Friday, February 29, 2008

Prayers for Regina Doman

Please pray for author Regina Doman who had emergency surgery for appendicitis.

Let's Hear About Frodo and the Ring

"Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years afterwards. And people will say: 'Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!' And they'll say: 'Yes, that's one of my favorite stories."'
-- The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings) by J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LOL Reviews at Amazon

Alicia Van Hecke and Mary Ellen Barrett both have written their take on For the Love of Literature over at Thank you Alicia and Mary Ellen for the 5 star reviews!

If you prefer ordering from Amazon, the books are available there now. Though they're not discounted there -- I don't know why. However, they do have it bundled with Nancy Brown's The Father Brown Reader which I find very cool.

If you prefer autographed author copies, you can order For the Love of Literature (as well as The Catholic Homeschool Companion) directly from me. Just click on the Add to Cart button(s) in the sidebar. If you'd like a book personalized, please leave a comment for me with your order. (Autographed books are so fun!)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Endings

Okay, I admit it. I've never read The Princess Bride, but I love the movie!

Look. (Grown-ups skip this paragraph.) I'm not about to tell you this book has a tragic ending, I already said in the very first line how it was my favorite in all the world. But there's a lot of bad stuff coming.

-- The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Google Lit Trip

My friend Lisa forwarded the following to me. ClickSchooling always has neat stuff and I thought this perfect to share with you since literature is the hot topic of the day:
Recommended Website:
Google Lit Trips

Age Range: 5-17 (Grades K-12)

A teacher came up with the unique idea to take a digital book from children's literature and plot out the characters' travels with the digital mapping tools of Google Earth, providing a multidimensional learning experience. Students can take a virtual field trip in real time to visit the places mentioned in the book, making it even more relevant and meaningful.

When you get to the website you'll see a welcome message and featured highlights. Frankly, if this is your first visit, the home page can be confusing. Your best bet is to click on "Getting Started" on the menu and listen to the interview with the teacher who developed this concept. Then, watch the video tutorial that explains how to use Google Earth and how to use Google Lit Trips. All of the tools you need can be downloaded for FREE at the site.

Once you understand how to use Google Lit Trips, select the grade range appropriate for your child. Then get ready to experience the Google Lit Trips that have been created by various teachers for their favorites children's books.

Grades K-5 - You'll find "The Yellow Balloon," "Paddle To The Sea," "Make Way for Ducklings," and "By The Great Horn Spoon."

Grades 6-8 - Includes "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," "The Slave Dancer," and "My Brother Sam is Dead."

Grades 9-12 - Get the "Aenid" by Virgil, "Candide" by Voltaire, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "Night" by Elie Wiesel, and more.

Click on the title to access the Google Lit Trip complete with the digital book, text and illustrations, and a virtual journey that will bring it all to life.

This is a new venture, but as it catches on more and more titles for Google Lit Trips will be added. The potential is exciting!

Diane Flynn Keith
for ClickSchooling
Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved

Note: We make every effort to recommend websites that have content that is appropriate for general audiences. Parents should ALWAYS preview the sites for suitable content.

Click Schooling (Clickschooling) is a Federally Registered Trademark.

Homechooling a preschooler? For FREE activities visit:

Shortcut URL to this page:

I would have chosen a different book title or two, like Around the World in 80 Days, but hey it's still cool!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Training of Virtues

Charlotte Mason advocated the training of habits. She recommended focusing on one habit for 4 to 6 weeks before moving onto the next.

The idea of putting together a reading list to teach virtues made me think about Miss Mason's recommendation. As a parent, I can focus on one virtue at a time and arrange our reading schedule accordingly.

Virtues Reading List

For the Love of Literature is all about teaching core subjects through fun and interesting literature. However, I would like to put forth that there are more important things to learn in this world than math, science, history, etc.

I'd like to talk about teaching virtues through literature. And I would like your input.

Here are the seven virtues:

Humility (modesty)
Kindness (admiration)
Forgiveness (composure)
Diligence (zeal/integrity/labor)
Charity (giving)
Temperance (self-restraint)
Chastity (purity)

What books would you recommend to go with one or more of these virtues? Let's get a list going for everyone in the family -- preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, and adult.

