Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

May 28, 2010

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Don't worry readers, I'm not pregnant!

"The problem with having a crush," my wise cousin recently said, "is that no matter what happens, good or bad, it's not the way it was supposed to go."

One temptation for the single lady is to write the script of her own romance. It's so incredibly easy for us to jump three steps ahead in any situation; women naturally anticipate what's next. This is part of the reason that we are successful mothers and wives, but it's also one of the dangers for the dating woman.

Now, this can certainly take a very drastic form in that upon meeting a man for the first time, one can daydream about what a potential future would look like with that person. But expectations can also come in more subtle forms. Often when well-intentioned friends orchestrate a set-up, there are inevitably expectations from both parties, especially if the other person was "talked up" prior to the meeting. I personally prefer to not know if I'm being set up with someone, so that things can organically unfold. Or, one might hope/expect that something could naturally develop from a friendship, but when that doesn't happen, one is left disappointed.

The answer, I think, is to somehow discipline oneself in everyday life and ordinary encounters so that we may, like C.S. Lewis, be "surprised by joy." The most joyful moments in life are those that are unexpected -- they are pure gift. The most joyful friendships cannot be anticipated -- they are sent from God alone. I can only imagine that this will happen with the right man. That even if I know him now, the moment when I recognize him in a new way will be totally unexpected, not one that is plotted or orchestrated. Or if I do not know him yet, he will be woven into my life just as it is.

My heart aches a bit right now in anticipation of my vocation which is not yet fulfilled. But I think that if I will just allow myself to enjoy the little joys, the little unexpected gifts, then I will be more receptive to the joy of a man whose love I could not plan for myself.

May 27, 2010

A Feminism for Generations Y and Z

Just last week I began to introduce my sophomores to some of JPII's "new feminism." We've been exploring the role of the laity in the Church and their specific calling to holiness. The holiness of the lay person doesn't look like the holiness of the priest or the religious insofar as the means to achieving sanctity are quite different. I watched quite a few girls have "a-ha" moments when they realized that they could grow in sanctity precisely by being virtuous students, friends, daughters and siblings.

I figured that I could smoothly transition into growing in holiness through femininity, since all of my students are female. So far, not so good! I've noticed a few trends in their answers, which seems to indicate that they need to be exposed to very different images at any earlier age than they have been.

Many of my students are convinced that gender is something that is relative, subjective, and conditioned. While they are willing to recognize biological differences between men and women, they do not, for their lives, want to associate biology with gender. They don't want to name anything essential to masculinity or femininity. I think this still stems from a fear of being pigeon-holed into pursuing certain careers or having limitations put on their dreams.

Now, it's really difficult for me to teach the anthropology and philosophy of John Paul II, Edith Stein, and Benedict XVI (another blog post on his writings on femininity is forthcoming!) to fifteen-year-olds. They can't yet think abstractly enough, and their experiences are still limited.
Has anyone attempted to break this down for this age group and been successful? Any thoughts on a helpful approach to helping young woman see their femininity as a privilege, opportunity, and blessed responsibility?

May 26, 2010

Rose Petals at Pentecost

Now that I am home in the Chicago area, I have been anxiously asking myself what is next other than writing my doctoral dissertation. As in, I need a job! So I made a Pentecost pilgrimage to a gorgeous Church in Chicago, St. John Cantius. As God has been feeling distant from me in my sorrows, I was need of renewal this Pentecost. The Mass was lovely enough, but it came for me at the end of the Mass. As the exit procession of priests, seminarians, and altar servers began, fragrant, beautiful rose petals began to fall from the oculus of this gorgeous Church. I just started smiling, relishing in this physical reminder of the tongues of fire falling baptizing all of us, uniting the Communion of Saints. And of course, the rose petals gave it a Marian significance as well.

I had never heard of this tradition before, but as I have learned, it is a Roman tradition that at Pentecost each year, rose petals are dropped from the oculus of the Pantheon, now the Church dedicated to Mary, Queen of Martyrs. Check out the story here - where I also found the photo. Enjoy - and Happy week of Pentecost!

