Monday, November 10, 2014

Why I Veil; Part 7

I introduce to you ladies another lovely lady who wants to share her story of why she veils/covers. Her name is Liz and she is from Brazil., and must compliment her on her writing as English is NOT her first language! I loved reading her story and I hope that you do too!

Hi, my name is Liz and I'm 30 years old. I'm brazillian and I live in Brazil. I was born Catholic, but only woke up for church life after the age of 11, when I started the parish catechesis for the First Holy Communion. When I was 15, I felt in love with the Disclosed Carmelite Monastery. I wanted to be a nun. For seven years I made retreats at the Monastery's inn, where the girls in discernment could sleep for a few days and follow the Nuns' prayers in the Chapel.

Every time I went to the Chapel to pray, I wanted to see the nuns inside the Chapel cloister. I always looked at them and thought how beautiful they were:the prayers, their faces, their simple and profound smile... and how beautiful, more beautiful they were in their habits. Specially their headcovering. All of them, dressing exactly as Our Lady of Carmel.

Well, the years passed and God showed me that my vocation was to marry and raise a family. But my admiration for headcoverings was always there. I started searching the internet for headcoverings, and while I saw those beautiful photos of hijabs and tichels, I also researched for texts and doctrine of the Church about headcovering for catholic women.

Well, I read lots of things. I watched youtube videos. And I started giving up using pants and dressing only skirts. Then I found Wrapunzel, toward the end of the year 2013. I watched Andrea and Rivka doing those wraps, and being so feminine and beautiful. I looked at the mirror and always looked at a sick person, someone I thought that wasn't that beautiful. Well,,, I wanted to feel more beautiful. And I realized that women headcovered were so much more  modest, feminine, beautiful, spiritually gorgeous. I wanted that. And I saw that not only in 1 Corinthians 11:6, but the Church Fathers and the Catholic tradition recommend married women to cover their hair. I felt I had a commandment to follow.
I started trying to cover first at home, and I'm still in transition. I cover with a mantilla at Mass, and I try always to cover when I go buy groceries, or going to the doctor, etc. Sometimes, due to the heat (where I live the heat during Spring and Summer is unbearable) I don't cover (yet).

 How did family and friends react when you first started covering? Husband/bf?My husband supported me, giving me suggestions when I was wrapping, and also giving me some advice about covering at Mass (because of him I started to use a mantilla during Mass instead of a tichel). My husband's relatives are really supportive. They don't matter. My mother-in-law also gave me some scarves as gifts. She's a dressmaker. My relatives haven't seen me covered yet. I live in a distant city and I didn't get a chance to visit them after I started covering. I would like to point out that men are more respectful to women that cover their hair. 

Any recommendation for women who are thinking about covering full time.While I was thinking about covering my hair, I made a lot of research. I read about all kinds of reasons women around the world, of distinct creeds, of distinct cultures. But, as a Roman Catholic, I started to find out Catholic reasons to cover. And I still find so many catholic reasons to cover: having Mary as a role model, councils of the Church Fathers, words of Mary and Jesus during private apparitions, instructions of the Catechism to Holy Mass, etc. 

I think this is really important: to cover for the right reasons. It has to be coherent to your faith. Other thing that is important, is to have your husband's support. It makes all difference, because when he supports you, he'll defend you against people who want to criticize your way of dressing. I think the last thing, but not less important is to keep in mind that modesty is not only about dressing in a particular way. It is about a way of life. In my case, a way of life to be more like the Virgin Mary. It is a great struggle, specially when you grow up in a lack of modesty of dressing, acting and speaking (like I grew up). But what in our lives are not a struggle towards holiness? May God help us to be light and salt to the world.

Thank you Liz SO much for sharing not only your story but also your pictures! You are a beautiful and strong sister in Christ! Be assured of my prayers for you!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wear The Veil Day


 For those who have been timid or wary about wearing the veil I encourage you to dig deeper into your discernment.  December 8th is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception and I encourage you to participate in " Wear The Veil Day".

This day was started by two beautiful Catholic women who are encouraging other women to lay a veil on their heads for The Lord. I deeply and truly think that wearing the veil should be discerned and thus worn for the right reasons, but I encourage you ladies to take the plunge on December 8th, and wear a veil.

In the upcoming weeks I will be writing numerous posts about tips on how to wear the veil as well as reputable sites where you can buy one. Let us be handmaids of the Lord and let HIS will be done!

The Latin Mass Society is promoting this day with a few videos.  I urge you to watch them! We have one month from now to spread the word about this day. Please join me!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes; Meet Cowboy

I haven't done 7 Quick Takes in a little while! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce to you.... 5 months late my "new" puppy!


After graduating I decided I wanted a dog. Sebastian and I both love animals and really wanted to get a puppy together. We looked at shelters and one of our friends sent me this picture.
All I knew was that he was a St. Bernard/Lab mix.
He was so darn cute we decided to go see him.

As we drove home we knew we had to name him. Sebastian and I threw out names that would suit this fine young fellow, both at the "cute puppy" stage as well as when he grew into 150 pounds. We decided on Cowboy.
How could something so little and cute be a problem... right ;-).
Do you see that cat butt in the corner; yes you guessed it, it is Reno:-).


So he started growing, eating and napping. Mostly napping.

Cowboy made friends, played more and was getting really good at snuggles!

He became braver and braver exploring the depths of the farm! Oh and toy sections of pet stores :-)


One day I came home from work and the unthinkable happened. Cowboy was hit by a car. We were not sure what the next 48 hours would look like. After a X-RAY with the Vet, we found out that Cowboy shattered his pelvis. His medicine is to rest and rest while his young bones heal.
The last monh or so Cowboy has been healing up very slowly. He went from being hoisted by me to go potty to being able to chase after a squirrel ( shh he is still not supposed to be running around like that!)
 Moving to a apartment has actually been a blessing or him because his movement is restricted so he is forced to rest and sleep. No worries, he is still getting walks and is meeting other doggies!


Although cowboy is still healing up. He is still the loving cuddle bug that he was when I first got him. At our last Vet visit he weighed in at 53 pounds and the vet said that he will at least double if not triple in size. Oh my!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saint Of The Month; November

Although I am no longer a catechist for a CCD program back at my old parish, I am happy to continue The Saint of The Month series on my blog! I believe the Saints are our friends and we can lean on them for support and ask them to pray for us in hard times.

This months Saint focus will be; St. Gianna. I first heard of St. Gianna when touring a Newman center in Bloomington, Illinois. My fiance had his Koinania there and their Newman center is impressive. Ever since I have been meaning to look up more information about this intriguing woman.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron Saint of physicians, mothers and the unborn. She was a wife, mother, pediatrician and pro-life witness. She is awesome. I picked her to be the Saint of the Month as we just ended the 40 Days For Life Campaign.

St. Gianna to me is a Saint unlike most as she wasn't alive 1000+ years ago but she lived in a more modern era which allows us to have more documentation and pictures of her. Also, she is proof that we are ALL called to be Saints!

St. Gianna was a woman that we should all look up to not only was she a woman of true faith, she was also a loving mother, wife and physician.

When St. Gianna was 39 years old she found out that she was pregnant again. During the second months Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. The doctors encouraged her to have an abortion, a hysterectomy or removal of the fibroma. A strong Catholic Gianna knew she only had one true choice; the removal of the fibroma which was the only choice that would have saved her child.

Giannas baby was safely delivered on Holy Saturday 1962, unfortunately Gianna died 7 days after giving birth.

St. Gianna showed us what unconditional love means! She was canonized by John Paul II.

God our Father we praise You and we bless you because in Saint Gianna Beretta Molla you have given us one who witnessed to the Gospel as a young women, as a wife, as a mother, and as a doctor. We thank you because through the gift of her life we can learn to welcome and honor every human person.

You, Lord Jesus, were for Gianna a splendid example.
She learned to recognize you in the beauty of nature.
As she was questioning her choice of vocation she went
in search of you and the best way to serve you.
Through her married love she became a sign of
your love for the Church and for humanity.
Like you, the Good Samaritan, she cared for everyone
who was sick, small or weak. Following your example,
out of love she gave herself entirely,
generating new life.

Holy Spirit, Source of every perfection, give us wisdom, intelligence, and courage so that, following the example of Saint Gianna and through her intercession, we may know how to place ourselves at the service of each person we meet in our personal, family and professional lives, and thus grow in love and holiness.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why I NFP: Part 3

The Sinners Guide to Natural Family Planning

As we began our journey of NFP Sebastian and I had a lot to consider. "Do we even need to learn NFP" was our biggest question. We knew that once we are married we wanted to be open to life and knew that God truly held the wheel on that one! After prayer and discernment we decided it would be beneficial for us as a engaged couple to learn NFP to get to know our bodies more. 

The journey has not been easy, Mostly frustrating, confusing and sometimes " gross" to talk about. That is what we wanted to move past. Our bodies our not gross but rather a beautiful creation of God. That is what my instructor Sarah truly wanted us to understand. Each part and stage of our cycle was designed specifically for a reason! God is so good!

In addition to learning the ins and outs of NFP, Sebastian and I also purchased this book " The Sinners Guide to Natural Family Planning" by Simcha Fisher, which has been highly talked about in a few of my online Catholic communities.

Man. It is awesome. We are only about half way through it, as we only read a few chapters every weekend after Mass, but let me tell you, BOTH of us could read it in one sitting because it is funny, educational and REAL.

I don't know the ins and outs of married life. I don't know what it is like to struggle with infertility, or to be worn out by little ones, but I will say Simcha hits the head on the nail when it comes to the frustration part of NFP. As mentioned I am new to this, but this really lays it out and lets us know that it is OK to be frustrated, it is OK to have moments of despair, because we ARE sinners and we are NOT perfect, and as mentioned before we don't know the plan for our life. God knows best.

As mentioned we are only about half way through the book, but I can assure you that it will be a double thumbs up. It has us laughing, crying and truly thinking about certain aspects of our relationship and our future. I encourage you to check it out! You can buy it at most Catholic bookstores and on Amazon; here.

ALSO, if you have questions about NFP or are thinking about learning it I encourage you to contact my instructor Sarah Tramonte. She is a beautiful, devout Catholic woman who knows what she is teaching. Her prices and more than reasonable and the material she provides you with is never ending and purposeful! To contact Sarah, head over to her Facebook page; Sarah Tramonte

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Questionable "Shoe wear"

Ah Wisconsin. You are full of new things for me.

As I am settling into my apartment I am definitely being thrown some interesting curve balls. I have learned that beer is in everything in Madison. I knew that Wisconsin was known for beer and cheese  ( remember? The cheese is what really secured my decision into moving ha-ha). 

Here are a few snapshots of what I have encountered living in a new state/big city.

* There are a ton of little local shops! I love it! I haven't seen many big box stores. Yes they are here but comparable in numbers to the small shops!

* People really love beer. It is everywhere and in everything. Holy moly.

* Cheese can be found in big box stores that are from local farmers.... score!

* Parking is horrendous, traffic on the other hand not so bad.

* There are dog parks everywhere!

* Bicycles... also everywhere. You can also rent a bicycle...!

*There are farmers markets (yes even in the winter), Co-Ops, and many health foods stores. My crunchy side is blooming happily here!

* Wisconsinites apparently don't like crocs. I was talking to a few people and mentioned crocs ( nope I was not wearing a pair), and man laughed at me. Am I really that behind in "fashion"?

On the bright side, I am getting settled in and trying to join a few activities. Sebastian joined the Knights on Columbus at our new parish, and I am so excited because they just started up so he is going to be one of the first members! 

We both have also signed up for this AMAZING gym. Seriously it is the bomb. Look at it...


It is starting to get pretty cold up here in the north, but I am enjoying my new cheese loving state :-).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Why I Veil; Part 6

For this weeks edition of Why I Veil, I would like to welcome and thank Ms. Rebecca for contributing her story! I know Rebecca from a woman's covering group on Facebook!
Here is her story...

I currently veil at Mass, and cover occasionally outside of Mass. I began veiling during the last Lenten season as part of my Lenten sacrifice. I had flirted with veiling in the past during my college years, but having gone to a more liberal Catholic university and not knowing anyone else that veiled at the time, I did not stick with it. I studied theology in school and enjoy studying scripture and writings of the saints, church fathers, etc. Some time last year, I started reading a lot of saint writings written by female saints: St. Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Benedicta of the Cross in particular. I guess you could say I was on a journey to make sense of what it means to be a Catholic woman in today’s world. At the same time, I also started reading The Real Presence by St. Peter Julian Eymard (which I HIGHLY recommend), which in turn prompted me to start spending time in adoration each week. One day, I felt the call to veil again, and this time I was strong enough to listen and obey.
I don’t cover full time just yet, and I’m not really sure I ever will. I think I’m still developing a theology of what it means to me. But during the times I have covered, it has been very peaceful, like an offering of my beauty to Him. 

I asked Rebecca how did family and friends react when she first started covering? 
I am the only practicing Catholic in my family, so I don’t think anyone knows I veil. And when I have covered, no one has said anything. I’m African American, and culturally speaking covering a woman’s hair is actually quite normal. When I started veiling during Lent, I did have a few girlfriends do it with me, and we were able to support each other during the transition, which was such a blessing to all of us. I’m currently single and dating, but my veiling hasn’t really come up in conversation. I’m sure it will eventually, and when it does I will explain it as a personal devotion.
Since I only veil full time, I’ll only speak to that. While it can be intimidating to start veiling, especially if you do not go to a parish where the TLM ( Traditional Latin Mass) is offered, remember that the only person you’re doing this for is the Lord who called you to do so. 

I asked Rebecca to share any recommendations for women who are thinking about covering full time?

Most Sundays I attend an FSSP parish where veiling is not only normal but encouraged, but I also travel a lot, and I like visiting other parishes. I was fearful of veiling in unfamiliar parishes, but I’ve really only ever gotten compliments (and okay, a few stares too.) Know why you are veiling, and have an answer prepared in case anyone asks you why (especially if it is another woman or a little girl!) You do not need to go on a tirade about the history of the veil or what St. Paul said in Corinthians. A more simple answer about how you are reverencing the Eucharist will suffice. Also, find some support! There is a growing population of women rediscovering the veil, and many of us are online in support groups.

Thank you Rebecca SO much for sharing your ongoing journey with veiling and covering. Know that I will be praying for you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Christian Modesty vs. Muslim Modesty

I watched this video today by Father Paul and thought I would link it to all you beautiful ladies! I like this take on Christian modesty and believe that you CAN look modest and you don't have to look frumpy.

When I first started dressing modestly it was very hard to not look frumpy. The only store that sol longer skirts were thrift stores, and lets face it most of the skirts just didn't fit right. It took time, about 4 years to acquire a wardrobe I am not ashamed of! I plan on making a post about tips and tricks to dressing modestly soon. For now; enjoy the video.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Unending Love

Can one really walk outside and not appreciate or believe in Gods true, unending love? I think that we often glance at nature and don't realize the work, thought and beauty that went into it to create such a beautiful scenic masterpiece.

As I battle my anxiety today with my move; I will be focusing on Gods beautiful gifts to us. As I roll down the highway into Wisconsin I hope to embrace the true beauty that God has designed.

 I know that HE has a plan for me, and I am a stubborn women who wants to know everything now! I will waiting patiently though, and endure I mean embrace the journey along the way :-). Behold, I am the handmaid of The Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.

Jesus I trust in you.
Jezu Ufam Tobie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

You Know Your Catholic When...

 I belong to a few different Facebook groups full of beautiful Catholic women! On one of the sites we have a on going thread of " You know you're Catholic when". With the permission of those awesome ladies, I took my top twenty five favorites and shared them with you! There are more than one hundred that the ladies have come up with and are constantly adding news ones! Thank you to ladies at the Facebook website for coming up with these!

                                                    You Know You Are Catholic When...

Your kids stall bedtime by adding many many intentions to nighttime prayers. I don't think it is appropriate to pray for Pinocchio.

*One of your kids comes storming into the house to tattle tale, but instead announces vehemently, "So & so needs to go to confession!"

* You plan your meals around your family's fasting and abstaining habits.

* You discuss where each persons rosary is from.

* You have gone, or have wanted to go to World Youth Day.

* You see a priest that wears the long cassock, and think, "I love a man in uniform!" 

*At one point your Facebook password was your Confirmation Saint.

*When you know there is a deeper meaning behind St. Valentines Day and St. Patricks Day.

*You go to a beautiful wedding and instead of numbers the tables are named after Saints! 

* Everyone who comes in your house asks "what is the chalk writing above all the doors in your home"?

* You fondly remember being very active at your colleges Newman center.

* You have participated in 40 Days For Life campaign one way or another.

* You go out to dinner with your Catholic girlfriends, almost everyone has a baby on the breast, and normal conversation includes calculating how many more babies you could have in your remaining years of fertility (a lot!!)

* You google which Saint you should ask to pray for you because you have (x) problem.

*You leap to correct someone whenever they refer to the Eucharist as being bread and wine.

*Parish hopping is not something you find strange. Same liturgy, same Eucharist, one body in Christ. 

*Half of your friends list disappears because it is Lent.

* You have Rosaries EVERYWHERE. In each purse, in diaper bags, hanging on doorknobs, under beds, in the laundry, in the car, in the other car, in the play room, under the sofa cushions...

*When you say a "Hail Mary" when an ambulance passes your house.

*Your daily routine consists of checking Facebook, checking Tumbler, and checking to see which saints feast day it is.

* Your family takes tours of cathedrals on every family vacation.

* You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.
* You get excited about new conferences for women that are coming or are starting in your home town.

* You have discerned wearing a veil for Mass.

* You realize you are so lucky to be in a faith that values human life, lifts up women and protects tradition.

Thank you to the amazing group of women that made this list possible :-)!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why I Veil; Part 5

In continuation with my veil series I am interviewing a lovely woman today about her covering. I met Karen through a Facebook page that is open to all women of different faiths. She was interested in being interviewed about covering from a Jewish perspective!  I think we as Christian Catholics have much in common with the Jewish faith and with so little woman covering it is great to support one another.

Why did you decide to cover?
 I've always enjoyed wearing cute head scarves or pretieds for fashion, bad hair day etc. However in November 2013, Marc and I got married. In Judaism, after marriage an observant woman covers her hair all the time. We use sheitals (wigs), hats, tichels (scarves). It's for modesty purposes as that our hair is only for our husbands eyes.

How did your friends/family/boyfriend/husband react to you covering?
My  husband is fine with it as he's Jewish as well. Whenever I'm covered he calls me his little "jewess". Some friends or family comment saying "since when did you become so religious". They're just being judgemental. They don't know our religious path. Others have said to me "it's so beautiful seeing you cover and show the world your new status of a married woman".

 Any recommendation for women who are thinking about covering full time?
I would tell anyone thinking of covering full time exactly what a Chabad Rabbi told me, and it really helps a lot.
This Chabad Rabbi told me the following:
"Don't take on everything at once or you WILL falter. Start slowly and gradually increase observance as you become more and more comfortable. Then you will look at covering as a beautiful mitzvah and not as a chore".

Thank you so much Karen for sharing your story! I think your quote from Chabad Rabbi definitely   hit home for me as I often want to " do it all". By starting slow and gradually increasing our devotions we can be assured that we are doing God's will!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Hidden Traumas of Catholic Womanhood

 A few weeks ago I read a wonderful article by the FOCUS blog. Focus is a wonderful organization that stands for " Fellowship of Catholic University Students". I have been to one of their conferences and it was amazing, turned my life around for sure!

They had a wonderful article entitled "The Hidden Traumas of Catholic Womanhood".  Many people often think that women that are a part of religion are severely oppressed by their Church. In my own experience The Catholic Church gets a lot of criticism from others because women are not allowed to be priests, therefore many think that women are severely oppressed in the Catholic Faith. As a Catholic women I can vouch for the fact that this is wrong and misconstrued.

Before I share some quotes from the Focus article, I should explain my thoughts of the role of women, and why it is often misrepresented.
 One main Bible passage that is often put to play when talking about obedience, submission and
oppression is   Ephesians 5:22-33

"22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

I think people that read the first line of this Bible passage often stop at the "Wives, submit yourself to your husbands".That is unfortunate because the meat of this passage isn't until 25 where it puts pressure on the husband to love his wife JUST as Christ has loved his church. Ladies, that is BIG. 
Christ love is represented every time we look at the cross. He died for OUR sins and for OUR salvation, and a man is love his wife the same? That is HUGE!

I think this is a wonderful picture of a household. Christ bears the greatest cross of making sure everyone under him are taken of. The husband must provide for the family as well as protect it, AND help his wife with the children and managing the house hold. What a great support system the woman/wife has!

The FOCUS blog had a wonderful article, as mentioned, that they posted. the link is here. I truly encourage  you to read it even if it is only for a laugh :-). This is what we as Catholic women deal with; note; it is not oppression by the Church :-)

               Being asked how you feel about the oppressive male hierarchy in the Church.

       Watching your fiancĂ©’s face crumple in horror as NFP class murders any remaining shreds of     feminine mystery.

                                         People going postal over one little convent visit.

   Attempting to “actively participate” in Mass while sitting behind an NFP family and their swarm of aggressively adorable children.

                            Attempting to grow in virtue whilst dealing with crazy hormones.

Luckily the perks outweigh the traumas!

Knowing that you really are a beautiful, wonderfully made daughter of God, who requires no alteration, and you belong to a Church that will nourish you in this.

The incredible hope and joy that comes from belonging something that is so much bigger than you, but that you can see and touch and taste. Something painfully human, but also beautifully divine.

 And, most importantly, the beauty of completely, utterly, and irrevocably belonging to Him.