I'll take all of your suggestions and pull them together into one great list. I'll post it here and at my Catholic homeschooling website for free download.

Monday, February 25, 2008

This Little Light of Mine

Natalie, 16, and Lorraine, 12, are sisters and wrote about their 2008 March for Life experience together:

Seeing as I’ve never been farther than Indiana, going to D.C. was a new but cool experience. It helped to actually be out in the world without someone making sure I knew what I was doing (no offense Mom and Dad). I think uniting against a common evil also drew us closer together as a group. And, as a paper deliverer, I’m one of the first to read of the latest murder or any other violent occurrence and when I see all the reports, I think of how many more should be on the front page; stories on all the murdered babies. So, seeing how many people are willing to give up a few days’ pay (or anything else) was a welcomed and inspirational sight.

It was a powerful sight, seeing the multitudes of people gathered in D.C. I was moved to tears, thinking about how we, as God’s children, could commit such brutality against our fellow man. I recall the song This Little Light of Mine. It may be a simple song, but the words ring true for every ear. We are all like little lights of hope which still shine out amidst the darkness. It is by the grace of God that we have the courage to take a stand against one of the greatest evils of all time. I pray that one day we may all come together united in love with Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Natalie & Rain

Quote of the Day

In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.

-- Pope John XXIII, Ad Petri Cathedram and popularly attributed to St. Augustine

Faith Magazine Gets LOL

My new issue of Faith: The Magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing came in the mail Saturday. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a blurb about For the Love of Literature:
A new book for home-schooling moms
Maureen Wittman (sic) is a home-schooling mom of seven children. She is also a well-established author and editor in the world of Catholic literature. Her most recent work, For the Love of Literature, has received much praise. The book is meant to help other home-educating Catholic moms but is a valuable resource to any parent. For the Love of Literature contains a lifetime reading plan, easy-to-implement tips and ideas, top picks by grade for every subject and literary guides for every family member. For more information, contact Joan Stromberg at Ecce Homo Press, call 868-305-8362 or visit

Thank you Faith Magazine. Thank you very much!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Books Carrying the Whole World

"What on earth have you packed in here? Bricks?" asked Mo as he carried Meggie's book box out of the house.

"You're the one who says books have to be heavy because the whole world's inside them," said Meggie, making him laugh for the first time that morning.

-- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, page 19

Friday, February 22, 2008

PSN5: A Picture Perfect Childhood

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

This book would also be good for librarians to keep on their personal resource shelves as well as the lending shelves for the public.

Title: A Picture Perfect Childhood: Enhancing Your Child's Imagination and Education in 15 Minutes a Day
Author: Cay Gibson
Publisher: Literature Alive!
Date Published: January 2008
ISBN-10: 0615179819
ISBN-13: 978-0615179810
Price: $21.99
Comments: Great resource for parents in choosing great picture books for their children. If you enjoyed Honey for a Child's Heart, you'll love A Picture Perfect Childhood!

Nancy Brown
Karen Edmisten
Love2Learn Link

Hillside Education Gets LOL

Hillside Education is now carrying For the Love of Literature. Hillside publishes Catholic Mosaic, The Father Brown Reader, literature guides, and historical fiction. It's an honor to have LOL added to their catalog even though they aren't my publisher.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Wanderer Gets LOL

If you get The Wanderer, make sure to look in today's edition to read Pete Vere's review of For the Love of Literature. I haven't seen it myself yet but I'm hoping it's a good review.

As a side note: back in my heathen days, someone subscribed to The Wanderer for me. I got it for several years. Back then, they ran excerpts of C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. Though it would be a number of years before I came fully home to the Catholic Church, those excerpts had a profound affect on me. It's interesting to me, all the little things that work together in bringing about a person's conversion.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Blog for Little Flowers

My daughters are in the Little Flowers Girls Club (R). It's really been a blessing to our family and I so appreciate the efforts of our local leaders in putting it together and running the program (alongside Blue Knights Boys Club).

If you do Little Flowers too, or are thinking about starting the program, there is a new blog in town to check out: Growing a Little Flowers Club.

