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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

E Freezing

I think today, since it's not Lent, we'll have a McDonald's fish fillet sandwich. I don't eat them during Lent, even though they were made for Catholics to eat during Lent, as they are actually a guilty pleasure of mine (of course nuns have a guilty pleasure or two).

The 'fish on Friday' debacle has raged on for years. Finally, whether or not you eat meat on Friday is left up to the local Bishop. We can eat meat on Friday if we choose. But we are still expected to do some type of penance on Friday.

So...I guess I won't have a McDonald's fish fillet sandwich. Again.

Have you considered offering the St. Isidore medal in a color other than pink? I'm not sure how many computer geeks are into hot pink medals. I'd probably buy a silver one.

Glad you asked! For one thing, we do more custom orders than just about anything! We are always glad to oblige. And perhaps you missed our Heaven for Men section. It's for men and plain Janes.

My son is in grad school and one of his friends was raised Catholic, when she went to college the E-Frees got her to convert. My husband says they have a method to their madness. He says they have a regular process they use to undermine the Catholic faith, also abusing the fact that the student is away from family and home. What I need to know is what is the Catholic antidote? Thank you.

E-Frees? Am I living under a rock? Are they a church that's just on the internet, like an E-Mail, or and E-Vite?

Oh well, perhaps it's not important to know exactly what they're on about.

I wouldn't worry about making them sound so sinister with their "process". We all have a process we use to evangelize. In the Catholic Church we call them apologetics, although I have always thought that is just the...what do the kids say?...lamest word to use for the Herculean job of defending the Faith that they undertake.

(Defender of the Faith raises hand sheepishly): Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt your tirade about praying to the saints to suggest that you have it completely wrong and don't for one second understand what you're talking about even though it has no doubt been explained to you hundreds of times and you just hold your ears and hum...but you have it completely wrong. Sorry. Sorry to bring it up again...pardon me, please...

In case, to answer your question "What I need to know is what is the Catholic antidote?" yes.

That would be you. How well you've taught, shown by example and prayed for your children. We should change the concept of 'child rearing' to 'adult rearing'. Your whole goal as you school your children in the Faith is for this day when they are out on their own, that they are impervious to the ramblings and the arguments and the doubts and the threats.

It's the argument both for and against 'home schooling'. For: it gives you all the time in the world to teach them, by word and example, everything they need to know with no interruption. Against: less practice for what they will encounter every single day as adults out on their own.

It's not as though, once they're out there you're done. Your job is never done. In fact, it's only going to get harder. You can tell a kid just about anything and they'll believe you because mommy and daddy (or Sister) said so. They don't need anything more. Santa Claus, tooth fairies....

Speaking of the tooth fairy...I have heard from some moms that they have switched from the tooth fairy to St. Apollonia for the tooth under the pillow drill. And while that' s all well and good, (although I hope no one is telling a child young enough to put baby teeth under a pillow the actual story of St. Apollonia) the fact is St. Apollonia is not out collecting teeth anymore than some fairy. Ever notice that kids never ask why a fairy or a saint buys their baby teeth? It's because they are kids and they'll believe anything.

It's also the reason I can't bear it when young people are tried 'as adults' for some heinous crime. They may know the difference between right and wrong, but we still don't let them vote, drink, or drive a car. Why? Because they're KIDS and they don't have the judgement of adults.

What was I talking about...oh yes, your grown children.

Once your children are grown up you're not going to be able to use the 'because I said so' method of education any longer. Now you're going to have to know your stuff and engage! Be ready to do battle!

In other words, your going to have to switch patron saints from St. Nicholas, the jolly lover of little children to St. Joan of Arc, defender of an entire country.

The job of a marriage is to get your spouse into heaven and the job of a family is to get the kids there, too.


Maggie said...

I believe E Free refers to Evangelical Catholic, which was my denomination before I converted. I'm not sure if they have a specific "program" to undermine the Faith, but our college Bible study through the EFree church had quite a few lapsed Catholics in it.

Anonymous said...

Here E-Frees means the Evangelical Churches that are not covered under any denomination, like Lutheran or Baptist. My son's soul isn't in jeopardy, he is very well educated in both his Bible and his religion. The question is how does he help his friend understand she has been led astray? How does he help her back to the true Church?

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Sister, great post, good insights re parenting for the long term! Mine are grown; it's interesting to watch them pass on to their children what was passed on to them -- and we pass on more than we think simply by how we choose to behave ourselves.

