whosoever loves, resembles the person loved, or endeavors to become like that person."

--St. Alphonsus de Liguori

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"It was becoming that the Blessed Virgin Mary, by whom our shame was to be blotted out, and by whom the devil was to be conquered, should never, even for a moment, have been under his dominion."

--St. Bonaventure

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"For as sailors are guided by a star to the port, so are Christians guided to heaven by Mary."

St. Thomas

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"So many are the reasons that we have for loving this our most loving Queen, that if Mary was praised throughout the world; if in every sermon Mary alone was spoken of; if all men gave their lives for Mary; still all would be little in comparison with the homage and gratitude that we owe her in return for the tender love she bears to men, and even to the most miserable sinners who preserve the slightest spark of devotion for her."

--St. Alphonsus de Liguori

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

The Child Must Know

"The Child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him."

Pablo Casals

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"that Mary knows not how to do otherwise than love those who love her; and that even she does not disdain to serve those who serve her; and in favor of such a one, should he be a sinner, she uses all her power in order to obtain his forgiveness from her Blessed Son. . . . that her benignity and mercy are so great, that no one, however enormous his sins may be, should fear to cast himself at her feet: for she never can reject any one who has recourse to her."

Bl. Raymond Jordano

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"as a man and a woman cooperated in our ruin, so it was proper that another man and another woman should cooperate in our redemption, and these two were Jesus and his Mother Mary."

St. Bernard

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"St. Bonaventure says that Mary is called 'the gate of heaven, because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her.'"

--St. Bonaventure

The Glories of Mary by Alphonsus de Liguori

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"As the moon, which stands between the sun and the earth, transmits to this latter whatever it receives from the former, so does Mary pour out upon us who are in this world the heavenly graces that she receives from the divine sun of justice."

The Glories of Mary by Alphonsus de Liguori

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"All graces that have ever been bestowed on men, all come through Mary."

--St. Antoninus

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"All graces that he [God] dispenses should pass through the hands of Mary, according to the opinion of St. Bernard."

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,

 For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Text: Folliot Sandford Pierpoint, 1835-1917
Music: Conrad Kocher

St. Elizabeth of Hungary by Br. Ernest C.S.C

In this charming, simple story, we are introduced to St. Elizabeth, beginning with her birth and covering her complete life. Clearly, the style is written for younger children. "She was born in a big castle in Hungary way back in 1207--a long, long time ago!" Although the story is written for younger children, the language and storyline are not watered down, touching on the important events in her life as well as addressing the problems she encountered. "Soon some of the members of the court began to spread rumors against the princess." Throughout the story, vignettes of her sanctity are revealed in both the dialogue and the narrative. "When they got to the church door, Elizabeth stopped and took off her crown. 'I cannot wear a crown of gold and jewels when Jesus, my King, wears a crown of thorns!'"

St. Elizabeth presents a realistic portrait of a saint, who sought to follow God's will for her vocation in a balanced way. "These children required much of Elizabeth's time, but no matter what else there was to be done, they came first."

Even though it is written for young children, the story is engaging for all ages: no sugar coating of the realities she underwent, yet holds the attention of the reader until the end. Originally, there were several hundred Dujarie books, hopefully many more will be reprinted.

The popular Dujarie saint series from the 40s, 50s and 60s is back in print. There are two recommended reading levels: 1st level, 2nd gr. and up; 2nd level, 4th gr. and up. Saint Elizabeth is the first reading level. Some of the vocabulary is not typical for 2nd grade, e.g."expression of veneration." Since most 2nd graders are not proficient at reading, some will prefer to have the book read aloud.

This review is also posted on
Available from

The Glories of Mary

[St. Augustine] declares that whatever we may say in praise of Mary is little in comparison with that which she deserves, on account of her dignity of Mother of God."

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For the Love of Shakespeare

Shakespeare is another language. There is no use pretending otherwise. When I was in college (I know that was light years away), I took a semester course on Shakespeare. Because I knew we were studying plays, I recognized that I needed to watch, or at least, listen to them. That is what I did "right." With every play that I read, I listened to it at the same time. The text sprang to life and it made what could have been a dreadful experience absolutely wonderful.

To Use Notes or Not

At the same time, what I did "wrong" is that I did not know about Cliffs Notes or Spark Notes. Now there are plenty of students who read these instead of the actual plays in order to short cut their way to the answers, but they end up short cutting themselves by not using them as additional notes and skipping the required texts. However, since I did not know about them, I more or less muddled my way through the course. I survived, but I could have gained more from the course.

