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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fr. Mark Rutherford - A Conversion Story & Teen Talk - IHM National Conference Notes


Every emotion...

I think I went through them all listening to Fr. Mark Rutherford's talk, The Most Important Talk You Will Never Hear: Cultural Issues Facing Teens at IHM National.


Laughs, tears, chills.


Again, I wish this talk was on video so you could see this beautiful priest's face as it lit up the room with his joy and passion. ALL the talks were influential and formative for my teen/tween, but this one especially is one I bet they'll remember...we'll ALL remember.  So grateful, thank you Seton/IHM.



IHM National Conference - TEEN TALK - 2016
This dynamic, young priest lived a hard life before coming to his faith. He spoke about having too many "mushroom pizzas, " a code word to protect the  younger ears in the audience. He fell into a bad crowd, but he had grandparents who prayed the rosary for him and his brothers every day.  



His grandfather had a vision, in a dream, that he must send the boys to a Steubenville retreat.  He had no idea what this was and looked it up.  By the grace of God they went and there 13 year old Father Rutherford had a "life changing, heart flipping" experience.


When the youth conference priest entered for the end-of-retreat adoration ceremony, lifting high the monstrance in the darkened auditorium and the spotlight illuminated the Blessed Sacrament surrounded by incense...it was better than mushrooms...it was the weight of glory that brought him to his knees! 




As Jesus passed He flooded this troubled boy's soul. Fr. Rutherford described himself as reduced to a 10-pound diaper of baby and boogers and tears, bawling on the floor. That's how the Youth Conference met him where he was and transformed him.  Later, in confession, he would hear his first call to the priesthood.


He came home, left the school and left behind the bad influences and started homeschooling with Seton! 




Here are some bullet notes from his talk:


*  The words spoken at the Steubenville Youth Conference had reality attached to them.


*  Superheroes in movies, comics and TV fail in relationships.  They fail to use their powers even though the have powers.  They can't carry the world, they are not the Savior of the world.


*  A word that does not build up your heart, bringing peace and calm, is not from God.


*  Recommended the book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper.


*  His conversion found him in love with Truth and recommitted to studying, no longer failing at school. Currently in classes for a Canon Law degree, his 5th degree.




*  To parents - primary responsibility is to transmit Jesus through scripture and tradition, to educate, to be teachers of the faith.


*  Be the stream, the current, model to your children.  Let them see you weak and how much you need Jesus.


*  Jesus is the Truth


*  Father's Conversion YouTube Video 


 To hear this talk in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.


I hope IHM Conference organizers will consider starting a YouTube channel and creating and sharing videos of their speakers.  I believe it is the next step in reaching out and leading souls to the Catholic faith and homeschooling. 




Fr. Mark Rutherford was born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and later in Ann Arbor. Fr. Mark grew up in a Catholic home with three brothers. He first heard and discerned a call to the priesthood at age 13 while participating in a Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference in 1997. Growing up he attended both Catholic and public schools, and was homeschooled. He and his three brothers loved and played hockey for a large part of their lives, which for Fr. Mark gave way to sports like wrestling, boxing, and Tae Kwon Do.

From 2001-2005, Fr. Mark attended Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, majoring in both Theology and Philosophy, with a minor in classical languages. He was accepted as a seminarian of the Diocese of Lansing in the summer of 2005, and attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary from 2005-2009, earning the M. Div., S.T.B., and beginning the S.T.L. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Earl Boyea on June 13th, 2009, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

He was then assigned as Parochial Vicar of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton from 2009-2012. In 2012, he was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Church of the Resurrection in Lansing from 2012-2014. In 2014, he is was assigned as Administrator of St. Mary Catholic Church and school in Williamston, and to study for the J.C.L. in Canon Law at Catholic University of America during the summers. He is currently Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and school, serves on the Diocese of Lansing Education Board, and in his third year of studies in Canon Law. Hobbies: working out, boxing, mixed martial arts, and movies.

Fr. Shannon Collins - Purgatory, the Perfecting Fire - IHM National Conference Notes

"It's hard to live as a Catholic, but it's better to die as one," quoted Fr. Shannon Collins during his 2nd talk at the IHM National Conference.

His talk was entitled,  Homeschooling: Doing Your Purgatory on Earth
Here are some bullet notes from that talk.  To hear it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.  

