Monday, March 31, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

Try to realize the dignity God has conferred on you. He created and formed your body in the image of his beloved Son, and your soul in his own likeness (Gen 1:26). And yet every creature under heaven serves and acknowledges and obeys its Creator in its own way better than you do. Even the devils were not solely responsible for crucifying him; it was you who crucified him with them and you continue to crucify him by taking pleasure in your vices and sins. - St. Francis, The Admonitions

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Saturday of 3rd week of Lent

I did not come to be served but to serve (Mt. 20:28), our Lord tells us. Those who are put in charge of others should be no prouder of their office than if they had been appointed to wash the feet of their confreres. They should be no more upset at the loss of their authority then they would be if they were deprived of the task of washing feet. The more they are upset, the greater the risk they incur to their souls. - St. Francis, The Admonitions

Friday, March 28, 2014

Worrying About Homeschooling

I don't know if all homeschoolers worry, but I know I do. Something about taking the road less traveled makes it feel inherently risky, even though I know without a doubt that the well-worn path was not the right road for us. With homeschooling, there is no one else to blame if your children are uneducated or not successful. You can't point your finger at the local school system or a "bad" teacher. It's all you, and the choices you've made.

The internet and social media is both a blessing and a curse for homeschoolers: A blessing because you can reap the collective wisdom of many homeschoolers and know you are not alone; a curse because you can see all the things the "perfect" homeschoolers are doing and know you don't measure up - not even on your best day. 

I admire mothers who have children who have completed homeschooling and gone on to do well in high school and/or college and/or adult life. They can breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow, even if they made some missteps along the way, they did it right. They succeeded. When you are in the midst of the journey, there is no guarantee you will successfully reach the destination. It is just one step at a time, taken with prayer and hope.

Unlike a lot of homeschoolers, I don't adhere to a formal curriculum. I'm eclectic, picking from here and there. I standardize test the kids in math and English so those subjects are more formal. With the others, I'm more unschoolish. I'm certainly not a true unschooler in that we follow a schedule and I make them do all the subjects, but they have a great deal more freedom in what they study for them. I let them follow their interests. The library is our best friend. We use iPad apps and watch YouTube videos. "School" probably takes 2 - 3 hours a day, four days a week. The rest of the time, they pursue their own interests. I want them to be invested in what they are learning, instead of learning for a test and then promptly forgetting the information. It works for us.

And yet, I worry. Which is why I can take comfort in this post from Karen Edmisten: Nine Worries About Unschoolish Ways that I Shouldn't Have Worried About


Lent with St. Francis, Friday of 3rd Week of Lent

And so it is really the Spirit of God who dwells in his faithful who receive the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord. Anyone who does not have this Spirit and presumes to receive him eats and drinks judgment to himself (1 Cor. 11:29). And so we may ask in the words of Scripture, Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart? (Ps. 4:3) Why do you refuse to recognize the truth and believe in the Son of God? (Jn 9:35) . . . He shows himself to us in this sacred bread just as he once appeared to his apostles in real flesh. With their own eyes they say only his flesh, but they believed that he was God, because they contemplated him with the eyes of the spirit. We, too, with our own eyes, see only bread and wine, but we must see further and firmly believe that this is his most holy Body and Blood, living and true. In this way our Lord remains continually with his followers, as he promised, Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world (Mt. 28:20). - St. Francis, The Admonitions

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Thursday of 3rd Week of Lent

Those who do not know how to work should learn, not because they want to get something for their efforts, but to given good example and to avoid idleness. - St. Francis, The Testament of St. Francis

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The NonPareil Institute - Helping People with Autism Succeed at Work and Life

One of the hardest things about parenting is wondering where your child's place is in the world. Will your child be able to find meaningful work and contribute to society? For those who are parents of a child with special needs, that question becomes all the more acute. My son is pretty high functioning on the autism spectrum, and for that I am thankful. Maybe 90% of the time he can pass for neuro-typical, a.k.a. "normal," until he can't, at which point it all goes downhill very quickly. That 10% of the time definitely presents an issue. In addition, he has very real learning challenges. And so I wonder, what will he do with his life? His plans at the moment involve living in our basement on a permanent basis (Aspies are not big fans of change), and I'm OK with that, but I keep telling him he needs to have a job while he's living there. But, what can he do?  That's the question that remains to be answered. For that reason, I hope the NonPareil Institute, and places like it, succeed and expand.


