Hurricane Prayer

20130504_154231     Monday morning I was watching the news and in a matter of minutes heard news reports about an earthquake, forest fires, sink holes, tornadoes and a hurricane!  It was astounding to me how matter-of-fact these events seemed to me.  As a child, I would have thought the world was coming to an end had I heard of all of these events in one day!  With the world in a turmoil – Iraq, ISIS, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Gaza,….and our own country’s troubles; it seems only natural that our Lord, through his creation of nature, would be warning us to take heed.  A news program like Monday makes me pray and beg for God’s help in what seems to be a confused and crazy world.

Living in Cajun country, I have seen my share of storms and hurricanes. My worse was hurricane Andrew in 1992.   In the 2005 we had hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  New Orleans took the brunt of Katrina. I work for a company based out of New Orleans.  Our New Orleans employees were displaced and some became homeless as a result of this devastating hurricane.  Rita hit closer to home and lower Iberia Parish had hundreds of homes flooded as the storm surge wreaked havoc on the coast.  The normally calm bayous and shady oak trees became torrents of flood waters and falling masses of destruction.  I was home for hurricane Andrew.  It is a very scary feeling to know that you are at the mercy of mother nature.

What can we do to combat these forces of nature?  Well, our community and family decided after 2005 that it was time to pray.  At all of our masses at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, we begin during hurricane season with a hurricane prayer.  At all of our family rosaries on Tuesday nights, we end our rosary with a prayer for hurricane season during the months of June through November.  Since 2005, we have not had a major hurricane hit our area.  I am not saying it is solely because of these prayers – but I am saying that it might be!

I cannot change the world.  I cannot make evil go away.  Sometimes things seem so out of control that I feel it is impossible to find a solution.  It is at these times that I have to trust in God and know that He told us prayer is powerful.  If we have the tiniest bit of faith we can move mountains.  During these times of evil and meaningless deaths, I am asking you to join me in praying fervently for God’s intervention.  Together we can weather the storms.  With God’s help we can overcome them.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

PRAYER FOR HURRICANE SEASON

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of Your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude; You are still the Master of land and sea.  We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control. The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time. O Virgin, Star of the Sea, our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a storm-less eternity awaits us. Amen.

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)

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

The sound of Cajun

English: Cajun and Zydeco singer and songwrite...

English: Cajun and Zydeco singer and songwriter Zachary Richard in Paris, France with his group : “Le Bayou des mystères”. Français : L’auteur-compositeur-chanteur et accordéoniste Zachary Richard à Paris (ORTF, salle 104) en 1976. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in Cajun country.  The sounds of my youth were very different from the sounds heard by others my age living in a different part of the United States.  Cajuns are descendants of the exiled Acadians from Canada.  Because they were exiled and living in a foreign land with a foreign language, the Acadians formed a tight knit family community.  For many decades, they held onto their French language and much of their culture.

I heard Cajun French being spoken quite regularly while growing up.  My father’s parents spoke Cajun French and very little English.  We visited them every Sunday and my parents sat down with them for about an hour speaking a language that I was never taught.  My father as a child began school knowing only Cajun French.  He was admonished for speaking this language.  He was taught that the proper language was English.  Cajun French was looked upon as the language of the illiterate.  My mother’s parents also spoke Cajun French, but also spoke English.  She grew up knowing both languages;  but like my dad, she also grew up realizing the stigma over the use of Cajun French.

The generation of my parents did not teach their children Cajun French.  It was a language that I was very familiar with; but could not translate.  It was often spoken by the grown-ups when they did not want the children to understand the conversation.  It seemed to me like a secret code for adults.  I knew that an adult would speak to me in English; but get a few of them around speaking to each other – and the conversation would go from English to Cajun French and back and forth!

The music I heard as a child was mostly a mix of Country music and Cajun music.  Cajun music began with ballads of the French speaking Acadians in the 18th century in south Louisiana.  Sounds of the accordion, fiddle, and strong Cajun- accent singing was the norm when Daddy turned on his radio.  At the time I thought everyone heard this music. I did not appreciate the cultural differences of this unique genre of music.

