Lady of the Acadians

assumption

August 15th is the Feast Day of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  It is a day which celebrates Mary being assumed body and soul into Heaven at the end of her life.

Based on very early church writings and on the writings of mystics, such as Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, it is believed that the apostles traveled to be with Mary at her deathbed; some of them even transported on white clouds from the towns they had been preaching.  St. Thomas was not present for Mary’s death.  Upon Thomas’ arrival, Mary’s tomb was reopened. It was found empty except for her grave cloths.  Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes Mary’s assumption in great detail.  She saw Mary’s soul lifted up to heaven in a bright light where it was met by her Son, Jesus.  Her soul then follows her Son back to her tomb where it is joined with her transfigured body.  She then ascends body and soul with her Son to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Catholics believe Mary’s assumption was a Divine Gift for her role as the Mother of God.  By her example of following God’s Will and living a life without sin, we are shown a promise of the gift that is waiting for all of us on that last day.

Our Lady of the Assumption holds a special place in my heart, since she is the patron saint of all Acadians.  August 15th is National Acadian Day and has been celebrated since 1881.  In Canada it is known as the Fete Nationale.  Businesses close on this day in parts of New Brunswick, Canada.

There was much debate in Canada over the date on which to have a National Day to recognize the Acadians.   Abbot Marcel-Francois Richard influenced the decision for August 15th with his eloquent speech: “…in fact it seems to me that a people who, for over a century of hardships and persecutions, was able to preserve its religion, language, customs, and autonomy, must have acquired enough importance to affirm its existence in a solemn way; and this could not be accomplished better than by being able to celebrate its own national holiday…It is important to stress that we are not descendants of Canada, but of France…We must choose a holiday that reminds us of our origin…Louis XIII vowed to give his empire to the Blessed Virgin and he wanted the Assumption to be the kingdom’s national holiday…he sent colonist to take over Acadia…it is true that the national devotion of the Acadians is their devotion to Mary.”  Thus, the convention chose August 15th, Feast of the Assumption, as the national holiday of the Acadians.  It was ratified by the Vatican on January 19, 1938 and Saint Pope John Paul the Great proclaimed Our Lady of the Assumption to be the patron saint of Acadians, where ever they may live.

An Acadian flag was established at the 2nd Acadian Convention in 1884 at Prince Edward Island.  It is a French Flag, tricolor – blue, white, and red. There is a gold star at the top left. The star represents the Virgin Mary, their patron saint.

A “Cajun” Acadian flag was designed at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1965 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana.  The tricolor flag has three symbols.  The first is a gold castle on the red, which represents the Spanish kingdom who allowed the Acadians to settle in the area.  The silver fleur-de-lis on the blue, represents the French heritage. The gold star on the white represents the Virgin Mary.  The flag became the official “Cajun” flag for the Acadiana area in 1974.

Cajun people’s love for Mary is very evident as you drive around Cajun Country.  Statues of our heavenly mother are proudly displayed in front of many homes, churches and public places.  She is the new Eve, the “woman clothed in the sun”, and the new Ark of the Covenant.  We love our patron saint!

Happy Feast Day Mother Mary!

C’est Bon!

Love,

Sherry

 

The Homecoming

me and hallieThis weekend my first born and only daughter is coming home!  She moved out on her own at 18 and has lived a little over an hour away.  I know that is not very far, but that was 12 years ago and she has had a rough couple of years.  It is hard watching a loved one go through life’s trials and not be there physically for them to hug and wipe a tear.

With my daughter moving back closer to us, I get the extra bonus of spending more time with my grandson and granddaughter.  They have spent a lot of time with Grams and Pop, but it will be so much easier to be able to drive a few minutes and pick them up for an all day adventure or for just a couple of hours of fun.

This special homecoming has brought up memories of all the other special homecomings in my life.

Bringing new babies home was a very special homecoming.  I can remember each of my three sisters coming home from the hospital and my own three children. Any time leaving the hospital was a great homecoming!

For a time, my husband was in the US Navy.  Those six month deployments were months of loneliness and hard work for both of us.  A Navy wife is essentially a single parent much of the time.  I can still remember how excited the kids and I would be when it was time for Daddy to come home.  We made a “Welcome Home” poster.  We stood at the dock and watched the ship gradually roll in.  We could not climb the endless steps to the deck fast enough!  Our first time, I had to carry my son who was just two.  His big sister (two years older) was in front of us.  She made it about a quarter of the way up – then bam! fear of heights sets in!  She froze!  With so many families impatiently waiting to see their loved ones, it was an awkward moment.  I really did not know what I would do!  Fortunately a kind man in front of her scooped her up and carried her up the steps!  Reunions could be made after all…

We lived in Virginia while in the Navy.  It was the only time we did not live in Louisiana.  We missed our family back home.  My parents, God bless them, made the long trip to Virginia several times, pulling their camper.  They were at our door just four months after we left.  They were also the ones who drove over when my husband was in the Gulf War and was about to be discharged.  They came collect me and the kids so that I could get a job and place to live for our new start back home.  My parents must have been so happy! Their daughter was coming home!

I suppose there are many homecomings in one’s life time.  Some are literal homecomings, others are on an emotional or spiritual level.   The Lord rejoices at all of our “spiritual” homecomings.  At baptism we become a member of God’s family. He welcomes us with open arms.   Once we are old enough to understand the teachings of the Church and make that leap of faith to follow Jesus, I am sure Our Lord is again rejoicing and  leading us to our true home.  Our Lord knows that the most important homecoming occurs at our death.

Because I know my happiness in my daughter’s homecoming, I can only imagine our Father’s happiness when we move over from this earthly life to our spiritual life in His Presence.   In heaven we are reunited with Our Father and our loved ones who have gone before us.  What a homecoming that must be!

1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with Him.”

In the midst of the big move this weekend, my family and I will stop and take time to thank our Heavenly Father, who makes all these homecomings possible.

My Elizabeths and Luke,

WELCOME HOME!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry (Mom and Grams)

 

 

 

 

 

Remember

holy spiritIt is Memorial Day.  I have much respect for our fallen soldiers.  My husband is a veteran; I know first hand the sacrifice and life-threatening situations our soldiers endure for our country and our freedom.

This Memorial Day, I am also choosing to remember our fallen brothers and sisters who died defending their beliefs and Jesus Christ.  It is so important to remember these sacrifices especially today when  it seems as if so many in today’s culture wants us to forget the lessons taught by our Savior more than 2000 years ago.  The battlefield has moved to our own state capitals, county court houses, and our own back yards.

In the history of the United States of America, there have been many wars and battles.  The Revolutionary War of 1775 saw 25,000 dead; Vietnam War, a total of 58,209 died.  All together, over a million United States citizen have died protecting our freedoms, including our freedom to follow our own religious beliefs and morals.

Since the time of Jesus Christ, there have been countless martyrs.  Saints Stephen, Peter and Paul all died proclaiming the gospel.  St. Joan of Arc was executed in 1431.  More recently, Maximillian Kolbe died in 1941 and Oscar Romero in 1980.  You may be thinking that all of these individuals were not killed in this great country that was founded on principles of freedom, and that is true.  This country is slowly persecuting Christians by taking away their jobs and economic resources.  Speak out candidly regarding matters of faith and you risk losing your job, friends, and respect.

I will also argue that there are many more victims killed in this country today than ever in our country’s history.  Remember the “Massacre of the Holy Innocents”, Matthew 2:16?  Since 1973, Roe v. Wade, over 40 million innocent babies have been legally killed in abortions.  That is 1100 times the number of fallen soldiers in the Vietnam War.  Already this year, there are over 450,000 victims.  Pro-abortion advocates have always stated that legalized abortion protects women.  The truth is that in 1970 there were 119 deaths resulting from illegal abortions.  Legalized abortions have not brought down that number, in fact it has increased.  Abortion clinics have not been regulated and women have been injured, harmed, and many have died.  Of course there is always a death in every abortion, as a creation of God is given a death sentence because they are an “inconvenience”.

One of the readings at mass yesterday was Acts 8:14-18. “they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”    This passage for Catholics is the Biblical foundation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

As infants, we are baptized into the Church, which is the mystical Body of Christ.  As adults, we become confirmed, which gives us the special strength of the Holy Spirit.  Once confirmed, we are to become true witnesses of Jesus Christ and are obliged to spread and defend the faith by our words and deeds.

It is not easy to speak out in defense of our beliefs these days.  Society wants to tell us our beliefs are old fashioned and meaningless.  We must remember those who have gone before us and gave their lives so that we could be brought up in the faith.