From http://www.npitx.org/About.htm

Dan Selec had been thinking about his son's future for a long time. Having a child on the autism spectrum, he asked the same question so many parents ask; "What happens when my son grows up? What is out there that can help him today, in a practical and predictable way?" Dan recognized the interest, ability and passion many like his son seemed to display, especially in regard to PC’s and game consoles. If this passion could be harnessed in the form of technical ability, an entirely new method of communication, expression and productivity would be possible.
The culmination of Dan's thoughts resulted in the foundational nonPareil whitepaper, Technical Training for the Autistic Mind written in July 2008.

Shortly after, Dan met Gary Moore, a parent asking the same questions. Gary is also the parent of a child on the spectrum, and understood the challenges ahead, and also recognized his son’s similar interest in computers and video games. It was at this first meeting that Gary committed to helping Dan take his vision and make it a reality, and in September 2008, they founded Nonpareil Institute.

Dan began training the first student in his kitchen in July 2009, then added a second and third quickly thereafter, due in no small part to the efforts of J’Lynn Anderson who conducted the early student recruiting efforts. The nightly training in Dan’s kitchen quickly grew to 8 students and five nights a week, for over a year. As his wife says today, “It was just our new norm…”

Gary’s efforts during this time were largely directed at building a network of supporters, partners and donors to help fund the young, fledgling company, as well as finding a location for nonPareils’ first training center. Through a mutual friend, an introduction was made to the Executive Director of the Guildhall at SMU-in-Plano, which led to a meeting with the Campus Director to consider space for nonPareil.

The culmination of the efforts of this team resulted in the opening of the first full-time nonPareil operation on the campus of SMU-in-Plano in September 2010. This site, which opened with 8 students, quickly grew to 52 students in the first 8 months. One year later more space was acquired, and the program grew to over 80 students. The program now has over 130 active Crewmembers.

Today, 5 of our students are full-time employees of the company, with 25 other students being part-time staff.
As of October 2013, we have 5 apps in the iTunes store, and 4 in the Android store, as well as many free to play maps and campaigns for various popular games. Students have moved from around the country to enroll in this leading edge, ground-breaking, practical solution for adults with autism spectrum disorder which includes technical training, work, and eventually, a residential campus.

Lent with St. Francis, Wednesday of 3rd Week of Lent

Nothing, then, must keep us back, nothing separate us from Him, nothing come between us and Him. At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith, and keep Him in our hearts, where we must love, honour, adore, serve, praise and bless, glorify and acclaim, magnify and thank, the most high and supreme and eternal God, Three and One, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator of all and Saviour of those who believe in Him, who hope in Him, and who love Him. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Feast of the Annunciation

Hail, holy Lady,
Most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God,
Ever Virgin;
Chosen by the most holy Father in heaven,
Consecrated by him,
With his most holy beloved Son
And the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
On you descended and in you still remains
All the fulness of grace
And every good.
Hail, his Palace.
Hail, his Tabernacle.
Hail, his Robe.
Hail, his Handmaid.
Hail, his Mother.
And Hail, all holy Virtues,
Who, by the grace
And inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
Are poured into the hearts of the faithful
So that, faithless no longer,
They may be made faithful servants of God
Through you.

- St. Francis, Salutation of the Blessed Virgin

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Truth About Purgatory



I’ve wanted to read HungrySouls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory by Dr. Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg for quite some time. I was therefore very excited to see that someone had generously donated it to our Parish Library. I read it in one afternoon and my enthusiasm to read this book was not disappointed. 

I’ve had an interest in the after-life and what has been revealed about it for a long time. Even as a young girl, I was familiar with the stories of near-death experiences, plus I was steeped in the Catholic teachings of heaven, hell and purgatory. What comes after this life, which by comparison is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity? I have read many books about near-death experiences and the difficulties inherent in describing a reality that we earthbound humans don’t have words to convey. 

Many describe an incredibly positive experience, filled with pure love and light and colors and music more vibrant than any we have ever experienced. Others describe meeting with long-lost loved ones who appear in the prime of their lives – young and filled with joy. Still others have encounters with children lost through miscarriage who have continued to grow on the other side of eternity. One can presume that these individuals were privileged to have a glimpse of heaven.

Others, not so fortunate, have experienced darkness and hate and pain. They saw a vision of hell and were blessed enough to be sent back to have a chance to redeem their lives. 

But what about purgatory? Saints such as St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Genoa, and St. Padre Pio have seen visions of purgatory and/or been visited by souls in purgatory, so I knew that it was real. I’ve heard it described as both intense pain, due to the purgation of sin, and intense pleasure, due to one’s knowing one was definitely going to heaven. I also knew it is important to pray for those in purgatory in order to help alleviate those souls’ suffering. Still, I always wondered, why do none of those who come back from the dead ever speak of purgatory? 

Hungry Souls answers that question and many more. It shares the stories of many individuals who have encountered souls in purgatory, who have been allowed by God to visit earth and ask for prayers and sacrifices. These souls describe getting to see heaven and then being sent to a time of purgation. Part of the pain of purgatory is knowing the beauty of heaven and having to wait to return there. Those who have near-death experiences and return to this life never reach that point. They only have the initial contact with heaven. 

Meanwhile, purgatory has several levels that souls pass through depending on how much purification the soul requires. Those farthest away from heaven are in the most pain, while those closest experience great joy. These souls can also be helped immensely by our prayers and sacrifices offered for them. We must not forget those who have died before us. In turn, these souls can help us on our earthly journey as well. 

Many of those who have had visits from souls in purgatory have tangible evidence of that fact. Hungry Souls includes photographs of other-worldly burn marks that have been left by these souls on prayer books and clothing. Some people even have burn marks where they themselves were touched by these souls. 

I can’t recommend this book enough. Purgatory is real, and we should live our lives in such a manner as to try to avoid it, while at the same time, offering prayers and sacrifice for those who are currently in that state. God wants to pour out His mercy on humanity, but we need to ask for it, for ourselves, and for those who have gone before. 

Lent with St. Francis, Monday of Third Week of Lent

With all our hearts and all our souls, all our minds and all our strength, all our power and all our understanding, with every faculty (Dt. 6:5) and every effort, with every affection and all our emotions, with every wish and desire, we should love our Lord and God who has given and gives us everything, body and soul, and all our life; it was he who created and redeemed us and of his mercy alone he will save us. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Saturday of 2nd week of Lent

We are all poor sinners and unworthy even to mention your name, and so we beg our Lord Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, in whom you are well-pleased (Mt. 17:5), and the Holy Spirit, to give you thanks for everything, as it pleases you and them; there is never anything lacking in him to accomplish your will, and it is through him that you have done so much for us. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Friday of 2nd Week of Lent

We give you thanks because your Son is to come a second time in the glory of his majesty and cast the damned, who refused to do penance and acknowledge you, into everlasting fire; while to all those who acknowledged you, adored you, and served you by a life of penance, he will say, Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Mt. 25:34). - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: A Subtle Grace

A Subtle Grace is the sequel to Ellen Gable's well-received In Name Only, but one need not have read the original to enjoy this suspenseful romance. Set in the late 1890s, the story focuses on Kathleen O'Donovan, the eldest daughter of David and Caroline O'Donovan. She is nineteen, about to start training to be a nurse, and eager to find a husband. She has prayed to St. Agnes for a suitable man, but so far her prayers have reaped no rewards.


When Karl Wagner, the incredibly handsome son of the local police chief, shows an interest in her, she is beyond happy. Meanwhile, Dr. Luke Peterson is the new doctor in town, a mild-mannered man who takes Kathleen under his wing as a medical assistant. Will Karl be all Kathleen hopes he will be? Will her relationship with Luke grow to something more?


With A Subtle Grace, Gable once again has crafted an engaging story you will want to read if you are a fan of Catholic suspense or romance.


Lent with St. Francis, Thursday of 2nd week of Lent

Almighty, most high and supreme God, Father, holy and just, Lord, King of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for yourself. Of your own holy will you created all things spiritual and physical, made us in your own image and likeness, and gave us a place in paradise, through your only Son, in the Holy Spirit. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Holy Goals for Body and Soul



Holy Goals for Body and Soul: 8 Steps to Connect Sports withGod and Faith
by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki with Joe Paprocki
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2013

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, is a hockey-playing, marathon-running bishop known as the “Holy Goalie” by those he plays hockey with.  In keeping with the Ignatian idea of “finding God in all things,” he wrote Holy Goals for Body and Soul to inspire teens and young adults to find the spiritual in the world of sports. 

Bishop Paprocki focuses on eight key lessons that can be learned from sports and applied to life and one’s relationship with God:  overcoming fear, dealing with frustration, coping with failure, developing fortitude, cultivating faith, valuing family, forging friendships, and having fun.
Writing in a conversational style, Paprocki shares stories from his own experiences as well as inspirational stories about others. He offers concrete advice for living a faith-filled life while taking care of one’s body at the same time. 

While this book is geared towards young people, those a little further along life’s path, especially those who are athletes, will appreciate the lessons as well. 

Lent with St. Francis, Wednesday of 2nd week of Lent

We must hate our lower nature with its vices and sins; by living a worldly life, it would deprive us of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and of eternal life, dragging us down with it into hell. By our own fault we are corrupt, wretched, strangers to all good, willing and eager only to do evil, as our Lord says in the Gospel: Out of the heart of men, come evil thoughts, adulteries, immorality, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, shamelessness, jealousy, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, from the heart of man, and it is these that make a man unclean.(Mk 7:21-22) - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Tuesday of 2nd week of Lent

Remember the word of our Lord, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Mt. 5:44). Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in whose footsteps we must follow (1 Pet. 2:21), called the man who betrayed him his friend, and gave himself up of his own accord to his executioners. Therefore, our friends are those who for no reason cause us trouble and suffering, shame or injury, pain or torture, even martyrdom and death. It is these we must love, and love very much, because for all they do to us we are given eternal life. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Reminder about Diocese of Springfield Catholic Women's Conference

I promised I would plug this on a regular basis, especially since I will be working the CatholicMom table with featured presenter Lisa Hendey (this will be the first time I ever get to meet her, even though I've "known" her through the internet for ten years):

Save the date and register today! Lisa Hendey, the Founder and Editor of www.CatholicMom.com and the author of three books, including The Handbook for Catholic Moms and a regular radio guest and the host of the television program "Making the Grade", is coming to Western Massachusetts for the Diocese of Springfield Catholic Women's Conference on Saturday, April 26th, 2014.

Other featured speakers include:
Sister Eleanor Spring, who was born and raised in Springfield, entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield in 1964 and will be celebrating her 50th year as a member of this religious community in 2014. She os employed by Western Mass Regional Women’s Correctional Center as Group Facilitator. She acknowledges that working with incarcerated or post-incarcerated women is her passion.
Kerry Weber is the managing editor of America, the national, Catholic, weekly journal published by the Jesuits.  Kerry  worked as an associate editor for Catholic Digest magazine before moving to New York City, where she earned a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2009.

Lent with St. Francis, Monday of 2nd week of Lent

It is well for those who die repentant; they shall have a place in the kingdom of heaven. Woe to those who die unrepentant; they shall be children of the devil whose work they do, and they shall go into everlasting fire. Be on your guard and keep clear of evil, standing firm to the last. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Holy Week Vocation Retreat at Daughters of St. Paul

For Single Women ages 18 - 35

April 16 - 21, 2014

Mass, Community Prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, Silent Retreat Day, Conferences, Apostolate Experiences, Sacred Triduum, and Easter Celebration.