There is also a Little Flowers Girls Club Leaders Yahoo Group if you'd like to share in a discussion about the club.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PSN5: The Father Brown Reader

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: The Father Brown Reader
Author: Nancy Brown
Publisher: Hillside Education
Date Published: October 2007
ISBN: 0976638673
Price: 12.95
Comments: G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown Mysteries adapted for the 9- to 12-year-old set. An excellent way to introduce children to Chesterton, the most quoted author of the 20th century.

Love 2 Learn
Karen Edmisten
Danielle Bean
The Curt Jester link

Life of Fred Comes Clean

Quite some time ago, I wrote about the Life of Fred algebra textbook and some questionable passages. It's come to my attention that some of these passages have been changed in the new edition.

A reader writes:

I checked my book against the instances you listed and here is what has changed in my book:

Pg 23: they still talk about poker, but the reference to strip poker has been removed.

Pg 165: the tv show name has been changed to "I Love Shopping"

Pg 165: it still says "This truck was carrying grass ... the lawn kind. Maybe that's why it was operating during the day."

Pg 167: the bag of white powder has been changed to a bag of jewels

Pg 250: it still says "An empty beer can flew out of the window, and in several seconds it was quiet again."

Pg 272: the maid was changed to a robot-maid, but the rest of the sentence reads the same

Pg 273: the reference to lab manuals and a drug lab have been removed

Monday, February 18, 2008

Scarlet Fever and the Wittmanns

Super Boy has scarletina. Or, as they used to say in the days of old, scarlet fever. It's no big deal, the doctor reassures me. Ten days of antibiotic and he'll be fine.

Of course, being Wittmanns, we can't help but think of all our literary friends who dealt with scarlet fever (before Amoxicillin). There was poor Mary Ingalls who went blind in By the Shores of Silver Lake. How could any of us forget Beth in Little Women. Poor Beth appears to recover, but the fever progresses to rheumatic fever and she dies of congestive heart failure four years later. And what about the little boy in The Velveteen Rabbit. All his toys are set to be burned once he recovers. Fortunately, the velveteen rabbit is saved by the nursery fairy who makes him real. Then there is Sydney Taylor's All of a Kind Family. Four of the five sisters come down with scarlet fever, the house is quarantined, and everyone is okay in the end. In The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a young girl is accused of giving scarlet fever to others through witchcraft. The list goes on.

Super Boy's first question for the doctor was, "Will I go blind like Mary?" Of course, he was reassured, that it is not a big deal these days and he'll be a-okay.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Family-Centered Learning Conference

This looks like a great conference in PA! I love the potluck picnic idea and the speakers are great! Michele Quigley of Family-Centered Press sponsors it. If you're not familiar with Michele she creates those lovely Catholic planners for moms, dads, and students. Michele is also one of the founders of Mater Ambilis, a free online Charolette Mason curriculum.

One of these years, I'd love to go to the Family-Centered Learning Conference.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thank You MM

Margaret Mary Myers (I suppose I should call her MMM) has some nice things to say about For the Love of Literature in an email to me earlier and on her blog:
I want to tell you that I've been doing something with your book For the Love of Literature that I never usually do with a non-fiction book: reading it from beginning to end. I am especially enjoying the history section, where I am getting a timeline in my head, seeing who lived at the same time as whom, and meeting old authors whom I knew from one book or two and getting excited that they've written so many. The book is an education in itself and I can't wait to start getting the books that are on the lists.

Kristen McGuire has a Secret!

Before I share Kristen's secret with you, I'd like to share her recent comment about For the Love of Literature:

Experienced homeschoolers might think they don’t need another compendium of the “right books to buy.” But, Maureen’s lists are very user-friendly for distracted moms shepherding big broods to the library. In addition, she lists quite a few books in the math and science areas that I had not seen before. Furthermore, some of her practical teaching tips paid off in a big way at Casa McGuire…within days of reading her book! Kudos to you Maureen! Thanks for inspiring the rest of us!

Thank you Kristen! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Kristen McGuire, she is a Catholic author, speaker, and homeschooling mom of eight children. She is also wife to Dan McGuire, retired marine, theologian, and creator of the awesome Blue Knights (my boys are members).

Kristen also has a brand new website and is offering her online newsletter Secretum Meum Mihi for FREE – this is sooooo exciting! It is very user-friendly and, dare I say, chic website.

