June 19 is the Day We Remember Venerable Matt Talbot

“Never be too hard on the man who can’t give up drink. It’s as hard to give up the drink as it is to raise the dead to life again. But both are possible and even easy for Our Lord. We have only to depend on him.” Matt Talbot

talbotMatt Talbot was declared “venerable” in 1975. He is remembered each year on this day, June 19. The most complete resource for information on Matt Talbot can be found here: Matt Talbot Resource Center

If you get the chance, “like” the Matt Talbot Facebook page here.

From Circle of Prayer: (click for link) Matt Talbot was born in the poverty of Dublin’s inner city. He began drinking at twelve years of age and became a chronic alcoholic. It was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt was an addict. After sixteen years he decided to ‘kick the habit’.

A priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation program, which providentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. With the help of this Priest friend Matt modeled his life on that of the monks, who lived in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries.

It was a tough program of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. That was fifty years before AA was founded. After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice. His Higher Power was the Christian God. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world. He is a candidate for canonization in the Catholic Church

Here is a link to a Matt Talbot Retreat Group.

To his neighbors and his work mates in the timber yards, he was a cheerful, happy friend. He gave away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. “Matt had no time for money”, his sister remarked. He was keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland’s Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, described him as “a beacon of light to Irish workers”. After a life of heroic perseverance, he died suddenly on the way to Mass on 7th June 1925.

Matt’s program of recovery was built around devotion to the Eucharist, love of Mary, Mother of God, spiritual reading, self-discipline and manual work. But he never forgot his struggle with his addiction. “Never look down on a man, who cannot give up the drink”, he told his sister, “it is easier to get out of hell!”.

Most of the favors attributed to his intercession world-wide are for addicts and their families. Hundreds have been reported. Some day he may be declared the patron saint for addicts.

History of the Matt Talbot movement–click here.

Talbot was declared Venerable in 1975 which means that the church has decided that from a human point of view, he has the qualifications of a Saint. However a physical miracle is required to show Gods Approval of this judgment before he will be Beatified and another Miracle after that, before he will be canonized.

The Holy father believes that Matt Talbot has been chosen by God as a model for addicts. He was a recovered Alcoholic. It is now known that the rehabilitation program given to him in 1884 incorporated the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. although these steps were not formulated for another 50 years.

Devotees of Matt Talbot may be interested to learn that the present Pope wrote a paper on Matt when he was a young man.

My friend Paul at Sober Catholic created a Yahoo group for Catholic alcoholics called the “Matt Talbot Way.”

Official Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Matt Talbot

“Lord, in your servant, Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence of the Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Father, if it be your will that your beloved servant should be glorified by your Church, make known by your heavenly favors the power he enjoys in your sight. We ask this through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Great read: Religion and Public Life in America by RR Reno

I got this article from my monthly subscription to Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College. In the April 2013 issue, RR Reno, the Editor of First Things writes a great piece about religion in America.  First Things is a journal of religion in public life. Reno received his BA from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale.  He is the author of Fighting the Noonday Devil, Sanctified Vision, and a commentary on the Book of Genesis, as well as many other books and essays.

The following is from a speech he delivered on February 20, 2013 at Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Here is an excerpt and click here to read the article in full:

“Religious liberty is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. They’re seen as anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women–which is to say anti-progress as the Left defines progress.  Not surprisingly, then, the Left believes society will be best served if Christians are limited in their influence on public life. And in the short run this view is likely to succeed.”

to read the full article, click HERE…

Guilty! Abortion “Doctor” Guilty of Murdering Babies and An Immigrant Woman

Will anything convince you that you've been sold a lie when it comes to abortion "rights?"

Will anything convince you that you’ve been sold a lie when it comes to abortion “rights?”

If this had been an upper or middle-class neighborhood, the media would have sensationalized this trial like they do every other high-profile gruesome trial in this country. But they had to protect their carefully crafted definition of abortion as “healthcare” so they ignored the story.

And because these crimes were perpetrated only on poor women and their babies, they were able to ignore the story for two years because nobody cared, right? It’s malpractice journalism. But they get away with it.  Thank goodness for blogs and social media!

