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CWBN BlogHop – The Role of Women in the Catholic Church

Dear Ones,

We live in a world that would have us think our Church is backwards, sexist, and antiquated because women aren’t Priests, because we don’t marry same-sex couples, and a plethora of other reasons. But we must hold on to the truths in our Church and continue to honor the strong and faithful women who came before us, reaching as far back as the Old Testament, and live our lives on the path they forged for us.

Our Church began with a resounding YES from our Blessed Mother Mary.  That young girl, long ago, who gave her resounding yes to carry Our Lord in Her blessed womb. She helped start our Church, the first Church that all others have sprung from. She is our guide for what Women should be in our Church. She is our model in our Faith and how we live our lives.

We may not always get it right, like she did, but in our striving to do so, we change the path of our Parish Churches, by living our lives faithfully in our Domestic Churches.

In the CWBN BlogHop this month, on Allison’s Blog, we are challenged to share our opinions on Strong and faithful women in the Catholic Church. I would encourage you to read articles like these:

When we think of Our Blessed Mother and all the Catholic Female Leaders who came before us, we think about things like their Faithful Example, Comforting in Motherhood and leadership, the way they forgave others, and their humility; but, mostly we admire them for their tenacity, integrity and their focused YES to Our God’s direction and plan for their lives.

Probably my two favorite Catholic women role-models that formed my faith, besides Our Blessed Mother, have been Mother Angelica and Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta.  I watched these women live their faithful lives (of course, from afar)… but I will never forget their examples. The way they reached out to the poor, the way they taught us to love the Lord, the way they admonished themselves and therefore our sinful nature and brought the reality of Christianity into our hearts, souls and our decisions in our Domestic Churches.

Christ ordained men to be Priests, so I will not discuss any chance of ANYONE in the True Catholic Church ordaining women Priests. I pray it never happens. And, if I am being honest I don’t like to see women serving on the Altar at all, beyond the position of Cantor or Eucharistic Minister. HOWEVER, because of the shortage of men/boys to serve, I get that in some areas, for many reasons these things take place. And I will not speak out against it, except to say, it’s not my preference.

There are MANY choices for women to influence our Church in leadership positions.  Women can become Nuns/Sisters. Women can serve on Financial Advisory Councils and other councils in our Church. In fact, there is a National Council of Catholic Women (and I’m assuming other groups as well). I am involved at the Parish/Diocesan Level in this group. There are many more ways we can serve as great role models, and I urge you to get a list and pray about what ways you can serve best.

Since 2011, I have taught 3rd Grade Religious Education, they call the position a Catechist.  Through this position, I have had the awesome task of teaching children about Our Lord and Our Faith.  I have volunteered through serving on the Altar Society, and in the Religious Formation Office as a Volunteer to help organize various church functions.  I have volunteered with Catholic Charities and the local food bank. We all have great roles we can play when we say YES to God and lead with love.

However, I think my most important function in our Church, as a woman… My biggest and most important role in the Catholic Church is the responsibility that God has given me is as WIFE and MOTHER.

As a mother, I am everything to my child. In this way, I can only hope to imitate our Blessed Mother in preparing my child for his life. You see, Faith Formation starts at home. What we do in our homes lays the very foundation for how our children approach their faith outside our homes. Before our children learn from others, they learn from us. So teach them well. Show them the unconditional love our Father asks us to live by. 

Do I get it right all the time? – NOPE. But I try. Is this about fancy meals and art and comparing myself to other mamas? – NOPE, not all the time. LOL It’s about teaching my child about our faith in a way that weaves that faith into EVERY LITTLE THING WE DO.  And sometimes it’s exhausting and more than I could manage if I was doing this by myself. BUT the Good Lord and many mamas I know – have been integral to a) my knowing what to do and b) my not losing my mind.

My free advice —

Find a small group of like-minded mamas and their like-minded families who understand what you are trying to accomplish by raising your children in your faith.  Give your children good examples of friends to play with, learn from, etc. AND give yourself the gift of women who understand and won’t challenge everything you are trying to accomplish. This is a sanity saver. TRUST ME.

Those same women could be the women who build you and your marriage up when society doesn’t understand what you are trying to accomplish in it.

What do I do? Amongst other things…

  • Love my husband, their father. Do right by him. Pray for him.
  • Love my children. Pray for them. Spend time with them. Listen. Talk. Pray more.
  • Over the years I have  — 
    • Introduced Feast Days.
    • Read Catholic Children’s Stories.
      • I read the Bible to my child every day, starting with Children’s Bible stories for infants and toddlers – over and over again. As he got older, the stories got more detailed. Virtues and Commandments were introduced. 
    • Read Books on Virtues for children – and discussed them with my children (age appropriately).
    • Participated in Catholic Art projects. 
    • Homeschooled (though this is the last  year).
    • I am involved in our Parish, Diocese and Philanthropy. And therefore, so is he.

Most importantly – I lead by example and apologize when I get it wrong. LEAD THEM!  Just so you know, my husband has three children from previous marriage who I include as my children. We went through an annulment process, for those who may be concerned with the integrity of our marriage. I really owe no explanation, but I do intermittently use plurals when speaking of children. So there you have that.

I don’t need to give you countless examples of how to raise your children and how to live out being a good wife and mother, because you’ve read blogs, books, etc.

Sisters, you have many options to lead and grow in the Catholic Church. Find what you love and do it. But while  you are having children – I implore you to concentrate on your husband and on them, and you will be doing exactly what God had lead you to do.

This includes those who work, run businesses, write books, etc. Bottom line – they put their family first. For sure. It’s the way God intended it.

We must all learn to say YES to God. And to stand firm in our roles in the Catholic Church.

Lastly, I want to say that God does not ask me to deny I have more talents in addition to being wife and mother. I just want to put that out there, lest anyone not get where I am coming from.

I think I will go write a post about what I’ve learned since becoming a mom… about myself, the world, etc. I mean – the laughter that has ensued and the wisdom I’ve gleaned. HA! It’s like Joan of Arc and Lucille Ball mixed with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and The Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Am I right? HAHA

Many blessings ALL!

Emily

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Let’s Talk Lent – and K.I.S.S.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Ash Wednesday!

Today, Catholics everywhere are lining up to receive ashes and begin our Lenten Season.  Yep, today is the day we receive the sign of the cross on our heads, in ashes. The ashes symbolize our sins and the cross symbolizes our Savior (our Biggest Blessing).

Of course, I woke up with a painful pimple – in just the right spot where Ashes would go. Hello Father, don’t you want to touch that. HA I’m so sarcastic in my mind.

Anywhoooooo… Here’s some Saint Mother Teresa Love.

And here are my thoughts on Lent:

This past Sunday I taught the lesson of Lenten Preparation to the third graders in my Religious Ed Class. We talked about traditions and things. But one of the most striking statements from the lesson was the Proclamation about the lesson that I wrote on the board (per the book). To me, it’s the overarching theme of Lent:

During Lent, we prepare for Easter so that we may receive the new life of The Risen Christ. When we are Baptized, we receive new life. Lent is like Baptism, because during Lent we are born into new life.

We learned:

  • through sacrifice, we can actually learn to change our ways.
  • through prayer and fasting during Lent, we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.
  • through Baptism and Lent, we receive new life.
  • by staying close to Jesus, in prayer, sacrifice and fasting, we can imitate Jesus (which is what we are called to do).

There was a time, when I was trying to live up to other’s standards of what Lent or any Catholic Season/Holiday/Holy Day should look like. No more. I had fun doing all the crafty and great things with friends and family, but currently, I am all about the simple and precious.  I set myself up to fail and it was no one’s fault but mine.

Pretend like this is an actual conversation:

Me: I’m going to do 475 different devotions, crafts and fun things this year.
Also Me: I can’t get it all done.
My Husband: Don’t get upset, cut something out.
Me: But all these people are doing hundreds of super human things for Lent and I’m only doing 20. HA

Do you recognize any part of that conversation?  Do you over-volunteer? Do you give too much or do too much, to the point you drive yourself and family crazy, then go stand in the corner and give yourself a time-out because you may or may not want to punch someone (namely yourself)?  — if so PLEASE, I implore you – FIND PEACE! You are enough. You don’t need to buy a fancy Lent journal or stress over which Catholic group you want to follow along in for Lent! You don’t have to do all 75000 fun craft projects your friends are doing or read every book, etc.

Hear me: GOD ONLY WANTS YOU!!!! He doesn’t care about fancy schmancy! He wants your heart and soul. Whatever you do will be GOOD ENOUGH! Sigh.

Ok  – end of lesson. HA

My New Motto: K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Silly! If it doesn’t bring peace and isn’t simple – it’s out for this year’s Lent!  Here is how I plan to (honestly and simply) live the three pillars of Lent this year.

1) Prayer – Prayer is simply a conversation with God. I talk to Him so much. I’m so thankful. But during Lent, we must purpose to pray clearer and seek the cleaning out of our hearts and souls. My prayer of choice this Lent, purposing to say the Rosary, daily.  I am not proud of the suffering and bad attitude I have suffered this past year or so. What I can do, is change ME. Praying the Rosary is medicine to my soul and I miss it. But when I got down, I decided I was forsaken and in exchange, I forsook. Sigh. The below picture, it used to be what I felt. And I am purposing to get back there. My Mother is calling me.

You can choose your own prayer. Call on the Saints. So many great Catholic Prayers. Also – get to Mass more. ❤ Get in front of Jesus y'all.

2) Almsgiving – during Lent, we purpose to help others. I don’t have a lot of extra cash this year, but we will focus on giving to our local food banks. We volunteer a lot at our Parish and are a giving family. When we can do more, we will.

3) Fasting/Abstinence – In the Catholic Church, Fasting on certain days of our Liturgical Calendar involves eating two small meals and one regular meal on any given day of Fasting. There are different rules for the sick, pregnant women and children, of course. There are only two days during Lent where Fasting is required – Ash Wednesday AND Good Friday.

All year, we must either Abstain from (give up/don’t eat) meat on Fridays or we have to perform another penance. However, during Lent, we must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, and all Fridays during Lent. If, for any reason you can not abstain, you must perform another penitential act. In my house, we like fish, so this is not hard for us. We will likely add one other day/week as meatless to further add to our sacrifice.

For me, personally, I am limiting my time on Social Media, and we have given up Starbucks as a family. This last one may sound silly to you. BUT if you knew how much we spent on Starbucks, and how budget conscious we are purposing to be, you’d know that we need to do this, along with a litany of other things.

There are other things we are sacrificing, but those are private.

Additionally, I wanted to make sure you all understand that Sundays ARE in fact included in Lent. Sigh. Here’s a helpful link to explain Sundays in Lent.

Some Helpful Links:

Message From Our Holy Father – Please read this if nothing else. Here is just a small portion. I love him. I truly love our Pope. Mostly because he is our leader AND he explains it so well.

Lent with Lucia – her instructions are simple. And I like simple these days.

Whatever you are doing this Lent, let it be something that draw you closer to Our Lord, Our Faith and  keeps you on your path toward Heaven! I’m so happy to have met you and crossed paths with you on our walk. ❤

God bless you and keep you this Lenten Season dear readers.

Hugs & blessings,
Emily

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Marian Virtues – Closing Thoughts & Wrap Up…



This post is a part of a Marian Virtue Series, that will conclude on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. If you are just joining the series now and want to learn more you can start here: Introduction to Marian Virtue Series.


     Previous Blog Article: Increasing Marian Devotion by The Lion of Design

     Next Blog Article: Gratitude for The Ten Virtues of Mary by Strengthen My Heart 
I am excited to tell you that this post features a giveaway from Sweet Little Ones Shop. Please keep reading to find out more!

Hi All & Happy Friday!

I am so excited to be a part of the Marian Virtue Series started by Bethany Swanson over at Strengthen My Heart. When she asked for bloggers who wanted to write about the ten Marian Virtues, so many people immediately volunteered, and this sweet lady gave me the beautiful opportunity to give my thoughts on each post and lead into her post tomorrow, which will be the Grand Giveaway and Closing Thoughts post.

By my Blog’s name, you can see that I am a Marian Devotee. My family is Under Mary’s Mantle and we intend to stay there. When I changed blog platforms, due to my lack of technical prowess I lost so much content… but I’m excited for the opportunity to present myself in a better and more spirit-filled, virtuous way.  Here’s a little bit about why I love Mary so…

I grew up without a mom. The woman who gave birth to me was mentally ill, and an abusive alcoholic. I’ll spare you the details of all that. But suffice to say, I always longed for a Mother. As a convert to Catholicism, I was influenced by women who wear the Veil. And in my walk to conversion and the fullness of our Faith, Mary really reached out to me and showed herself to me. She guides me and She became my Mother. 

This past year has been the darkest in my adult life. The loss of my father and three surgeries. I started to pull away, feeling let down and scared/lonely… but like any mother would, she gave me a moment to wallow in my humanity, and then she said, “come dear one, Mama is here!” She wants us all to be that close to her. Me, as imperfect as I am… she wants us all to walk our path, not in the shadows of her example, but emanating her example. We do this to the best of our abilities. And she guides us, knowing we are trying, loving us through our failures and triumphs. She is the ultimate Mother and we are so blessed.

This blog series on Marian Virtue is beautiful. These talented Catholic bloggers who are all or some of these things: Moms, Sisters, Aunts, Co-workers, Homeschool Teachers, Religious Ed teachers, Friends, Volunteers… and more– these ladies bring the Marian Virtues to life with real life tips to follow that will help us walk in Marian Virtue towards Christ. Amen!

In the first post, Bethany explains that we need to emulate Mary’s Virtues. She tells us what the virtues are and then introduces the bloggers. Her post is here: Introduction to the Marian Virtue Series.

  • Profound Humility – Chloe at The Old Fashioned Girl talks to us about Profound Humility. Our Blessed Mother Mary said loved God and all of His creations from the beginning to the end of her life, she was perfectly humble. I love this post because it’s so identifiable. And she is right. People confuse thinking of ourselves less with thinking less of ourselves. You can be a confident person and still live the virtue of profound humility. Mary loved God and was devoted to her son, and then to all of us. Sigh – the ultimate Mother. In fact, I would submit thinking of others more than and putting others before yourself is a much happier way to live life. 
  • LivelyFaithGinny at Not So Formulaic told a story about her earthly father and how he came to know Lively Faith as a virtue. We know that Mary said Yes to God from her conception until her Assumption. She said, “Yes, I will bear Your Son and save Your people.” She gave ALL! My favorite passage from this post is, Mary nursed Jesus and rocked Him. She changed His diapers and wiped His nose. She defused tantrums, soothed skinned knees, and directed daily chore time. Mary raised, loved, and adored a fully human child, never wavering in the knowledge He was divine:” She said YES and how beautiful it was.
  • Blind Obedience – Kathleen at the Klassic Kitchen gives us really great advice about learning to be like Mary and obey God in all things. Blind Obedience is hard for me, but I enjoyed her post… and will be re-reading few times, I suspect. Here is one of her passages, A continual conversation with God allows you to more easily hear what he’s saying. Making time each day for a few moments of quiet prayer, going to adoration, frequenting mass, confession, and spiritual direction are all huge helps in discerning not only what God is asking of you, but will also strengthen you with the grace to say yes.”
  • Surpassing Purity Alexandra at The Lemke Lodge describes what true Purity is, especially how it relates to Mary. Sigh – to be filled to the brim with grace and pure… We know we won’t ever be the latter as Mary was; however we can strive to be as pure in thought and deed and as grace-filled as we can muster – with God’s help and Mary’s help. Alexandra skillfully uses “certain Mysteries of the Rosary as reference points”, to help us understand that Purity is Grace.
  • Constant Mental Prayer – In this fantastic post, Desiree at Green Catholic Burrow helps us see that the foundational concept for Constant Mental Prayer is to be in the presence of God and in constant fellowship with Him. It’s not so much thinking of God all the time, but purposing to live with God in your heart and emanating from your heart. She gives practical advise about where to start, and suggests starting each day with the Morning Offering, which I need to get back to. Great post.
  • Universal Mortification – What I loved from the beginning of her post was the honesty Sterling at Sterling Jaquith stated how she chose the Marian Virtue she wanted to write about. She chose the one that made her most uncomfortable. She goes on to give an incredibly relatable account of how Mary was willing, every moment, to lay down her life and will – in order to please God. 
  • Ardent Charity – Anni, at A Beautiful Camouflaged Mess of a Life, taught me something. You see, as a convert, I never knew that we said the three Hail Mary’s at the beginning of the Rosary for an increase of Faith, Hope & Charity. I love learning new things about our Faith. In this post, Anni helps us see how we are all called to increase in Charity towards God and our neighbor. Y’all it’s hard in a world as chaotic and gossip and judgmental as ours. We live in fear, yet we must rise up and live our lives according to God’s plan. Great post Anni.
  • Angelic Sweetness – Allison at Reconciled to You explained to us the important things to know about Angels, and helped us understand Mary’s angelic qualities. “The Marian Virtue of Angelic Sweetnes has been described as “radiating joy and peace to everyone she encountered.” Mary by her very nature can not help but impart peace, comfort and joy. ” Allison goes on to give great examples of emulating Mary in this virtue. I am not good at everything, but I was blessed with an abundance of compassion. May I be more like Mary. Let us all be more like Mary in this.
  • Heroic Patience Sarah at All Things New tackled the virtue of Heroic Patience. If you ask me, Mary’s life was an exercise in Heroic Patience. I read that a lot time ago. But I love how Sarah brings the virtue of Heroic Patience to a level we can all understand as wives and mothers. Think of all the waiting she did, for things that she knew would break her heart. But she endured patiently and lovingly. We shall never face what she did, but we can relate, as mothers. 
  • Divine Wisdom – In her post on Divine Wisdom, Sarah at Sew Many Wild Things, shared this Bible verse: James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” I don’t know about y’all, but I struggle with trust, yes even with God (forgive me) because I am human. But I do pray for the some day that I can be more submissive to His will and be set free from my mind.
  • Increasing Marian Devotion – Kimberly at The Lion of Design gives us practical advice about increasing our Marian Devotion. She points out we first have to have desire. I do, but mine is imperfect. Still, I know she guides me. There are so many books we can read about Mary. We can pray for her intercession and guidance. 

The Marian Virtue Series will end tomorrow, October 7th, with a Grand Giveaway on the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary (formerly Our Lady of Victory). This will be on Strengthen My Heart. Don’t forget to check out her post in the morning. And please click on the caption of the picture below to find out more about Our Lady of the Rosary.

History of Our Lady of the Rosary
If I am being honest, my faith has been tested this past year. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that so much. But I feel like people need to know they aren’t alone.  That said, this beautifully written series has caused me to get out books I read long ago on Mary and I plan to re-read them and glean a better faith and more virtuous walk. Blessed Mother – Pray for us!

One lucky reader will win a beautiful, black and white, professionally printed 8×10 inch print featuring the Holy Family: +JMJ+ which stands for Jesus, Mary, Joseph. 




RaffleCopter Link 
Please accept my apologies in asking you to click on this link, but Rafflecopter was giving me a hard time. Please click on this link to have a chance to win – JMJ Print from Sweet Little Ones Shop 


About the Shop Owner: Jessica is wife to Jim, mom to 3 sweet little ones through the blessing of adoption, and the artisan behind Sweet Little Ones Shop. God’s truth is seen in beauty – and I love to share this through creating beautiful and meaningful printable art. As a wife, mother, and business owner, I can easily get wrapped up in the business of life – I often need to be reminded to pause, pray, and listen to God’s call for me in the big and the little moments. So the printables I design serve as beautiful visual reminders to inspire all of us as Catholic women to nurture and deepen our faith in our (sometimes very hectic!) everyday lives.

Please support this amazing Catholic shop and join us tomorrow for the final post in the Marian Virtue Series. 


I pray that these posts have given you insight to Mary you did not have before, and that you are walking a path that brings you closer to our Blessed Mother.

God bless you all,


Emily 

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