Ten Years is a Long Run…

... Ten years ago I sat down and wrote my first blog post. My intended audience was simply a few family members who had questions about Catholicism as I went through the RCIA process. They wanted to know what exactly I was converting to. Actually, I think they thought I was joining a cult and just wanted some reassurance.Over the years a small readership grew and I enjoyed having a little fun with my writing. I held contests, hosted giveaways, and celebrated the beauty of the Church, sprinkled in with a little self deprecating humor. Occasionally I even wrote stuff that was regretfully stupid. Ah, good times.As the blog gained popularity, I was asked to join Patheos for a … [Read More...]

Spiritually Preparing for Advent…

... Catholics love to decorate. After my conversion I joked with my sponsor that I needed to go home and redecorate now, remembering how every Catholic I'd ever met had a house full of tchotchke.I think this habit to modify our exterior surroundings is a reflection of our interior call of continuous conversion. Not necessarily to reinvent our spiritual interior life, but to celebrate new aspects of it that we may have neglected the rest of the year. Like when you unpack that box of Christmas decorations and enjoy the memories associated with each one. Each new liturgical season is an unpacking of traditions and celebrations.The symbolism and rituals of the season help us … [Read More...]

Decorating for Advent…

... Seems like the Advent calendar gets all the attention this time of year, understandably so. There are so many different types of Advent calendars and Advent wreath craft projects to choose from that people often forget another type of Advent tradition.The Jesse Tree. … [Read More...]

November Nun Gazing…

... Nuns are real life superheroes. If you take a woman and enhance her good virtues, give her the supernatural power of devotion and faith, then throw a cape on her, you got yourself a nun.Maybe that's why our gaze tends to be naturally drawn to them and their ability to inspire simply by appearance.Nuns from the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, NJ were featured in the New York Times this past September. The photos by Toni Greaves, from her book Radical Love, give us an intimate look into their cloistered lives.Be sure to click through the whole gallery of 19 images.And in other Nun Gazing related news; Chicago nun wins "Chopped", … [Read More...]

Rosary Mysteries in Fine Art – Luminous Mysteries…

... So far this month I've featured portraits and rosary symbolism in fine art. Now I want to focus on the particular mysteries of the rosary to illustrate how the devotion, while wholly Marian in nature, is also a meditation on the life of Christ.Thursday we pray the Luminous Mysteries, which are dedicated to the public life of Christ - The Baptism in the Jordan, The Wedding at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.These mysterious focus on Christ moving from infancy and his hidden life to his public ministries, proclaiming the Gospel and being the Light of the World. Hence the Luminous Mysteries, or … [Read More...]

68,000 Photos of Pope Francis…

... National Geographic photographer Dave Yoder had access to Pope Francis at the Vatican for six months, which resulted in 68,000 photos.This is my favorite. Naturally.There are other nice ones too. Click to view a preview gallery of 12 images by Photojournalist Dave Yoder. … [Read More...]

Devastating Fire Destroys Historic Chicago Church…

... Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago suffered a tragic fire yesterday. The church was severely damaged and they are asking for our prayers and financial help as they raise funds for the rebuilding campaign.On their GoFundMe page they write;On October 7th, a fire broke out in the Shrine of Christ the King church, adjacent to the headquarters office of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago. Evidence indicate that the fire began late at night in the wooden choir loft, and quickly spread through the church. The 3-alarm fire took 150 firefighters several hours to bring the flames under control. No one was hurt, thankfully, but … [Read More...]

Symbols of the Virgin Mary…

... Taking this month's theme of the rosary in a direction away from portraits, today's Rosary in Fine Art example is a still life by Dirck de Bray c. 1672.This particular still life incorporates symbolism associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary: the rose, a rosary, rosemary, the thurible, and the crown.To see previous posts and examples of the rosary in fine art, click here. … [Read More...]

Portrait of a Widow at Her Devotions…

... Keeping with this month's theme, the Holy Rosary.Leandro Bassano, c. 1590 Widow at Her DevtionsThe newly widowed women prays before a painting of the Birth of the Virgin Mary.See previous examples of the rosary in fine art. … [Read More...]

Benedicta Chant CD Cures Road Rage…

... Have you purchased or downloaded Benedicta, Marian chant from the monks of Norcia yet? No? What, you don't like church bells and heavenly chant?I love that the CD opens up with the deep resonating peal of church bells, the Catholic call to prayer. That's what Benedicta is, a call to prayer. I listen to it most mornings during my daily commute. It helps with the stress and the road rage to have something calming and holy to focus on. I'm hestitant to call it music or mediatation, even though it's lovely to listen to and quite soothing. While it is all those things, primarily it is prayer.We can choose all types of entertainment that influence us - music, movies, … [Read More...]