Justice for a few of these underprivileged women and these babies today when Kermit Gosnell was convicted of the murders of three babies and one poor immigrant woman.  Sad that there were hundreds (or thousands?) more that will not receive recognition and justice.

A fantastic organization, Susan B. Anthony List, reacted to the verdict as well on Monday:

“The greatest tragedy is that Kermit Gosnell is not alone. Exploitation of women and complete disregard for their health and well-being are problems endemic to the entire abortion industry,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “There are numerous examples of negligence and even death in abortion facilities across the country. Now is the moment to realize that abortion is neither safe, nor rare. Abortion is a brutal, painful procedure, both for the child that it kills and the woman who it wounds. We must protect children both inside and outside the womb who experience unspeakable pain from abortion.”

Here is a portion of the AP story, in case you, too never heard of this trial:

Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal  late-term abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies  who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants  “snipped” the newborns’ spines, as he referred to it.

The grisly details came out more than two years ago during an investigation  of prescription drug trafficking at Gosnell’s clinic in an impoverished section  of West Philadelphia.

Authorities said the clinic was a foul-smelling “house of horrors” with bags  and bottles of stored fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with  bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments, and cats roaming the  premises.

Four former clinic employees have pleaded guilty to murder and four more to other charges. They include Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped  perform abortions.

Midway through the six-week trial, the public accused the  mainstream media of ignoring the case because it reflected badly on the abortion  rights cause. Major news organizations denied the allegation, though a number  promptly sent reporters to cover the trial.

After prosecutors rested their case, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart  threw out for lack of evidence three of seven murder counts involving aborted  babies. That left the jury to weigh charges involving fetuses identified as  Baby A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E.

Prosecution experts said one was nearly 30 weeks along when it was aborted,  and it was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked it could “walk to the bus.” A  second fetus was said to be alive for some 20 minutes before a clinic worker  snipped its neck. A third was born in a toilet and was moving before another  clinic employee grabbed it and severed its spinal cord, according to testimony.  Baby E let out a soft whimper before Gosnell cut its neck, the jury was told;  Gosnell was acquitted in that baby’s death.

Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that none of the fetuses was born  alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.

He also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of  Woodbridge, Va., a Bhutanese immigrant who had been given repeated doses of  Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labor, was caused by  unforeseen complications.

Prosecutors described Gosnell’s employees as nearly as desperate as the  patients. Some had little or no medical training, and at least one was a  teenager still in high school. One woman needed the work to support her children  after her husband’s murder.

Stephen Massof, an unlicensed medical school graduate who could not find a  residency, told jurors that Gosnell taught him how to snip babies’ spines,  something he then did at least 100 times at the clinic.

Read more:  HERE

Update on My Sister’s “New Evangelization” through Facebook

get-attachmentAbout six weeks ago I wrote about my sister’s little “new evangelization” ministry, her Facebook page “Love Being Catholic.”  She had reached 10,000 fans and I was so excited to share it with you all here.

Well, today, it’s up to 21,800!  And the “reach” in analytics terms is in the millions!  She’s got fans from over 30 different countries!

And she gets so many sweet comments from readers saying her posts are the highlight of their days. She does this page out of her love for the faith. It’s a beautiful thing.

Proud to be Catholic

Cardinal_Sen_Patrick_OMalley_OFM_Cap_of_Boston_File_Photo_CNA_CNA_US_Catholic_News_11_7_12I was so proud to read that the Bishop of Boston, Cardinal O’Malley is not going to attend and speak at Boston College’s graduation ceremony out of a special stand for the unborn!!!! I love him. I love that he stands up for us, we Catholics who have no say in the Catholic colleges and Catholic parishes across the country that diminish the rights of the unborn!!!

Cardinal O’Malley is modeling excellent Catholic beliefs!! I’m really very warmed and comforted by his actions and I hope all of you are, too.

Boston College is granting an honorary degree to an Irish politician who is pushing to downgrade the rights of the unborn in Ireland. This seems, coming from a “Catholic” college, to be an abomination against our faith. I feel empowered by Cardinal O’Malley’s refusal to take part in celebrating this person.

Thank you Cardinal O’Malley for standing strong for Catholic beliefs!!! Thank you. You will be hated for this but I LOVE you for this.

