our little tiny St Lucia wrap

Benedetto di Bindo. St. Lucy. ca. 1410. Institute of Art, Minneapolis.

Today the Church celebrated the feast of St. Lucia. This day is an extremely popular day in Scandinavian countries, Sweden in particular. A full quarter of my heritage is Swedish so I have been enjoying getting to know some of the customs celebrated. Growing up we didn’t celebrate, but I’m wondering if my grandmother had any customs she celebrated. I meant to call and ask, but.. chaos here the last few days. She reads the blog though, so maybe you could share some thoughts if you have a minute?

Anyways, I found this bit over at CatholicCulture and especially enjoyed the following:

In the liturgy of the Church, Saint Lucy has held, and still holds today, the inspiring position of a saint whose very name reminds the faithful at the middle of Advent that her own “light” is only a reflection of the great “Light of the World” which is to start shining at Bethlehem on Christmas Day. It is as if she would say: “I am only a little flame in Advent showing you the way:

Behold, the Lord will come And all His saints with Him, And on that day There will be a great light. Alleluia.

I love that we get to celebrate things like this in the Church!

I had plans to be just a teensy bit more organized and pull off the whole St Lucia “parade” with our Lucia bread this morning, but…. it didn’t happen. So I made the bread this afternoon (and it almost didn’t rise… second time this week my dough has had a hard time rising, thoughts?). And we ended up inviting my parents over for dessert and coffee.

The kids had a great time though. They were jumping up and down, rushing through baths so they could “run downstairs and have Lucia bread”!

I did manage to get a little crafty a few days ago and attempt a crown. It needs a little lot of work but it turned out like this:

IMG_2827

I also realize that she isn’t wearing a white dress or a red sash, but that’s not something we own, and I didn’t think of it with enough time to even attempt making one. I’ve not ever attempted clothing either, so that sounded just a bit too daunting at this time. I’ll keep an eye out for something in the next year though, so maybe next year we’ll be “appropriately” dressed.

She wanted to wear the crown but she didn’t want to carry the bread (which incidentally turned out great!) :

IMG_2826

She did pass out the plates with slices of bread to everyone.

The kids had fun passing the crown around:

IMG_2825

We also have a few favorite stories we like to read:
Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson
Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl (Quality)) by Janet Shaw
These books are pretty much “mommy, can you read this to me” over and over once they’re brought out or borrowed from the library. They love them so much.

And that’s going to be it for us from this Lucia Day.

I’m linking with Audrey Eclectic for her St Lucia Day Blog Procession

Advertisements

St. Nicholas Day, a first

Source: Wiki Commons
Source: Wiki Commons

This will be our first “official” year with a St. Nicholas Day. As of yet, my children know nothing about it, but give it until Friday, and I’m sure they’ll get the idea pretty quick. I’d always heard about Saint Nicholas, but it was always in a vague “he’s the Real Santa Claus” sort of way. I mean, quite literally, that’s the sentence I remember, but not much on who he was, or why he was just the “Real” Santa Clause.

One of my favorite things so far, since joining the Catholic Church has been the celebrations of the lives of the saints. It’s been wonderful discovering little bits of inspiration here and there. I look forward to continuing learning about these great men and women who came before us, even if it’s just one little story at a time.

On to St. Nicholas then. A little bit about him: He was born in the third century. Was ordained by his uncle, the archbishop of Myra. When his uncle died, he became the new archbishop. He died in 343. There are many legends and stories about him, including one where after hearing that a man had lost his fortune and was unable to marry off his daughters for lack of dowry, St Nicholas threw bags of gold coins into the window to provide it for them. Quite possibly where a tradition of gift giving came from? Overall, though, he was extremely charitable towards those in need. He is the patron of children, sailors, bakers, pawnbrokers and unmarried girls to list a few.

I tried to do a little bit last year on his feast day, but, we were just making the arrangements for joining the Church and I was trying to jump into too many things at the same time. I rented a few picture books from the library, but they pretty much went way over the kids’ heads. I enjoyed them 🙂 (I’m sorry, I don’t remember what they were now, hopefully I reordered them in this year’s round of books…)

So for this year we’ll be doing just a little bit more than we did last year. We’ll be reading about him in one or both of our Saint books (Children’s editions). I found a couple of coloring pages:  Can be found here (Actually, there is a lot of info on this site about St. Nicholas), which I thought I’d try with them. And we’ll be starting a little tradition of placing the kids’ shoes near our fireplace on the evening of the 5th and putting a small candy cane (to represent St Nicholas’ bishops’ crozier) and a book. I don’t want to make this a big gift giving event as our main gift exchange happens on the 25th, but I do like the idea of a small little something. As of right now the only St Nicholas story we own is The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard, so we’ll be reading that as well. We may try to do a charitable act for someone. Probably won’t be secret, as my children do not comprehend the meaning of that word, no matter how many times we tell them they can’t tell Mimi what her Christmas Present will be… But at least if we can get a “discussion” of charitable acts going, that’ll be a step in the right direction.

A Collect:

We call upon Your mercy, O Lord. Through the intercession of St. Nicholas, keep us safe amid all dangers so that we may go forward without hindrance on the road of salvation.

