Happy birthday, Mary!

To Jesus through Mary! Once again we thank you for joining us and are sending our warmest Joy Valley greetings to you and yours on this feast day of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

September is always such a fun month — schools are starting up again and Fall begins to slowly creep in as the days get shorter and the air has a bit of chill to it. We love this time of year! Summer is wonderful and we are sad that it will be coming to an end soon, but fall is our favorite!

This month we celebrate Our Lady in a special way. The liturgical calendar calls September the month of Our Lady of Sorrows and we celebrate 3 separate feast days in her honor this month — September 8th (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary), September 12th (The Most Holy Name of Mary), and September 15th (Our Lady of Sorrows).

As we begin this month, we tried to round up some things for school starting up as well as a smattering of other interesting tidbits from the Catholic corners of the internet. So without further ado, let’s get into this!

Happy Birthday!
The Church calendar only celebrates 3 birthdays — Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Blessed Mother. Since the Church has set aside a day to commemorate her birth, we figured we should learn more about it. We found this article from CatholicCulture that gives some background to the feast and a few fun ideas of ways to celebrate with your own family!

Prayer for Students
The beginning of this school year is unlike any in recent memory. Many are choosing to homeschool and the kids who do return to in-class learning, are doing so with lots of new rules and procedures in place. We thought it might be nice to include a prayer for students as they prepare to go back to school, regardless of where they are learning. For those who will be heading back to a physical school, we found a nice article that asks for the protection of the angels for our kids and their schools.

When the Going Gets Tough
Maybe you’ve had someone say, “Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows,” in an effort to bolster you when you are experiencing difficulty. While we know it’s true, that life can get really tough at times, in moments of crisis or hardship, this isn’t always the most helpful support. Whether you are going through a circumstantial rough spot or a spiritual dark night, you need a light in the darkness. This piece by Fr. Ed Broom called Turn to Mary in Times of Desolation is for that very thing.

Saint Spotlight
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta, a great saint from our own times. As you may recall, we did an exhibit on the life of this amazing woman in 2018. Mother Teresa worked with the poorest of the poor, but she saw that the greatest poverty was spiritual.  

This Wednesday we celebrate the feast day of one of our favorite saints. St. Peter Claver was a priest that dedicated himself to the slaves in Columbia who experienced some of the most wretched treatment a human can endure. He would descend into the slave holds at the bottom of the ship and minister to the captives. After they left the ships, he would follow up with them at their various plantations and would encourage their masters to treat them with kindness and dignity. It is said that he helped convert more than 300,000 souls to Christianty. What an amazing saint!

Marian Minute
Most of us are familiar with titles of Mary such as Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but there are some lesser known titles for the Blessed Mother that are quite beautiful! We found this piece by Aleteia to be short, sweet, and interesting!

Nifty News
Recently, Hurricane Laura devastated parts of the country. Residents of St. Charles, Louisiana and FOCUS students who were living there returned after the storm to find that Our Lord and Our Lady had not only kept them safe, but protected their homes. Several statues were found untouched and one lady’s rosary was still hanging on the door knob where she had left it. To read more of these accounts, head over to the National Catholic Register.

We have heard so many stories of mothers who were told to abort their children in the womb because of some genetic abnormality or an incompatibility with life. A woman in Chile was advised to do so when in 1984, her ultrasound was abnormal. This mother refused to do so and gave birth to perfectly healthy twin sons who are now both priests! To learn more about their story, read this article from Aleteia. Every life is valuable and sacred and deserves our protection.

Liturgical Living 
Here are some links to celebrate some important feast days this week.

St. Theresa of Calcutta

The Nativity of the Blessed Mother

Sunday Readings
This Sunday’s readings are all about love, but perhaps not in the way we typically think of loving others. The readings tie nicely together the theme of true love of neighbor- wanting what is best for them- Heaven. Sometimes, this is done through an act of mercy called admonishing the sinner. It is not easy, but there are moments when we are asked to call our friends and family to greater holiness through offering them gentle, fraternal correction. We found Rethinking Fraternal Correction from the CatholicBeerClub to have absolutely fantastic advice on this topic. (Don’t let the “beer club” thing put you off — they have some really good spiritual insights on their website!)

Marian Center Update
It’s easy to practice social distancing while attending our exhibit on Marian Apparitions! And you can shop at the Marian Center Gift Shop.

We are now on our Fall schedule. Come visit us from Tuesday-Saturday, 10 to 3. Hope to see you soon!

To Christ Through Mary,

Katie Moe and Lori Mercer

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