I encourage all of you to view the YouTube video clip of Jim Caviezel’s speech at the Rock Church.  Not only did Jim play Jesus on the big screen; he is living a life in imitation of Christ and defending what is a true Christian.  If all Christians spoke out in defense of our faith – this nation would see great changes.  If all Christians voted according to candidates that will uphold our Christian values – this nation would see great changes.

It starts at the home.  Teach the faith to your children.  Teach your children to stand up for their beliefs.  Pray as a family.  Pray and fast for the conversion of this nation and our world.  Remember all the fallen soldiers who have died protecting our country and our freedoms.  Remember the Christian Martyrs who have given their life in defense of Jesus Christ so that His teachings would remain. Remember the innocent victims of the legalized sin of abortion, both the mothers and the children.  Remember your faith.  Remember Jesus Christ.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

“Behold Your Mother”

olphMy husband and I are members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.  I have attended mass at this church all of my life, beginning at my baptism soon after birth.  There is a beautiful replica of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon in our Church.  I have always loved the icon, but never took the time to understand its meaning or significance to our church history.

It is the tradition of the Catholic Church that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the oldest Icon of the Church.  It is believed that it was painted by St. Luke while Our Blessed Mother was still in Jerusalem.  According to legend, St. Luke showed the painting to Mary and she blessed it, saying her grace would accompany the Icon.  Many miracles have been attributed to the veneration of this Icon.

St. Luke reportedly gave the Icon to his best friend, Theophilus.  There is little reported on it until the 5th century when St. Pulcheria erected a Shrine in honor of the Icon as “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” in Constantinople.  The Icon disappears around 1453 when Constantinople became under siege.  It reappears years later on the island of Crete.

After exchanging hands a couple of times, the Icon finally found its way on March 27, 1499 to Rome.  There are still centuries of war and reconstruction.  The Icon spent many years hidden away and at one point forgotten.  But the Lord gave us His Mother and He did not want her forgotten!  The Icon was eventually discovered and restored.  It is kept today in The Church of St. Alphonsus Ligouri in Rome.

The Icon is full of symbols and messages.  There are angels on the left and the right sides of Mary and Jesus.  The left angel has the Greek initial for St. Michael the Archangel  He is holding the lance and gallop of Christ’s Passion.  On the right is the Greek initial for St. Gabriel, the Archangel.  He hold the nails and the Cross.

Mary is silent, but speaks volumes.  She is wearing a red tunic; which was worn by virgins at the time of Christ.  The dark blue mantle was worn by mothers at that time.  She is virgin, but also a mother.  Her eyes are large and turned toward us.  She seems to be pleading to us to avoid sin and love Her Son.  Mary’s left hand is supporting Christ possessively; she is His mother.  She comforts Her Son, but also everyone who calls on Her for help.

“Behold your mother.”  John 19:27

She was the mother of God.  She comforted Him and nurtured Him.  She knew of His fate; but she knew it was God’s Will.  She was full of faith and love even as He was dying on the Cross.  Her Son’s last gift to His faithful followers was His Mother.

Every part of Jesus that was human was from His mother – our mother – Mary.  She still sees Him suffer.  There are many more sins in the world today.  She is still trying to comfort and mother His followers.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mary, the Mother of God and of us all!

May mankind finally learn to follow the examples of your Holy Family.  It is not about making you and Jesus happy – You are radiant and in God’s Kingdom.  Following the ways of Jesus and His family will lead to OUR HAPPINESS!

C’est Bon,

Love Your Daughter,

Sherry

 

 

A mother’s prayer

weddingTwenty-seven years ago this day, my eldest son was born.  He came into the world on the feast day of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus.  He was given a middle name after my father, Christopher.  He was our first son and both our parents’ first grandson.  He rose to the occasion!

He was a curious and talkative child with a kind heart and big personality.  He made friends with everyone.  I watched him grow and mature into a handsome (no, I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother), confident and faith-filled young man.  He was taught values according to our Catholic faith and he lives that faith.

He has always been a hard worker and has exceled at just about every endeavor he has put his mind to.  From the teenage band to elocution contest to football and powerlifting… he went on to graduate from college and begin a successful career.  Sounds like he has it all…but as a mother, you know when something is missing.  That something turned out to be a young lady named Megan.

