Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Chartres Pilgrimage

If ever there was a pilgrimage that I (and my husband) would like to go on, it would be the Pilgrimage of Tradition to Chartres, France. This is a 3-day, 70-mile walking pilgrimage across France, on which this year there will be 15,000 pilgrims from all over the world, 70 of whom are Americans. They begin at Notre Dame in Paris and walk the 70 miles to the great Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres.

According to The Remnant: "This Pilgrimage dates back to the middle ages. It has been made by kings (such as King Louis XIV), Queens (such as Mary Queen of Scots), and Saints (such as Joan of Arc). The famous, the lowly, the noble and the commoner" have made the difficult walk. The website goes on to detail how the annual pilgrimage was eventually discontinued, but how that in the 1980s "several tradition-minded French Catholic laymen began again to organize the Pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage was held in honor of Mary, the Mother of God, for the purpose of the restoration of the traditional Mass and Sacraments of the Catholic Church."

In 1990, under the organization of several columnists from The Remnant, Americans began participating in the pilgrimage, and have every year since.

As much as my husband and I would like to go, it would be impossible for us considering the strenuous nature of this pilgrimage. So, what's the next best thing? Send our prayer requests with a pilgrim! One dear young lady from St. Francis deSales Oratory is taking with her on her flight to France this afternoon, the prayer requests of many of the moms from our homeschool co-op! And so I ask you, dear readers, to pray especially for this young lady, her companions, and all of the 15,000 pilgrims as they are on the road to Chartres on this Pentecost weekend. For surely they all have our best in mind and heart:

(From The Remnant): "We will also do our best to represent all Catholic Americans on the road to Chartres. America is in such desperate straights, as we all know; so we will remember our country in a special way this year, asking God to save America and give His children the grace to survive whatever persecution of all things Christian may be on the horizon."

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas, pray for us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Birthdays at Our House

My husband brought a very nice tradition into our marriage and family life: that of celebrating birthdays, in a big way. Or in a bigger way than I knew growing up anyway. When he was a kid, his family always made signs for all the birthdays. Nothing elaborate, just simple signs drawn on plain paper with crayons, hung about the house to wish happy birthday to the one whose day it was.

We've continued the tradition in our family, adding to the homemade signs streamers in the dining room, a much-used "Happy Birthday" banner hung on the dining room wall, balloons, and a special dinner plate (with chosen birthday dinner) for the honoree. From the moment the birthday boy (or girl, only one out of the four we celebrate each year) awakes in the morning, it is obvious that this is indeed their special day.

The boys love it. They make their signs with sweet sentiments, illustrated with whatever they are currently interested in. If I kept the signs each year (and many of them I have) they would be a pictorial journal of the boys growing up.

Today it is my turn to be on the receiving end of signs, balloons, 'happy birthdays' with kisses and hugs given early and often. I love it too. One of the signs, made by my more artistic son, shows a space shuttle blasting off to 'Planet Mom', while my numbers-loving kid made a sign with a long math problem which ultimately adds up to my age. And of course my husband's beautiful card and flowers greeted me as well. We have cake and ice cream to look forward to. It is a happy day in our house, and I am thankful for these little traditions we've carried on.

And if anyone is mildly curious as to my age, just complete my son's math problem below.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Indigo Bunting

We have a bird feeder at which we regularly see chickadees, doves, crows, house finches, and to our especial delight, bright red cardinals. But this morning we saw a first: a male Indigo Bunting! My younger son came running into the room where I was, yelling, "MOM!! There's an Indigo Bunting outside!!!" I went to the window, and sure enough, a bright blue bird fitting his description (and as described and pictured in his bird book) was feeding along with the other birds!

If you're unfamiliar with this bird, click here for pictures of the Indigo Bunting. It was really a beautiful bird, and it was a thrill for my bird-watcher 7 year old!