These Notes include the life of the author, characters, a brief plot synopsis, critical essays, suggested essay topics, and more. The analysis notes vary from play to play and also differ from the versions on the internet. They are designed for students in high school or beyond.

A Better Edition

When I studied Shakespeare, we used the Signet Classic editions. There are many fine points about these editions. They include many helpful notes and additional information. However, they could have been more thorough. Since that time, I have discovered the Folger Shakespeare Library. I especially like the more recent editions, since they include larger print and are easier to hold. What makes these editions better? Lots!

A middle school teacher who produces a Shakespeare play every year highly recommends the Folger Shakespeare Library (The school has year round school.). Since I was unfamiliar with the Folger editions, I checked them out from the library. These editions include summaries of each scene, explanatory notes, pictures to clarify word use, and additional notes. They begin with an introduction, a guide to reading Shakespeare, a discussion of his life and theater. After the play, there is an essay on "A Modern Perspective," and a list of additional books to read. The book closes with famous lines from that play.

Shakespeare for Children

Another way to introduce young children to Shakespeare is through stories. The most well known is the Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb. Their version includes 20 plays. Because it was written in 1807, some readers do not care for its outdated language, complicated sentence structure, extraneous personal opinions, and convoluted plot summaries. In Twelfth Night, they spoil the plot by revealing key surprising info. early on. These stories are, however, not unreadable. My children have read them without complaint. Woven throughout are passages from Shakespeare that make them particularly pleasing. Others fondly remember their parents reading these stories to them in their childhood. Because of the language, 13 and up would be a better age, but younger children might be interested.

Another popular collection of stories, although not as well known, is The Children's Shakespeare by E. Nesbit (There are many different versions available. The titles and number of stories vary). Written in a fairy tale type format, The Children's Shakespeare offers a simplified version to 11 Shakespeare plays in modern prose. The stories are not as detailed as the Lambs' version. Because the style is modern, it is more accessible than the Lambs' version and Nesbit's elegant prose incorporates a delightful sense of humor. In her matter-of-fact style, her wit and charm shine through. This is also available on audio cassette. We have enjoyed listening to the audio cassette version, but it is out of print. We found it in our library. The suggested age level is 9-12, but all ages would enjoy.

If you are looking for a more complete children's version, Stories from Shakespeare by Marchette Chute includes 36 of Shakespeare's 37 plays. The number of plays is based on his First Folio. When Chute wrote this book, she included all the known plays at the time. Although written some time ago, it is still in print. This popular book has gone through many editions. Chute covers the essential plots in a readable modern prose. Although her style is clear, simple, and direct, it contains a lyrical quality. Not just summaries, these stories are wonderful. The book opens with a short introduction. Although a 9-12-year-old could read it, 12 and up would gain more from it.

Still yet another children's version, which has received positive reviews, is Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield. Garfield's presents 12 selected retellings of Shakespeare in modern prose with illustrations by Michael Foreman. There is a second volume of 9 retellings. The first volume covers the more familiar plays. Although written in modern prose, these stories contain a beautiful lyrical quality. Garfield, a masterful storyteller, strives to keep the essence of the original language. Absorbing to read from start to finish, the stories are far more developed and detailed than Chute's version. Foreman's vibrant watercolor and pen and ink illustrations elicit mixed emotions. For the most part, Foreman's illustrations are evocative and lovely. Some may object to a few of them. While the publisher recommends ages 9-12, I would prefer 13 and above, because of the inclusion of some of Shakespeare's "mature" humor and the illustrations.

To Produce or Not

Our homeschool group has produced more than one scaled down version of Shakespeare's plays. Which play and how elaborate would depend on a number of factors: age of players, number of players, length of play, etc. For those who are not able or interested in performing in a play, a student could still memorize portions of the play. For example, Mother of Divine Grace 8th grade syllabus has the student, after reading Lambs' Macbeth, memorize and recite Act V, scene v.

Last, but not Least

The best way to appreciate Shakespeare is to listen to or to watch him. There are many adaptions available. Even though a story covers the basic plot, listening to him allows you to hear the beauty of the language. The ideal situation would be to read an overview of the story first, and then listen to or watch an adaption, or ideally, cap it off with a live performance.

 There are plenty of essays on why to study Shakespeare. The internet is brimming with them. Certainly, he appeals more to the mature student. After 400 years, Shakespeare is still around because he offers a glimpse into the human heart. Shakespeare, with all his odd language, will probably be around in another 400 years because of this. To understand Shakespeare is to catch a glimpse into the human heart.