Secretum Meum Mihi translated is My Secret is Mine and comes from Blessed Edith Stein. Visit Kristen's website to lean more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shouting Out Our Message

Anna is such a mature young lady that I forget she's only 11-years old. She was a joy to have on the March:

Hi, my name is Anna, and I was one of the thousands of people who were at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. this year. I just wanted to tell you what I enjoyed the most about going on the trip: being with my friends, praying, going to Mass, visiting the Basilica and Franciscan University. Of course, the best part was being able to shout out a message to all those people who think abortion is “okay” and that don’t know what really is happening. Of all the pro-life signs I read at the March, my favorite one was, “A person is a person no matter how small.” That says it all!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Human Bonding and Reading Aloud

Reading aloud together is important for all the reasons that talking together is important -- inspiration, guidance, education, bonding, communication, understanding, and sharing. When people read together, they give each other a piece of their mind and a piece of their time, and that says a good deal about human worth. If your family doesn't read together already, why not start reading to them? Find something wonderfully funny, interesting, or beautiful and read it aloud to them. You'll come to know them in a new way.

-- Gladys Hunt, Read for Your Life, page 15

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Strengthening My Soul, and My Compassion

Some of the most important people in making the March for Life happen, didn't even attend the event. Today's reflection is written by one of those people. My good friend Linda S. stayed home while sending her daughter in the care of other moms. Linda provided babysitting services for moms who had to leave littles behind and she provided a ton of fresh fruit for the hungry travelers. Most importantly, she was a prayer warrior :

“Hi, Mom,” said the sweet voice over a 1,000 miles of cyberspace. My heart was touched by those two words, and my mind raced to many thoughts ... she’s safe, how much she sounded like her older sister, and how much I missed her. The voice was of my second daughter on her first trip to the March for Life.

Being one of the parents staying behind, my heart was strengthened by prayer and blessings. I also spent time reflecting and remembering the many mothers who mourn the loss of a baby through abortion.

Letting my daughter attend the 2008 March without any of her other family members was hard for me. I worried about weather, health, and safety. I love the part of the Catholic Mass that says “and protect us from all anxiety.” So, with that said, each time an anxious thought or feeling would occur, I would pray to God. He is the only one who could help and protect. Of course, my daughter had a wonderful time and returned safe and sound, with a beautiful memory, and another stand for life.

One of the blessings of the trip was being able to watch two little friends. It was wonderful to see the two girls and my girls play dress-up for hours. Such innocent fun. Forever imprinted on my mind is the sweet three-year-old sitting in a child-sized rocking chair lovingly holding her baby doll. Another vivid image is one of the radiant smile of the seven-year-old; such joy and happiness! I could see the love of their mother, who was traveling, through those children. I know how hard it is as a parent to leave the “littles” behind, and I know how hard it is to let them go. I prayed for the parents and children staying at
home, as well as the ones traveling.

Through the years, my compassion for mothers who have had abortions has changed as my knowledge has changed. I used to have an image of an ogre of a person who would abort their own baby. But the fact is, of the women I know who have had an abortion, every one of the them have regretted it. Some of the women I know are really some of the most compassionate women to cross my path. I am not making excuses for their decision, and neither have they.

When I started finding out more about abortion statistics from Life Decisions International, I found out that 70-80% of women having an abortion, don’t really want one. I think about that. These women are in a crisis, reaching out for support; and in doing so, it is the friends and relatives who misguide them in their time of need. Even in the most horrible of cases, abortion is not the answer. The people in their lives think they are helping, but in reality they are creating a horrible error. These women live with the error for the rest of their lives. Pray for women in crisis.

I am encouraged to see so many young people on fire to end abortion. Some of these people will encounter friends, relatives, and others in their life who are considering abortion. It may be the unwed teen. It may be the woman whose baby has a birth defect (but, we are "all created in the image and likeness of God”). These young people will be friends of the unborn and friends of the mother. They will be able to stand by and be a positive support for life to a temporarily tough problem. I am proud of you! Bless you!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Books for Kids Who Love to Read

I received this email recently:

Good afternoon Maureen,

Again, I am loving For the Love of Literature. I just received two Diane Stanley books yesterday (Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci). They are beautiful, just as you said, and I think my daughter will enjoy reading them.

I was talking to a homeschooling friend recently and thought it would be wonderful to have a resource of appropriate "pleasure" reading for our kids. Don't know if that's anything you have thought of doing. My daughter goes through so many books it's difficult to keep up with content on all of them.

Anyway, thanks again. Glad the march went so well.

Take good care.

Sure, since you asked so nicely, I'd love to write this book for you!

Really. I talked with my publisher and she's given me the green light. Here's what I'm thinking. Pick 100 books: 25 for each grade level (preschool, grade, middle, and high school), and dedicate 2 to 3 pages to each book. I'd give a plot synopsis, discuss how we baptize it, and tell you what kind of reader would enjoy it. I think I'd also give recommendations on "If your child liked this book, then he'll love . . . "

My working title is Books for Kids Who Love to Read. My ispiration is a 16-year-old homeschooled boy. He once saw me reading Books for Kids Who Hate to Read and he said, "I'm tired of such books. Someone needs to write a book for kids who love to read!"

So, if I'm going to do this, you're all going to have to help me. Should I include the classics like LOTR and Narnia or should I save all my precious space for books most people might not otherwise discover on their own? What great discoveries have you made that you think I should include? What would you like to see in such a book? What would help you as a parent?

Be forewarned. This will not happen overnight. I'm estimating two years. I've got at least a hundred books to read and review.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

We Can't Keep Silent

Today's reflection is written by Mary, who turned 16 today. She brings yet another perspective that many of us may not have considered:

The March 4 Life 2008, amazing as ever and as sad. Not only because of all the babies, our next generation being killed by the thousands everyday, but also because of us pro-lifers. When we were marching, I looked around and I could see all kinds of literature scattered on the ground everywhere. I saw people who are pro-life going after other pro-lifers because of different politics. Even our two best known pro-life groups, Right to Life and American Life League, fight among themselves when we should be holding on to each other as tight as possible because each other is the most important thing we've got.

The media overlooks how many people come every year to the March to stand up against abortion, so we will just have to encourage more people to come until they can't deny it any longer.

We also need to do more than just support life when we're in DC or just sending a check every month to an organization. We need to be active in our local pro-life groups in our own cities. I know we have an awesome group in Lansing and there is so much that needs to be done. Like when Jesus was being condemned he could have been saved but the people who believed and cared about him kept silent. But we can't keep silent; silence is our worst enemy, we need to raise our voice above the media and all the negativity of this culture of death, it's hurting our nation so badly but if we can turn it around and turn our country into a culture of life then maybe the rest of the world will see the awesome change and bring God's love and forgiveness back into our homes and lives.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Providing a Place to Rest for the Tired

Cecelia is a leader in our local homeschool group. She's one of those woman who just exudes the love of Jesus in all she does. I love this story:

The March for Life was memorable, to say the least. One story I promised Maureen I would pass along is that of an encounter I had with one elderly participant, who borrowed Maureen’s red, folding chair, as she paused to rest her tired body, before the March began.

She was a much older woman than I, with a thin face and a gentle smile. She wore a brown wool coat, pale, yellow scarf and a large, green hat that buttoned under her narrow chin. That she reminded me of the elderly, beggar woman, in Peter Collington’s book, Small Miracles, was due mostly to the fact that she came with hope, like the woman in Collington’s Christmas story, and she found more than she was looking for.

It began when we CHURCH Homeschoolers 4 Life had gathered west of the main stage, on the Mall, huddling together here and there, to listen to the politicians, priests and other notables who were rallying the troops before the actual march took place. After a period of time, I scoured the area a bit to find a better vantage point so the smallest ones among us could get a clearer view of the speakers. After asking Maureen and the other adults whether they wanted to move, we all proceeded about 100 yards closer to the action. In doing so, we left behind Maureen’s red chair, which she needs for her rest. Feeling badly, because I had convinced everyone to move from our original spot, I volunteered to go back and recover the red chair.

