Father Jacques Hamel, pray for us!

Yesterday at Mass, I was helping my daughter with her missal when I pulled out a prayer card from between the pages....It had a a picture of Fr. Hamel on the front of it. He was the priest who was martyred only a year ago in France, at the hands of Muslim extremists. I don't know where the card came from, she never uses that missal. She just took it with us to Mass yesterday on a whim, I think.  

But all I can think to say is, "Quelle coincidence!" or "What a coincidence!", or was it? Maybe it was providential, maybe Our Lord wants us to remember this priest who died for the Faith a year ago. Perhaps God wants us to remember Fr. Hamel's example, that we, like him, will always ready to give everything, (even our lives) for the glory of God.

Blessed be the martyrs, who through their sacrifice give glory to the most high God!

Witnesses to martyrdom: Father Hamel’s last moments

Do you see cows?” asks the woman on the phone.
“Yes,” answers the reporter. “I see six cows, it looks like they are grazing.”
“They have been grazing for over 20 years,” comments Mrs. Coponet, “They are made out of plastic. Well, turn right after the cows, then take the second left. We are expecting you.”
Thus begins a meet-up between journalists from the French publication Famille Chrétienne and three witnesses to the Mass-time murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel who felt ready to talk about what they had experienced. Coming together not far from where the remains of Fr. Hamel lie, the reporters met with Guy and Janine Coponet, married 64 years, and Sr. Danielle Delafosse who, along with two members of Sr. Danielle’s religious community, were participating in the Mass at St. Etienne when the attackers entered.
Guy Coponet, who on that day was celebrating his 87th birthday, had been stabbed three times — in the arm, the back and the throat. He tells reporters that the emergency physician who treated him counted him very lucky or very blessed. “The emergency doctor who treated me told me, ‘There was a divine hand on you because none of the stabs have hit a vital organ. But it really was a close call…'” For Coponet it seems providential, but also costly. “It’s like a miracle! The Lord allowed me to survive as a sign of his mercy. It is distressing to me; I hate to draw attention to myself. I am a retired factory worker; I love the hidden life of Nazareth. Finding myself in the spotlight appalls me.”
Coponet reveals that the jihadis forced him to videotape their actions, which he found enormously difficult. “[They] grabbed me by the collar and put a camera in my hands and said, ‘Granddaddy, you take the movie.’ They even checked the quality of the picture and made sure that I was not shaking too much.”
What followed was an unimaginable nightmare for him: “I had to film the assassination of my friend Father Jacques! I can’t get over it…”
The attackers intended for their video to be fed to social media networks, Coponet said. After the slaying of Fr. Hamel, Coponet warned them that they were on the wrong side of heaven, and that their parents would die of grief from their actions. At that point, one of the men lashed out. “He stabbed me and dragged me to the bottom of the altar steps. The floor was all red, but I didn’t realize that it was my blood flowing. I didn’t feel any pain at the time. I tightened my hand around my throat because blood was spurting out.”
Janine Coponet remembers immediately entrusting her husband to the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux and the Venerable Carmelite friar, Father Marie-Eugene. She related a sense of their whole married life together passing “before my mind’s eye in a few seconds.” With three stab wounds, she believed her husband would not survive.
In the midst of the slaughter, Sister Danielle managed to escape. Seeing Fr. Hamel fall, she told herself to move and get help. “I’m not a great athlete, but at that moment, I made tracks. A neighbor took me in. I called for help. They came on the double.”
Guy Coponet says, “I prayed as I have never prayed in my life. I called upon all the saints I could think of. First of all, little Brother Charles [de Foucauld], also killed by a Muslim, in the desert. In my heart of hearts, I recited my favorite prayer: ‘Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will… Into your hands I commend my soul.’ I was in his hands. Especially after Mass!”
The journalists asked about reports that before his death Fr. Hamel called out twice, “Be gone Satan!” and whether the trio saw evil in action. “No doubt,” said Sr. Danielle, “This does not mean that [the assailant] Adel Kermiche was possessed, but that Satan was at work in a powerful way. Father Jacques wanted to exorcise this evil. Those were his last words. Satan does not like the Eucharist …”
After stabbing Guy Coponet and dragging him to the altar steps, Kermiche commenced a conversation with Sr. Helen, one of the members of Sr. Danielle’s community. As Sr. Danielle relates, Kermiche asked, “Are you afraid of dying?” When the nun said “no” he seemed surprised and asked her why not.
“Because I believe in God, and I know I will be happy.”
The killer said, in a low voice, “I believe in God too, and I am not afraid of death.” Then he declared: “Jesus is a man, not God!”
The jihadis asked the two women, Janine Caponet and Sr. Helen, if they were familiar with the Koran. “Yes, I have read the Koran,” replied Sr. Helen. “What struck me were the sura that speak of peace.”
Kermiche suggested that when the women were inevitably brought before the television cameras they should call for peace from the authorities, saying that as long as bombings continued in Syria, attacks would continue in France, daily. “I think it was just a pretext,” says Sr. Danielle. “The only thing they had in their heads was propaganda received by internet.”
Janine calls the conversation “surreal,” taking place as it did before two bloody bodies.
The killers betrayed some humanity toward the elderly women when they pleaded exhaustion. When Janine asked if she could sit, Adel Kermiche immediately answered, “Yes, sit down, Madame,” as though he had forgotten his manners. When Sr. Helen, also feeling exhausted, asked him for her cane, which she had left at her seat, he brought it to her.
Soon after, however, one of the killers put what Janine thought was a real pistol to her head (it later turned out to be a fake) and began to push her toward the exit door of the church. “I turned around anyway to have a last look at my Guy, and I saw one of his legs moving! I told myself: ‘He’s alive. Oh Lord, thank you!'”
While Guy Coponet continued to play dead, the killers went outside and gunfire was heard. After that, says Coponet, “There was a huge silence. I tried to shout, ‘Is anyone there?’ But no sound came out of my throat. I tried again: ‘Isn’t there anyone?’ Nothing. I felt abandoned.”
His wife related those final few moments of terror. “The bell struck 10:30 a.m. My Guy had been playing dead for 45 minutes. They pushed us outside. The sirens were howling. We crossed the threshold. Policemen grabbed us. The killers came out, shouting ‘Allahu akbar.’ The police fired. The two young people died instantly. A policewoman hid me behind a car. She was in tears.” At that point, she did not know whether Guy was still alive.
Within minutes members of a special police unit were calling for the doors to be opened, and quickly the team stormed in, with medics in tow. “A doctor looked at me as I recited the last sentence of my Ave, ‘… and at the hour of our death. Amen.'” Convinced he was going to die, Coponet says he felt an overwhelming sense of serenity. “I had no remorse, only love in me. In fact, it was a moment of great bliss.”
Asked if they could forgive the terrorist, Guy admits to struggling, and suggests he will only be able to do that with the grace of God, perhaps from heaven. His wife says, “For now, we pray especially for their families.” She thinks often of the mothers of these young men. “They will not get over it anytime soon.” The couple expressed a desire to someday meet the parents and try to understand what has happened. They are now looking forward to celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary, and continue to attend Mass. “We are at the heart of an immense mystery: the mystery of Christ who gave his life for each one of us. He gave his life for our killers. The Eucharist enlightens us about the tragedy that we have just experienced.” They added that now the Mass seems to fill them with a special joy.
Sr. Danielle, who knows the Kermiche family from her clinical work with many Muslim neighbors, says the killer’s family are “at a loss. The parents do not understand how one of their children could have committed such a barbarous act.” Adel Kermiche, she reveals, was undergoing psychiatric treatment. “This is one of those complex cases where psychological instability, religious and cultural ignorance, and an existential vacuum are all mixed together… It’s a Molotov cocktail ready to explode: a crazy imam preaching on the internet can be the match that lights the fuse…”
Pope Francis has announced that he wishes to hasten the cause of Fr. Hamel’s possible sainthood. In September he suggested that Hamel is a new martyr who “should be venerated.”
Sr. Danielle agrees. “Jacques had been a priest for 58 years. He had just celebrated Christ’s sacrifice when he was slain, just like the Lamb that he had served and celebrated all his life. He died instantly. He is the first priest killed by the hand of a jihadist on European soil, in the 21st century. He is a new martyr.”