May 25, 2010

Wedding Fail

I've been perusing wedding websites a lot recently, because I promised my best friend from college that I'd make her wedding invitations. So, I've been sourcing ideas. Which is great...pretty dresses, beautiful flowers, wonderful colors: lots of details to brighten my day!

But I recently came across a wedding venue in LA called Vibiana, and it nearly broke my heart. It is a beautiful, huge, old church, in a that whitewashed California Baroque style, that is no longer used as a church: it is merely an event venue. But it still has most of the archetectural details--like gorgeous white marble side altars (not to mention the ornate high altar, see below).

With only the merest hints of its old use as a place of worship, this becomes a cool venue--a nearly blank canvas upon which I can thrust my vision for MY BIG DAY. It is, to me, symbolic of everything that is wrong with the wedding industry today. And it just breaks my heart.

May 24, 2010

Why I Like Glee

I confess: I've become a Glee Groupie. I originally began watching it to see what the big fuss was when my students would come in on Wednesday mornings chatting about the previous night's episode. However, what started out as research became a really fun-filled hour on Tuesday nights. I love musicals, and I love music from all different eras and genres. This show has it all. I also think Glee does a really good job tackling important issues (most particularly their regular stories about persons with disabilities and anxiety disorders like OCD). I'll be really happy if they continue to explore the many dimensions of their lead characters. Oh, and the cast does all of its own singing, which is pretty cool.

Above all, I have to say, I love the character of Sue Sylvester. She is downright hysterical in her meanness...not because it's okay to say the things she does, but because she is so over-the-top that she makes me giggle. But even Sue has many layers, no doubt not all of them exposed yet. Jane Lynch does an amazing job playing her.

If you don't watch it, I say give it a shot. If nothing else, you'll be singing along to a song or two that you forgot you loved so much!

May 22, 2010

Summer Fashion: Weddings from Julian

Well, Agatha takes the cake on invitations to weddings! I am going to three this summer, but it's the first time in awhile that I'm not in any of the weddings. And I think that means that I can actually try to wear one of my bridesmaid dresses to a wedding. Drumroll, please...

Sophia silk dress from J.Crew

I wore this dress to my friend M's wedding in 2008, and it's a classic cut and beautiful material. I think I'll jazz it up with some fun strands of beads or a hair clip.

To the other weddings (where guests saw me donning the first dress dress), I think I'd choose something like this and wear my hair low in a loose bun off to the side.

Dress by J. Crew

May 21, 2010

Reflections of a Traveler

Well, I have just returned from my travels. I realized that I get to traveling a lot. I’m quite lucky. Less than a year ago, I was in North Africa! And just these past few weeks I have been in Vienna, Austria. But I am the world's worst blogger when I travel, and for that I apologize. Maybe it is because I have been stressed these last two trips. Maybe I am just a bad blogger when I travel. So here are a few reflections of what I have been learning during my travels.

This trip was both wonderful and stressful. Wonderful because I got to see my golden old friends (and family - my sister lives in Europe!) meet tremendous new ones. Nothing helps healing more than friendship. I was doing some work for a conference that tremendously interests me - on Islam and Europe. It was a great conference. But my boss was a bit of nightmare during it...he made it quite stressful. But I won’t delve into that, save to say that he is not the best manager of people and a micro-manager who also hates details. Yes, imagine that – not an ideal combination to put it lightly.

But after all that passed over, and I found myself still missing Peter. The goal of the trip was to forget him, to let the memories of our relationship and the plans of our future pass into smoky oblivion and move on, but that still has not happened. The stress of conference planning was merely a distraction, and as I found myself steeped in the beauty of a city the Habsburg money built, I found my heart so heavy with sorrow. Why could I not just forget about him? I walked into every gorgeous Church I could find asking that question receiving no comfort, no answer. Even now, I still miss him and he still haunts my sleep. Even if my better judgment reminds me that I have been saved, my irrational emotions remember the goodness of Peter, instead of his faults that made him entirely wrong for me. That’s human nature, isn’t it? A little good, a little bad – such a complicated mixture of good and evil.