When I returned to the group 100 yards from the chair, I came back empty-handed. “I couldn’t do it,” I told Maureen, “I don’t have your chair.” Maureen looked at me and smiled, seemingly not too upset. “It’s still there,” I told her, “but a little, old woman is using it.” In the few minutes that had passed between our group’s move from one spot to the next, the left-behind chair had become a resting place for an old woman, wrinkled and vulnerable herself, who had come to take a stand for life. In doing so, she was the recipient of the charity of Maureen and the mercy of God. “It was meant to be, “ said Maureen, “that I left it there. She needs it more than I do.”

Just a small example of how God provides and will continue to provide for us all.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Being the Voice for Those Who Cannnot Speak

Stephanie, 10-years old, proves that you you don't have to be a grown-up to see the truth, to know right from wrong. Thank you Stephanie:

I was one of 200,000 people who went on the 2008 March For Life and protested against abortion. Abortion doesn't make sense to me because if you were to kill a person who was already born you would go to jail why then should we be allowed and paid to murder unborn children? We marched passed the Supreme Court which uses its power to destroy weak, innocent, and powerless lives. I think it is horrible that we are constantly having to desperately implore our country to stop murdering our generation. I, along with many others, hope that there will be no need to go on the March next year because I hope by that time abortion will be over.

Although there are still many people having abortions today, I think that people are starting to realize just how terrible abortion really is . On the March For Life I was surprised and happy to see just how many young people stood up for life. But the battle is not yet won so please join me and many others in being the voice for those who can not speak.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Rejoicing In Our Suffering

There were eight mothers on our bus to Washington, D.C. Nancy is a mother of nine children and a dear friend. I first met Nancy many, many years ago when she led a mothers' Bible study I attended. A Bible study that helped me become a better Christian wife and mother. Though we don't see one another nearly often enough, she is someone I look to for wisdom:

After the March for Life one of my children wondered, "No one who was for abortion saw us. The newspapers and TV people ignored us. Our message did not get out. Were we just wasting our time? Was it worth it?"

No one saw us? I know God did. I would have missed some very beautiful things if He hadn't shown me what He saw. Because I am a mother the Lord focused my attention on three mothers. God saw a mother of seven struggling physically with daily back pain caring for children with various health problems and significant learning challenges. He saw her sacrificing her time and strength to stand for life. God helped her make the phone calls, send the emails, buy the food, charter the bus, make the arrangements and He was well pleased with her. With heartfelt prayers she asked that everything would work out so she and her teens and their friends could march for life. God assured her, "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me."

God noticed another marcher. A mother whose newborn daughter had a defective brain condition which took the baby's life. God helped this heroic mother smile and cry and love that little one till her last breath was taken. God speaks through this mother to others tempted to abort their handicapped children. He watched her march for the culture of life and for the love of His people.

The media missed a third marcher and neglected to interview her either. But God knows her very well. He pointed out a mother who has opened her home and adopted little ones from backgrounds where drug abuse and neglect scarred them from the beginning. She and her family have been instruments of His healing. God watched her march and God knew that here was a woman after His own heart.

God embraced these mothers and gave them the privilege of uniting the sacrifice of their lives, the suffering of their bodies to His own holy, infinite sacrifice. The offering of these mothers and all of us marchers won grace for the salvation of our fallen world, God's mercy on our country and for an end to the sin of abortion. St. Paul says, "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is the Church." (Colossians 1:24) John Paul II explained in the Gospel of Suffering that," Jesus Christ has opened His suffering to our participation in it."

The Lord is allowing us to stand for Him. To offer our lives as apostles of life and love. He doesn't have to work this way but He gives us the blessing of being His Body in this world. This is the meaning of offering our everyday and our extraordinary sufferings to Him. God invites us, "Come follow me. Save the world through My Cross, take up your own cross daily and unite yourself to Me for the salvation of your own souls and those most in need of My mercy."

Our Lady of Guadalupe Pray for Us

David, all of 13, shares some profound insights with you:

When I went to the March For Life in D.C. I saw banners of Our Lady of Guadalupe. To a lot of people that didn't mean anything but it did to me because I knew that she is the patroness of the unborn. There is a belt around her middle which meant to the Indians that she was pregnant with the baby Jesus.

At the time, the Aztecs thought that the gods wanted human sacrifices. Each day thousands were killed. Even now we are doing the exact same thing to innocent babies. When Our Lady appeared she was stood on a blackened crescent moon symbolizing the defeat of the Aztecs serpent god. Today with the help of our lady we must conquer the devil's power and stop abortion.