20131203-222210.jpg

Feast of St. Andrew

Saint Andrew
Today was/still is the feast of St. Andrew.
Quick Facts:

  • Fisherman
  • Brother of Simon Peter
  • First a disciple of John the Baptist
  • After the Ascension of Jesus, he preached the Gospel in Greece, and in the areas around the Black Sea and beyond.
  •  Said to have been martyred on an X-shaped cross (that cross now known as  the “Saint Andrews Cross”)
  • Patron of: Scotland, Russia, unmarried women and fishermen.

In honor of fishermen, I decided to do a quick fish craft with the little ones this afternoon. Coffee Filter Fish Craft. It was very simple, and they turned out cute.

20131130-201028.jpg

For our meal tonight we had Swai Fish something. It started out using the recipe in Feast! by Daniel and Haley Stewart, but since I didn’t have any tahini on hand, I improvised sightly and added garlic. Still turned out delicious!

We didn’t get to reading about him in our books of Saints, the day got a little bit away from us. Tomorrow, maybe if I can find a few minutes I’ll read a little to the kids. I’ve found that trying to celebrate feast days on the weekends is much harder than doing it during the week. However, I was completely excited to be able to celebrate this feast with them by doing a little craft and having a special meal, doing special prayers and reading the gospel at dinner.

Collect:

We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Beginning today we start saying the Saint Andrew’s Christmas Novena (15 times a day until Christmas):

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

{Photo of the fish in the Advent Wreath is #30/365}

St. Martin of Tours {short version}

Louis Anselme Longa, La charité de saint Martin
Source: Wiki Commons
I remember hearing about this feast day last year when before we had started RCIA, but hadn’t given much thought to celebrating it then. I knew it was coming up soon, but didn’t realized it was THIS soon until I saw a mention of it two days ago on my FB feed. So, because I save everything until it’s almost too late, this is what I found in my looking around tonight.

{short version – because I didn’t get myself organized before hand. Another year we’ll have to try for a little more}

Quick Facts:

  • Born c.316 near Sabaria
  • At age 15, entered the army; served under Emperors Constantius and Julian
  • Legend has it he met a poor, naked beggar who asked alms in Christ’s Name. Having nothing with him except his weapons and cloak, he took his sword, cut the cloak in two, and gave half to the poor man. The following night Christ appeared to him clothed with half a cloak and said, “Martin has clothed Me with this cloak!”
  • At age 18, received the sacrament of Baptism
  • Was ordained when released from the army, eventually being made Bishop of Tours
  • Founded a monastery in Marmoutier
  • His feast day, also known as Martinmas is traditionally the time during the harvest season when the slaughter of meat for winter takes place (because it would be cold enough to keep)
  • What we know as “Indian Summer” here in the US is also known as “St Martin’s Little Summer” in Europe

What We Did:

Make Lanterns

20131111-200101.jpg

(there are a few more traditions I found, but since I was looking at info “Day Of” it didn’t really get worked into the plan…. always next year…;) )

This is a little bit I found about a Lantern Walk, which is a traditional in Germanic cultures:

Regarding Lantern Walks, the authors of the book “All Year Round” write:  “The traditional way of celebrating Martinmas is with lantern walks or processions, accompanied by singing.  St. Martin recognized the divine spark in the poor man of Amiens, and gave it the protection of his own cloak.  When we make a paper lantern, we, too, may feel that we are giving protection to our own little “flame” that was beginning to shine at Michaelmas, so that we may carry it safely through the dark world.  It may only be a small and fragile light- but every light brings relief to the darkness.”

It fits in perfectly with the Gospel reading we did at dinner:

No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light. The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye is sound, then your whole body is filled with light, but when it is bad, then your body is in darkness. Take care, then, that the light in you not become darkness. If your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is in darkness, then it will be as full of light as a lamp illuminating you with it brightness.

Luke 11: 33-36

Collect:

O God, who are glorified in the Bishop Saint Martin both by his life and death, make new, we pray, the wonders of your grace in our hearts, that neither death nor life may separate us from your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Little Holy Days (Green)

Little Holy Days {Blessed Teresa of Calcutta}

Little Holy Days (Green)

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s death. It’s currently acknowledged to be her feast day, so we will be remembering it.

Some quick facts

  • Born on August 26, 1910 in Albania
  • In September 1928 she joined the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as Sisters of Loreto in Ireland
  • She received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Liseux
  • She arrived in Calcutta in January 1929
  • In 1931 she was assigned to the Loreto Entally Community and taught at the St. Mary’s school for girls.
  • She made her final profession of vows in 1937 and from then on was known as Mother Teresa.
  • In 1946 she received her inspiration from Jesus to establish the Missionaries of Charity.
  • She died September 5, 1997
  • For more bio info see the mention on Catholic Culture

Food Ideas

  • I’m planning on using the Crock Pot Pineapple Curry Chicken Recipe from Catholic Cuisine
  • And attempting to make Naan (which I LOVE, but haven’t ever tried to make because it sounded too scary, but this recipe didn’t look too bad… we’ll see)

To Do/Read:

A Prayer of Mother Teresa

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole Return to being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

There are so many quotes that I could put into this post, but I wanted to share this one which appeared in our parish bulletin a few weeks back which I cut out and put above my sink, because it really speaks to things that I’ve been thinking about/trying to improve recently:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
SUCCEED ANYWAY.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
BUILD ANYWAY.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today people will often forget tomorrow;
DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have. It may never be enough;
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU”VE GOT ANYWAY.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and GOD;
IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.