Despite my sorrow, I opened up to others about my experience – to my friends old and new. What I found was solidarity in suffering, as this trip revealed to me the long known truth that world is full of human suffering....

Take the lovely young girl from Armenia. She is 22. At age 20, she married the love her life, the man of her dreams. At age 21, she had a child who lived for only 6 months. He died of genetic disease - the genes for which both she and her husband carried. After the death of her baby, she and her husband divorced. At 21, she moved to Vienna to seek meaning and move on.

Then there was the older American woman who used to work for the same person I worked for during this trip. She left a fabulous well paying job because she was looking for meaning and thought working for an organization associated with the Church might give that to her. She worked for this organization for just six months and found the job odious. The next thing she knew, she was making rather poor decisions, like that one guy that one night...and then she found herself pregnant. In Europe I met both her and her beautiful little daughter.

Finally, there was the glorious French professor who teaches in Germany. He writes about Medieval Islam and Christianity and was invited to speak at our conference along with many other notable men and women. I went with the driver to pick him up from the train station in Vienna and escort him to the conference. I was captivated by him. He is very French, delightful, forgetful, and absent minded. When he spoke, his voice was barely audible and his face was almost expressionless, but his words were always so kind and incredibly wise.

When I asked him about his work, he told me a story about his wife. She had encouraged him to take a fellowship that would take him away from her and their three young sons. She did it because she loved him and she wanted what she knew would make him happy and allow him to become the best of himself – he did not say that, but I knew it. But he did say, “She had so much courage to do that, to stay with our three sons on her own. That is what I love about her – she has the feminine courage that lasts for the long run, while masculine courage only lasts in the short run…”

Those words resonate with me. I thought – that is exactly the kind of love I want to have from a husband. I hope he is out there, and I hope I do a much better job of finding him. I think that’s why I love the idea of the woman warrior, because all of us women are called to be one at one time or another. Even as I protest, God has put that training before me. And while I am no woman warrior like the ones I blog about, I certainly aspire to be. I think it is safe to say that I am a work in progress on that feminine genre of the virtue. After all, it takes courage to meet your almost mother in law on what should have been your wedding day and return those gorgeous rings you were supposed to exchange. And while you are quite tearfully doing that, she is gently and tacitly blaming you for the mess: “Peter says you just wanted too much and he felt too pressured to give everything to you.” Whatever that was supposed to mean – just another lie, another attempt to escape blame for what he did wrong. As I said, human nature is a complicated mess of good and evil. And it takes courage to tell your family members which items belonged to Peter that need to be returned to him as you weep so that they can pack them up and get them out of your apartment. All the while, he is roaming around town partying at a Mardi Gras parade on what should have been the first day of your honeymoon – the first day of your life together as man and wife. Yes, it takes courage to move on from all that. It takes the feminine courage that lasts for the long run, the kind I am inevitably, and perhaps unwillingly, learning to practice.

Photos: From my trip
1: View of Vienna from Stephansdom Tower
2: Altar at Votivkirche
3: Facade of Michaelkirche - St. Michael the Archangel

Summer Fashion: Weddings with Agatha

Ah! Weddings! I will likely post about this later, but I think I have found my calling in life. I should be a professional wedding guest. I would be very good at it, because I've had a LOT of practice... including a whopping 9 more weddings to attend this calendar year...and a few on the horizon for 2011!

Needless to say, this means getting a lot of dresses. And, preferably, dresses that I can wear in multiple seasons. We also have to be wary of bridesmaid colors--which means prints are always a win. Here are some of the dresses I've been eyeing for this (continual) wedding season.

Stripes are a fun choice for a casual summer wedding. Anthropologie.

This has everything great about recent trends: aqua, metallic, with architectural details. I'd pair it with a bright linen or silk shawl in chartreuse or salmon, and vibrant heels. Mod Cloth.

The bow on this navy dress is so sweet. The color is seasonless. Shabby Apple.

