A big thank you to Maria Franklin for organizing and sharing her experience of this wonderful event!
How wonderful to be able to share my reflections on this day – both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday.
The new My Saint My Hero classes bring women together looking to deepen their faith and enjoy creative fun within the intimate space of our Experience Boutiques – It’s part of the blessing revolution beginning to take shape in the community!
For two days last week we were able to offer 20 women the opportunity amidst our busy lives, to slow down and learn about the meaning of Lent with Fr. Charbel of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington. He spoke about being attentive to our own patterns and triggers that distance us from God. While shaking a water bottle with dirt in it, he attempted to look through the cloudy murky water; he could not see through it. However, when he sat the bottle down, the dirt settled to the bottom allowing clear vision through the bottle. I grasped the meaning of this imagery: that the busier I am the harder it is to see through and really examine my life. I must be still – only then will I see clearly to take inventory of my ways, reactions and intentions. I realized my need to slow down and make a commitment devoting time to Jesus this Lent.
Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. James 4:8
We then painted our own beautiful journal covers guided by the talented local watercolor artist Suzy Cyr. Each of us left ready to begin our own “journaling pilgrimage”, learning ways to create a daily routine to meditate, write and reflect on our lives and open our hearts to hear His word….
Speak Lord your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:10
I was fortunate to be part of these evenings offered; laughing, learning, and stretching not only our artistic abilities but together also stretching our faith encouraging each other to walk closely these next 40 days with Jesus.
BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE THROUGHOUT THESE NEXT 40 DAYS!
Sometimes it’s good to remember our story; to look back at where we started, how far we’ve come, and through it all, see God’s hand at work. Because despite the daily distractions, in the end, when all is said and done, it is for His Kingdom that we do what we do. Our mission makes no sense if we don’t do it all for Him, through Him, and in Him. The Holy Spirit was the inspiration which began My Saint My Hero, and we pray, He will always guide us in the light of truth, and that we will have the grace to be open and obedient to His Way.
Thank you Venture with Virtue for allowing Christine to share the My Saint My Hero story with your listeners! The interview will be live on their website for a few weeks, so head on over there to give it a listen!
A big thank you to Elizabeth Rich this week for sharing with us her personal and unique experience of walking The Camino with her family last fall! The following are her reflections.
So last year my family hiked the first 120 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago and it was one of the most mentally challenging things I have ever done. Walking 15 miles every day, even when it felt like someone was hitting my feet with a mallet and it was 100 degrees outside, was pretty miserable yet for some reason I absolutely loved it.
My first 2 1/2 days were filled with unhappiness and anxiousness that I could not explain. I didn’t know why but I couldn’t stop being antsy and not only was I making the trip hard on myself but also on my family. Finally, my mom pulled me aside and we separated from the group to say a Rosary asking for peace of mind and a revelation as to why I was so anxious. The results were almost immediate.
The first thing I got from the rosary was the desperate need for confession. Back at school and camp I went once a week and this was officially the longest I’d gone in a while without going to confession… and I felt it on my soul. But, more than that, I felt God calling me to be present. I offered my Camino up for a couple of things, one being my vocation, and for some reason I got it in my head that if I didn’t meet my husband on the way then God was calling me to religious life (it sounds much sillier when I say it out loud but I promise in my head it was very real, haha).
I was so focused on getting to the next city, of talking to the next person, that I couldn’t live in the present moment, and it was affecting everyone else’s trip. I was so focused on the destination that I wasn’t actually experiencing the Camino.
I still struggled after that rosary to live in the present moment, just because that is how I have been my whole life, always looking forward, until I forgot my Camino passport and had to go backwards… and in going backwards I met Carlo, a 35 year old university art teacher from Florence, Italy. He had seen us in the church where I left my passport when he was saying a rosary and carried the passport for 5k until he saw us again running back towards the church. It sounds dramatic but that man saved my trip…
Carlo was the most amazing man and I’m pretty convinced God sent him into my life to wake me up a little bit. He was walking the whole Camino alone and while he left at 6 am like most people he was usually one of the last people to get to the next town. I saw him jumping off bridges into the water to take a 20 minute swim break and sit under a tree and sketch out a church while we kept miserably walking. He stopped in bakeries that I just longingly stared at but didn’t want to stop to go in. He went to Spain to hike the Camino and he hiked it well, and in the process changed my perspective.
I started enjoying the walk and meeting the most phenomenal people who I would never have met if I just plowed through the Camino. I stopped to put my feet in water and had a life-changing conversation with a young man who just experienced Jesus for the first time and my relationship with my family immediately became so much better as we started to laugh and really enjoy each other’s company… and it was all thanks to the amazing man Carlo who inspired me to not only live in the present moment, but to live in it well.
I don’t know about you guys but I’m done living in a future that doesn’t exist and being stressed about things I can’t control. I’m done with anxiety and feeling lonely and belittling men to just “are you my future husband?” I want to live life and I want to live it well. Even as I left the Camino I felt myself asking WWCD (what would Carlo do) and as I sat on a beach writing this post I felt ready to live freely, trusting that God has it all figured out. Will I still get anxious or plan too often? Most likely, but having that example of someone who is trusting in God’s plan so well was eye-opening to me and I will never be the same.
Here is a captured image of me as I see Carlo off in the distance and he yelled out to me, “My friend!”… one of the best moments of my trip to be honest.
Here is an image of the infamous Carlo standing in the water (photo may be a little creepy but completely necessary).
This post and all photos were originally published on Elizabeth’s personal blog. Elizabeth Rich is a Fashion Blogger dedicated to changing the narrative of our modesty to one of dignity, beauty, and self-love through the eyes of our Father.
This past week My Saint My Hero had the honor to sponsor and be present at the Focus Conference in Chicago. Amy was able to stop in after her QVC feature earlier this week, and Christine’s daughter, Lizzy Rich, was one of the friendly faces at our booth – as well as an enormous help. We want to thank Lizzy for sharing her experience with us. Below you can find her beautiful reflection of what this week meant to her. Let us pray for all those who were present and involved in this powerful convention, that they may carry back home what they felt burning in their hearts, and spread the fire of truth and love at school, work, and in their families.
Where do I even begin. How can I sum up the eternal works of our Father in so few words. I could talk about the hundreds of men and women I met at the My Saint My Hero booth who brought joy into my days. I could talk about how beautiful and inspiring every speaker was and how God used every single one of them to move me in some way. I could talk about becoming friends with the other vendors and being truly changed by their hearts. I could talk about Jim Caviezal surprising the crowd and shouting the Brave Heart battle cry speech, calling us to freedom. There was so, so much fruit and goodness in this week but what I really want to talk about is the gift of freedom God placed in my heart.
The Holy Spirit was ever present in this whole conference and filled me with a bold confidence unlike ever before. I experienced a freedom to be myself, have vulnerable conversations, dance in praise and worship like no one was watching and I did so without any fear. God revealed to my heart what it would be like if I was fully present in Him all the time. He showed me the freedom that comes with following His will. He showed me that He will always take care of me, provide for me, protect me, and love me. He showed me that He, the God of the Universe, is bigger than any problem. My Merciful Father called me back into His Sacred Heart and I know He is doing the same for you too. It can be so easy to be enslaved by this world, to believe the lies we hear over and over again, but our God is whispering into our hearts words of freedom and reconciliation and we must hold on to those with everything we have. We must run to Him and never look back and we must trust that He is a merciful Father who leaves the 99.
SLS2018 was a call to freedom and a call to be a missionary disciple in every aspect of my life. We are all called to these two things and we must accept them confidently, knowing that our all loving Father in heaven will always figure the rest out.
Today’s post and photos comes to you from our Brand Curator, Madi. A big thank you to her for sharing her experience and reflections with us!
Advent, which began on Sunday, is the beginning of the new year in the church. The word itself means coming. Oh the beauty of new beginnings, the freshness of new seasons. How beautiful is it that we have a church that starts its new year in winter, a season of darkness and nature taking its course to journey to new life. It’s so like Jesus to do that, to give us newness in the old, to come in the darkest night, the darkest time of the year, and bring His dazzling light in the form of a child in a manger in Bethlehem.
One way to prepare this Advent is to dive into traditions and prayer with the family. This season is such a sweet time of traditions, preparation, hope and the chance to start anew.
The Advent Wreath
Our My Saint My Hero Experience Boutique hosted an Advent Experience this past week. We gathered around the table in community to make Advent Wreaths, something we’d love to share with you in the hopes that you too can find renewal in the season with your family. If you wanted to make your own simpler Advent wreath, all you’d need is faux eucalyptus garland around a gold wreath candle holder and Advent candles.
Why Have an Advent Wreath?
Our dear friend, Father Kalu, shared with us the meaning of this beautiful tradition, emphasizing “the family that prays together, stays together” (Father Patrick Peyton). He explained that there are four candles in an advent wreath, one lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Each candle symbolizes the four centuries of waiting before Christ’s birth. On the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, the purple candles are lit, symbolizing prayer, penance and the royalty of Jesus. On the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit, symbolizing the joy of the Lord.
The Advent wreath is a beautiful opportunity for prayer as the candles are lit, especially together with the family. You could reflect on Scripture together or pray over a different person each week. Amongst the women that were there, we shared glory stories of the Lord’s faithfulness in prayer within our families – it is hard, vulnerable, and attacked, but the fruits of this prayer together are so worth it all.
Let’s gather together this season, friends, and begin again this Advent season to prepare a way for the coming of our Savior. Let’s light the world up today with His love, especially amongst our families.
Today is #GivingTuesday. The natural response to feeling deep gratitude is to pay it forward. So after a long weekend of celebrating the gifts in our lives, and thanking God and each other for these gifts, it is beautiful to have a day where we stop to think of others. Gratitude is a virtue that grows in the measure it is given away, and the result is happiness.
Each of us is called to be a force of good in the world, and each in a unique and personal way. The Holy Spirit guides our hearts and show us how.
Jennifer shares how she personally felt called to share the gift of a blessing through our Blessing Bracelets. She jokes if she gave them away every time someone complimented her on them, she would have none left. However she does reflect that, “If we have received any of that comfort, then guess what He does? He turns us to another person and then we can be the arms and legs of Jesus to that person during that time…It kind of gives me an idea that when I walk besides someone who is going through an especially difficult time, maybe that’s the time I’ll share it.”
Today is a wonderful reminder and opportunity for us to share, to give this gift of a blessing. Use the promo code: SHAREONE to receive 60% off selected pieces on our website.
Today’s guest blogger is a dear high school friend of mine who is absolutely brilliant in every sense of the word, and like a sister to me. She had the incredible gift of having met St. John Paul II, whose feast day we celebrate this Sunday, October 22, and today, she has generously opened her heart to share her experience of meeting a saint with us.
Touched by a Saint
In January 2001, I had the opportunity of greeting Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. I knelt before him for a few seconds, grasped his hand, received his blessing. I walked off the platform still in a daze. Had I really been blessed by the Pope?
As the Church would later confirm when it first beatified, then canonized John Paul II, I had not only been blessed by a pope, I had been touched by a saint.
In 2001, I was floored that I had been able to meet John Paul II. I was excited and grateful. Over time, I began reflecting more on the significance of that encounter, apart from checking something exciting off my bucket list and having a neat story to tell.
I had been touched by a saint. What did that really mean?
It meant that sanctity was a reality. In real time. I could no longer associate holiness only with far off stories of medieval Europe, or martyrdom and imprisonment. Holiness exists in the world today, in people we can come in contact with. People with likes and dislikes, struggles and hopes.
It meant that I felt challenged. I felt personally connected with someone who had responded to God’s call to journey closer to him. God relentlessly pursues mankind, faithfully, eternally. Some individuals respond by relentlessly pursuing God. They are called saints. Coming in contact with one of them stirred within me the awareness that I too should be relentlessly pursuing God.
It meant that I had to figure out what holiness actually means. Holiness isn’t something we can accomplish or produce. We can open our hearts to it, but we cannot command it. I finally found a description of holiness that resonates with me (thank you, Benedict XVI!), and that I return to from time to time:
Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness. (…)Consequently, it is not the fact that we have never erred but our capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness which makes us saints. And we can all learn this way of holiness. (Pope Benedict XVI Jan 31, 2007).
I appreciate Benedict XVI’s emphasis on the importance of ongoing conversion and forgiveness. Holiness is not something we attain, but a way of life that we strive for anew every day.
It meant that life would be OK. I was 15 when I met Pope John Paul II; he was 80. His wrinkled hand, blessing my forehead, caressing my cheek, was the same hand that had rescued a starving 13 year old Jewish girl during the holocaust. John Paul II saw more of life than most of us ever will. He understood human experience, deeply, and he lived in hope. Without knowing what my own life would have in store, as I clasped that hand, I instinctively knew that life was worth living.
Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us.
Ellen Mady lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where she spends her time working for the local Church and raising her three crazy and adorable children. She enjoys writing on faith and family topics when she has some downtime in the evenings.
Today’s post comes to you from a reflection by Sarah Erickson. We asked her what “be the one” means to her. Below is her answer. Thank you for sharing, Sarah!
My recent conviction of “be the one,” when I think about the one person, the one collection of human beings in the world that needs this love that doesn’t have bounds, conditions or strings attached is young women. I don’t see a more broken group of people.
I see, being in college, young girls looking to be known and loved in their relationships with men. Our culture pushes this need to be in a relationship, to always be pursued to be in that picture perfect relationship that is, in today’s terms, “goals.”
Therefore I am so convicted that I need to love them through sisterhood and remind them of the greatest pursuit: that of the man on the cross. We are so broken and we crave the affection of a father, the affection of that man on a cross who romances us through His blood.
So I think, when I hear, “be the one,” the first thing that comes to mind is to be the one to stand by those women who may be held captive, whether they know it or not. Their femininity is most treasured when it is centered at Calvary, with Mary, hand in hand in front of the Lord: the King of kings who is bleeding out for that woman.
So that is the image I keep getting, to bring those girls back to their roots, back to the beginning, back to where their freedom comes from, to where their salvation comes from. Because it is there where we can see glimpses of the Father’s love and know the greatest man’s affection. We don’t have to earn it. It was within us when we were born into the world.
Madi, our newest team member, shares her experience and reflections from the LA Prayer Breakfast that took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown Los Angeles, this past Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Many team members of My Saint My Hero were blessed to attend this event and be part of this beautiful movement of unity! We were proud to help sponsor this event by donating over two thousand One Nation Under God United in Prayer bracelets to everyone who attended.
Before the sun rose Tuesday morning, My Saint My Hero gathered with about two thousand other people of the church -from families to students, priests, sisters, bishops, normal people like you and me -to pray for our city and our country.
One Nation Under God United in Prayer Bracelets on those who attended.
We were welcomed by the angels and saints at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in the middle of Los Angeles, a place that, as you walk around, has you surrounded by the presence of the angels and the saints. And as one nation, one church, one family on earth and in heaven, we worshiped and interceded for our city & our country. We were encouraged by a great theologian and leader of the church, Dr. Scott Hahn, who led us deep into the heart of the Father with such a simple message: He is a good, kind Father.
United in prayer and blessing.
It is so easy to hear that and then just move on with our lives, for our mind to accept it and move on to the next worry, the next thing on the to do list. But do we let it reach our heart?
You are loved more in this moment by the Father than any other person could love you in an entire lifetime.
The love He has for you has nothing to do with your performance, your goodness, your success, how much you get done today. It has everything to do with His goodness, with His never-ending grace. Some of us may have bad experiences and views of our earthly fathers. But our Heavenly Father is unlike any flawed human father, some who may at times hide or run when things get hard. In contrast, He gives His whole heart to you at each moment. He holds nothing back.
So I encourage you today to rest, find yourself held by the Father at his throne. Let that love sink in into the deepest places of your heart to heal the wounds of this world.