All ages

St. Joan of Arc from Lives of the Saints by Rev. Alban Butler (1894)

At Domremy, on the Upper Meuse, was born on January 6, 1412, of pious parentage, the illustrious heroine of all time, St. Joan of Arc. Taught by her mother from earliest years to pray each night 'O God, save France,' she could not help but conceive that ardent love for her country which later consumed her life. While the English were overrunning the north of France, their future conqueror, untutored in worldly wisdom, was peacefully tending her flock, and learning the wisdom of God at a wayside shrine. But hearing Voices from heaven and bidden by St. Michael, who appeared to her, to deliver her country from the enemy, she hastened to the King and convinced him of her divine mission. Scarcely did her banner, inscribed 'Jesus, Mary,' appear on the battlefield than she raised the siege of Orleans and led Charles VII to be crowned at Rheims. Later, abandoned by her King, she fell into the hands of the English, who gave her a mock trial and burned her as a heretic.

St. Francis of Assisi - from Lives of the Saints by Rev. Alban Butler (1894)

Saint Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in that city in 1182. Chosen by God to be a living manifestation to the world of Christ's poor and suffering life on earth, he was early inspired with a high esteem and burning love of poverty and humiliation. The thought of the Man of Sorrows, Who had not where to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and worldly station which he abhorred. The scorn and hard usage which he met with from his father and townsmen when he appeared among them in the garb of poverty were delightful to him. "Now," he exclaimed, "I can say truly, 'Our Father Who art in heaven.'" But divine love burned in him too mightily not to kindle like desires in other hearts. Many joined themselves to him, and were constituted by Pope Innocent III into a religious Order, which spread rapidly throughout Christendom. St. Francis, after visiting the East in the vain quest of martyrdom, spent his life like his Divine Master - now in preaching to the multitudes, now amid desert solitudes in fasting and contemplation. During one of these retreats he received on his hands, feet, and side the print of the five bleeding wounds of Jesus. With the cry, "Welcome, sister Death," he passed to the glory of his God October 4, 1226.

St. Catherine of Siena - from Lives of the Saints by Rev. Alban Butler (copyright 1894)

Saint Catherine of Siena, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the 'Hail Mary' on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for refusing to marry. Our Lord gave her His Heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with His own hands, and stamped on her body the print of His wounds. At the age of fifteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father's shop, where she united a life of acive charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint. From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church's cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God. In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI. at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an antipope. Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began ere she died. Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life of Christ's Vicar. With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg Our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope. The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine's prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and His Church. She died at Rome, in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.

Fenestrae Fidei

Sean Fitzpatrick

I am so excited to post a review on this new coloring book! My girls and I spent a great part of the last weekend working on these beautiful pictures to color! Sean Fitzpatrick, the artist, knows very well what gets young artists to want to grab those colored pencils...

The Miracle of St. Nicholas

Book cover: 'The Miracle of St. Nicholas'
Gloria Whelan

It was the day before Christmas in a modern-day Russian village which has lived through the closing of their church, St. Nicholas. When the church was first closed, everything inside the church mysteriously disappeared and the priest was gone. Now, even though the soldiers were gone, there seemed to be no way to celebrate Mass on Christmas day. Young Alexi questions his babushka about this, but all seems hopeless. Still, she explains that "A miracle happens when God enters into your dream. But first you must have the dream."...

A Year With God

Book cover: 'A Year With God: Celebrating the Liturgical Year'

A Year With God is simply THE purchase of the year! Completely original, inspiring, and unique, the abundance of fresh ideas and activities will re-energize your religion class and re-motivate you to make your homeschool a truly Catholic school in every sense of the word. Spanning the liturgical year, A Year With God contains hundreds of carefully detailed and illustrated projects and activities. Nearly all of these can be extended into several other projects, giving you many, many years of exciting projects to work on with your students.

A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families

Book cover: 'A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families'
Monica McConkey

with laminated "jelly-proof" covers

During the past few years, there has been a renewed interest in beginning and in continuing traditions within our families within the context of the liturgical year. This book has been written to help make these celebrations easier to plan as well as to provide countless new ideas. Some of these ideas are original while others are traditional. This book is especially well-suited for families with children in the preschool years up through the late elementary years.

Living the Liturgical Year: Volume 1

Book cover: 'Living the Liturgical Year: Volume 1'
Paula McEneany

This new book on the liturgical year was published last year by a recent homeschool graduate. The segment on Advent covers 34 pages (the pages are 8 1/2 x 11 inches with very dense text - so this is quite a bit of material). Miss McEneany, has provided a very thorough, updated resource for Advent traditions by bringing together detailed instructions, ideas and explanations from a wide variety of resources (including quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and explanations about traditions from the Byzantine rite).

How to Celebrate Christmas as a Catholic

Book cover: 'How to Celebrate Christmas as a Catholic'
Amy Welborn

This nice pamphlet is a simple introduction to Catholic customs and keeping Advent and Christmas meaningful and holy. The Advent segment overviews traditions such as the Advent Wreath, Jesse Tree and Advent Calendar and makes suggestions for remember the great Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are brief explanations of the symbolism and history of some of these customs as well as relevant tidbits.

Celebrating the Faith in the Home

Book cover: 'Celebrating the Faith in the Home: Advent and Christmas for the Christian Family'
Teresa Zepeda
Laurie Navar Gill

This book contains ideas, history, personal anecdotes, traditional prayers, instructions, etc. for incorporating religious traditions into your family's celebration of Advent and Christmas. Using just one or two of the ideas listed in this book will make this season much more meaningful for you and your family.


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