May 20, 2010

Summer Fashions: Business from Julian

(N.B.: Sorry for the late post. We had some technical difficulties. --TMS)

Well, since I'll be working part-time at a parish doing administrative work this summer, I figure that I should get a few pieces to work with what I have. I think I'm going to dress up some basics with a fun summer blazer. It's easy to pair with a crisp white button-down shirt and black pants or a skirt. The brighter the better, I say!

I'm also thinking that some fun necklaces could really liven t-shirts up if paired with dressy bottoms and shoes.

May 19, 2010

Summer Fashion: Business from Agatha

Well, I have to tell you, summer business is perhaps my favorite--though it is unbelievably difficult to pull off well. (I rarely succeed!) A few big common missteps include: wearing sundresses; wearing flip-flops; not bringing a jacket or sweater to work (offices are cold!); wearing espadrilles or other super casual heels; having bare shoulders; having a messy pedicure.

My formulas are simple: a) crisp lightweight blouse with a straight skirt and simple pumps, b) a linen suit, or tropical weight wool pants and a light jacket or c) a sleeved dress. I work in a very conservative office, so most sandals would not be appropriate (I wear peep toes, mostly). If this sounds boring...I'm sorry to say, it sort of is. But the key is to look cool and put together, not uber-fashionable. Here are examples of these three key styles, plus a few accessories for the fun of it.

Exhibit A: Skirt and Blouse.

The trick is to make this either super colorful, or monochromatic. Tuck in your blouse, carry a fun bag and wear a great pair of shoes and you're set for anything. I'd pair this lovely pale pink blouse and spotted skirt (which looks short, but isn't in person, at least not on me!) with cool accessories: raspberry slingbacks, and round jeweled earrings and a straw-colored tote.

Exhibit B: Jacket and Pants

This is a tricky one. You need to be sure to pick a blouse nice enough on its own, but that works well under a jacket. You can't go with a camisole here, because you're going to be too warm. I'm not the biggest fan of J.Crew, but they really do excel at affordable well made suits, so I suggest one of their wool gabardines, in a pale color like this gray. Pair with it a fun jacket and pretty blouse. Because these are pants, you can get away with more casual shoes (like wedges, or flat sandals). For accessories, I'd add a flower pin and call it a day.

Exhibit C: Sleeved Dresses

Ah! this one is such a trail. I am loving all the little shifts that are so popular right now, and they pair wonderfully with a sweater or jacket. But sometimes it's just too hot for that. And the only thing to do is wear a dress. Luckily shirt-dresses are seeing a bit of a renaissance as well. The one below is from Shabby Apple. Here are a few more favorites: Ann Taylor; Anthropologie; Macy's

May 18, 2010

Summer Fashion: Causal from Julian

I won't be able to take any vacations this year, but I will have a few weekend BBQ's and a trip to New York City to visit a friend. Even though the summer affords a teacher like me with the chance to dress really casually, I love wearing dresses and skirts when I can. There is something about linen or cotton skirts that make me feel so feminine. If I could, I think I'll go with neutrals and don something like this:

Skirt from Banana Republic

Shirt from Anthropologie

Bag from Old Navy

May 17, 2010

Summer Fashion: Casual

This week, while Edith is still travelling, Julian and I are going to do a series on summer fashion. We'll share with you all our ideal summer outfit for 1) Casual/Vacation 2) Business and 3) Formal (weddings, graduations, etc.)

Kicking off with the casual, since I'll be spending my vacation in my favorite California city, I wanted to find something put together but still casual. The blouse is lightweight, the linen pants will be cool, and those espadrilles are incredibly comfortable--I live in them in the summer! And I just adore the big bag, with that bold (albeit odd) print.

California Dreaming:

Light Speed Blouse from Anthropologie

Alfani Linen and Rayon Pants from Macy's

Pink Studio Open Toe Espadrille from

Pleasted Shoulder Bag from happyKatt on Etsy

I can't believe I forgot to include a jacket (a necessity for cool CA nights) and jewelery! This jacket is sporty and versatile. And green: the most underrated neutral! And these awesome earrings echo the pattern of the top.

