Sarah did an absolutely beautiful job with the Loveliness of Pope John Paul II Fair she hosted. It is so uplifting to read how this great, yet humble, man inspired so many. He changed so many lives for the better.
Saint Patrick's Day is one our favorite holidays here in the Bonny Blue House because, like all the Irish,we love a good story and a good party.
The feast of Saint Patrick provides both.
Saint Patrick, is commonly thought to be the most famous of Irishman. This is, in fact, not true. Patrick was born in 385 in the village of Bennaven Taberniae in Britain. He was the son of a deacon and was comfortably off. When Patrick was sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and sold as a slave to a sheep farmer in Ulster. Patrick prayed incessantly for strength and for his captors. Patrick never felt alone in Ireland as he always felt the presence of God in his heart. After six years God provided the opportunity for Patrick to escape from Ireland and return home. God also placed it in his heart that he was return to Ireland and bring the Faith to the people there. After studying in Rome Patrick, with the blessings of the Holy Father, returned to Ireland and proceeded to convert the people.
"Good St. Patrick traveled far, to teach God's Holy Word And when he came to Erin's sod, a wondrous thing occurred He plucked a shamrock from the earth and held it in His hand To symbolise the Trinity that all might understand The first leaf for the Father And the second for the Son The third leaf for the Holy Spirit All three of them in one."
Patrick was familiar with the pagan ways of the people and used his knowledge to win them over. And win them he did, to this day, fifteen hundred years later, Ireland remains a Catholic country. Read the preamble to their Constitution:
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
It is beautiful, is it not?
So let us get to all things Irish in the blogosphere. Dawn is always my first stop when I am brainstorming for a celebration and her plans for Saint Patrick's Day do not disappoint. Her darling sons are going to have a wonderful week or books, music and food. It will truly be a cherished memory for them.
Elena is incorporating Saint Patrick into her homeschool with a week of reading, baking and crafts. Please click on the link for the pretty Irish paper Elena provides. It is a wonderful resource.
Valerie has written some really complete plans for her St. Patrick's Day celebrating. She continues her plans here It is really an entire unit study with things that will appeal to all ages so I encourage you to spend some time there and print away. Valerie's blog is new to me and you can bet I will be a frequent visitor. I was particularly enchanted by her memories of her grandfather telling her tales of the Banshee. I have similar memories of my Nana telling me those stories. Thank you for conjuring up the memory Valerie!
My sweet friend Meredith has a post about her plans to make green glass shamrocks with her children. Meredith please post pictures so we can see how it all comes out. It sounds like a lovely keepsake. Meredith is also our resident menu guru (I am humbled by her organizational skills) and shares her menu for the big day.
Now, just to prove that a great idea deserves repeating I am including Alice's lovely Irish craft from last year. The little sculpey crafts we made using Alice's plans were pulled out with great joy this year and more are on the agenda for tomorrow.
Willa put together a really exhaustive and and complete list of books and movies that she has listed by category. It includes geography, art, poetry and much more. I believe that Willa was planning the reading list because of a proposed trip to the Emerald Isle.
I am appropriately green with envy.
In addition to these lovely posts I've found some neat things I wanted to share. This website offers audio of The Lord's Prayer, The Hail Mary and The Glory Be in Irish.
I hope that you all had as much fun at the Fair as I have had hosting it. The Loveliness of Saint Patrick's Day will continue with a pictorial follow-up when I return from our family trip. Please email me with your posts and pictures of your celebrations and I will post them when I return. In the meantime I leave you with this Old Irish Blessing...
May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! St. Patrick's Day Blessing Upon You.
The Loveliness of Saint Patrick's Day Fair will take place here at the Bonny Blue House on Monday, March 12th. Please send me your posts by Friday, March 9th. We, of the Bonny Blue House, will be spending St. Patrick's Day in the loveliest of southern cities - Savannah.
