Blessed Virgin Mary

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Catholic Quote of the Day — from St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort

“Since grace enhances our human nature and glory adds a still greater perfection to grace, it is certain that our Lord remains in heaven just as much the Son of Mary as he was on earth. Consequently he has retained the submissiveness and obedience of the most perfect of all children towards the best of all mothers.” (St. Louis Marie […]

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Peeling Paint and Our Lady of Good Counsel

Before we moved to our current home, when people would find out I lived in an old farmhouse, they generally had one of two reactions.  They either thought I was lucky or they commiserated.  For some reason, the people who thought I was lucky—living in a house that could have been in Anne of Green Gables or Black Beauty, electricity added of course—seem to outnumber […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Catholic Quote of the Day — from St. Ambrose of Milan

“For her part, Mary did not fail to live up to her station as the Mother of Christ. When the apostles fled, she stood before the Cross and gazed tenderly on the wounds of her Son, because she was waiting, not for her Son’s death, but for the salvation of the world.” (St. Ambrose of Milan, Bishop and Doctor of the […]

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" (detail) by Caravaggio"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Hope of Christ’s Wounds

Everyone should have to answer the theological questions of five-year-olds at least once or twice in their lives.  It’s incredible what their innocent perceptivity will lead them to ask… and leave you to try to explain! My nephew Sammy: “Joannie, where is God?” Me: “He’s everywhere, Sammy.” Sammy: Long pause. Looks up at the ceiling. “Even in that vent up […]

Our Lady of MercyOur Lady of Mercy

Understanding Mercy Thanks to Mary

There’s nothing quite like being in a hurry and seeing the flashing red lights that mean that a train is coming and that I have to stop. I had this happen to me recently when I was on my way from my mother-in-law’s house to town. It was at a train track that’s on a busy highway, in a place […]

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The strangest of days

Today our God has died.  Tomorrow we wait. There is much written about Good Friday, for obvious and good and holy reasons. But the past few years I have felt myself more and more drawn to Holy Saturday.  I have more books and fruit for meditation on Good Friday than I could get through in ten lifetimes.  But Holy Saturday […]

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Mary, the Gate of Heaven (with the Best Motherly Arms)

I knew I was out of my league when she came barreling toward me.  She weighed at least as much as I did, and she was much more passionate in her goal than I was in mine.  She wanted out, and, seeing her come toward me, I wanted out too, out of the way. My brother-in-law or husband—I don’t remember […]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
Artwork © by Jef MurrayBlessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Mary, the New Eve—A Role Model of the Highest Order

When she was four, my daughter had many career aspirations, and she often shared them with us in a long list.  She would announce, out of the blue, that she was going to be a cowgirl, an artist, a flower picker, and a cheerleader when she grew up, and, for my part, I encouraged this diversity in interests. One day, […]

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima — October 13, 1917The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima — October 13, 1917

Mary Warns Her Children of Danger

“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” (Second Secret of Our Lay of Fatima) The Merchants of Death — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin October 1917 was a momentous month in the history of the twentieth century. On the […]