Maggie, what does the "free" stand for? Obviously, I get the E! Like Sister, I never heard of E-Free.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha...
I have a rather strange topic, but this is really bothering me. I have heard about God being everything- Our Loving Father, Jesus our Loving savior...but I'm really confused about Jesus being our lover, especially for me as a woman. I have heard about St. Teresa of Avila's ecstasy and how it actually looks and sounds like a woman at the height of her sexual climax due to pure love of God. What exactly is this, and how does it work? Also, have any other other saints had an experience like this?

Tracy said...

Dear Sister MM,

Why is a fish sandwich outside of Lent a guilty pleasure? Shouldn't we thank God for the occasional small pleasure?

slimsdotter said...

I think E Free is Evangelical Free Churches, and it is an actual denomination. The "Free" refers to not having to pay for your pew at church. Like the Free Methodists. That has been my understanding, anyway.

Tami said...

Great post. I especially appreciated your advice about arming ourselves with knowledge. Many devout Catholics think once they are confirmed weekly mass and confession have them covered. We need to be continuing to delve into God's word and church teaching. I have found the more I study and learn, the easier it is for me to explain those difficult questions. A child's faith, armed with church knowledge. That is a true gift for our Lord.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister
St. Isidore on your medal is St. Isidore the Farmer, a poor peasant born near Madrid around 1070: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isidore_the_Farmer

St. Isidore of Seville is the patron of the internet. He was a bishop for 30 years in the 600's. He is called the last scholar of the ancient world:

I have medals of both, although the bishop is hard to find and both are regularly confused with each other.

Janis Taylor said...

I would love to buy some of the St Apollolina dolls for my neices and nephews. Do you have a link?

KimK said...

Anon, for good, rational, scripturally sound explanations and defense of Catholic faith, look for Tim Staples and Scott Hahn. Both were once very anti-Catholic Protestants and both came to the Church after discovering the Truth of her teachings. Both are now very well-known Catholic apologists. I'd particularly recommend any of Scott Hahn's books (search Amazon) for clear, understandable "comebacks" (for lack of a better term) to anti-Catholic arguement on a variety of topics.

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

re: "I have heard about God being everything- Our Loving Father, Jesus our Loving savior...but I'm really confused about Jesus being our lover, especially for me as a woman. I have heard about St. Teresa of Avila's ecstasy and how it actually looks and sounds like a woman at the height of her sexual climax due to pure love of God. What exactly is this, and how does it work?"

One of the most wonderful things about marriage is that it is a foretaste of Heaven. The ecstasies of the marital embrace, where two become one flesh, are a foretaste of our heavenly communion with God.

Sister Mary Margaret said...

About St. Teresa - you are not alone. I don't get it either, and it kind of bothers me, too. I understand that marital love is a foretaste of heaven, but chaste love is... chaste! IMHO, if you need sexual fulfillment, maybe you shouldn't be in a convent. If you are one of the few of whom Christ spoke when He said, "It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. Let anyone accept this who can." (See Matthew 19:1-12)

Now - I'm not saying St. Teresa of Avila shouldn't have been in a convent. I am saying that one shouldn't look for or expect to have the same type of mystical experiences she had. You enter religious life to give yourself to God, not for what's in it for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
I like the fact that you at least appreciate homeschooling. I homeschool my five children (Preschool - Sophomore). I have to say that your comment about homeschooling answers to the stereotype of homeschool families--that somehow they are "sheltered" and not out in the world. I believe that that is definitely not my children's experience, nor the experience of many of my Catholic homeschooling friends.
My children have a wide range of activities outside the house/family. My oldest two participate in the Youth group at Church and a Boy Scout troop not associated with our parish. We have music lessons (not at home), cub scouts, one son was an apprentice at the local science museum, my two oldest have participated in "History Day" at the state level (My oldest was THIRD in the state in 2008 for his history documentary on Actium). I work hard at finding athletic oulets for the older boys. There are a lot of homeschool activities in this area, but, sometimes, it is "no Catholics need apply" here in the 'Bible Belt'. What better witness, as a Catholic, is there than to participate in such activities and demonstrate that Catholics indeed are Christians?
My point is that there are Catholic Homeschooling families that work hard at making sure their children get a fine Catholic education, but don't shelter their children from the world. I know I try to, and I know many others in this area who, make sure that that education makes them ready and armed for the world outside the family. I, we, pray that they will be able to stand the 'slings and arrows' against their Faith. I pray every day that I am doing the right thing and that they will be able to live their faith in the world.
Don't get me wrong sister. I am not upset with you. I'd just like to change the stereotype and let people know that not all homeschool families are like the ones they enjoy portraying in the media--sheltered and ignorant of the world outside their own house.
I enjoy your blog very much. God bless you.

Unknown said...


Not on the topic of this post, but do you by chance know where I could find more information on Bl. Charlotte (or Carola) Lucas? I know she was martyred in the French Revolution, but haven't found much else. I only came across her in searching for names for our unborn daughter and wanted to know more. Thank you, and God bless!

Illinois Mom said...

I'm a little curious -- are there any churches where you actually pay for your pew? Although we tithe, it's not a requirement in order to participate in the Mass. And I'm pretty sure Protestant churches ask their members to support their church. Just curious.

dre said...

Sister, thank you for your answer about the patron saint of snowboarding! Zachary is thrilled to know that he can use Christopher as his confirmation name, and since his dad's name is also Christopher, it has double significance for him. (And he'd love to have a St. Christopher medal with a snowboarder on it...do you carry them?)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sr. MM would it be possible to have a search feature on your page?
That way we can search for interesting stuff i came across before....

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister, I wanted to add a comment to the excellent post by the anonymous homeschooler above. I have eight, ranging from 6 to 24, and my motto has been, if my children reject their faith,they'll know what it is their rejecting, unlike my own post-Vatican II experience. I believe my incessant apologetics training, using Laura Berquist's excellent high school religion courses, has given my children more opportunity to practice their faith than if they were in school. For example: they all participate in a homeschool physical education program,and have had the opportunity to explain what their scapulars mean and to answer questions raised by some of their fellow Protestant homeschoolers. One daughter dated a Protestant in high school, and actually debated Catholicism with her boyfriend's pastor at the request of the boyfriend's concerned parents--and did a wonderful job, I might add, using charity and courage in the face of intense and sometimes unfair questioning. This daughter has gone on to college and is involved in the prolife club and has had the opportunity to discuss her faith with someone who asked why she was praying before her meal in the dining area. My homeschooled high school sophomore son just returned from an overnight cross country meet (he runs with the local high school team) and was able to debate the existence of God with his hotel roommate. My oldest son was able to lead a college friend to convert to Catholicism. So, in my experience, intense apologetics training in a homeschool setting has been the best all around preparation for my children to take their faith to the world.

Anonymous said...

Sister, my daughter has asked for a patron saint medal for figure skating. Could you please help me find one? Thanks.

Mary B

JP said...

Illinois Mom,

I don't know if it is the practice in any churches nowadays, but at one time some of the Protestant churches (and perhaps RC, but I've never heard of it) charged for pews. I don't know if ALL pews were charged for, but there were reserved family pews and 'boxes'. We can see them in some of the historical churches

Sue said...

KimK mentioned Scott Hahn. I've heard him speak in the UK, and have read several of his books. He is a Prof at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He does a free online Scripture course. He has a very interesting conversion story, which can be read here http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0088.html

The other resource I'd like to suggest is David MacDonald's site. He is a young musician who often plays in non Catholic churches and over time he has been asked so many questions about his Catholic faith that he put together a website to explain Catholic answers to protestant questions. Some don't believe it is possible for a Catholic to be a Christian at all. He has had the help of some priests and bishops and I believe he is now trying a Vocation.

Hope this helps.

Sue said...

I have never eaten fish on Friday because I don't like it, except for tuna salad. The family just enjoys a vegetarian meal.

I'm not sure that meat is the issue. I wonder if any food would be wrong if it was a luxury favourite? Eating caviare on a Friday would probably be wrong and in comparison, meat loaf and beans might be OK if it was a plain and simple version.

I think the idea is to 'live' the difference that Good Friday made, and to remember it in a special way on a Friday. Its a good spiritual habit.

Lola said...

My darlings asked what the tooth fairy does with their teeth!

So then of course we had to remember back, way back, to our childhoods for the answer. I remembered a storybook of the Toothfairy and her castle. She hand selects the best teeth for the castle and uses cavity teeth for the path... Oh and to explain why Jody at school gets $5 bucks a tooth and they only get $1, well the Toothfairy doesn't carry cash, so the parents have to leave it out for her.

I think that St. Appolonia doll is darling. Especially since that was my grandma's confirmation name. I learned about that when the artist formerlly known as Prince made Purple Rain.

Now the darlings are older, I've borrowed an idea from a friend. When a child loses a tooth, they get to pick the Ice Cream flavor out for the family. That is much more straight forward, avoids nonsense and they're rewarded for being a 'big boy' or 'big girl'.

Oh, well, I'm much more happy with 'splaining St. Nick... It's closer to the truth. "How can Santa get into the house when we don't have a chimney?"

"Well, Saints who live in heaven..." you know where this is going.