Savannah knows how to celebrate this beautiful feast day! There is a week's worth of festivities all of which promise to be great fun. The big day begins with the annual St. Patrick's Day Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist at 8:00 am. There is a HUGE parade and a festival with an impressive list of performances. We are looking forward to our trip with such excitement!
Mostly I am thrilled to be visiting my parents, aunt and cousins.
So I will be posting from the road and since I definitely want to include photos of my day and everyone else's celebration we will have a "mini photo fair" on Friday, March 24rd. The reason it will take a few days is that we will be visiting Dave's mom in her rural home where cable modems are not available. I am not sure how I would be able to upload photos or blog with a much slower connection.
Best to wait until we get home. Which gives everyone plenty of time to share their photos and fun. No excuses!!!
On a recent Sunday we piled in a pew behind a lovely lady I know from the Christian Mothers group at my parish. She was with her husband, with whom she had raised six wonderful children. She fussed over the twins and I asked about her oldest grandchild, a beautiful young lady of sixteen who had been hit by a car last spring. Thank God she is fine and all of the damage done to her leg is healing well. I had noticed in the Christian Mothers newsletter from the past month that there was a request to pray for this woman's husband. Since he was standing right next to her I did not want to pry and ask her what what wrong. However, it soon became very apparent. She tried to help him take off his coat. He pursed his lips and shook his head no as a child would. She gently asked him to turn around and face front several times before he would comply. Throughout Mass she reminded him of when to stand, kneel and sit and on the return from receiving Holy Eucharist she held his hand and led him, much like I do with the little ones.
It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.
She did all of these things with great love. At one point when she reached over to help her husband with his scarf she had such a look of love and tenderness in her eyes I actually became choked up. He had the vague look I get in the grocery store when someone greets me and I'm not sure where I know them from. They have been married nearly fifty years and he barely seemed to know her. It didn't seem to matter to her.
What a romance! What a great and enduring love story. These devout and loving people are living out the vocation of marriage the way Christ intended us to, not the way Hollywood makes people believe it should be lived. This dear lady is facing some difficult times I am sure. She will be called upon to make decisions and carry out plans that no one wants to deal with. What I saw in her face at Mass assures me that she will shoulder her burdens with great love. Sorrow, probably, but always love.
That is what love is about. It is easy to love in the good times. When there is money and time available. It is easy to do the flower and candy thing and call it love. It is very nice and I don't want to imply that I don't appreciate the occasional grand gesture, for I do. It's just that, for me, the most loving gestures, the ones that glue your marriage together forever, are the ones that take place when things are not going well.
After I had Kelli I became sick. Really, badly sick. I required a hospital stay, separating me from my two week old baby. When I was discharged I was sent home with an IV pole and a visiting nurse who came twice a day. The nurse made a big deal about keeping an eye n the IV, making sure it was flushed at certain times and not allowed to become completely empty. All kinds of things that we were not, being relatively healthy people, familiar with. At one point, in total exhaustion I fell asleep without flushing my IV. I awoke sometime later to see Dave standing over me performing the task. He gently touched my head, kissed me and said "go back to sleep, you need the rest". We had been married nine years but it was that moment that it came to me totally and completely that I had married the right man. A man who would be there when I was old and sick. A man who knew how to love. He knew how to give of himself.
Since then, there have been many, many such selfless gestures. Too many to count. I am living in a romantic paradise. No, I don't get flowers very often, he doesn't serenade me with his guitar. There are no magnums of Champagne. There is just daily sacrifice, selfless giving and a gentleness with me that I wouldn't trade for every rose in the world.
My romantic paradise is a older, slightly shabby blue house in a middle class village in the middle of Long Island. My paradise is full of dents and dings (much like it's owners), my paradise is often in need of some maintenance or updating. It is thoroughly commonplace, totally mediocre and filled with such love that I am surprised it's not visible from the street.
True romance - I'll take it any day over Hollywood.
God our Father, may we always profit by the prayers of the Virgin Mother Mary, for you bring us life and salvation through Jesus Christ her Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (from CatholicCulture.org)