Suffer with a Purpose

Sursum Corda Pilgrimage

Just last weekend, the Annual Pilgrimage for Restoration took place in upstate New York.  For those not familiar – it is a 60 odd mile, 3 day hike to the Shrine of the North American Martyrs.  We also call it the “Auriesville Pilgrimage”, as the Shrine is in Auriesville, NY.

For the last 4 years I’ve really been intrigued by the idea, especially as many of my Institute and Sursum Corda friends and acquaintances made the journey year after year.  Sursum Corda has even had their own brigade of marchers from both the mid-west and east coast for the last 2 years.

Well, guess what!
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St. Louis IX, King of France

St. Louis - King of France

“Contrariwise thou shouldst suffer every manner of torment rather than commit a mortal sin.” — St. Louis to his son, Philip

(Photo taken from

August 25th bears a special significance to those living in my fair city.  It is the Feast Day of our patron, St. Louis IX – King of France!  This year is extra special as well – since it is the 800th anniversary of St. Louis’ birth and the 250th anniversary of the founding of our city (whoever picked that year to found St. Louis did a good job with the timing)!

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A Reminder of Scotland

I’m finally back home in the US!

Ok, that’s kind of old news.  I’ve actually been home for about a 2 1/2 weeks now.  Whew, and boy did I hit the ground running!  In that short time, I went to the National Sursum Corda (I actually flew in from Scotland the weekend of the event), attended Institute ordinations at SFdS in STL , and officially turned my M.Sc. thesis in (Deo Gratias!).  Ahh!  A bit too much excitement for my little introverted self, but fantastic nonetheless.

I’m only just now slowing down to catch my breath and trying to adjust to “normal” life back here in the Midwest.  At the same time, the realization that I am actually home and that I probably won’t ever go back to Scotland is starting to sink in as well.  I am starting to miss those unbelievably green rolling hills, salty sea-side air, and even the daily hike up and down the “mountain”.  Although I had a nice reminder recently!  Way back in May, the editor of Regina Magazine came out to Scotland to visit with Catholics and gather some intel for their Scottish issue.  She even came to Dundee and interviewed a friend of mine!  The issue just came out a week or so ago and you can read it online here!  They did a pretty good job of highlighting the very best of Scotland, its culture, and the Catholics within.  Give it a read!

Oh and… they may or may not have squeezed and interview out of me as well… hmmm… you will just have to read the issue to find out!  (ahem also – I just simply enjoy anonymity for no reason in particular.)

Don’t have time for much now, but stay tuned!  Now that I am officially unemployed (but hopefully not for long), I should have time for a post or two!

St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Francis de Sales,  orate pro nobis!

What are you waiting for?  Go be a saint!

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Coffee… Coffee… Coffee…

As a kid, I woke up every morning and opened my bedroom door to be blasted with the strong, bitter stench of freshly brewed coffee coming from the kitchen.  Espresso to be exact.  My mom loves the stuff.  So much, she didn’t have cups of coffee…. she had bowls of coffee… plural!  One or two in the morning and then another in the afternoon.  I’m pretty sure she drank decaf (pft… can you even get decaf espresso?) and purely for the love of coffee, because she still fell asleep on the couch – second coffee bowl in hand.  She brewed so much of it so strongly, I’m pretty sure the smell seeped into my clothes like I was being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Consequently… as much as my Mom loves coffee – I hated it about 10 times more.

I despised that early morning stench so much, I decided I hated coffee even before I ever had it.  When I was in high-school, a few of my peers started drinking coffee to “be cool”… y’know ’cause it was the sign of a mature, hardworkin’ adult to need coffee I guess.  Of course I just laughed at them and told them I wasn’t interested.  I never was one to follow the new fads anyways.  Then I started my undergraduate degree and I still said I would never drink that stuff.  My family and friends quickly started laughing at me.  They thought I was so naive for thinking I could get through college without drinking coffee.  I mean, when you think of “college student” what else pops into your mind if not a picturesque image of a kid slumped over at his desk, red-shot eyes, pulling an all-nighter with a giant coffee pot nearby.  Well – I just laughed right back at them saying “You’ll see! No coffee for me!”

Well… guess what…

I didn’t drink a drop of coffee those whole 4 years, never pulled an all-nighter, and still graduated!

Haha – Did you really think this post was about me admitting how awesome coffee has turned out to be?

Yeah ok – well… keep reading…

So, I laughed right back at my family and friends, who were slack-jawed and astonished that I still managed to escape the coffee craze.  Then I moved across the pond and started graduate school…

(Let the dark, thunderous clouds roll in)

I arrived in Scotland with more resolve than ever to keep off the coffee.  Remember that image of college students I described earlier?  Yeah well the post-grad version of that is about 10x more amplified.  I had a little hope though, ’cause I ditched caffeine in general halfway through my undergrad anyways for other reasons and besides, this is Britain – everybody drinks tea here right?  I can handle tea.  Actually, after a year here I’ve come to really, really appreciate a nice warm cup of tea and a few biscuits after a long day of mushing my brain.

But then… it happened…

I got invited back to someone’s flat to hang out for a bit after Mass one Sunday.  So I went with a few others and, of course, as soon as I got there our hostess asked if I wanted anything to drink. “Tea? Coffee?”  Of course, I said tea.  So she flew off to the kitchen to appease her guests and when she came back she plopped in front of me the biggest, roundest, cup I’ve ever seen in my life (Not surprised it was, apparently, her favourite cup).  So, I picked it up maybe half an inch towards me to drink it and I could smell it… that all too familiar stench…

It. was. coffee.

Oh no.

She must have misheard me and got me coffee instead of tea!  Can’t blame her for getting it mixed up either as there were like 6 of us there.  What to do?!  I couldn’t give it back and waste all that coffee – there was a lot of coffee in that fat, round cup.  Not as big as my mom’s coffee bowl, but the cup was quite deceptively full.  Easily 2 normal cups – at least.  So, I decided to just be polite, suck up my pride, and gulp drink it.  First time drinking coffee ever – I already can’t stand the smell, and after my first sip I confirmed I couldn’t stand the taste either.  Despite my serious attempts to hide my pained and disgusted expressions on my face as I took the tiniest sips possible, she must have noticed ’cause she asked me a few times if she put enough milk in.  “Yep… all – all good.” I said and put forward the most fake authentic smile I could muster.  I wasn’t really sure what coffee is supposed to taste like anyways.

Well, by the end of the evening, I had managed to drink the entire thing and I was on the biggest caffeine high I had ever been on in my entire life.  Actually, if anybody could die from a caffeine overdose, I think it would have been me at that moment had I drunk any more.  However, by the time I got home and stopped shaking like a leaf, I came to a stunning realisation: “Huh… my brain… it actually works!  Well – sorta… oooh look! A squirrel!”

And that was the end of my coffee-free existence… sniff  There goes my stubborn plans to never drink coffee for my entire life.  I only made it 22 years…

Unfortunately, as many of you can probably relate, once you realise the potential of coffee it’s kind of hard not to resort back to it.  Plus it makes attempting to transition between 6 time zones multiple times a year a wee bit more entertaining… for everybody else that is.

Ok – and why the heck am I writing this?  Well, I may have resorted to a cup of that “black gold” earlier, reminiscing our first horrific encounter, and this sort of 12am rambling is what tends to happen as a result.

Let’s just be clear though… I still hate coffee.  If you ever see me drinking it – watch out – I’m desperate.

Please pray for me!  I’ll be praying for you!

St. Drogo (patron saint of coffee… and multitasking) ora pro nobis!

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The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacratísimo Corazón de Jesús-Cor Jesu Sacratissimum

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine!

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

Such a beautiful feast day!  Most especially for Institute folk, and members of the Society of the Sacred Heart!  Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write much (other than my thesis), but I hope that you take the opportunity this day to rekindle a spark of devotion through His Sacred Heart burning with love for you!  Here is a beautiful devotion to the Sacred Heart by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:

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SFdS, Friendship, and Good ol’ American Sunshine

I know, I know… its been FOREVER since I have written anything.

Well – in my defense I have been writing.  I just haven’t been finishing much.  Hmm, I guess that is a pretty important step though…

SO! Where to begin?  So much has happened!

For starters, I spent the morning laying barefoot in an old, creaky hammock with a gentle cool breeze contrasting the warm sunlight shimmering through the tree leaves and across my (terribly sunburned) face – with Intro to the Devout Life in one hand and an apple in the other.  Nearby there are old pick-up trucks, rustic farmhouses, and well used American flags flyin’ everywhere in sight!  And, of course, I have a beloved 8 year old girl hanging onto me everywhere I go.
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Holy Week and Easter in New Brighton, England

Dome of Home

Christus Resurrexit!

Whew, barely got this finished before the Easter Octave was over!  Nevertheless, it’s here!  I hope all your Holy Week and Easter experiences were beautiful, breathtaking, and filled with abundant grace!  Mine was pretty spectacular.
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Look at This Cool Photo!

Ok – now I promise I will write a blog post soon.  Actually I have 3 that I’m working on at the minute… I just… have to… finish!  My time is quite crunched with my thesis and exams at the moment.

But in the meantime: Don’t you think this a cool photo?

Good Friday 1

Well… I kinda think so.  Although, I might be a little biased towards photos of Institute parishes.

It was taken at St.’s Peter, Paul, and Philomena (the Institute apostolate in New Brighton) on Good Friday.  And it’s actually in a photo contest right now!  So, if you really like it, you should head on over to this link and vote for it (plus you get to see the real picture in better quality)!  Note: The downside is that you must have a facebook account to vote….

Of course, you should look at all the other photos as there are some other REALLY good ones too.  I think I voted for quite a few.  You have until Saturday, May 4th!

Stay tuned!  I have a few stories to tell from my Easter Adventure! :)

Be a saint!

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The 4th Annual National Sursum Corda Retreat


Last year’s National Sursum Corda 2013
(photo taken from the Institute of Christ the King – Sovereign Priest website)

I am very excited that the Institute of Christ the King – Sovereign Priest has announced the details of the 4th National Sursum Corda Retreat!

Who?  YOU (if you’re Catholic and 18+)

When?  Friday, July 25 through Monday, July 28

Where?  Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, IL USA

Cost? $250 for the entire weekend, accommodation included.

For more details and to register for the retreat weekend –> CLICK HERE!  Don’t wait too long!  Spaces will fill up rather quickly!

Now – you might be wondering why I’m so excited about this and/or why you would even consider going to an event like this.  I wrote a post a while ago on Sursum Corda, which explained a bit of what it’s about and why it’s different. I suggest you give a read!

sigh However, if you’re too lazy to click the link I’ll give you a short recap…
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The Not-So-Irish Saint of Ireland

Two things

  1. It’s the 17th of the Month!  So, the monthly novena to the Infant of Prague has once again begun!  This month’s meditation is on Temperance: Finding the Right Measure in the Good, the True, and the Beautiful (check out that link for a great article on it). The novena prayer will be posted on my home page until the 25th and you can visit my previous post (click me!) to learn more about it!

2. It’s the 17th of March!!  Happy Feast of St. Patrick!!!
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