*  Jews and Christians have always prayed for the dead, so there must be a place where they benefit from the prayers.  Hell is a choice that can not be changed once chosen and in the perfection of heaven, prayers are not needed. Purgatory is that place where those who have died and need purification are assured of heaven.

*  Those in purgatory can not pray for themselves, but they can pray for us. 

*  The modern world has lost its sense of sin and denies it exists. The need for reparation is completely rejected. But we are called to "take up our cross" and offer up in atonement for our sins.  When we accept our sufferings they become of use, beneficial.

*  There is a hell.  Jesus made many mentions of it... especially mentioning, in Matthew, the sins against the Holy Ghost that can not be forgiven.

*  Only the purest of pure see God in heaven...stain and sin can not be in heaven and so for those with certain offenses and damage to repair from those sins, a purifying fire is needed.

*  Moses failed in one area and was not allowed into the Holy Land. That's imagery of purgatory.


*  We have seasons of penance, Advent and Lent and priests give us penance for our confessed sins.

*  The temporary prison, the Lord tells us to settle our debts now.  

*  The God who told us to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect wants to make us perfect.  Not a vengeful God, but a merciful and just one.

*  We deal with transforming ourselves on earth where our suffering is beneficial, profitable.

* If a target is well off in the distance, we must aim high.

* Offering up here has value to the souls in purgatory, they are at the final door. They are at the highest level before heaven. They are our models as they hunger and desire after God.


Fr. Shannon Collins was born in 1964 and is a native of Cohasset, MA. After undergraduate and graduate work in history and education, he taught in Catholic schools for a number of years. Having completed his seminary training at St. Philip Neri Seminary in Toronto, Ontario, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2000.

Father has been a very strong proponent of Catholic homeschooling and, over the years, a very popular speaker at numerous Catholic homeschooling conferences across the United States. He has appeared on EWTN and had previously served as chaplain for the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. Father is currently a traditional religious priest under Bishop Roger Foys of Covington, Kentucky.

Fr. Jeffrey Kirby - Mercy and the Drama of Salvation - IHM National Conference Notes

Life changes when God reveals Himself and we know.

St. JPII said, "Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be loved."


Fr. Jeffrey Kirby was a new-to-me speaker and I truly hope to see him speak again sometime.  He was hysterical and although I highly recommend getting the audio of his talk, he really needed to be videoed.  His physical humor added to the laughs.

 To hear this talk, Mercy and the Drama of Salvation, it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

Here are my bullet notes:

* God works gradually through revelation, covenants and out of kindness, which in Hebrew is the word, "Hesed." The depth of the word implies sheer goodness and mercy . In Latin, it became misericordia, a heart for the unfortunate, miserable ones.

*  When someone upsets us, all we can see is the sin.

*  Sin has no life, it's boring, repetitive. Try grace.

*  In the drama of Salvation, oh where grace will take us! What is the master going to do today? Discipleship is the great adventure! The drama is still being written.

*  God likes order. We are most like him when we bring order out of chaos.

*  Adam & Eve, God gave them everything, God decides right from wrong, it was His tree! They believed the lie and forfeited glory for false power. In justice, God could have done 2 things. He could have destroyed them for offending His glory or he could have ignored them. Both would have been just.  He chose "hesed." God the Father disciplines...leave the garden.  He'll sends a Restorer and they deserve to live out the consequences.

*  And it happens again and again. Noah, after being spared, still sins,  and Abram too sins, in the exact way God promised to bless him. He was told he'd have ancestors like the stars in the sky.  Looking up during the day, he knew the stars were there but he couldn't see them...like the graces promised, he couldn't see them. Ishmael was not the promised blessing. 

*  Later, Moses and David would both require God's "hesed." David's kingdom was the blueprint. He was King, his mother was the Queen and those who wanted mercy went to the Queen mother, whose son could not refuse her. They were flanked by 12 leaders of tribes.  The prime minister was the key bearer. David was the apple of God's eye.  

*  In His everlasting love, God shows mercy... God's constant option throughout history. So, do no less!