It is only now that I can appreciate the depths of the culture that I grew up in but not really apart of.  Of course I picked up on some French words and terms.  There are some Cajun classics that I love, such as Louisiana Aces, “The Back Door”.  But now many of the sounds of my youth are gone.

My grandparents have long ago passed away.  My Dad said the other day that he has not spoken French in such a long time, that he has forgotten many of the words.  Cajun French is just not heard in normal every day life anymore.  The music has changed and grown.  The pioneers of this new Cajun music were Beausoleil and Zachary Richard.  Contemporary Cajun music is played by Wayne Toups and others.  But there is hope…

I recently discovered a Cajun group – L’Angelus.  This group is comprised of one Louisiana family, the Rees family.   The four oldest children are expert musicians and are producing music that pays homage to the Cajun fiddle tunes, the swamp-pop, as well as some New Orleans R&B.  I recommend their CD, CA C’EST BON.  Everything I’ve heard from this family, I really like.  They have such a great vocal harmony.

So, I am currently learning to speak Cajun French.  I am researching these wonderful Cajun ancestors.  I want to be able to teach my grandchildren about the culture of a people who in the face of the worst adversity, held onto their faith, their family, and their traditions.  I need to pass on the sounds of my youth…..the sound of Cajun!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

The Fruit of Silence…

Autumn Fruit (12/365)

Autumn Fruit (12/365) (Photo credit: nevynxxx)

Mother Angelica once said, “The fruit of SILENCE is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE.”

It took me many, many years to understand that I needed to LISTEN and the Lord will speak to my heart.  Our Lord is so patient and so kind – well, that is the first two words that define LOVE in the Bible!  He worked on me and worked on me until I finally got it!  By making Christ the center of my life and my family, and by spending time each day in prayer and silence, God has helped me to understand His will for me.  I have been able to “connect the dots.”  He has blessed me with signs, people, and places that have made a difference in my life.  He is constantly “speaking” to me.  I am constantly listening.

I have a very dear friend in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jo, that God has placed in my life.  Through this friend, I have come to know her daughter, Vicki.  To show you how God allows us to “connect the dots,”  recently my granddaughter was diagnosed with Alopecia.  At six-years-old, she began to lose her lovely, long hair.  (Very traumatic for a first grader).  We began to pray for her, but also to plan on how to handle a worse case scenario.  It was decided that due to her age, she would not take steroids; but, if she did lose her hair; a wig would help her feel comfortable until hopefully the hair grew back.

I then gave a property manager workshop in Montgomery, Alabama.  My friend Jo was at the workshop and she told me about an organization her daughter Vicki started in northern Louisiana called “Wiggin’ Out” (check them out on facebook).   The organization provides wigs to local cancer patients as well as some other types of support.

On the ride home to Louisiana, I began thinking about Wiggin’ Out and the need for such an organization for Alopecia patients as well.  I phoned my friend Jo and explained that I wanted to discuss Wiggin’ Out with her daughter.

As luck (or God) would have it, Jo’s daughter, Vickie, had just visited a wig shop and had a discussion with its owner regarding the percentage of customers who were cancer patients.  The wig shop owner stated that she had a small number of customers who were cancer patients; however, many more customers who are dealing with Alopecia!  The dots started connecting..

I met with Vicki. She is a remarkable person.  She told me that God placed the words “Wiggin’ Out” on her heart.  She had no idea how to start up the organization or where to turn.  She put her trust in the Lord and He has been leading the way!

I am now working with Vicki on getting Wiggin’ Out spread throughout southern Louisiana and hopefully will be able to start up a Wiggin’ Out Too for Alopecia patients!  Our God is so Awesome!  The fruits of the Spirit are everywhere!

Vicki is following in the footsteps of great women such as Mother Angelica and Rose Hawthorne.  Rose was the sister of Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter).  Rose became a Catholic and after a failed marriage, her heart turned with compassion toward people with terminal cancer who had no one to take care of them.  She brought them into her home and dressed their wounds.  Another woman joined her in this work of mercy.  Together they became Dominican Third Order religious and started a new religious order.  Over a hundred years later, “Hawthorne Dominican Sisters” are still caring for the terminally ill and forgotten.

Faith has turned into Love, which has turned into Service.  Please pray for Vicki and her call to serve!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry