Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saint Jude-- A powerful Intercessor!!

On October 28, we celebrate the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, although this year the feast falls on a Sunday. Saint Jude is the patron of Hope, of things almost despaired of, difficult situations.

Saint Jude Thaddeus was one of the twelve Apostles, the brother of James the Less, and a cousin of Jesus. He preached in Mesopotamia, Libya and Persia with St. Simon where they made many converts. Both were martyred.

Saint Jude is often pictured holding an image of Jesus, the Holy Mandylion of Jesus, the Image of Edessa. King Abagar of Edessa had leprosy and asked Jesus to cure him. He sent an artist to bring him a drawing of the great healer. Jesus was so impressed with the king’s faith that he pressed his face on the cloth and left his image on it. St. Jude then took the cloth to the king and he was cured.

More information on St. Jude can be found HERE.

There have been periods in the history of the church when devotion to St. Jude has waned. Some think this may be because of the similarity of his name to that of the Lord’s betrayer. Even John in his Gospel identifies Jude as “not the Iscariot.” But it seems that God specifically wanted his cousin Jude to be called upon as an intercessor. In visions, both St. Bernard and St. Bridget of Sweden were asked by God to accept St. Jude as the Patron Saint of the Impossible. To Saint Bridget he said, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself willing to help.” The Lord himself has recommended St. Jude as an intercessor!!!

Has he ever shown himself willing to help.

 Those who ask for his intercession often see miracles.

From my own personal experience I believe he is also a saint with a sense of humor. My husband and I once owned a sailboat that we kept at a marina about an hour from our home. At one point we decided we really needed to sell it. After listing it for some time with no success at all, we decided to ask Saint Jude for help. About a week later a stranger came to our door and asked if we were interested in selling our boat. I looked at him puzzled because the sailboat was not listed locally. How could this man know we had a sailboat for sale? I said, “Our boat?” He said, “Yes, the canoe on the side of your house.” I said, “Oh! Well, I’ll ask my husband. He might want to sell it.”

After closing the door I laughed and looked heavenward. “Saint Jude, I meant the sailboat!” Then I realized Saint Jude knew we meant the sailboat. I felt he was telling me to hold on, that he was working on it. Shortly after selling the canoe, we also sold the sailboat. Thank you, Saint Jude.

How often Saint Jude has helped me. Imagine my delight upon learning that two of my children wanted to name children after Saint Jude. One already has and there may be another!

Baby Jude!

My aunt was extremely devoted to Saint Jude and regularly asked for his intercession. On one occasion her son had been unable to study properly for an important test in high school. My aunt prayed that something would happen to postpone the test. When her son returned home she asked him how the test went. He said that the teacher had fallen ill and the test was postponed. My aunt started laughing and confessed to having appealed to Saint Jude. My cousin was somewhat aghast. “Mom! You have to be careful when you ask Saint Jude for something. I didn’t want the teacher to get sick!”

We had a neighbor who also loved Saint Jude. She told my mom that there was a very real possibility that her husband was going to be transferred to a Muslim country where there were no churches, no Eucharistic Presence. She was a very devout Catholic and horrified at the thought of living without the Presence of the Eucharistic Lord. She appealed to Saint Jude. Not only did her husband not get the position that would have required such a move, he actually lost his job completely.

If you appeal to Saint Jude, know that he may do whatever it takes to answer your prayer!

A novena to Saint Jude could be started on October 19 and conclude on October 27, the day before his feast day. EWTN provides a novena prayer HERE.

Or you could use this simple prayer:

Do you have a Saint Jude story?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer

I saw the movie Gosnell on Friday.

I remember the Gosnell case very well. It was not being covered on regular news, but pro-life news sources were covering it extensively. So when I saw on Twitter a call for a Twitter storm holding the media accountable for ignoring the story, I made a mental note of the time suggested. Pro-lifers were to storm Twitter at a given hour asking why the media was ignoring the trial. Why the media blackout, why were they turning a blind eye to such an important story.

The Twitter storm worked. For that hour, the hashtag "Gosnell" started trending and even climbed pretty high on the list. That night, to his credit, Anderson Cooper spent 15 minutes on the Gosnell story.. He gave it decent coverage. You can view it below.

The following day what had previously been empty reserved media seats in the courtroom were all filled. The story continued to be covered until the verdict. It was an example of how ordinary citizens can use social media to hold journalists accountable for biased decisions regarding coverage. It was widely thought that the story was ignored because it reflected badly on the abortion industry.

The film is very powerful. It doesn't lecture. It doesn't preach. It's the story of the legal case against Kermit Gosnell for murder-- he killed numerous babies after they were born in his clinic. He was also convicted of  numerous health violations.

I was grateful that the filmmakers did not make us see too much blood. There were not a lot of gory photos of aborted fetuses. The words describing what Gosnell did were enough. It was chilling, disturbing. They spared the viewer too many horrific details. The descriptions were more than adequate.

At the end, the audience was very quiet, some people not even wanting to move. Yes, this was about an abortionist who broke the law. In fact he broke many laws. But in many ways what was truly exposed was the reality of what happens in an abortion.

You cannot leave this movie without wincing at the reality of abortion.

You can read a thorough review on HERE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Reunion, Thanks to Facebook

On my recent trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula I had the pleasure of getting together with an old college friend of mine who lives up North and whose home was right along the route we were taking.

It was so much fun. Katy came with her husband whom I had met many years ago and they met Mike and me at a coffeeshop.

I don't know how many years it had been since we had seen each other. She didn't know either. Probably at least 30 years, I imagine.

Katy was the person in my dorm who always had the ready smile, the easy laugh. If you saw Katy in the cafeteria you'd think, Cool. I can sit with Katy. (That was when every dorm at MSU had its own cafeteria and we would eat with our friends. It was great for forming a sense of community. We ate together!)

We caught up on the news of old friends and laughed about old times. Sad to say, a few of our old friends had passed away. Sobering news.

Without Facebook I would not have known where Katy was. We also would not have known anything about our old college friends. Katy had found many of them simply by searching Facebook. For all its flaws, for all the criticism we give it, Facebook does help people to stay in touch. I have many friends with whom I might have lost contact completely were it not for Facebook.

So Katy is my new long lost friend. :-) It was great to see her smiling face again!

Monday, October 01, 2018

The Ann Arbor Hands On Museum

 I had the pleasure recently of going with my daughter and two of my grandsons to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. I have been there before, of course, when my own children were young, and it was fun then. But NOW, now it has advanced to a whole new level!

There is climbing equipment for little ones, appropriately sized and challenging.

There is a little fire truck to sit in, complete with costumes and hats...

 For kids of all ages there are giant foam blocks for building...

There is an actual ambulance with its lights flashing for kids to climb inside. In the back non-bloody videos are playing of people being rescued from accidents and put in ambulances...

Kids can sit in the front and drive!

And there are lots of activities with balls. Climbing apparatuses where children can go up steps that follow along tracks where plastic balls are pushed by air pressure. The balls can be grabbed and placed where they will ascend through a vacuum and lots of other fun activities to do with balls. Above my grandson is delighting in the air keeping the balloon afloat.

Water play activities, experiments with sound, investigating GPS technology...And when I went into the ladies room there was a sign that explained the origins of toilet paper. Adults will even learn things here!

Please go to their website HERE. We didn't see anywhere near the whole thing. Check it out! A family membership could make a great Christmas gift for children! And a family membership includes grandparents! Woohoo. Great place to take the grandchildren!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Upper Peninsula Part 3

 In some ways, the upper peninsula feels like a different culture from the lower peninsula. For example, why wouldn't you have deer heads on the wall of a grocery store? Right?

