Showing posts with label vocation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vocation. Show all posts

21 Sep 2017

Marriage IS a Vocation

In the midst of preparing for a religious vocation, God surprised me.  He upended my life in a single day when I met Michael, my future husband. I was secretly disappointed I was not going to be a nun because I imagined myself embracing a heroic calling. I literally felt a sinking feeling when I surrendered my grandiose schemes and dreams, even though I knew without a doubt marriage to this man was the will of God.

Now, I have to laugh because marriage is a powerful vocation with the potential to transform us into saints


29 Mar 2017

Motherhood as a Feminist Career Choice

Raising children is not a default chore for women who were not successful in the world of business, power, and wealth. However, the trend in the last few decades has been to delegate childcare to women who are often treated like second-class citizens. Society seems to dismiss and even ridicule women’s most sacred, natural role as nurturing mothers.

continue reading on CTS Catholic Compass

13 Apr 2016

A Call Which Confounds the Wise

A call which confounds the wise.
A call which confounds the mentality of Western Society.
I too was surprised to discover
life and joy in the ordinary.
Years ago, a mother to four little ones
I was worried, actually frantic.
Was I pregnant yet again?

24 Mar 2016

Family is the Heart of Vocations: Part 1

Marriage was the first vocation instituted by God.  Adam and Eve were given to each other in service and love for the purpose of producing offspring for the LORD.  There were no priests before the Fall, for the LORD God walked throughout the Garden of Eden.  Man for the first and last time since the dawn of time, could freely meet with God face to face.  Adam and Eve's purpose was not only to serve each other, but to lead each other in praise and obedience to God.  Their children were meant to be raised up for Heaven and to spread the perfect Love of the Father to the ends of the earth.

Read more at Veils and Vocations.

10 Dec 2015

"Are They All Yours?"

A friend sent me the most amusing video, a song composed by a family of 12, sung to the tune of the Christmas carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas". It is hilarious because , as a mother of nine, I have heard all these phrases for decades. listen and enjoy.

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.
When the words The Joy Of Mothering popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.                   continue reading

19 Aug 2015

A God Led Life of Joy

Outwardly, my life is diametrically opposed  to anything I could have imagined as a teenager. Yet this strange life I find myself living has brought me more fulfilment and joy than I ever could have imagined.

continue reading

23 Jun 2015


Pope Francis' encyclical reminds me we are not angels. We have bodies, and we must live in the physical world. It is this physical world, our common home, that Pope Francis asks us to consider:
On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views. But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair. Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems. [61]
Interestingly, when I searched for images of "home" to include here, nearly 100% of the photos looked like this:
©IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images
Read more at Praying with Grace!

28 May 2015

I Was Going to Be the Perfect Mom

Did you get a load of this New York Post article? A New Yorker named Wednesday Martin just wrote a memoir called Primates of Park Avenue, due out June 2. The book chronicles her experience with Upper-East-Side women who wear motherhood like an assault rifle. According to Maureen Callahan's article about the book, these moms pay $400 an hour for play-date tutors, enroll 3-month-old infants in music classes, and time pregnancies so their children will be the oldest ones in class.

Loyola Press offers a rosary kit for children ages four and up. They sent me a kit and asked me to share my thoughts. So, I turned right around and shared the kit with some families (including one family with a son who has developmental delays), and asked what they thought.
The Loyola Press rosary kit includes 61 prayer cards, 1 lacing string, 4 Mysteries of the Rosary cards, and a diagram explaining how to pray the rosary.
Join me at Praying with Grace for the whole article!

24 Jan 2015

'Repent . . . believe . . . follow me.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Jacob Willemsz de Wet the Elder
Private collection [Web Gallery of Art]

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Speaking in Rome to members of ecclesial movements on the evening of Saturday 17 May 2013, the Vigil of Pentecost, Pope Francis told this story:

One day in particular, though, was very important to me: 21 September 1953. I was almost 17. It was 'Students’ Day', for us the first day of spring — for you the first day of autumn. Before going to the celebration I passed through the parish I normally attended, I found a priest that I did not know and I felt the need to go to confession. For me this was an experience of encounter: I found that someone was waiting for me,
Full post here.

8 Dec 2014

Helping Kids Discern a Vocation

(Excerpt is reprinted with permission from All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters)

Have you ever been in a religion class or in Church and Father asks you to think about a vocation? Do you get the feeling you want to crawl in a hole and disappear, fearing he will ask you to become a priest?

A vocation is a call from God. It’s not merely a career choice. Everyone, everyone, everyone has a calling from God!

The word vocation refers to three different things:
1.       Vocation comes with baptism. It’s a call to know, love and serve God in your life.
2.     Vocation also means, “state in life,” such as priesthood, religious life, marriage or single life.
3.     Vocation also means a personal relationship you have with Jesus. It’s you, yourself, trying to know, love, and serve God.

29 Aug 2014

Friday with St. Francis de Sales – Inspiration for the Wife and Mother

Recently, I’ve  found myself enjoying the writings of St. Francis de Sales.  Due to discovering much inspiration in his spiritual advise that is relevant to my vocation,  I’ve decided to dedicate Fridays at The Sincere Gift as a day to share some of the meaningful insights that I’ve found to be helpful.  His spirituality is a gentle one and very doable for the ordinary person.  

“Go on kindling the spirit of joy and sweetness in your heart, and believe firmly that this is the true spirit of devotion; and if you are sometimes attacked by a contrary spirit of sadness and bitterness, make a real effort to lift up your heart to God, committing all to Him.....

To read more, visit The Sincere Gift.  

18 Aug 2014

One Sister Can Change the World

At the heart of my blogging is the hope to inspire others to pursue the religious life.  I prayed and thought deeply for years about joining a religious order and living the consecrated life.  In fact, for 95% of our engagement, my husband and I spent time considering and praying for vocations. We both felt that we might have been called for religious vocations and did not want to marry until we were sure that marriage and children was our God ordained vocation.  I have children that I want to lead deeper to the faith, but also that I want to open up the door to possibly serve as a priest, nun, deacon, etc.  It has been difficult to find any resources to help in teaching about the vast opportunities for girls in vocations.  I began Veils and Vocations as a means to explore that very topic and bring the resources I did find to other mothers, like me, who were searching for them.

Enter the Imagine Sisters more at Veils and Vocations.

6 Mar 2014

Catholic Sisters Week March 8 through March 15th

It turns out that Elizabeth Ficocelli and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation have a lot in common.

Ficocelli authored a series of children’s vocation-awareness books with a beautiful entry titled “Where Do Sisters Come From?” Elizabeth has shared her story behind the vocation-awareness series on Catholic radio and on a number of Catholic websites and in print. A convert, Ficocelli explains how her own interest in understanding consecrated life was the impetus behind writing the first entry “Where Do Priests Come From” which was then followed by “Where Do Sisters Come From?.” The final entry in the series is “Where Do Deacons Come From?.”

So when it was recently announced that March 8 through March 15th is Catholic Sisters Week, Ficocelli was not surprised. Her own passion for helping young children learn about vocations was acknowledged in that announcement. Ficocelli’s life work and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation had oddly crossed paths around the consecrated life of sisters!

Catholic Sisters Week is the enterprise of St. Catherine University out of St. Paul, MN and is backed by over three million dollars from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. It is a vast undertaking and, according to Andrea Lee, IHM, president of St. Catherine University, it will essentially be “Fostering meaningful relationships between college-age women and accomplished American women religious will be a powerful inspiration for some to consider religious life.”
continue reading>
 (illustration is from Where Do Sisters Come From?)

26 Feb 2014

L'Chaim! To LIfe!

I’m all about symbolism.

So when we decided to give away copies of the newly released, 2nd revised edition of All Things Girl: Truth for Teens, symbolism was bound to play a role! LOL!

My decision on 18 copies is based upon the number representing “life” in Jewish teaching. That just resonates so deeply with me. I pray for great life for the book and for those who will read it.

That is why we are giving away 18 copies of All Things Girl: Truth for Teens. The link to the giveaway is on the new Facebook page being administered by one of the amazing new contributors, Heather Renshaw.

Heather is a blast. She’s a mother of five youngsters who somehow found the time to write a chapter on vocations in general and motherhood in particular. Because of her honesty and great sense of humor, I am convinced that her chapter will deeply affect the teen girls who read All Things Girl: Truth for Teens.

If you’d like to enter the contest, visit the new Facebook page, like it, share it, and good luck!

19 Feb 2014

A Steal...

When All Things Girl first came on the scene there were a lot of mixed reviews. People said things like "it is terrible; it seems homemade" to "the best book EVER for young Catholic girls." Of course, once those books went out of production (there are new ones now in print), everyone clamored for them. I suppose that's how it always goes, right? We don't know what we have until it is gone.

We are now excited to say that the newest All Things Girl book is out! In the 2014 release of Truth for Teens you are going to find the same great open and honest talk that girls love (and moms and grandmas are so appreciative of) but with fresh, new, relevant voices!

Peggy Bowes (best-selling author of The Rosary Workout and popular speaker) writes about health and fitness. Heather Renshaw, mother of 5 youngsters, somehow found the time to write about vocations in general and motherhood in particular. Kayla Brandon, a journalism major with time in at Fox and other cool places addresses the "Me" in social media. All women speak from a place of passion and experience.
continue reading>

22 Oct 2013

Are you praying too much?

File:Millais Victory O Lord.jpg
Victory, O Lord by Millais (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

Sunday’s Mass readings were all about prayer–winning battles through prayer, supporting each other in prayer, and never giving up. I love encouraging people to grow in their prayer life!  But today I want to ask a question that might seem odd to you: Can you pray too much? There are three ways in which I believe you can.

Don’t let prayer keep you from living out your vocation


Again, this might confuse you. Haven’t I said before that prayer helps us live our vocation better? That’s true. But you still need balance. If you are a stay-at-home mom with small children, you should not be spending hours a day alone in your room praying. If you are the father of a young family, you should not be spending most of every evening at Church. If you are a college student, you should not normally miss class to go to adoration. St. Francis de Sales, instructing lay people in Introduction to the Devout Life, wrote, “Do not spend more than an hour thus [in mental prayer], unless specially advised to do so by your spiritual father.”

God gave you your vocation. He works His will through it. There may be a time later, after the kids have grown older, or you are retired from your job, when you can spend hours a day in prayer. But unless you are  called to religious life, that is not God’s plan for you for most of your life. Live the vocation you have, not the one you don’t.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

2 Aug 2013

A Daily Examination of Conscience: What Is It Exactly?

A simple examination of conscience helps build the moral life of a Catholic. It guides a Catholic towards holiness and sainthood. Like taking vitamins or brushing your teeth, it should be done daily!

Find a set time where you will have anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes of quiet and solitude. If possible, also find a specific location. This may be 10 minutes of quiet on your couch or it might be 20 minutes in a prayer corner on a prie dieu. No matter what, when you see this as a sacred responsibility, finding those few minutes each day will be easy.
An Examination of Conscience is about reviewing your day and seeing it through the eyes of Christ. It is about offering it up for objective examination where the fruit will be your spiritual growth and maturity.
Have a number of questions to get yourself started but be willing to allow the Lord to speak to you and guide where the time goes. To create a list of questions, consider your daily life in a general sense and your vocation. For instance, a full-time mother may have a different set of questions than a woman who has no children. Ultimately your questions are about how you reacted in different circumstances. These aren’t meant to beat yourself up about, they are meant to help you grow as a disciple of Christ.
Begin with a short prayer. Try something like this:
"Father, I would like to spend a few minutes with you looking at my day. I want to live more fully in your light and love and ask that you help me do this so that my life is pleasing to you and serves you. I am grateful for the forgiveness you have given me in your son and desire to grow in holiness."
Here are some sample Examination of Conscience questions for a wife and mother of teenagers who works part-time outside of the home:

  • How did I see God today in my co-workers?
    • Did I respond to them as I should have?
    • If I didn’t, why not? (you can ask God to help you with this if it is something you find yourself doing a lot)
  • In what ways did I reflect that I am a beloved daughter of Christ today?
    • If I didn’t, why didn’t I? (does God need to help me accept his love and forgiveness?)
    • If I did, how did that deepen my own relationship with Christ?
  • Did I find time to pray today?
    • If not, what stopped me? Was my time well spent today?
    • If I did, how did I grow with God as a result of that prayer time?
  • Did I find time to read today’s Gospel?
    • If not, what stopped me? Was my time well spent today?
    • If I did, how did I grow with God as a result of that time in the Word?
  • Did I lovingly attend to the duties of my vocation?
    • If not…
    • If so…
  • How will I invite God into my day tomorrow?

A true Examination of Conscience is always objective. It doesn’t encourage you to determine truths based upon your own feelings, rather it asks you to see your day through the life and teachings of Christ so that you can grown into the sainthood to which we are all invited.
Cheryl Dickow

27 Jun 2013

In Defense of the Large Family

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.
When the words The Joy Of Mothering popped into my head as a title for my short stories it was like an epiphany for me because those few words verbalized my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. However, it has been far from easy, rather it has been a long journey through confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the point where I can now shout loudly,
"This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world."
After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation.
As my doctor said once, "Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation."
I raised my hand and chirped, "Well, you can add me to that list!"
Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and I. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement, a sense of purpose welled up from within. Although it took time to really believe that none of our children were simply a failure of the natural family planning method. Many small experiences kept reinforcing the truth the for us that God called each of our children into being with our co-operation. We'd stumbled blindly at times and then a burst of clarity would shine light on our purpose.

5 Jun 2013

Homeschooling parents, you can change the world!

 File:Guido Reni - Education of the Virgin - WGA19315.jpg

This past weekend I attended the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference.  I heard two excellent talks and discovered interesting materials I had never seen before. I would like to spend the next few weeks here reflecting on what I learned. Those of you who were not able to attend a conference this year can consider this a mini-conference–free of charge!

Long-time homeschooler Ginny Sueffert spoke on “How Catholic Homeschoolers are Changing American Culture.” She told the story of Catholic education in America, with a much more positive perspective than you often hear from homeschool experts. She emphasized, however, that Catholic schools have largely been secularized since the 1960s. According to Sueffert, 100 American dioceses are requiring their schools to follow the Obama Administration’s controversial Common Core Standards.

Sueffert believes that Catholic homeschoolers have really taken over the role the parish schools used to play in Catholic life. I’d like to share with you some uplifting statistics on the good job homeschoolers are doing.

An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 U.S. Catholics are currently being homeschooled. In contrast,  over 2 million students were in Catholic school this year. The NCEA says that over 85%–or more than 1,600,000–of these students were Catholic. So Catholic schools continue to educate about 20 times as many Catholics as  homeschools.

Continue reading about vocations among homeschoolers.