Parts of this post were published in the reviews section of mater et magistra's issue on Shakespeare.

The Glories of Mary

"How can she be otherwise than full of grace, who has been made the ladder to paradise, the gate of heaven, the most true mediatress between God and man?"

--St. Laurence Justinian

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on the mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son."

--St. Bernard

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Monday, May 17, 2010

Doing the Dishes with Jeeves and Wooster

Hmm. What should I title this post? How to survive doing the dishes?  Not enough P. G. Wodehouse. We love Jeeves and Wooster.

While doing the dishes, my children love to listen to books on CD or tape--whatever the case may be--from the library. Unfortunately, we ran out! No more Jeeves and Wooster to listen to.

Most people are probably familiar with the TV series, but it is the books that are a sheer delight. Wodehouse's use of the English language is unsurpassed. He stretches your vocabulary to new heights. His plots are crazy, keeping the reader (listener) guessing. His characters are hilarious, in fact, quite zany!

The one caveat is that they really are not for little kids. Many of them are about Wooster's romantic escapades. In other words, for whatever reason, depending on the character, he doesn't want to get married--at least not yet. He also uses a choice word here or there. Nothing crude, tasteless, or vulgar. Just moments of exasperation. Not a problem for the mature listener. Sorry, I don't remember which book(s), since some books don't seem to have any extraneous language.

There are several books on CD. Unfortunately, our library does not have all the recorded books.Older versions are on cassette. Yes, some voices are better than others. Jonathan Cecil and Martin Jarvis are favorites. Some voices don't make it past the first few minutes. I won't say who.
After listening to Jeeves and Wooster, nicknames ("Stinker" Pinker, Bingo, and Corky), meddlesome Aunts, Newts, and cow creamers will have a totally new meaning. When you need a good break and want to lift up your sagging spirits, try P. G.Wodehouse.

Carry on Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters: Jeeves to the Rescue, Jeeves and the Mating Season, etc.

BBC Audiobooks America

Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign

Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign is an Apostolate within the International Schoenstatt Movement. Through the traveling MTA, groups of 5-10 families pass the picture of the Blessed Mother from family to family. When she comes to visit, the family gathers together to pray the rosary. Just as the Blessed Mother visited Elizabeth, she comes to your family, bringing many graces.

Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign

The Glories of Mary

"Glorious indeed, and admirable is thy name, O Mary; for those who pronounce it at death need not fear all the powers of hell."

--St. Bonaventure

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"The evil spirits greatly fear the Queen of heaven, and fly at the sound of her name, as if from fire. At the very sound of the word Mary, they are prostrated as by thunder."

--Thomas a Kempis

The Glories of Mary by Alphonsus de Liguori

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"in the name of Mary every knee bows; and that the devils not only fear but tremble at the very sound of that name."

--St. Bernard

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"As wax melts before the fire, so do the devils lose their power against those souls who often remember the name of Mary, and devoutly invoke it; and still more so, if they also endeavor to imitate her virtues."

--St. Bonaventure

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"When Mary sees a sinner at her feet, imploring her mercy, she does not consider the crimes with which he is loaded, but the intention with which he comes; and if this is good, even should he have committed all possible sins, the most loving mother embraces him, and does not disdain to heal the wounds of his soul; for she is not only called the Mother of Mercy, but is so truly and indeed, and shows herself such by the love and tenderness with which she assists us all."

--The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Year of the Priest: Heroic Virtues

For the Year of the Priest, Aquinas and More has put together a slide show of priests who have demonstrated heroic virtues.

These priests include Msgr. Georges Lemaitre (Heroic Perseverance), St. Damien de Veuster (Heroic Kindness), Msgr. Ronald Knox (Heroic Modesty), Fr. Peter Whelan (Heroic Generoisty), Fr. Don Carlo Gnocchi (Heroic Kindness), Fr. Augustine Tolton (Heroic Patience), and Fr. Vincent Capodanno (Heroic Charity).

Learn about why these priests are heroic, today!

The photo is of Ven. Fr. Don Carlo Gnocchi

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"Because all men have been redeemed by Jesus, therefore Mary loves and protects them all. It was she who was seen by St. John in the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun: And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun. She is said to be clothed with the sun, because as these is no one on earth who can be hidden from the heat of the sun--There is no one that can hide himself from his heat. So there is no one living who can be deprived of the love of Mary."