Ivanka and Melania Trump Veils at the Vatican.

So, they were at the Vatican last week. Current papacy and presidency and whatever feelings you have regarding those aside, what do you think of the actual veils?

I thought Ivanka's choice was a pretty bold fashion statement. A little gutsy even for a lady who is unaccustomed to veiling. No?  I like the headband.

But Melania, I could've done you better; softer, more romantic! It looks like it was starched or something. It sort of appears to be like a helmet. And she needs to push it back further on the head. Was she trying to prevent it from falling off?  Maybe a sewn-in comb would've been better if she was worried about slippage. For such a beautiful woman, she should be stunning in a mantilla. 

In the end though, I was impressed and thought they showed good form in going the traditional route with modest black clothing and wearing a veil at all. Especially given the things the pope had to say about Donald during the campaign. Nice job, ladies!

How To Make A May Crown

Here's how I made my latest May Crown for the Blessed Mother, 2017.

I started with tiny roses and the purple flowers. I think that small flowers tend to work best. The white ones are artificial. In the past I've found a good quality artificial flower keeps the crown looking fresh throughout the month.


I use the inner part of an embroidery hoop for the frame. It's a good, sturdy and relatively inexpensive option. This one is 6", but you should measure your own statue to see if you need larger or smaller.

A reliable glue gun and a good supply of glue sticks will come in handy.

I use the floral tape and snipper-pliers even more than the glue gun.

I wrap the floral tape around the hoop, entirely covering it.That way the frame won't show through.

Snip the flowers into small clusters. Wrap a small piece of floral tape around each little bunch.

Keep the flowers all facing the same direction. Attach the small floral clusters to the hoop with more floral tape. The floral tape will stick to the hoop and keep the flowers well secured.

The glue gun can be used when the May crown is almost complete. Use it only to fill in a single flower here or there in any empty spaces. Don't over-use the glue gun, because it's easy to turn the whole thing into a stringy mess.

Bring Flowers of the Rarest

Refrain: O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

Bring flowers of the rarest
bring blossoms the fairest,
from garden and woodland and hillside and dale;
our full hearts are swelling,
our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale!

Their lady they name thee,
Their mistress proclaim thee,
Ah, grant that thy children on earth be as true
as long as the bowers
are radiant with flowers,
as long as the azure shall keep its bright hue

Sing gaily in chorus;
the bright angels o'er us
re-echo the strains we begin upon earth;
their harps are repeating
the notes of our greeting,
for Mary herself is the cause of our mirth

Welcome to My New Sewing Kitchen!

Well, we're settling into our new home. I thought you might like to see my new sewing studio, which funny enough, turns out to be another second floor kitchen, just like my old sewing studio!

It's bright and sunny, which is nice. Here's the little porch which is adjacent to the kitchen.

I believe these cabinets were made by the original owners of the house, who were cabinet makers (above).

My sewing machine and new serger here, along with a laptop (above).

Notice my little friend here at the bottom of the photo (above). He's my constant companion.

Here's my embroidery machine.

The "kitcheny" part of my studio.

Thanks for taking the time to view my little tour. Have a great weekend and God bless!

A Joyous Easter Season to You!

We hope you and your family are having a blessed Easter Season. Christ is Risen!

Artist:  Carl Heinrich Bloch

  'The Resurrection'

A Blessed Holy Week to You.

I hope you'll enjoy this painting (fresco, actually) as much as I do. Christ's Entry into Jerusalem
Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin 1842-1848. Current Location: Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris

Matthew 21:5
Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke. 

The Triumphal Entry
(Zechariah 9:9-13; Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; John 12:12-19)

28And having said these things, he went before, going up to Jerusalem.