Ann Taylor Loft Jacket

Dichotomous Earrings from Etsy seller Nervous System

May 14, 2010

Novena for Priests

In honor of the Year for Priests, The Magdalene Sisters will be praying this Novena for Priests. Please join us tomorrow in this special prayer. The Novena will end on Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd:
Jesus, Good Shepherd,
You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church
and lead her faithful to You through the ministry of Your priests.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grant to Your priests
wisdom in leading,
faithfulness in teaching,
and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.

As they cry out with all the faithful, "Abba, Father!"
may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You
in Your divine Sonship
and offer their own lives with You, the one saving Victim.

Make them helpful brothers of one another,
and understanding fathers of all Your people.

On this Pentecost Sunday, renew in Your priests deeper faith,
greater trust in You,
childlike reliance on our Mother Mary,
and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father and his bishops.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Vianney, pray for them.

A Prayer Request


Please pray for a friend's baby who was born 3 1/2 months early. Baby and mom are doing well, but there's a long road ahead! Thank you!!!

Agatha and Julian

A Magdalene in Vienna, Austria

Hello Sisters and Readers! I've been lately working in Vienna, Austria and my time has been sucked up planning a conference that went wonderfully! I now have some free time and am rested up enough to do some site-seeing. I spent one full day going to as many Churches as I could and got to see some gorgeous Gothic and Baroque art (those two styles seem to be most dominant). I walked into the "Dominkenerkirche" or the Dominican Church and saw her:Our own Mary Magdalene! I stopped to say a prayer for my sisters and our readers. It's been great therapy to be I'll write more later. Now, off to more Churches!!!

May 13, 2010


Well, regardless of whether your diocese celebrates it today or Sunday: today IS the Feast of the Ascension. 40 days after Easter, Christ ascended to Heaven.

Now begins the period of waiting. It is not the expectant waiting of Advent. Nor is it the hard penitential waiting of Lent, or the sad uncertain waiting of Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

This waiting is different. It is confident and joyful. It is uncertain about the future, but eager for God's calling. It is ready to do God's will, but listening for further instructions. It is the waiting of discernment, the waiting of Vocation.

Veni creator Spiritus...

May 12, 2010

Vocation Vacation

The Lord is really so good.

I think one of the most difficult things for the single woman to do is to "let go" of the reigns of her potential vocation to marriage. At least that is one of the most difficult parts of my every day. Some days it does stink when parents, students, or colleagues openly ask about my love life. I have grown in my ability to differentiate between people who are nosey, people who sincerely care, and people who are somewhere in between, but occasionally there is a little sting to their probing or commentary, even if it's well-intentioned.

Now, my reigns don't come in the form of grandiose acts of desperation. They do, however, take the form of anxiety which is definitely not helped by Facebook newsfeeds or idle time...both only work to create unnecessary drama. As my dear friend once told me, "I've dated so many men in my head, and a lot of heartache could have been spared should I have stayed in reality." What a strong temptation for a single woman.

However, I simply cannot stress enough the power of the Rosary and Our Lady's ability to help me as I take a "vocation vacation." I feel compelled to post on the power of this prayer to center us and to awaken in us the knowledge of how loved we are by Jesus and how invested He is in our lives and in our hearts. The nature of His love which is to fulfill our deepest and daily desires is made so clear in the recitation of the Rosary. There is truly nothing that the Lord would withhold from us if it would make us profoundly happy.

The Lord is really so good.

May 11, 2010

Bronte Sisters Power Dolls

May 10, 2010


Things I'm grateful for on my birthday:

26 years of a beautiful life.
My goddaughter.
My education.
My teaching vocation.
My personal vocation.
The waiting.
The hope.

Happy Birthday Julian!

Jules! I've nothing to say but: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and YOU ROCK! and I HOPE 26 IS AWESOME! and... WE LOVE YOU!

May 8, 2010

Gift-giving Help!

Okay, I know I'm down to the wire here, because I need a gift by this evening, but I need suggestions as to something to buy someone who graduated from graduate school! My mom already snagged the leather-bound portfolio idea, so I've got to come up with something else. Help, please!