On our way to the march we watched Amazing Grace, a movie about the fight to end slavery in England. In our country, in 1868, the Supreme Court ruled that African slaves were not fully human. And today the court has denied that the little unborn child is a person.

There was a poster on the March that stood out for me, a quote from Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who: "A person's a person no matter how small." That was significant for me because I had just memorized Horton's lines in the book. All through the book, Horton the elephant protects the Whos and at the end, with their help, proves that they exist. In order to stop abortion we too must prove that "A person's a person no matter how small."


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beatitudes for the March for Life

Charles, 14, has taken a different perspective of the March. He ties it all together with Scripture. I thought Sunday the perfect day to share Charles Beatitudes for Marchers:

As I reflected on my experiences at the March for Life, something hit me. Earlier that day, I was doing religion in school and I was in a section on the Beatitudes. I probably should not have been surprised but I was amazed at how closely they described the March.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Some of the people to which we are trying to be a witness are poor in spirit.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Everyone, whether they know it or not, knows someone who has had an abortion. It is our job to help them, to comfort them.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Who could possible be more meek than all the babies that have been aborted?

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. One of the many reasons for us going to the March was to show the politicians in Washington D.C. how many people disapprove of the laws legalizing abortions.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. I really hope that we are merciful.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. The aborted babies did not have any sin on their souls so the likely went straight to heaven.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Peace is defined as a mental calm. We cannot have peace until abortion is no more.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Pro-life supporters are often persecuted because we are doing things outside of “normal.”

If there is one thing I learned from this trip, it’s that pro-lifers have a great sense of humor. On our way back home on Wednesday, after we were all back on the bus and about to leave Steubenville, our bus driver got a call on his cell phone. As it turned out, earlier that day, his sister had had a baby! He looked a little mystified after we had given him three rounds of applause. To provide some explanation, Mrs. Wittmann leaned over and said, “This is a pro-life group. We get excited when this kind of thing happens!”

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Here I Am, In My Mother's Womb

Catherine just turned 15 and has obviously thought deeply about this subject. It was a joy to have her join us in DC!

Here I am, in my mother’s womb, safe and sound… or so I think. It’s been 15 weeks so far; it’s not going to be too long until my mother gets to look into my eyes—until she can hold me, her little baby girl. Wait. What is that suction sound? It’s coming nearer. It can’t be anything dangerous; my mother would never let anything happen to—

And her precious life is brutally snuffed out by a Suction Aspiration abortion, within a matter of seconds, as if she was a choice and not a child—as if she was a parasite and not a gift from God. But many people, who ignore the clear facts of science, believe that’s all an unborn child—or a fetus—is: a mere “problem” consisting of a simple blob of tissue, which can be “solved” by getting an abortion. But the truth is that it’s a living human being, with hands and feet, and with as many rights as anyone else has—or at least with as many rights as anyone should have. You see, if a person is not allowed the simple right to life, then all the other rights are meaningless.

And that is why we march.

The people, like myself, who attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on the 22nd of January, are not only fueled by emotion and strong beliefs, but they are also fueled by the daunting facts: that a person is a person, no matter if they’ve just been conceived or if they are on the verge of natural death; that nearly 4,000 unborn babies are murdered daily; and that tens of thousands of post-abortive women are silently suffering because of the barbarous choice the pro-death culture presented them, which they took—probably not knowing about the emotional and physical consequences it could cause them. The list goes on! We, the pro-life people at the March for Life, march for truth and justice—justice for all, born and preborn. We march for all the women who unfortunately were caught in the trap and believed the lies. We march for an end to abortion, an end to the suffering, an end to this barbaric “procedure” in America—a “procedure” that literally tears thousands of lives apart, shedding not only blood but shattering women’s dignity every single day, right in our midst.

Say what you may, but I believe the tide is turning. This year’s March for Life, which I proudly attended with a busload of friends, was awe-inspiring. Even though it was only my 2nd time going to the March for Life, I could tell there were tons more people there than last year, especially young adults and teens. I’m safely guessing there hasn’t ever been so many people at the March for Life. The attitude in America is slowly turning from apathy to concern over the unborn, and about giving women a better choice than the choice of whether to abort … or to abort. People are, more than ever it seems, stepping up for the 1/3 of this generation that would still be with us, working, living, and loving, if it hadn’t been for abortion.

Here’s just one experience from this year’s March for Life that was inspiring: After the March, it had started to rain, and when were just stepping off the Metro to get to the Basilica, we turned our heads to the right and looked up to behold a beautiful sight—a rainbow. It was a gigantic rainbow, with bright, vivid colors, and it started all the way from one side, over the Capitol, and then down to the other side, making it a complete rainbow.

That rainbow was a sign of hope to us—a sign that we’re not doing this on our own, through our own power, but with the help of God through the Holy Spirit. For example, when we’re out there in front of the abortion clinic, praying the rosary, and sometimes in cold weather, it’s not just our own will-power motivating us. God is on our side, pushing us along the way, guiding us.

I will never stop being the instrument of God, thus I will never stop fighting to end this terrible killing of the unborn, the most innocent in the eyes of God. I hope you’re all with me to the end of it.

God Bless,

Sacred Heart Books and Gifts

If you haven't visited Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, it's a very nice Catholic mail order house run by a homeschool mom in Illinois. I was just at the website and I see that Linda has For the Love of Literature for only $10.15. She also has The Catholic Homeschool Companion for $21.20. And there's free shipping on orders over $20! You can't beat those prices, even at Amazon!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Flu Reflections

Super Boy, all of 5-years old, on being sick with the flu:

I can't have the flu! How will I play Playstation 2?

All of me hurts except this little part of this ear.

Being sick is boring.

I don't need medicine. If I just cuddle with you Mommy, I'll get all better.
We've been cuddling nonstop ever since!

Carrying a Mountain

It has become tradition to stop in Steubenville, Ohio on the way home from the March for Life to visit Franciscan University and attend Mass there. I love this stop. The students are so on fire with their faith. There aren't many places where multiple daily masses are offered and each filled to overflowing with enthusiastic believers. And priests too -- there were eight priests and one deacon at the Mass we attended. The one deacon was our own Deacon Jerry. Here is Deacon Jerry's reflection on that Mass:
Visiting a place like Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS), even briefly, is not unlike the experience of Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration, or any good retreat experience. These experiences are 'mountains' in our lives where God's presence is felt. It is those places where we, like the disciples, want to pitch tents and stay. At some point though, we accept that we have to leave the mountain and return to real life. The mountain is a place we go to recharge, but I'm not sure we have to leave it. It is there whenever we see the Holy Spirit alive in another.

I was blessed to be able to assist at Mass on our return trip. The distribution of Holy Eucharist was particularly moving. The faces of FUS students and our own crew glowed with the Holy Spirit. It made it difficult at times to announce the words "the Body of Christ." The experience was a reminder that there are plenty of people in this world who are alive with the Spirit. I don't often see that among the people in my daily work, but I was reminded that they are here among us. They carry the mountain with them. We are all called to be that alive with the Spirit. What a great sign for the world!

As a final note, the warm welcome from the Steubies (as Maureen calls them) took me by surprise. I was introduced at the Mass, and warmly welcomed by the congregation. Being new to the role of clergy, it is good to know that even people who don't encounter deacons frequently recognize our reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders as a gift from God.

Joy is a Wonderful Thing

Emily, almost 13, was a last minute addition to our bus. I'm so glad that she was able to join us in Washington to March for Life!

Joy is a wonderful thing. Spending time with solid friends is important, especially when it brings friends together for a good cause.

The March for Life was amazing, in a sad way. I got to see thousands of Christians come together in one spot to protest something we all believe in. Although there was joy, a sense of friendship everywhere, the seriousness of the March impacted everyone.

Killing unborn babies is completely and utterly inhumane. Politicians rail against the war in Iraq because American citizens are dying, but the soldiers can protect themselves. The March for Life was hopefully an inspiration to our leaders, telling them that the American people will not be still until the defenseless have their right, a right for life. This country was founded on the principles of freedom. That same freedom should extend to all people, even the unborn.

The laughter of friendship and the sights on the March for Life only doubled my joy of being in Washington D.C., hopefully the multitude of pro-life Americans accomplished good things that day.