Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spiritual Growth and Personalized Saints

Part 1:
On January 1, Mary's feast day, Monsignor really urged us all to make this year the Year of the Rosary in our homes.  If you already say it daily, he said to really try to contemplate the mysteries and not just rattle off the words.  And if you don't say it regularly...start.  You can do it in baby steps, maybe just a family rosary once a week.

Part 2:
Then I read Mary's post about Our Lady and left a comment that made me want to write more about it here.  Growing up, my family said the Rosary every night, from what I can remember.  My parents said we could all say it while we were still toddlers, and every night around 7:00 my Dad would yell "Time for the Rosary!" and then he and my Mom would kneel down in front of our little altar setup in the living room and begin praying.  All of us kids would come running from whatever we were doing and kneel down and pray with them.  Sometimes as we became teenagers, we may have dreaded that nightly ritual and showed up a little late to the party.  But my parents never said we HAD to pray the Rosary, they just announced when they were doing it, and we could join if we wanted.  My Mom swears that the reason her six children all turned out so great is the Family Rosary and the Home Enthronement.

And so my own little family is trying to follow suit.

(old video...Maggie was 3, Eamon was 4, Andrew was 6, and J-P was 8)

We seem to go through cycles of saying the Rosary nightly, and then times where we can't seem to get our act together.  But I promise you that on the nights we make sure to do it, I look around at my children praying and my husband leading them and I can't be any happier in those moments.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  Even though it's never a perfect recitation, I try to remember that the family that prays together, stays together, right?  It is such a nice way to end an evening before tucking in the kids for bed.

Part 3:
Jen is sharing the link to her Saint Name Generator again, where you simply click a button, say a prayer, click again and "get" a Saint for the year.  The database has lots of saints, and if you land on one you've never heard of, there's even an additional link to learn more about him/her.  It's awesome and I don't know how people just create things like's totally above my pay grade.

I decided I really wanted to take this to heart this year and make sure I not only picked a saint but continue to learn more about them and pray for their intercession in my life.  So guess who I got?  St. Gianna Beretta Molla!!  I was so excited because I know her!  When I was pregnant with Alexander, I was very interested in learning all about her, and got this book to read.  Phil and I decided that if the baby was a girl, we would name her Gianna (and call her Gia).  I love her because she was so pro-life, pro-family, and also worked outside the home.  What a role model for me!

But then I panicked because St. Gianna is someone people pray to when they want to get pregnant.  So if I focus my attention towards her, does that mean baby #6 will be coming in 2013?  Maybe I just need to pray to her about being more open to another baby sooner than I plan ;)

Part 4: 
Of course, being the dutiful wife that I am, I made Phil choose a saint for the year too.  After praying for the Holy Spirit to pick a "good one", he got St. Dominic!  Do you know what Saint Dominic's claim to fame was?  The spreading of the Marian devotion of the ROSARY!  

I think Our Blessed Mother is trying to tell us something.

And I am definitely listening :)


  1. One of our family activities for this year is also to do the rosary daily as a family. Not sure which way to go...make them or not.

    I used to say it in the car on the way to school with the kids. Then we started driving another child to school who didn't know it. Her Mom was okay with me teaching her but the kids were so so squirrely I gave it up. Then there wasn't a regular time.

    My own Rosary has slipped, shame on me. Things are so disordered with this broken leg. But still shame on me.

    I did the saint name and got St Justin Martyr. My first thought was ah, what? But I guess he's a saint for a reason and it can't hurt to stick with him for a year. He'll do me good.

    Thanks for this post....I better get the beads out TODAY!

    1. I had the best Lent ever the year I was pregnant with baby #5, and I really think it was because every day for my lunch break I would walk and say the Rosary. It was such a good routine and I'm thinking I should start it up again at this job. I usually just eat lunch at my desk, but I have a beautiful chapel right next to me that is just calling my name!

    2. Tina--I got disordered when I broke my leg too--so I attached my rosary (a plastic one) to my crutches, then I would remember and always have it on me--loop it through the rosary itself around the crutch handle...

  2. Love St. Gianna! I have St. Rita. :)

  3. Oh yeah. By the time you're talking to St. Gianna, you're already pregnant.

  4. Oh, and I got St. Joan of Arc. No pregnancies there. Just burning at the stake.

  5. Thank you! Did you see my reply that I need tips for the family Rosary or are you just that in tune with the Holy Spirit Who knows we need help?? We have gone back and forth about whether to force them to pray or not and in the past year or so have been convicted that forcing them isn't the best way. At the same time we try to make sure they are at least respectful while we are praying. Your parents are an inspiration. Do your kids ever choose not to pray? Do you do anything about it? I feel like if they have the option between prayer and playing/doing their own thing that they would never choose to pray. I don't know if rewarding them is the answer either. The baby is always a distraction and then the rest of them just get silly. Any tips? I am so amazed at how your kids sit still for the whole thing.!

    I've been meaning to do the saint generator. I keep putting it off like we need to have a special family ceremony or something to go along with it :)

    1. Right now, we just say we're praying the Rosary and the kids come and do it. No forcing necessary. I think when they are older, they won't be so inclined to sit and cuddle and have family time like that.

      Some practical tips:
      ~ It won't be perfect or even pretty, especially while the baby is walking around being silly. My kids laugh at him too and I just clear my throat and we keep praying. It's life.