Fr. Jeffrey Kirby is a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. He is the Host of the national Christian formation program Doors of Mercy. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in moral theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome, with research on the natural moral law and conscience formation.
Prior to his doctoral work, Fr. Kirby served as the Vicar of Vocations and the Founding Director of the Drexel House: Catholic Residence for Men. In his vocations work, Fr. Kirby guided hundreds of men and women in the spiritual life and through the process of discernment. From these experiences, he wrote the book Lord, Teach Us to Pray.
Fr. Kirby attended seminary at the Pontifical North American College. He is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. Additionally, he holds a Master’s Degree in Bioethics from from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome.
Fr. Kirby is a friend to Catholic media, and has been on EWTN, CatholicTV, and Salt and Light, three of the largest Catholic television networks in the world. He has also been on the BBC, NPR, and ABC to discuss various issues relating to the Church.
As a parish priest, Fr. Kirby was known for his support to homeschooling families, as an advocate for homeschool curriculum, and as an organizer of homeschool family associations.
Fr. Kirby grew up in West Germany while his father served multiple tours with the US Army in that country, and he himself served in the National Guard with an Honorable Discharge upon completion of his enlistment. Fr. Kirby has run two marathons, and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice by boat! He’s a former English tutor to the Pontifical Swiss Guard, tour guide of St. Peter’s Basilica, and all around pasta/Italian food connoisseur!
Currently, Fr. Kirby is working with noted author and theologian Dr. Paul Thigpen on a Christian formation program entitled, Luke: The Gospel of Mercy to be released in the late summer (Pre-Orders available through St. Benedict Press).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Professor Joseph Pearce - Catholicism, Atheism & Trinities - IHM National Conference Notes

Professor Joseph Pearce said, "Atheism has something in common with Catholicism; it is rooted in a claim of reason. However atheism is profoundly unreasonable."

Here are some bullet notes from that talk, The Sense of Catholicism and the Nonsense of Atheism To hear it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.  'Cause you wanna HEAR Joe Pearce and his British accent!



*  Separate faith from reason and you have heresy.

*  Read Peter Kreeft and  the book, Reason to Believe by Richard Purtill

To show that a belief in The Trinity is not fantastic or irrational, Professor Pearce noted other accepted trinities.

*  3 Dimensions, the oneness of space, in physics the 3-in-1 demonstrates unity.

*  Time = past...present...future

*  The Way, the Truth and the Life

*  The Good, the True and the Beautiful

* Love itself...requires the lover...and the beloved...and object itself

*  Catholicism helps us make sense of science and nonsense in atheism...thanks be to God for science!



Get the audio and go to YouTube for more Joe Pearce.  He's great!


 Prof. Joseph Pearce is a native of England and the Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College, in Nashville, TN. He is editor of the St. Austin Review, an international review of Catholic culture, series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions, and executive director of Catholic Courses.
The internationally acclaimed author of many books, which include bestsellers such asThe Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Bilbo’s Journey, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile, and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc. Joseph Pearce is a world-recognized biographer of modern Christian literary figures. His books have been published and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Italian, Mandarin, Korean and Polish.
Prof. Pearce has hosted two 13-part television series about Shakespeare on EWTN, and has also written and presented documentaries on EWTN on the Catholicism of The Lord of the Rings.
He has participated and lectured at a wide variety of international and literary events at major colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Europe, Africa and South America. He is also a regular guest on national and international television and radio programs, and has served as consultant for film documentaries on J.R.R. Tolkien and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Prof. Pearce relocated to the United States in 2001. He and his wife homeschool their two children, Leo and Evangeline.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Michele Quigley - Catholic Time Management - IHM National Conference Notes

In her charming and familiar way, like we were all sitting around a table together, Michele Quigley spoke about "ideas and inspiration for creating an atmosphere of order and peace"... IN GOD'S TIME.
Michele Quigley - IHM National Conference - 2016
Here are some bullet notes from that talk.  To hear it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.  

BREAKING NEWS, Michele is writing a book!


*  Put first things first. Nourish your relationship with God. It can feel selfish to take time alone to pray but it isn't selfish, it's self-care. 

*  By nature we are self-focused and though that gets distorted by sin, "Love your neighbor as yourself" assumes we WILL love ourselves. And we should --as God does. Desiring the highest and best good.

*  You can't give what you don't have. The busier you are the more you need that prayer time. Self-care, being in a relationship with God and nourishing that relationship as the primary one in our lives fills us with love, and that overflows into our lives and relationships. Ask God to desire it and ask Him to help you find the space for it. He will.