29And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethania, unto the mount called Olivet, he sent two of his disciples, 30Saying: Go into the town which is over against you, at your entering into which you shall find the colt of an ass tied, on which no man ever hath sitten: loose him, and bring him hither. 31And if any man shall ask you: Why do you loose him? you shall say thus unto him: Because the Lord hath need of his service. 32And they that were sent, went their way, and found the colt standing, as he had said unto them. 33And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said to them: Why loose you the colt? 34But they said: Because the Lord hath need of him. 35And they brought him to Jesus. And casting their garments on the colt, they set Jesus thereon. 36And as he went, they spread their clothes underneath in the way. 37And when he was now coming near the descent of mount Olivet, the whole multitude of his disciples began with joy to praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works they had seen,

38Saying: Blessed be the king who cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven, and glory on high!

39And some of the Pharisees, from amongst the multitude, said to him: Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40To whom he said: I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.


Here's a super good and spot on commentary on the chapel veiland what it symbolizes. 

"A controversial discipline in the Church today. Where does this teaching come from & why? Is it important for today? For more please visithttp://www.traditionalsermons.com/ & remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the priest."


Jackie Kennedy Onassis has arguably done more for the mantilla chapel veil in the latter half of the 20th century than anyone. Ladies in the Romance countries (Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City) wore the mantillas. I have two veils that my mother bought in Rome, one of which she wore at a private Mass with Pope Pius XII. Yes, it's now my treasure!

But I'm told that in the United States, in earlier part of the 20th century, women wore hats and sometimes headscarves to Mass. As a young child do I remember a sea of hats at Mass and I remember being bedazzled with at all the different colors and styles. Hats were seen as classy and elegant head coverings.

Then in the 1960's, pictures of the first lady Jackie wearing mantilla chapel veils to Mass appeared. And that was IT. And that became the latest thing. American ladies began to wear the mantilla. In Catholic schools the little round chapel veils became the standard fair. I just missed the cut off for that, sad to say. By the time I hit grade school, the chapel cap was well on the decline.

So, where are the "Jackie Kennedys" of today? Where are those who inspire other to reverence before the Blessed Sacrament? You are she! It's beautiful ladies like yourself who bring back the reverence through the chapel veil. That's such a sight for sore eyes at Mass. You are the "trend setters."

With Pope Paul VI in Rome.

With Pope St. John XXIII in Rome.

Caroline, Jackie's sister Lee Radziwill, Jackie and John, Jr. at the funeral of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in New York on June 8, 1968.

At Sen. Robert Kennedy’s funeral with her sister Princess Lee Radziwill. 

Making the sign of the cross at funeral.

On her Wedding Day. 

The First Family.

Leaving Mass. I'm noticing she liked to wear her chapel veils "backwards". She how it frames the face? That's a rounded drape effect from a triangular or almond shaped veil. 

Saddest days.

A happier time for Jackie.  

Why Headcovering? Traditional Catholic Reasons for Mantilla Chapel Veils.

This sermon explains the historic and symbolic mystery of the Judeo-Christian veil. Father really hits all the points. So enlighting! Our chapel veils are actually so much more than just dainty pieces of lace. When Father gets to talking about skirts as veils, that women should wear only, I have to say I agree to an extent, yes it's better but it's not always practical. Pants with tunics are in my opinion, fine too.

New Orleans Garden District

Strolling through the Garden District of New Orleans in July is one hot and sticky endeavor. So our pace was slow. I was with my husband.

 We read that the neighborhood had gradually been taken possession of by wealthy American Protestants over a century ago. They wanted  to get away from the Cajun population in the French Quarter. 

I'm told that was all well and fine with the French Canadians. No love was lost.

Here's Our Lady of Bonne Succor below, and I think this is a garden at author Anne Rice's home.

More beautiful houses ahead!

Such grand facades every which way we look! Clearly these people are loaded.

Beautiful manicured lawns and gardens allover.

Some Greek Revival.

Here and there you find smatterings of Roman influence. This Italianate style house below was my favorite. Isn't it lovely?

I was sorry to hear it's supposedly haunted.

I am told that New Orleans is full of ghosts.

I trust many of the stories are highly fabricated and intended to entertain the tourists.  

I believe this is the home where Confederate President Jefferson Davis passed away.

Here's  Lafayette Cemetery, one of New Orleans oldest ‘cities of the dead’. 

I've read that the Catholics were buried above ground and the Protestants, below ground. A little like oil and vinegar?

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