While we're at it, I'd also take suggestions for any go-to wedding gifts that you buy. I have three weddings to go to this summer, and I really enjoy getting gifts that are not on the registry. I know people purposefully register for items, but I like the little touches of thoughtfulness that are both personal and practical. Married friends -- any things that you just love for your home?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

May 7, 2010

The Pope and the Shroud

I don't know if anyone else has been interested that the Shroud of Turin has been on tour, but I'm wishing I could get to Italy asap! Anyway, here's the text of a beautiful sermon delivered by Pope Benedict after his own veneration. As always, it's amazing.

Photo found here.

May 6, 2010

Fashion: The Met Museum Gala

Called the Academy Awards for fashion, the Met Museum's annual Fashion Gala took place last saturday. The theme was a dull and broad "American Woman" blah-blah-blah, and as a result the dresses were of a wide variety of basically awful gowns. (Go to my favorite trashy celebrity fashion review site, GoFugYourself for more looks.

This is a fun event fashion-wise, because you can take many more risks. Its not on TV, its not the Oscars, and, really, only recently has it seens exposure in the media besides a short spread in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. My personal favorite outfit from the met ball was Elle Macpherson's chartruese gown matched with gold flip-flops (but, alas, I cannot find a photo...). For this week's ball, there seemed to be only a few interesting and lovely gowns--gowns that stood athwart the sad trends like trains on short dresses, middle slits, inconsistent ruching and ruffles, and weird weird weird lace. Whoooie! After all that you might ask youself: was there anything good? Yes: here were my top fives:

#5: Nicole Ritchie's luxe bohemian look gets me nearly every time. I hate to say it, but she's got style.

#4 Zoe Saladena (is that how you spell it?) rocks this one sleeve Clavin Klein sheath. Love it.

#3 Carolina Herrerra is, of course, the quintessential female designer. And her she looks completely elegant and timeless in a gown of her own design. AND she wears gloves without looking like a poser. Brilliant.

#2 Iman looks stunning in this modern throwback to the 1930s. Absolutely stunning. I have not seen a black dress I liked this much in a really really long time.

#1 Also echoing the 1930's, I just love Kate Bosworth's lovely printed bias gown. The colors and textures transform a flattering silouhette into something luminous and enchanting. I haven't seen anything I liked better this whole year.

May 5, 2010

Briefly: Wendell Berry on Marriage

Yesterday I got the chance to hear Wendell Berry speak here in Washington. It was a real treat (except for the INSANE heat of the room; I know he's all for sustainability, but that doesn't mean in a totally packed room on a warm and humid day we shouldn't at least open the doors for some air circulation, let alone turn the fan on!)

It put me in mind of posting here about his book of essays Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. His stories and poetry have often displayed a strong sense of fidelity--both within marriage and to a larger community. He explores these themes poetically in his book of short stories Watch With Me about Tol Proudfoot and Miss Minnie (my favorite of his fiction), and again in the essays in this wonderful book.

Here's a quote. (Now buy the book!)
Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers, pledging themselves to one another "until death," are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. Lovers, then, "die" into their union with one another as a soul "dies" into its union with God. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing.

(Painting by Harlan Hubbard, the artist who's work often graces the covers of Berry's books.)

May 4, 2010

Beating Breast Cancer

When I was in high school I participated in a 5 K race on Mother's Day that supported breast cancer research. My friend, A, had several relatives who were trying to beat or who had beaten breast cancer, and it seemed like a worthy cause. I remember the beautiful race through Philadelphia, feeling united with thousands upon thousands of people for a good cause.

About 8 years later, I know someone personally who is trying to beat breast cancer, and the treatment is absolutely wicked. She's a tough cookie though, and seems to be pulling through well. Her prognosis is great, and for that I'm grateful.

The month of May brings much breast cancer awareness with it, and I find it fitting since it is the month of Our Dear Lady...why wouldn't we support women? But the more I read about our culture, the less hopeful I am that we're going to beat it (or at least help prevent many cases) with our current policies and educational strategies. Something needs to be done!