*  Considering journaling (pen to paper) as a means of gaining insight and clarity in my daily struggles. Growth in holiness comes through self-awareness. Journaling can be incredibly helpful for understanding yourself.

*  Write by hand, not electronically. There's an intimacy to writing by hand that is missed when typing. Avoid the distractions of the computer and devices for this time.


*  What comes next?
Make a list of anything and everything that's on your mind in regards to managing your time and organizing your life. From the big to the small, the monumental to the mundane. List all of it.

* Ask and answer these questions:

Do I get the things done that NEED to be done? If not, why not?

Do I get the things done that I WANT to do? If not, why not?

What isn't working? or What do I need to get a handle on?

What can I drop? What would I LIKE to drop?

What's working? Don't skip this one! You need to be able to identify what IS working to help you find your rhythm and get a handle on what isn't working.

What are my priorities? What's a priority for one person doesn't even make the list for another so really take the time to think and pray about this. Then, go back through the list and ask yourself how all of the above lines up with your priorities. You might be surprised.

Be completely and brutally honest when writing out this list.

*  Building the plan.

I didn't want a schedule. I wanted free, flowing peaceful and calm days with my children but without some system of order and structure that didn't happen. Without finding our rhythm, all I did was manage chaos.

Each family's rhythm is unique because each family is unique.
Use the list to find your rhythm and build on that. The answers to "what's working" will be the key to finding your rhythm, the answers to "what's not working" will help you discover your disruptions.

Work to find the natural flow. Anything that goes against your family's natural rhythm won't last long.

Emergencies happen. That's normal but it shouldn't be the norm.

Stay flexible. Any system of time management has to be structured enough the work while still being flexible enough for your family.

Don't be a slave to the system, make the system your slave.

Is the answer as simple as "getting things done." Sometimes, but  productivity is not a virtue. (big laughs)

Sometimes something as simple as thinking ahead and planning accordingly can alleviate the stress of the chaos in the moment.

Always put love first. You can't do everything. Figure out what is most important and arrange everything else around those things.


*  Some obstacles to effective time management:

Perfectionism. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, or good enough.

Not delegating because no one does it as well as you do.

Procrastination. Waiting until the last minute. Doing everything but what you need to be doing. Really just another part of perfectionism.

Distractions. The key is knowing they will come and working to minimize them.

Underestimating. Most people underestimate the amount of time it will take to do something or get somewhere. Homeschoolers tend to be chronically late.

Comparing. Don't compare. No matter how much you think you see or understand you are only seeing a snapshot of another's life. Don't compare those snapshots to your big picture. It will never match. Glean the good from others but don't compare.

*  So how do you gain control of your time? You don't. Time moves forward regardless of what you do but you can manage your actions, what YOU do to keep things flowing smoothly.

*  As you work to form a plan of action strive to keep it simple. Any system that's too complicated will likely be quickly abandoned.

*  There is NO perfect plan, system or method, only the one that works for YOU.


Remember that ultimately all time belongs to God. 
May we do good with the time He has given us.

Mrs. Michele Quigley is the wife of Tim, mother of ten, grandmother, veteran homeschooler, and a convert of 30+ years to the Catholic faith. She is an active member of the St. Anthony’s Latin Mass community, and has worked as a catechist and RCIA director at St. Mary’s parish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she lives with her family.
Michele is the creator of numerous tools and resources for Catholic homeschooling mothers, including the popular Catholic Daily Planner and Mater Amabilis, a rigorous, living books curriculum that is available free online. She speaks nationally on a variety of topics, including the liturgical year, time management, family life, and how Charlotte Mason’s philosophy can be adapted for use by faithful Catholics. Michele is a contributor to the website O Night Divine, and a new book, Why Should I Learn This? Her most recent initiative is Grace Days™, a ministry she co-created to offer encouragement and support to homeschooling mothers in their vocation.
In addition to her work in the homeschooling community, Michele has served as executive producer of and actress on “Ordinary”, a web-based Catholic television show entering its second season. In her spare time, Michele pursues her favorite hobbies, which include photography and sewing. Her photographs, and information about Grace Days, planners, and much more can be found at her website.

Fr. Andrew Fisher - Blood of the Martyrs - IHM National Conference Notes


Father Andrew Fisher was a new-to-me speaker at IHM's National Conference.  He gave a multi-media talk entitled, The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church.  He repeated that phrase reverently after descriptions of each saint who died for the faith. 

As one who believes words need pictures, I was thrilled to see his presentation of artwork and photographs of these role models of Catholic conviction.

*  They are a witness and in greek martyr means witness. 

*  They are teachers of the faith. Heros. Never lost. Treasured.

*  The martyrs summarize what Christ taught. Victory over death. Centuries later they are still teaching.

What will today's Catholics be challenged with in regards to our faith, I wonder? How will we be called to witness?  These stories of courage are ones we need to hear and be reminded of.


 To hear this talk of Saint stories in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

Fr. Andrew Fisher is a native of northern Virginia, and played Division I baseball in college as a pitcher. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1998. He has served as parochial vicar in St. William of York parish (Stafford), Queen of Apostles parish (Alexandria) and the Cathedral of St. Thomas More (Arlington). Fr. Fisher also served for six years as the Director of Liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.. Currently, he serves as pastor of St. Ambrose (Annandale).

As priest, Fr. Fisher still gets to play baseball as a pitcher for the DC Padres.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Fr. Pendergraft. FSSP - TODAY'S CHAOS - IHM National Conference Notes

These are my bullet notes from Fr. Pendergraft 's  talk, Catholic Education: The Role of The Family And The Church, which happened to be on the feast of St. John the Baptist, the saint who gave his life for marriage.

 To hear it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP - IHM National Conference - 2016

*  Before the fall, man had WILL, INTELLECT and PASSIONS rightly ordered. Our senses (passions) informed our intellect with knowledge and reason that was applied by our will. Then sin overcame our passions and rebelled against order.  After the fall it was all in disorder.

*  We see chaos in a modern world that has stopped thinking.

*  Without acknowledging that God is the Creator, who teaches authority, we can not have parents in authority to their children, nor pastors to flocks. With no God, authority loses its meaning.

*  For Cain, it was written in  his heart. He knew his killing of Abel was wrong. God has given us the tools to discern. But society is trying to erase Natural Law...marriage...gender... 

*  The devil seeks to strip us of our natural identity to then strip us of our morality.

*  A frog adjusts to warmer water until it is boiled and dies. We're getting into the pot and turning on the heat.

*  China bans porn for it knows that it corrupts and makes the addict useless. Our evils make us weak.

*  We engage our intellect more by reading but we'd rather see the movie than read the book.

*  What I give is commensurate with what I give out. The Traditional Latin Mass can be harder. But the difficult is good.



*  Church has dropped the ball on education . Pastors need to be well-formed. No one gives what they don't have. Pray and encourage your priest to teach the faith. Don't give them a way out. We have to give for others to receive.

*  Recognize truth.  Society says it's invented. What is truth, asks Pontius Pilate? There is ONE Truth. Truth excludes error. Speak up. Don't hide behind the excuse of charity. We'll lose the ability to express and practice our faith.

*  We have to want to be Catholic and want our faith because persecution is coming.  We shrink in a corner when we should meet head on and convert.


Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, is the Executive Director of Development for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s North American district. The Fraternity, frequently referred to by their Latin initials (FSSP) is an International Society of Priests founded in 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II who are dedicated to growing in holiness and meeting the pastoral needs of the faithful through the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments.
Fr. Pendergraft travels extensively throughout North America in his duties. In the many places that he visits, he not only offers Mass and hears confessions, but provides spiritual reflections and meditations and frequently gives conferences and presentations on both the work of the Priestly Fraternity and the Traditional Latin Mass. He is also the Assistant Director of Vocations for Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, the Fraternity’s North American house of priestly formation in Nebraska. In this capacity he gives vocations talks and counsels individuals who are interested in the religious life.
Ordained in 2005, Father has since served as pastor and assistant pastor at FSSP parishes. As Fraternity parishes tend to have a very high concentration of homeschooling families among the attendees, Fr. Pendergraft has had extensive experience providing families with counsel on both the benefits and challenges of homeschooling, and how to make it an integral part of living a fully Catholic life on a daily basis.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fr. Shannon Collins on The Weapon - IHM National Conference Notes

The Albigensian heresies are much like today's heresies...a culture of death.  They condemned the body and so promoted suicide, euthanasia, recreational sex and a contraceptive mentality in an effort to reduce the number of sinful bodies.  Today, we see these ends receiving constitutional protection.

In the time of the Albigensian heresy, St. Dominic received the rosary from Our Lady, to chain the enemy. Each bead represented a rain of heavenly dew. Our Lady affirmed that if conversions were wanted, pray her psalter. 

Pope St. Pius X  urged every Catholic to pray the rosary daily to defeat the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto.  Out numbered, out navied, out gunned, he had seen in a vision the battle won with the weapon of the rosary prayers.

Fr. Shannon Collins - IHM National Conference - 2016


And once again, Father had us riveted and these are my notes from his talk the Rosary.  On and after August 1st you can get a copy of this talk at the www.iHMconference.org site.

*  We live in times that test us.  Moral relativism holds sway, Church membership and leadership seems lethargic. Heaven's consistent message for the last 20 years is that this is NOT a springtime!

*  At LaSallete, Our Lady spoke of punishment and penance.

*  At Fatima, she spoke of  whole nations annihilated and Russia spreading her errors. 

*  With threats of heaven-sent chastisement, things look dark.  The devil has his hour, as the Lord said he would. But, God will have his day!

*  Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, mystic and advisor to Pope Pius IV foretold of a time of trial and tribulation to come upon the world. Three days and nights of darkness, pestilence and foul air and, remaining in our home, our survival kits to be blessed candles and rosary prayers for mercy.

*  Lady of Akita said the devil would infiltrate the Church members and Cardinal would vs. Cardinal and Bishop would vs. Bishop and fire would reign down from heaven. 

*  The Immaculate Heart of Mary would triumph in the end  and Christ is King.

*  Each AVE is a seed that is planted in the garden of our souls. 

*  It's always darkest before the rising sun and Mary is the morning star. Restoration will come and we are the  great apostles of the last days.

*  Father suggested everyone read and own St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion.



Fr. Shannon Michael Collins was born in 1964 and is a native of Cohasset, MA. After undergraduate and graduate work in history and education, he taught in Catholic schools for a number of years. Having completed his seminary training at St. Philip Neri Seminary in Toronto, Ontario, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 2000.

Father has been a very strong proponent of Catholic homeschooling and, over the years, a very popular speaker at numerous Catholic homeschooling conferences across the United States. He has appeared on EWTN and had previously served as chaplain for the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. Father is currently a traditional religious priest under Bishop Roger Foys of Covington, Kentucky.


Shak Hill On The Attack On Fatherhood - IHM Conference Notes

I wasn't expecting to need a hanky in the first talk of IHM 's National Conference, 2016.  Shak Hill's story is so moving and his compelling, polished presentation set an excellent tone for this year's Catholic Parenting Conference. He spoke so beautifully about Fatherhood and I hope he will return in future years.

Shak Hill - IHM National Conference - 2016

Here are my notes from his talk,  3 ½ Lessons I Have Learned Raising 46 Foster Children . Eventually, the audio CDs of the talk will be available HERE.


  • Many are running from parenthood
  • (On his wife's decision to go through with a pregnancy jeopardizing her life...) "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13 She makes me a better man and father.  I wake up to a hero every morning.
  • #1 Spending time matters - while you might have an influence on a child for 18 years, as a foster parent it may just be 18 days. They need more dad time than money can buy.
  • Turn off electronics and have family dinners with conversations
  • Pray that husbands see the benefits to support wives in homeschooling, ask Blessed Mother for him to see its channel for grace.
  • #2 - Blood NOT thicker than water, example of St. Joseph
  • His story of 4 yr. old David marveling that, "He came home."  will last with me a long time.  Right now I am just sitting with it, filling up again with tears for those who go without happy, 2 parent homes.
  • #3 Fathers matter.  Culture today wants to redefine outdated parenthood, making dads bumbling idiots on TV.
  • There was a time when this country was materially and morally prosperous and most were virtuous, hard working, loyal to God, family and country.
  • 1950-53 overtly religious novels were best sellers and the movies of the time portrayed The Quiet Man and Shane and Ben Hur and the Sound of Music and Father of the Bride as male figures.
  • TV shows were Father Knows Best, Bonanza, My 3 Sons, Ozzie & Harriet and FATHER was the hero.
  • 80s - Shining with murderous Dad, Jack Nicholson and 1999's Academy Award winner was American Beauty, another monster dad and fatherhood is mocked and rejected.
  • Strong men are not fathers in today's movies. Action heroes are divorced, estranged or never married...it's bonding vs. James Bond.
  • Started in the 30s with FDR's new deal. Government took over fatherhood and then Ted Kennedy created benefits to unwed mothers who could only receive them if father was not living with them.
  • 60s - sex and love questioned, the link broken and the sexual revolution has casualties.
  • In Roe v. Wade almost 15,000 words were written by Judge Blackmon and he mentions fatherhood twice. (Once to refer to ancient greeks and to note Hippocrates was "father" of medicine.) The rights of dads don't exist.
  • Almost 1/3 of children in America live apart from dad and fatherless homes see greater crime and suicide and poverty.
  • Today is the feast of John the Baptist who came to "turn the hearts of children to their fathers" and visa versa.
  • Lesson 3 and a half - a baby crying in the night shows us our similarities...it sounds like any baby (black..white) needing to belong or be fed.
  • Homeschooling recommits family to God, the work of God...a testament to the centrality of Christ in the home.