We were told there was a market in town. I thought, great! We'll get some groceries there. But...there were only maybe two aisles like the one pictured above. I saw a free standing freezer case and hoped maybe we could buy some frozen items...only to find it full of clearance flip flops. Oh well. The next day we drove an hour each way to get to a real grocery store, you know, like one with produce, etc.

But there is something very endearing about the simplicity and genuineness of the people and the places in the U.P.

What did we do before airbnb, VRBO, etc.? We found this place on VRBO. (Vacation Rentals By Owner) It was fabulous, a lovely log home with two bathrooms and lots and lots of windows, not to mention the stone fireplace below...

The windows looked out to the forest. Forest our of every window, the views were very calming.

And balconies, so the entire place felt very open and airy.

The bedroom faced all of these windows.

 On clear nights we went out on the balcony. It was so dark you could not see your hand in front of you. Pitch black in the truest sense of the word. It was like being in an interior bathroom with the light out and the door closed. You could not see a thing. And then we would look up to see the most magnificent display of stars you can imagine. SO MANY!!! And the Milky Way right there! In the first 20 seconds or so we saw a shooting star...It was incredible.

And we did not even have to stop star gazing when we went to sleep because this skylight was right above our bed. We could fall asleep star gazing.

Needless to stay we spent a lot of time in the log home, drinking coffee and tea, looking at stars, looking at the forest, talking...


We had the internet, which was good because we very often did not have cellular service. But in all the important ways.....we were off the grid.

It was good to be in God's country. And God IS good. All the time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Trip to the Upper Peninsula, Part 2

Such a very quiet time we had. Very peaceful. From evening walks on the shore of Lake Superior...

to canoe trips across an inland lake, we were truly away from it all. The cabin we rented was a third of a mile from an inland lake which was separated from Lake Superior by only a high, large sandbar.

By following directions like, "Continue down the path that starts at the dead pine tree....), we finally came upon the canoe which was available for our use. After crossing the lake, we came ashore on this sand bar. It was actually a beach. With no one on it!

We walked along, looking at rocks, enjoying the quiet, the blue sky, and soft lapping water.

It was gorgeous. And it was all ours.

We stayed for quite a while, not wanting to leave such a peaceful, lovely spot.

There was driftwood to sit on, lovely rocks to admire and collect. (We've decided to revisit a childhood hobby of both of ours-- rock polishing. Now we have something to do with all the rocks....)

Of course, an occasional selfie to let the kids know what we were up to...

The next day we took the sunset cruise along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore....

 Very amazing and beautiful rock formations....

 The colors became more spectacular as the sun set.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan..The glory of God is all over it....

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Last week my husband (of 38 years!) and I spent six days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

It was lovely, truly lovely. The Upper peninsula borders Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron, covering over 15,000 square miles. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say it's mostly forest. It gives you an idea of what all of Michigan was once like. The Upper Peninsula is largely wilderness.

There are animals in this forestland: deer, of course, and also bears, moose, wolves, and some cougars. I have to confess to being unusually attentive to my surroundings while in the woods. Certainly did not want to encounter a bear, or a wolf, or a cougar! About 30 or so cougars are confirmed to have been seen in the upper peninsula in the last few decades. They are believed, because of DNA testing, to have come from North or South Dakota. There is no evidence of a breeding population though. It seems the male cougars have come looking to establish new territory but-- bad news, guys-- there are no females. Wrong turn! Better head back west! But if you see a cougar in Michigan, know that they are considered an endangered species here. You cannot harm them, unless in defense of yourself or another person.

Did we see any unusual wildlife? Nope. Just squirrels and chipmunks, pretty much. This despite the fact that we were staying in a log home several miles off the road, in a pretty mature forest.

There were sunsets on the coast of Lake Superior...

Beaches with no one on them..

Tahquamenon Falls...OK, it's not Niagara (as someone once said to me) but these are lovely, powerful waterfalls surrounded by forest. Just beautiful.

More on this trip tomorrow. Suffice it to say-- this is God's country.