--St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hail Holy Queen

Haily Holy Queen

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us: and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, holy Mother of God;
R. That we may be made worth of the promises of Christ.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Drop of Water by Walter Wick

A Drop of Water by Walter Wick, Scholastic Press, 1997, hc, 40 pp.

A Drop of Water is a book that appeals to all ages. It is a nonfiction book which discusses the amazing properties of water. What makes this book so extraordinary are the photographs. Very young children who do not have the patience to sit through the text are fascinated with just looking at the remarkable images. A child who has a longer attention span and is able to reason will beg to do the intriguing experiments. A child who is old enough to comprehend the text will gain maximum benefit from both the pictures and the explanation of water's amazing properties, but no matter what the age, everyone will enjoy these amazing photographs. Very few people of any age would pick up a textbook, but the incredible pictures in this book invite the reader to want to learn more about this fascinating topic.

The Glories of Mary

"This love of Mary has indeed obliged us to love her; for we see that she has surpassed all others in love towards us, since she has given her only Son, whom she loved more than herself, for us."

--St. Bonaventure

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"Father Nieremberg says that the love that all mothers have ever had for their children is but a shadow in comparison with the love that Mary bears to each one of us; and he adds, that she alone loves us more than all the angels and saints put together."

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"By these words [Behold thy Mother, addressed to St. John by Jesus on the cross], Mary, by reason of love she bore them, became the Mother, not only of St. John, but of all men."

--St. Bernardine of Sienna

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Picture Books for Mother's Day

Kudos to you moms for all your tireless hours of sacrifice in the name of our Lord and his Mother. In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to offer you some inspiration through some of my favorite picture books related to motherhood. For that middle of the night nursing, afternoon at the kiddie pool instead of soaking in a hottub,or endless hours of running around to enrichment activities, here's to you!

All in One Piece  by Jill Murphy, Walker Books, 2006, pbk, 32 pp.

Mr. and Mrs. Large have planned a lovely evening out at the office dinner dance, but their children hate to see them go. As Mom and Dad prepare for their evening out, their children offer their helpful "assistance" in this amusing tale.

 Mr. Large in Charge by Jill Murphy, Candlewick, 2007, pbk, 40 pp.

Mrs. Large is sick. Mr. Large sends her to bed, offering to watch the kids while she gets some rest. His best intentions, however, are thwarted by the realities of home life in this entertaining tale that is sure to bring smiles to everyone.

Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy, Putnam Juvenile, 1999, pbk, 32 pp.

Mom seeks peace and solace in the bathtub from the noise and confusion of her lovable, but mischievous children. As she tries to sneak upstairs, her children suddenly have an interest in what she is up to.

These are just a few of the titles about the Large family.

Fanny's Dream by Caralyn Buehner, Puffin, 2003, pbk, 32 pp.

Cinderella meets reality in this fun story. "Once upon a time in a wild Wyoming town there lived a study girl named Fanny Agnes." Fanny has big plans. More than anything else, Fanny wants to marry a "prince." But the closest thing way out West is the Mayor's son. One evening, while waiting for her fairy Godmother to help take her to the Mayor's ball,  Heber Jensen shows up and boldly proposes to Fanny. After thinking it over (putting Heber to sleep), Fanny says, "Yes." Once they are married their love begins to blossom and grow. Their selfless sacrifices for one another are quite charming and Fanny's humor keeps things lively. Then one night, Fanny's fairy Godmother really does show up--a little late--but now Fanny must face a choice. Is Heber the prince of her dreams?

The Glories of Mary

"that when at the Annunciation the most Blessed Virgin gave the consent which was expected by the Eternal Word before becoming her Son, she from that moment asked our salvation of God with intense ardor, and took it to heart in such a way, that from that moment, as a most loving mother, she bore us in her womb."

--St. Bernadine of Sienna

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Monday, May 3, 2010

The violin

The Violin

The little dwelling called the violin, 
     Is fashioned with a single room within;
So empty does it seem, and dim, and bare,
     You would not look for anybody there.

But if you touch a string upon the door,
     A voice responds where silence was before;
And, if a friend of music you should be,
     That voice is many voices instantly.

--Stephen Tracy Livingston

Folk Tales from Many Lands

The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you I come; before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Glories of Mary

"The praise of Mary is an inexhaustible fount: the more it is enlarged the fuller it gets, and the more you fill it so much the more is it enlarged."

Abbot Francone

The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Magnificat

 The Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever. 

(Lk 1:46-55)