Shak Hill spent 9 years as a pilot in the Air Force, upon graduating from the United States Air Force Academy, and flew combat missions during Desert Storm. During his time at the Academy, Shak and Robin met, fell in love, and were married right after his graduation. It was the beginning of a storybook romance. ... Robin and Shak became foster parents, and since 1997 have fostered 46 children and adopted a sibling group of four. Robin and Shak are also proud homeschoolers of their children.
Recognizing the need to bring integrity and morals back into our national governance, Shak ran for the Republican nomination for the U. S. Senate from Virginia in 2014. Though he was unable to garner enough votes to win the election, he ran a remarkable campaign that brought the importance of character and morality back into the public discourse. Shak is an inspirational speaker, author, business owner, Family of the Year Award Winner, combat pilot, MLS Soccer official, elected official, U. S. Senate Candidate, foster father, dad, and husband.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Teaching Tuesday - Reading Aloud LITTLE WOMEN - Lessons Learned

I am revisiting a childhood favorite with my daughter.  This summer I am reading aloud to her LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott.  I've longed for this and it has been as sweet as I hoped!


We read a chapter or 2 a day and discuss it.  You just have to stop and savor it.  Besides the words and phrases to explain, there are virtues to discuss and I want to hear what she thinks...how she would describe what she's heard.  Retelling.

[ Charlotte Mason Method of Narration ]

[ Narration - The Best Way to Learn ]

This was the cover of my book, growing up. And when we are done with the book, we'll watch a few of the film versions. 

This has reminded me how fun reading aloud to my children has been in our homeschooling.  I was reminiscing with the older boys our read-aloud of Tom Sawyer and how there were times they rolled off the couch laughing. 

[Read what Hemingway said about that Mark Twain classic. ]

It isn't too daunting of a commitment, to read aloud. A chapter a day doesn't take very long. But these are times and memories I cherish and I believe they will, too.

With "teacher-eyes" I wanted to be able to share more than just the story of Little Women with my 11-year-old daughter, so I google for resources. Here are 2 I'd like to recommend.

[1]  THIS is a great article on lessons to be learned from Little Women.  
13 Essential Lessons ‘Little Women’ Can Teach You About Living Well


[2]  If you wanted to turn it into a full-on curriculum of unit study, THIS is a wonderful link with "tons of resources."

Tell me, what have been some of your favorite read aloud classics?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Tribute to Dads & Priests on Father's Day


On this Father's Day...and always...I am thankful for our Priestly Fathers.  They bring us Jesus Christ in the Sacraments. I am in awe of their commitment and try to capture its beauty to draw others to the Catholic Mass and faith. God bless and protect our spiritual fathers.

With so much love, I wish my dear husband a Happy Father's Day.  He is the father I dreamt of for my children.  How lucky they are, how blessed.  His love for us is felt each and EVERY day.  I pray their lives are imprinted by his commitment to his faith and that it becomes theirs.

fathers day steve 2016 from AllisonGirone on Vimeo.

And for my own dear Father, thank you for a lifetime of memories of laughter and love!  You've taught me so much and I am grateful for all the ways I am like you. May God give us many more years to share together.


To all the good men - relatives and friends - who are fathers, I pray that St. Joseph intercede for you in prayer before the Face of God.  God gave so much importance to Fatherhood and may you receive all the graces you need to fulfill that role in love.