      ~ We do it in a room that doesn't have toys. For us it's our living room.

      ~ They each say a decade so they are more involved than just answering to Mom or Dad reciting it.

      ~ We pause when we say, for example, The First Glorious Mystery is the...., and let one of them fill in what it actually is so that they are learning the mysteries.

      ~ We encourage them to count along on the beads so they know where we are and can focus their attention there

      ~ We do it right at bedtime so that they feel they get to stay up late (a privilege) and pray with us. Plus they are usually winding down and sleepy which makes them a little calmer.

      ~ If they are misbehaving too much, we tell them to pray nicely, or go to bed. They always choose to pray nicely.

      ~ Finally, of we don't have time for the Rosary, we say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which takes about 5 minutes, but they are still getting into the habit of family prayer time

      I hope this helps, we struggle with doing this every night and need to be more regular in this devotion!

    2. Thanks, Colleen! We do almost all of that except we don't always make good on the go to bed threat so maybe that would change things! I think maybe making it a privilege to stay up to pray might help as well, either by being well behaved or by being old enough. This is one area where maybe we homeschoolers need the boys to be able to sit still longer!

    3. Thanks, Colleen! We do almost all of that except we don't always make good on the go to bed threat so maybe that would change things! I think maybe making it a privilege to stay up to pray might help as well, either by being well behaved or by being old enough. This is one area where maybe we homeschoolers need the boys to be able to sit still longer!

  6. I started a comment and then lost it when I "reply"-ed to Tina!! i Love how you prayed the rosary every night as a family and the fruit of that--good kids turned into good adults!

    Love how your Monsignor talked about the rosary, what a wonderful man--the fruits he started--in your family alone and now others--that's what God wants from our religious, don't you think?

    We try to pray but it never becomes something that happens regular....The kids each take a decade and it is so much easier now that they are older and can do that, when they were littler and less--like 3 kids--impossible!

    We NEED to try again, great post Colleen!!

  7. *smack* That would be the sound of this post hitting me right where I need it. In the behind!! With a new year ahead and a somewhat difficult one behind us, I've felt prompted to start fresh and get back in to some good 'ol spiritual practices. WE need them. I know we do. It seems every time we 'try' to start the family rosary, something always distracts. We lose a night or two and it's tough to get back at it. Need, need, NEED to do it. Want to do it.
    As we are in the heart of the Year of Faith, I desire for the sacred and for the spiritual awakening. I just need to get my butt into gear with it.
    I grew up in a family who prayed a lot and it wasn't odd to be praying as a group. My husband had more of a quiet faith family and mostly only mealtime prayers. While he is quite spiritual/holy (he's married to sinful me, remember), it's still hard for him to lead our family spiritually and in prayer at times.
    I think this post will be a good conversation for hubs and I to go over and set new resolve together.

    Thank you for the *smack down*.

    ps...St. Gianna...Love, love her. I don't know that she necessarily is just for getting pregnant (but she isn't gonna stop you *wink*), but I pray and intercede with her a lot in my motherhood. She's right there with Mary and St. Anne as my go-to gals for motherhood. And, as my Gianna enters this brutal toddler stage, her patron is my new BFF!!

  8. I'm going over to the Saints generator right now. Last year, I my saint was St. Scholastica, patron saint of storms. At first I thought it was a big joke, but St. Scholastica totally intervened for me last year. We had several BIG storms that we escaped from which we escaped totally unscathed. Amazing! Thank you for the Saints generator reminder. I love it! :)

  9. I love the saint generator! Last year, I got St. Scholastic and at first, I thought it was kind of a joke. I tried to learn about her and there wasn't much info. out there to gather except a cool story about how she saved her brother from a wicked storm and then died!!! the very next day. She is, of course, the patron saint of storms. Upon reflection, however, I can't believe how much St. Scholastica intervened for me this past year. She protected us from several BIG storms--when people were without power for weeks, we never lost it! It has to be her intercession, I think! Thank you for the Saint generator reminder. I'm headed over there right now...

  10. Sorry for the double comments...blogger is acting funny...

    St. Teresa of Avila is my saint for the year. Several priests have recommended I read her books in the last year. Coincidence? I think not...

    Thanks for the reminder! Love it.

  11. I going to have to go pick a saint!

    Our associate's homily was all about the Rosary on Jan 1st too! We have decided to pray it as a family too for our night prayers.

  12. lol...always have to worry when kids are praying or baby saints come up!

  13. thanks for the encouragement. i hope we can start this tradition as well.

  14. about 5 years ago we asked a priest for advice and he told us also to just say it and make it more of a priveldege to say the rosary with the family, he said don't punish. The kids will want to say it. Well, its been 5 years and my kids still don't want to say lol. They would never voluntarily say it even when we do just do it they never join in. We say it in the car too but they don't pay attention. So I do think that with some kids you HAVE to force them or they won't do it. Or maybe its just my demonic Claire is 2 and she can pray the rosary. So I believe toddlers can pray it. Its so cute when they do. anyway yeah, this is the year that my one resolution is to pray as much as possible.

    as far as the saint generator, I got Maria Goretti. Patron saint of poverty--which I can relate to--and death of parents-YIKES. See,I better pray, it might be my last year on earth. Although in seriousness, my husbands parents are not doing well and I kinda feel they really don't have that much time on earth.


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