Contact: vocations@paulinemedia.com or daughtersofstpaul.com/vocations

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Saturday of 1st week of Lent

We must refer every good to the most high supreme God, acknowledging that all good belongs to him; and we must thank Him for it, because all good comes from Him. May the most supreme and high and only true God receive and have and be paid all honor and reverence, all praise and blessing, all thanks and all glory, for to Him belongs all good and no one is good but only God (Lk. 18:19).

Friday, March 14, 2014

If You Have Middle-Schoolers, You'll Want to Check Out a.k.a. Genius



a.k.a. Genius
by Marilee Haynes
Boston: Pauline Media, 2013

The new line of Pauline Teen Books by Pauline Media promises to bring young people stories that “make you laugh – and sometimes cry, make you think and help you dream, and let you explore the real world.” If a.k.a. Genius by Marilee Haynes is any indication, this line of books is off to an incredible start. 

Haynes tells the story of Gabe, a student at St. Jude Middle School who has just found out that, according to test results, he is supposed to be a genius. There are a few problems with this –his second-best friend Maya is supposed to be the smartest kid in school and doesn’t take kindly to being upstaged, he can’t even get his locker open, and his father would much rather he be good in sports  than good in school. Meanwhile, he is asked to tutor Becca, a girl he likes so much he can barely speak in her presence, and his best friend Linc is trying to “woo” (his words) a girl named Rachel. There is a lot going on in the mind of a middle-school boy. 

Gabe, Maya, Linc, Rachel and a few other students all end up in a class for gifted students, nicknamed the G.A.S. class. Taught by a very cool Sister Stevie, the class is preparing to take part in an academic Olympics competition. 

Haynes has made a great splash with this debut novel. Unlike so many books in the Catholic Fiction genre, a.k.a. Genius is a story about real middle-school kids with real middle-school problems. While filled with elements of the Catholic faith, it isn’t overly pious or preachy. This is a book middle-schoolers would actually want to read, and laugh out loud while they are doing it. It is a Catholic “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” without the accompanying comics. A.k.a. Genius will make readers laugh and cry and teaches an important lesson about self-acceptance in the process. 

There are many books I have enjoyed, but there are only a handful of stories that I consider “awesome.” A.k.a. Genius is one of those books. 


The Beauty of Confession

Lent is a wonderful time to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession), especially if you haven't been in a while.

Martin Sheen writes about returning to confession after a dozen years away in his new book, written with his son Emilio Estevez, Along the Way: A Journey of a Father and Son.

I left the confessional booth and sat down in a pew to reflect. I had just confessed the whole truth about the past dozen years of my life, and absolution was graciously granted without hesitation or judgment. Gradually, an overwhelming sense of freedom and familiarity consumed my whole being. I had returned whence I come.

I imagined the Prodigal Son might have felt the same way when, as the Gospel parable tells us, he returned from his wayward travels rehearsing lines of apology, only to be greeted by a father who loved him so unconditionally the son was welcomed with open arms, no questions asked, and no judgment passed.

I'd just taken the first step of a long, complex spiritual journey that would change my life. But I wasn't focused on the future now, only on this transcendent moment. Sitting alone in that church I began to weep uncontrollably with tears of sheer joy. 




Lent with St. Francis, Friday of 1st week of Lent

The spirit of God, on the other hand, inspires us to mortify and despise our lower nature and regard it as a source of shame, worthless and of no value. Humility, patience, perfect simplicity, and true peace of heart are all its aim, but above everything else it desires the fear of God, the divine wisdom and the divine love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Thursday of 1st week of Lent

We must all be on our guard against pride and empty boasting and beware of worldly or natural wisdom. A worldly spirit loves to talk a lot but do nothing, striving for the exterior signs of holiness that people can see, with no desire for true piety and interior holiness of spirit. It was about people like this that our Lord said, "Amen I say to you, they have received their reward (Mt. 6:2) - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The In-Between Time

Here in Massachusetts, spring has been slow in coming. We have had a couple warm days, but they have been surrounded by cold, cold, and more cold, and snow still covers much of the ground. Usually by this time, I at least have some daffodils pushing through the earth and reaching for the sun. This year, they are still firmly under cover. Yet, the promise of spring is there. It will come.

In the latest issue of St. Anthony Messenger, Kyle Kramer writes of this "In-Between Time," in which we are stuck in the darkness, but trust in the light to come:

According to a Christian understanding of history, we live always in the in-between time. Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection revealed how the kingdom of God is dawning, but 2,000 (often bloody) years later, the kingdom hasn’t yet fully flowered, and it won’t until the end of time.. . .

When we tend it with care or leave it undisturbed, the natural world preaches the same message. Through seasons and cycles, nature moves toward a better future of cleaner air and water, deeper topsoil, and beautifully diverse, abundant forms of life.

At the same time, there’s also a dark thread of suffering and ambiguity woven into God’s growing, evolving creation. Taking that seriously, yet still trusting in God’s unfolding promise, marks an important difference between Christian hope and mere optimism.

This kind of gritty, realistic hope survives by daily, practical acts. In the in-between time, we pray; we plant trees and gardens; we care for children and parents and the poor; we invest our time and talents in our communities; we work for justice.

Like a good storyteller, God keeps us in suspense about how things will turn out. But since God is a good storyteller, we can trust that it’s all worth it.



Lent with St. Francis, Wednesday of 1st Week of Lent

We must be firmly convinced that we have nothing of our own, except our vices and sins. And so we should be glad when we fall into various trials (Jam. 1:2), and when we suffer anguish of soul or body, or affliction of any kind in this world, for the sake of life eternal. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Tuesday of 1st week of Lent

I entreat all my friars, whether they are given to preaching, praying, or manual labor, to do their best to humble themselves at every opportunity; not to boast or be self-satisfied, or take pride in any good which God says or does or accomplishes in them or by them. - St. Francis, Rule of 1221

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lent with St. Francis, Monday of 1st Week of Lent

They are to speak evil of none (Tit. 3:2); there must be no complaining, no slander; it is written, "Whisperers and detractors are people hateful to God" (Rom. 1:29). And let them be moderate, showing mildness to all me (Tit. 3:2) without a word of criticism or condemnation; as our Lord says, they must give no thought even to the slightest fault of others (Mt. 7:3; Lk. 6:41), but rather count over their own in the bitterness of their soul. (Is. 38:15). - St. Francis - Rule of 1221

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Book Review: Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette




Elizabeth Ficocelli, raised as a non-practicing Lutheran,  did not become Catholic until she was preparing to marry her Catholic boyfriend, but even as a child, she felt that God was leading her to a special mission. To fulfill that mission, Ficocelli states that “God had in store for me amazingly heavenly helpmates who would be there to challenge my faith, give me hope, and teach me to love, which is ultimately what this book is all about.” 

In Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three Saints who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love, Ficocelli shares the stories of these three saints as well as the way that they have shaped and influenced her own life. Saints Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette have much in common. “Each had a passion for saving sinners and rescuing souls, a fear of losing God’s friendship, a dedication to a Gospel-based path to holiness, and a total abandonment to the will of God . . . They suffered spiritual dark nights of the souls . . . [and] each went through a physical passion of sorts during a slow and agonizing death.” For Ficocelli, and for us, they serve as spiritual guides and friends to help us through the challenges of being a modern woman. 

Each one of the saints also has a particular virtue that she can teach us about. St. Therese and her little way is a master of Love; St. Faustina with her message of divine mercy is a vision of Hope; and St. Bernadette, the visionary of Fatima, is a great example of Faith. We can learn a great deal about how to live a holy faith from these three women’s example. 

For those not familiar with these saints, Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette provides a wonderful introduction to these heavenly helpers. For those already acquainted, it provides an opportunity to reflect more deeply on their lives, their example, and the lessons that they have to teach us. The appendix includes reflection questions for use as an individual or as part of a book group. 



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