A year ago my husband and I took a pilgrimage to Caritas Birmingham, Alabama.  My focus for this pilgrimage was to consecrate my family, especially my children to Mary.  Nine days prior to arriving at Caritas Birmingham, I began a novena, saying a special consecration prayer for my children.  I had not told my husband of the novena.  When we arrived on the ninth day, we visited the chapel, which had a beautiful Mary room.  There was a life size statue of Mary with a sand box in front, in which candles could be lit and placed.  I grabbed a candle to light.  My husband quickly told me that I should light three candles, one for each of our children.  After lighting the candles and placing them at the feet of Mary, my husband stated, “you just gave your children to Mary”.

I was overjoyed!  I excitedly told my husband, “That is my novena!”  I took out my prayer booklet and opened it up to the prayer I had prayed for the last eight days and we stood there together in front of our mother and said the ninth prayer together.  I instantly felt a connection and peace in my heart.  Mary would be praying and interceding for the intentions in my heart concerning my children.

About a month after our return, my son called to inform me that he had met someone special.  They became engaged last month and will marry in the Catholic church in January, 2015.

Her name, Megan, means pearl.  And like a pearl she is a rare and valuable treasure.  She is gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside.  She was raised with the same morals and values as my son and loves her Catholic faith.

Christopher means “he who holds Christ in his heart”.  My son who has Christ in his heart has made room for a precious pearl.  May God bless them during their engagement and bless their marriage.

I gave my children to Mary…and she gave me a precious daughter.

Happy Birthday son!

C’est Bon!

Love,

Mom

Regrets…..Rebirth

20130406_123205Last week I stopped by and visited a friend I have had for years.  She lives in another state, so we do not get to see each other often.  We had a very nice visit which included sharing with each other our Christian faiths.  That day my friend shared a very personal experience from her past with me that I have found to be one of the most profound and dramatic narratives of God’s Love and Mercy.  She has given me permission to now share her story with you.

My friend, about forty years ago, was nineteen, married, and pregnant with her first child.  The pregnancy left her extremely ill.  She did not eat much for two months, and when she did she became very nauseous.  There were further complications of bleeding.

Her doctor met with her and her husband and advised an abortion.  The doctor claimed that the pregnancy was making her too sick; and he insisted that the loss of blood would create a brain-damaged baby.  My friend’s husband at the time, a preacher, was extremely pro-child.  He wanted a wife and family as soon as possible; however, he did not want any “damaged” children.  The preacher insisted upon the abortion.  My friend was heartbroken and was unconvinced that the pregnancy would not turn out a viable child.  She asked her husband that they take one night to reflect.  All agreed.

Upon leaving the doctor’s office, my friend became hungry.  Her husband took her to a restaurant, and she had a hearty meal without becoming sick for the first time in two months.  She took this as a sign.  She begged her husband to reconsider and let the pregnancy progress.  He adamantly refused.  The preacher said his mind was made up, the procedure would happen the next day.

She cried all night.  She climbed onto the hospital gurney the next day crying and cried up until they put her to sleep for the procedure.  When she awoke, her doctor told her matter-of-factly, “It’s a good thing we terminated; you had triplets in there!”  Well, those words finished her off!  Not only did she end one child’s life, she ended the lives of three.  The pain in her heart was greater than she thought could be possible without the heart just tearing in two.  It seemed as if the life had been ripped out of her body; that she was a shell, broken.

She cried for a year.  The grief of the loss of her dear triplets was compounded by the fact that her mother had lost triplets in a miscarriage.  After a year with no conception and little relief from the pain in her heart, her husband informed her that she had two years to conceive his child or there would be a divorce.  No child came and the husband was true to his word.  The marriage ended.

Turning to her faith and her God, my friend prayed for healing and the grace to one day bring another life into this world.  She received an answer.  After a Sunday service, a fellow church member told her that the Lord had spoken and told them that she would one day conceive and have a child.  The messenger told her God had promised.

She married again, and for 12 years they lived a married life with no protection against pregnancy.  One day at age 38, my friend was feeling ill and for fun took a pregnancy test.  The test was positive.  Her husband was in disbelief and accompanied her to a doctor visit.  The doctor confirmed – she was seven weeks pregnant.  She knew this was the promised child.  Her husband was still in shock, but she was on top of the world.

Until the phone rang the very next day.  She had to return to the doctor.  She and husband were again handed news.  This time the news was bad, cervical cancer.  Once again she was told by a doctor to terminate her pregnancy.  The words stung like a knife in her heart.