Catholic Priests, Nuns and Religious Recover from Alcoholism through Guest House

00000000000000000000000000I just received this email from my affiliation with Guest House.

Guest House is an essential/vital /necessary/absolutely wonderful mission that helps Catholic priests, nuns and religious start the road to recovery from alcoholism. Worthy, worthy, worth charity. Please help out if you are financially able.  Here is the letter I just received from them promoting their new e-learning project, and I couldn’t wait to share so I am sharing verbatim:

***

Guest House is North America’s founding behavioral health and addiction program for Catholic clergy and religious.  Since 1956, we’ve provided personalized clinical treatment with a spiritual emphasis.  Our goal is focused:  To successfully return men and women to their mission.  Our accredited full time clinical staff provides these services at our tranquil, private residential facilities.

To provide such important treatment, education and recovery to more than 8,000 clients since our inception, we’ve constantly sought out new and innovative ways to treat, reach, educate, serve and follow-up with our clients.  As part of our mission to the Church, we have recognized that the valuable information compiled in our field is crucial to all servants of the Church, and all advocates of education, prevention, intervention, treatment and lifelong sobriety, including:

  • Key decision makers within Orders and Dioceses
  • Hospitals, health systems and other agencies who provide behavioral health services
  • Therapists, social workers and others who must maintain Continuing Education Units (CEU’s)
  • Our alumni and alumnae
  • Family members
  • Parishioners
  • Students
  • Seminarians
  • Donors
  • Volunteers
  • Our dedicated staff
  • Teachers and educators

I’m pleased to tell you of  a significant new Guest House initiative.

Education is a critical part of awareness for the many and varied audiences we serve.  Debuting in April, 2013 is a Guest House and NCCA (National Catholic Council on Addictions) comprehensive e-learning educational library. Offerings are made possible through an affiliation with  Essential Learning, LLC., a corporation that offers online learning, staff compliance training and continuing education for behavioral health, mental health, addiction treatment, community health, developmental disability, community action and child welfare organizations.  The cost for users runs from $8.00 for some individual courses to a high of $99.00 for a series of online lessons.

  • Available exclusively on-line via http://www.guesthouse.org/education
  • Catalogue incorporates nearly 500 course selections
  • More than 800 training hours available using the most contemporary digital techniques
  • No other Catholic addiction treatment facility has such extensive content available to you
  • Library is designed for everyone from Church leadership through medical and addiction   treatment  professionals; CEU units are available
  • Courses from adolescents to aging; ethics, risk management and leadership techniques

As always, thanks to so many of you for your ongoing support of Guest House and NCCA in our critical endeavors. Whether we are providing Catholic clergy and religious addiction treatment and prevention, education or recovery, always remember, “Guest House Heals!”  Find out more and follow our Blog at guesthouse.org.

Spring 2013 Issue of Twelve-Step Review: Christian Friendship

12A wonderful, and under-marketed project by Father Emmerich Vogt, OP is the Twelve Step Review. He writes and sends out a quarterly newsletter on topics relevant to Catholic alcoholics and also provides CDs and DVDs of his talks about recovery. Father Vogt has published a book The Freedom to Love on the subject of adapting the 12 Steps to a serious understanding of the Seven Deadly Sins.

This issue of the Twelve Step Review covers Christian Friendship, inspirational quotes from Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, as well as information on Father Vogt’s most recent talks and recordings.

Here is a quote from the newsletter and the book of Sirach on Christian friendship:

A faithful friend is a strong defense. He that has found him has found a treasure. Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend and no weight of gold and silver can countervail the goodness of his fidelity. A faithful friend is the medicine of life and immortality. The book of Sirach 6:5-17

The emphasis here seems to be on the “faithful” friend.  We all know there are many other kinds of friends (Facebook “friends,” acquaintances, business contacts) but the “faithful” friend is a treasure.  Let’s hope we each have one or two of these types of friends in our lives!  I do, thank you God.

Pet Peeves

I’m wondering where the term “pet peeves” came from.  I’ll look it up via the lazy man’s route to information: wikipedia.

A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it.  Its first usage was around 1919.The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered”.

Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.

A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable to others.

One of my pet peeves is when people apologize, when they share at the meeting, for being late to an AA meeting.  Another is bloggers who apologize for not having posted very much lately—-so I’m not going to apologize for not posting at all lately.

200 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

numbers-200Thank you so much! I just noticed I now have 200 “followers,” which is so cool for this girl from Alpharetta, Georgia.  Some of you may follow me because of my experiences in alcoholism and recovery and some because of my experiences as a Catholic.

I appreciate all of your comments and insight as I write daily about things that come to my mind.

But most of all, I enjoy reading YOUR blogs. From you I learn so much about what it means to be a friend among friends, no better and no worse than anybody else.  Have a happy, holy Good Friday everybody!

Number 9

 

Buy the Book: Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics

stations-cross-for-alcoholics-paul-sofranko-paperback-cover-artJust in time for Good Friday, I’ve discovered, The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics by Paul Sofranko, a terrific e-book written by my friend who blogs over at ‘Sober Catholic.’

Sofranko also wrote, The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics. You can read my review of that book here.

From the Catholic Sun, “Sofranko, a recovering alcoholic himself, has added one more element to the whole scheme of fighting addiction — hope. While many or even most self-help books suggest that we are the only ones capable of fixing our brokenness simply by reading the book, Sofranko elevates the place of prayer in the healing process and reminds readers of the necessity of relying on God for the grace to overcome our addictions.”

At our parish and I expect in most parishes the stations of the cross are offered every Friday during Lent. I usually only do them on Good Friday, though; and I like to do them alone. I know God likes us to worship Him in community with others—and I do that, of course—-but when I really want to experience grace, I like to have Him all to myself.

So, I’ll take my children through them and then later come back and do them by myself.

Good Friday is one of my most meaningful and spiritual days of the year.  More than Christmas. More than Easter! I love how in our Catholic faith, I can go into Church and by myself walk around the stations, pray, kneel, sit, read—and nobody bothers me. Ha ha!  I am not being anti-social, I just want to hang out with God in His house by myself. Nobody comes up to me and says, “Are you okay?”

Before I was married, and my parents lived in another state, I would spend Easters alone. Three years in a row I went to Stone Mountain after Mass on Easter Sunday just to climb the mountain and sit there.  I think normal people might feel sorry for me, spending Easter alone, but I LOVED IT.  I was not alone at all.  I was completely enveloped in the Alleluia and the risen Lord. The last thing I wanted, ha ha ha, was to be with other people.  I’m so weird!

Back to the book, and from the publisher:

The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics is a book that is rooted in an ancient Catholic devotion. It is intended to assist Catholics and other Christians find deeper meaning in their struggles with alcoholism, by connecting the oftentimes hard road of sobriety with Jesus’ suffering road to His Crucifixion. The reader sees that their old alcoholic ‘self’ is being led to the Cross and the joy of eventual resurrection of a new sober self can follow. Whether they are still drinking and struggling, or have been sober for many years and still have difficulties coping with sobriety, this book should help readers maintain that sobriety.

I particularly like “Jesus falls for the third time.” What a lesson on life that is! If God came down here to show us that it’s okay to fall again and again as long as we pick ourselves back up and keep going, keep carrying our crosses–then those of us who have fallen a few times can take comfort. Who cares if the world thinks I’m a loser. Get back up. Keep going. He’s right there with me.

I still feel a little weird walking into Church with my iPad…even though my readings are on my tablet and many of my prayers…it still feels weird–but this Friday, I’ll be doing just that as I take the Stations of the Cross with this e-book by Paul Sofranko.  It’s only a matter of time before we all have tablets in the pews, right?

My oldest son came home from school last week after having done the Stations with the whole school community. The eighth graders acted out the stations and gave running commentary for the rest of the younger children. Ben was telling me about this and reminded me, “Mom, it’s not always a good thing to go along with the crowd. The crowd is who killed Jesus.”

The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics by Paul Sofranko is just $2.99:

But The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics on Amazon

Buy it on iTunes

Buy it for your Nook

The Way of the Cross is not only a great testimony to an inner depth and maturity, but it is in fact a school for interiority and consolation. It is also a school for the examination of conscience, for conversion, for inner transformation and compassion — not as sentimentality, as a mere feeling, but as a disturbing experience that knocks on the door of my heart, that obliges me to know myself and to become a better person.”  – Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI