Top 5 Catholic Christmas present ideas.

What better way to evangelise to those in laws you love so much than to buy them a Catholic inspired gift! Or perhaps you might want to let your priest know how much he is appreciated? Or even just want it for yourself! 😀

Anyway, here are my top 5 Christmas Gift Ideas from Di Clara.

1. Brown Scapular. (3 styles available)

This is the highest quality hand made scapular on the market today. The Brown Scapular is a wonderful devotion practiced by millions of people worldwide. It carries promises for the one who wears it. In the year 1251, in the town of Aylesford in England, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a brown woolen scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” She also promised to shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment. 3 designs available HERE.

2. Catholic aprons.

Do you have a Catholic who just wont sit down? or perhaps a “Rigid” who doesn’t mind a bit of fun?! Then here is the gift solution you have been looking for. A not very expensive way of making someone smile 🙂

3. 2018 House Blessing.

The perfect Christmas gift for friends and family. Every Catholic home should have one. Epiphany 6th January (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time-honored Christian tradition of blessing ones house. What does the inscription 20 + C + M + B + 18 mean? The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The 3 crowns represent the 3 Kings. The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “18” at the end mark the year.

4. Virgin Mary Tote Bag. (4 colours available)

This bag, besides being beautiful, is a fantastic tool for evangelisation. Believers and non-believers alike will be drawn to the beauty of the design. The perfect opportunity to share the beauty of the Mother Mary with others! 4 designs available HERE.

5. Mantilla.

If you have not yet got your wife a mantilla, do so! Or perhaps ladies, you need to be getting yourself one and giving it to him to wrap! (This is what happens in our house 😉 !) And now we have the brand new Cathedral length mantilla veils. All come with free hair clips and slide and a satin Di Clara carry bag.

Ok and just one more bonus gift…

Priests Chalice Pall.

This is one for your priest. A beautifully embroidered Chalice pall to be used during Mass. A MUST for any Pope Benedict or Padre Pio fan.

Please come and visit www.diclara.co.uk for many other unusual and beautiful ideas for Christmas. Available only while stocks last.

Today I was received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun!

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Today I was received into Carmelite formation. Really – I couldn’t be happier! 🙂 It seems as if my whole life has lead me up to this point. Now I am part of a family where I will have the space and the resources to discover and develop a part of myself that has been screaming to get out for a very, very long time.

I have been asking people to pray for me on Facebook regarding this over the last few weeks and to my great amusement, there were quite  a large number of people who congratulated me on becoming a nun! This got even funnier when they realised I was married with 3 kids!

Let me explain…

In the Carmelite (ocds) order there are the First Order – the friars (who are active/contemplative), the Second Order – the nuns (who are cloistered) and the Third Order (or ‘Seculars’) – laypeople who continue to live in the world, and can be married or single, and diocesan priests. I am becoming a Third Order (secular) Carmelite.  The seculars are fully part of the Order, taking similar promises to friars and nuns but related to their lives as lay people.

The first part of my formation lasts 1-2 years. At the end of this time I will make my First Promise. Then there is a second period of formation lasting 4-5 years. At the end of this time I will make my Final (life long) Promise. After this I will become a fully fledged Carmelite.

The charism (or spiritual focus) of the Carmelite Order is contemplation. But a very important point is to understand that Carmelites understand contemplation and action to be complementary, not contradictory. This is a particularly important point to grasp because I am living the Carmelite charism within my vocation as a wife and a mother. The two actually fit together hand in hand beautifully, and is perfectly described in the famous quote for Teresa of Avila “God is found among the pots and pans.”

The Carmelite Order is considered by the Church to be under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and has a strong Marian devotion. ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order.

We wear the Brown Scapular (which is basically a tiny habit!)

We say the Divine Office morning, evening and night prayer.

We follow the rule of St Albert.

Some famous Carmelite saints you may have heard of are Teresa of ÁvilaSaint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Saint John of the Cross, St. Simon Stock and many more…

It is a way of life. A spirituality focused on the interior life – prayer from the heart, relationship with God.

I am really just scratching the surface here! And lets not forget I’m just a beginner! But I hope this goes some way to explaining what I am doing in my life now and the fact that even though I have just been received into formation, I have not just become a nun!

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I’m becoming a Carmelite!

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I’m not going to go into the long and drawn out story of how i got to this point in my life, other than to say that I didn’t realise there was a name for what i experience, and that name can be condensed into one word – Carmel. For those who understand no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, I’m afraid no explanation is possible. My heart has been in Carmel since i was 4 years old and it has taken my spirit 30 long painful wrenching years to catch up! But now it seems I can be whole again and it is time for me to take my first few steps into the home i knew was out there and have been desperately searching for my whole life.

This week i was enrolled with the brown scapular (to find out more about the brown scapular click here). Look at my big happy face! 

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It will take around 6 years in total before i can make my final profession as a secular carmelite and I would ask you now to pray for me as i start this incredibly exciting new part of my life! 

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That is all i will say for now other than if you want to know who made my beautiful brown scapular – it was my amazingly patient and kind friend Lynne and you can see more of her work here.

The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.”  ― Teresa of Ávila