Immediately she asked the doctor two questions: 1 – Do you believe in Jesus Christ? and 2-Do you believe cancer can go into remission or be cured?  Her doctor said yes to believing in Jesus and said in “most cases cancer.”.  She stopped him. She asked him again and warned him that the wrong answer would prevent him from continuing as her doctor.  He finally said yes, cancer can go into remission.  Her husband by this point had found his voice and was asking for termination of the pregnancy.  She told the doctor, “congratulations, you have a patient”… and come hell or high water she informed both the doctor and the husband that she would be carrying the child to term.  She did not care about what would be happening to her body; she knew this was God’s promise and it would be fulfilled.

She called her prayer warriors, starting with mama, and told everyone “pray for this baby, do not pray for me.  I accept God’s will for me, but I want this baby to live.”

That baby and his mother survived.  She now has a son who has given her two beautiful granddaughters.

I sat stunned at her story.  I was in awe that God saw fit to put her in the same situation nearly twenty years later.  She not only got a second chance at giving life, but she also received the chance to make the right choice.  Most facing her decision, would have said it just wasn’t in the cards and would have put themselves first.  She chose life and self-sacrifice and God’s Mercy rained down upon her!

Her three little babies in heaven must have been so proud!  Their mother was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice to save a loved one’s life.  One day in heaven, she will be surrounded by her children; her family will at last be reunited in Christ.

God always has a plan.  It is up to us to follow, although the road may be treacherous and hard, He is with us and helping us.

Thank you my friend!  You have lifted me up!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

is Knowledge really Power?

adam and eveGenesis 2:14  Then the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.  He told him, “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.”

Genesis 3:4  The snake replied, “That’s not true; you will not die. God said that because He knows that when you eat it, you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.”

What did Adam and Eve do?  They wanted to be like God and so they ate the forbidden fruit.  Who was telling them the truth?  Of course, it was God who is the Truth.  They were given everything, and still they yearned for more.  Man turned away from God’s truth and innocence.  The sad part is that thousands of years later, nothing has changed.

The forbidden fruit today is everywhere.  Knowledge is at our fingertips like never before.  As technology and man’s knowledge of this world advance, dependence on our God and His Truth decline.

Think about it; what does all this knowledge really do for us?  Are we using this knowledge to guide us in the path towards God’s Kingdom?

I will give one example of a technological advance that has brought about good, but also much evil;  something as simple as an ultrasound.  Ultrasounds have great medical value.  It gives doctors eyes into our bodies.  They are able to diagnose, treat, and heal with greater accuracy and less evasiveness.

I had my first ultrasound when I was expecting my second child.  (My first child was born two years earlier and at that time ultrasounds were only used during pregnancy if the doctor suspected a problem.)  My husband and I were thrilled to find out we were expecting our first boy during this first ultrasound, and that he was healthy.  Unfortunately not all parents receive that kind of news.

I recently read a wonderful book by Chad Judice, Eli’s Reach.  Chad and his family also live in southern Louisiana.  The book was a follow up to his first book, Waiting for Eli.  The two books chronicle the story of Chad and Ashley and their second son, Eli, who was diagnosed with spina bifida while still in the womb.  Although 80% of children diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb are aborted, Chad and Ashley chose to trust in God and His plan.  Today their son Eli is a blossoming five-year-old, who does have medical problems, but also has above average intelligence and the hearts of everyone who meet him!  Chad is active in the pro-life movement as a public speaker and has changed many lives with the story of Eli.

How many Eli’s are never given a chance to live?  Most parents with the KNOWLEGE that their child will be born with major medical issues and possible brain damage, chose to bite that forbidden fruit.  They think they have the POWER of God, and can decide whether or not a child should be born.  Too often they decide that their child’s life would have little value.  How could anything God creates be of little value?

Adam and Eve sinned against God and brought death upon man.  Jesus and Mary said yes to God.  They asked for His Will to be done.  This brought about new life for man.  It saddens me to think how much Jesus suffered for our sins.  He was abandoned, betrayed, tortured, and crucified.  He left this world with no possessions.  His mother had to watch in horror the treatment of her Lord and Son.  What mother has suffered more?

When will we learn that there is no knowledge outside God’s Truth?

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.  Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way.  Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.”

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry