The week that was! Thanks to all who prayed for a successful week at Conception Abbey for Joel’s deacon formation classes. Job well done, prayer warriors; our week was spiritually fruitful in so many ways. Please know we prayed for each prayer request sent to us, too. There were some pretty heavy issues shared with us; we are honored you trust us to pray for your intentions.
Good news: we are heading home a day early. Bad news: Brother Elias, one of the professors and head of the diaconate formation program, came down with a nasty illness and had to cancel his classes for most of this week. If we can beg for one more prayer, please add Brother Elias to your intentions.
Here’s a pictorial recap from our week.
A couple of photos here to give you a feel for the land where we’ve gone one weekend a month during the school year the last three years and one week during the last three summers. This is the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where we celebrate daily Mass, spend time in Adoration, and sometimes pray the Liturgy of the Hours with the monks.
Funny story — a few minutes before Mass began one day, there was a 4 to 5′ foot black snake crawling between where the monks sit and where the assembly sits. Brother Placid, whose name means “not easily upset or excited,” truly played into his namesake and calmly walked down from his seat to remove the snake from the sanctuary. As he reached down to crush the head of the serpent (okay, just grab its tail), the slippery fellow coiled up and darted at Brother Placid, causing much gasping and silent screams from the peanut gallery. Brother eventually found a stick of sorts and like a master snake charmer, got the big guy to wrap around it and then promptly escorted it outside.
Even though I had a front-row seat to all this action, I wasn’t able to capture the moment with my camera as I was literally paralyzed in my pew. But here’s a visual for you.
So I mentioned late last week that I’ve asked the Lord to send me Mary Poppins to help us manage the family-diaconate formation requirement balance. We were gifted with three Mary Poppins this week in the form of two teenage girls and their mother who live a few miles from the Abbey.
I won’t say that we are concerned with our 18-month-old’s speech development, but he doesn’t talk too much yet, so it’s something we’re keeping an eye (or ear rather) on. I told this to our Mary Poppins, and one evening, much to my delight, one of the girls handed me this note. I echo Joel’s surprise when he said, “Wow. He really said all these words?” Thank you, Mary Poppins.
I spent so much time praying for Mary Poppins, I didn’t even think to pray for a “Bert.” Sometimes God gives you what you ask for and more, huh? This is Frank, the husband/dad to our three Mary Poppins. Every morning, he came riding up in the gator at drop-off time and swooped up the kids who were more than happy to help him go feed the cows.
We didn’t have to worry one bit about the kids, and our typical s-l-o-w to warm sweet little boy didn’t even cry once at drop-off. Such a relief.
So last year we met Sister Therese Marie with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Kansas City. She was on retreat the same time we were there for summer school and we wrote about that lovely moment here. Well guess what? Sister was back at the Abbey again this week. We pray for her often so what a lovely surprise! When Lucy saw Sister walking into the cafeteria she said, “Mom, she’s so beautiful!” Can’t argue with that brilliant point, kid.
Another chance encounter with someone we admire. Here is Father Jim Kubicki, national director of the Apostleship of Prayer. We frequently link to the Apostleship and share their prayer resources on our Facebook page.
So we got a little scoop from Fr. Kubicki. Each month, Pope Francis announces two special prayer intentions, particular things he wishes all Catholics to pray for that month. The two intentions are for one general and one mission. For example, the Pope’s August intentions are:
- General Intention: For Parents and Teachers — That parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life.
- Mission Intention: For the Church in Africa — That the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.
According to Fr. Kubicki, the prayer intentions will soon change to a Universal Intention, and not General, in the sense all the world, Catholic and beyond, can join in prayer over this intention; and an Evangelical Intention, rather than Mission, given mission territory is everywhere, often no further than our front porch. This really plays on the spirit of the new evangelization.
At the mid-week point, I recognized it was time to get the kids out of dodge for a few hours while Joel stayed back for evening class. We drove to the nearest city and enjoyed a nice dinner. This sign caught my attention and made me smile. Hope it brightens your day a bit, too.
Here’s to a great weekend! For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!