20/52 – St. Elen, my patron saint

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There is very little information on St. Elen, the saint I chose for my confirmation. She is the patron of road builders and travellers. She is coincidentally from the place I visited in 2009 without knowing it as well as one of her holy wells being in the town I visited in 1987, also unbeknownst to me. I’m hoping to pilgrimage there this summer if at all possible.

Here is some insight into some of the reasons I chose her.

This is copied from my original post about St. Elen.

Initially, I was seeking out a Welsh saint because of my long spiritual connection to Wales and the Celtic peoples, but upon discovering St. Elen, I discovered that there were several other reasons why I connected to her.

First and foremost, Ellen was my mother’s middle name and it gives me a connection to her as I join the church. My first teacher, who taught me lessons of generosity and the importance of family.

Secondly, Elen is from Caernarfon, the town in which I stayed for three nights in 2009. It hadn’t been on my list of places to visit until a Welsh friend randomly suggested it that I should go there and see the castle.

Her daughter is said to have married Vortigern, the only source for their marriage being carved on the Eliseg Pillar which is very near Valle Crucis Abbey, another Welsh place I gravitated to.

Ellen is also one of my favorite television characters: mother, business owner, independent, smart, how could I go wrong?

19/52 – Mary

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​As May soon comes to a close, I am reflective on something I heard at the beginning of the month: May is Mary’s month. There are so  many other months that involve Mary: March for the Annunciation; December for the Nativity and the Immaculate Conception; October for the Rosary; August for the Assumption. I’m sure there are others.

Maybe it has something to do with her visit to Fatima or Mother’s Day, during the same weekend this year or nearby in other years.

I never  looked for a connection with Mary, but it was still somehow there. I don’t pray all of the devotions; in fact, I don’t think I know them all. After three years, it’s still all new to me. Every day is a learning experience. I am drawn to Mary as mother and model; I pray the rosary, and as soon as I saw it, I became attached to Her as Untier of Knots. I think it’s the idea that problems can be solved if you just take the time to work them out. Untie the knots. Of course, there is the knot connection to Celtic spirituality that I lean towards.

May 13th was the centennial of Mary’s first appearance at Fatima in Portugal. October will commemorate the last appearance. It’s not my lifetime, but it’s still hard to believe that anything Mary related happened in the twentieth century. I think of Biblical and Mary and Jesus as being two thousand years old, not during my grandfathers’ lifetimes.

i think what I find so fascinating is the universality and timelessness of Mary’s intercession and influence. She is the epitome of faithfulness and free will. We all have our free will to make choices, to struggle through our beliefs, to form our psyche and our values. Looking towards Mary, her life wasn’t terribly easy. She was a mother like I am, making day to day decisions on things that affect her family and its future. How much she must have wondered about her son, and his well being when he began his public ministry. Was he eating right? Was he warm at night? Was he staying one step ahead of harm?

She didn’t have any special revelation or insight into Jesus’ future; only that he had a path to follow and whatever that was, wherever that ended, she was his mother and his support.

Maybe that’s what I like. 

Being single-minded and open-minded when it comes to our  kids. Being the best at what we do, whatever that is. And still, being Mom, like at Cana as well as at the foot of the Cross.

Motherhood is a continuum, a spectrum of every emotion, every decision, every moment that involves our kids, even the adult ones.

We watch, we wait, we love.

So, maybe May is Mary’s month, the same month we celebrate our mothers and our kids celebrate us. Mother’s Day is every day that comes with a hug or a giggle or a tearful exchange. It’s all there, and it’s all always been there.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Blessed is all of our Jesus’, our own sons and daughters, within our hearts, and they in ours, forever.

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​I hadn’t anticipated being absent for so long. I had several writing assignments on my calendar, and then life and a small, but insistent case of writer’s block decided that I would not be present online. I’ve also been a little worn down from what’s been going on in Washington, DC. Some days it’s just too much. We all need a breather sometimes.

I had intended to catch up Thursday, but on Thursday night, in the middle of my daughterr’s spring concert for chorus, the power went out after a flickering of lights that she put off to the “ghost” at school. The thunder was actually very quiet so it was something of a surprise, but the lightning was fierce.They finished the concert sans microphones with the light of the audience’s cell phones.Technolody at its best. Continue reading