Let's take the Susan G. Komen organization for starters. The most notable group in the movement to cure breast cancer donates a significant amount of money to Planned Parenthood. Sure, it's done in the name of mammograms and breast health services, but from what I've read, there is nothing stipulating that any money goes directly towards those services. Once the money is in PP's hands, they are free to allocate it however they deem appropriate. Now, it's bad enough that the money is going to PP, but the fact that research supports a pretty strong correlation between abortions before a full-term pregnancy and the onset of breast cancer (in addition to the use of oral contraceptives and hormones during menopause) cannot be ignored. Therefore, the largest organization committed to eradicating breast cancer is contributing to an organization that can actually provide "services" which can cause breast cancer. When I found this out, I was horrified. Here's a really great video which explains it all.

In addition, the "recommendations" in the new health care bill encourage doctors and women to wait until age 50 to get mammograms instead of starting at at 40. Thank goodness for the American Cancer Society which is refuting this and circulating the invaluable, life-saving recommendation that women at 40 get yearly check-ups.

So, what's a pro-life, pro-woman person supposed to do? The first step is education. Tell women about the link between abortion, oral contraception, and hormones and the onset of breast cancer. Secondly, contribute to organizations who are really trying to eradicate this cancer from society. These organizations pledge not to fund abortion facilities or research that is destructive to nascent, embryonic life.

Let's get to it!

May 3, 2010

Magdalene in Art: Stained Glass

From St. Louis Betrand Parish, Louisville KY.

May 1, 2010

Woman Warrior of the Month: Catherine Doherty

This month's woman warrior is a contemporary of Dorothy Day and a Russian woman who lived to witness the Russian revolution, and both World Wars. Catherine Kolyschkine Doherty was born in 1896 to a devout, Russian aristocratic family. According to her biography,
She was a pioneer among North American Catholic laity in implementing the Church’s social doctrine in the face of Communism, economic and racial injustice, secularism and apathy. At the same time she insisted that those engaged in social action be rooted in prayer and that they incarnate their faith into every aspect of ordinary life. Catherine was a bridge between the Christian East and West. Baptized Orthodox and later becoming Roman Catholic, her spiritual heritage drew upon both of these traditions.
She married quite young and fled with her husband to Canada. She had a child and suffered under tremendous poverty, which ultimately destroyed her marriage and gave her cause for an annulment. A woman warrior indeed who suffers so much.

But she allowed God's grace to envelop her life. She became wealthy once again, but sold her possessions (after providing for her son, of course) and chose to live a life of poverty with the poor, much like Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. She began an apostolate to take care of the poor called the 'Friendship House' in Canada and Harlem, where she met Dorothy Day. When that apostolate seemed to have failed, she moved with her second husband, Eddie Doherty, back to Canada. But her calling had just begun. She founded the Madonna House, a Catholic apostolate made up of lay men and women, as well as clergy, who live in community to serve the poor within the community. According to her biography:
Catherine had a faith vision for the restoration of the Church and our modern culture at a time when the de-Christianization of the Western world was already well advanced. She brought the spiritual intuitions of the Christian East to North America. Lay men and women as well as priests came to Madonna House to live the life of a Christian family: the life of Nazareth. They begged for what they needed and gave the rest away. . . . Catherine’s vision was immense, encompassing farming, carpentry, cooking and laundry, theology and philosophy, science, the fine arts, and drama. “Nothing is foreign to the Apostolate, except sin... The primary work of the Apostolate is to love one another... If we implement this law of love, if we clothe it with our flesh, we shall become a light to the world,” she said, “for the essence of our Apostolate is love—love for God poured out abundantly for others.”
Catherine also introduced many elements of Eastern Christianity's spirituality to her community at the Madonna House and may of her publications have been widely published and you can find a complete list here.

She died in 1985 and left behind a wealth of spiritual writings that I am placing high on my to-read list. I'll leave off with a quote of hers about how we should live our lives for us to meditate upon: "Stretch one hand out to God, the other to your neighbor. Be cruciform. ... Christ’s cross will be our revolution and it will be a revolution of love!"
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