Faith In Our Families blog round-up 2015. Best year yet!

 

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2015 has been one of the most amazing years of my life. I’ve met some incredible people. I became a Carmelite. I discovered the Mass was not a re-enactment of the last supper – but that I am really at calvary during the ACTUAL crucifixion.  I got sued by a priest who later in the year decided to quit the priesthood. My husband was instantaneously healed from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I started my new vestments business -Di Clara. I met the relatives of St. Therese, and St Louis and Zelie Martin of Lisieux, and I read a bidding prayer at the Vatican!

 

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In January I asked How could I possibly have been so dumb? regarding the Mass. I also decided I was not sure I was ever going to be able to give the sign of peace again. After the tragic Charlie Hebdo  attacks I asked some serious questions regarding free speech and highlighted the violent collision between extreme secularism with extreme Islam. I also ate some old cheese and had a really weird dream. Then I wrote my most popular blog post ever at over 40,000 hits when the Pope outlined several new types of contraception for Catholics. I lamented at the social injustice as 2 Priests were denied joint gym membership, because they were not “In a relationship”! And finally asked why we are sometimes too ashamed to pray?

 

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In February I realised that taking our relationship for granted with our spouse, or with Jesus, was a terrible trap to fall into when I wrote another boring Valentines day, Another boring Mass. I also was a bit cheeky when I beat a lowlife at his own game in a Hilarious conversation between St. Therese of Lisieux and a Facebook scammer! We all had the privilege of learning The Little way of Fasting – by Fr. Aidan KieranI was also received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun! We also heard the incredible testimony From Gay Pride to True Humility: Joe’s amazing conversion story.

 

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In March I did the 33 day consecration to Our Lady for the first time. I spoke about how How Tinnitus Prepared me for Carmel. I promised NOT to throw eggs at Tina Beattie when she tried to give a lecture at my parish about how awesome same-sex relationships and women priests are. The next day I was thrilled to confirm that due to my blog post she had cancelled her upcoming talk! This lead me on to thinking abut Feminist Rage and the Power of Meekness. With all the shady dealings and kurfuffle surrounding the family synod, I wondered: Imagine if we had Facebook at the time of Vatican 2. I aksed everyone to Please sign this letter in support of the 500 faithful priests, families and our Church. And we saw what it looks like when When God’s Love Hurts.

 

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In April absolutely nothing happened. Except a good friend bought me a couple of books on the history of ecclesiastical vestments, and suggested I should have a bash at making some 🙂

 

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Fr Dan Fitzpatrick

 

In May I reported that a Catholic Priest Denies Burning Down 17 of the Ugliest Churches Ever Built. I tried to find solutions to being Too busy to pray? I went to visit the relics of Louis and Zelie Martin, and begged them to please help me with my marriage. Following the spineless attitude of the Bishops in regards to gay marriage I asked What is the future for the Catholic Church in Ireland? Then I decided to pull up a couple of heretics on their dodgy theology when Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad. Of course following this Fr Dan Fitzpatrick threatened to sue me! The story ended up going global and was even featured on Church Militant TV! After a good telling off from his Bishop, Fr. Dan published a letter saying he will now NOT sue me – because he’s too poor.

 

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In June I made a Banana Flavoured Altar Cake. I had a major Silent retreat FAIL. And I also retold the time I met Jesus face to face in My Medjugorje Trip, Day 4 – Adoration. Following the gay pride march I discussed how true Dignity comes from God. And as America legalised same-sex marriage and Facebook went rainbow coloured, I asked why everyone was Unfriending each other. Also, Pope Francis formally approved Louis and Zelie Martin – known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux – to be declared saints in October during the Family Synod. They would be the first married couple ever to be canonized together.

 

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In July I launched my new vestment making business – Di Clara, and took a look at some of the most horrific vestments ever created in Good vestments, bad vestments. I once again looked to Louis and Zelie Martin and learned about Love and Suffering – a practical lesson. And then was very please to report that Conservative Archbishop Leonard declares personal belief in Medjugorje. And with heavy hearts, me and my husband also started to make plans to live separately because the effects of long term illness on the marriage had become intolerable to live with for both of us on a day to day basis.

 

 

In August I began a novena to Louis and Zelie Martin in desperation for my marriage. I got hundreds of Facebook friends to pray with me as he started the Lightning Process treatment course. Half way through the novena, on the second day of treatment – 11th August (the feast of St. Clare) Nick made a sudden, unexplainable and full recovery from CFS and I was able to give everyone the amazing news that My Husband is WELL!!! The world also saw Over 320 Simultaneous international rallies against the butchers that call themselves Planned Parenthood. And we learned about the 4 different terms the ancient greeks used for the word Love.

 

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In September I started preparing for the year of mercy by recalling that 17 years ago I took the morning after pill. Today I went to confession. I also talked about what happens When your Baby makes you say Grace in Nando’s. We also learned the terrifying news that German Bishops break with Rome and inaugurate Dalek as their new supreme Pontiff.

I also lost one of my best mates in September. I still have no idea why. I’m still completely gutted 🙁 I wish we could be friends again.

 

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In October I spoke about Fidelity in our relationship to Christ as a priest in Rome decided to publicly leave to be with his boyfriend at the start of the Family Synod. I talked about the indissolubility of the sacraments in  So Un-Baptise me then…!  We took a long hard look at Caitlyn Jenner – the golden calf of gender theory. And stated to realise that The Time of the Lukewarm Church is Over. We also asked the apocalyptic question: 2017 – Are you ready? Oh – and I did a bidding prayer at the Vatican during the canonisation Mass of Louis and Zelie Martin! I also spent the afternoon chatting to the relatives of Louis and Zelie, and their famous daughter – my sister in Carmel – St Therese of Lisieux! That’s one conversation I am never going to forget 🙂 Thank you Louis and Zelie for surprising me and making more than one dream come true for me this year <3

 

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In November I showed how our family celebrates All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. I also finished my Lily And Pomegranate Black 5 piece vestment set. I asked: Ok Jesus, so how exactly am I supposed to love ISIS?Following the second tragically sad ISIS attack of the year aimed at France, I asked some pretty serious questions regarding radical Islam Vs radical secularism in Would you die to protect Western values? I wouldn’t. I began to come to terms with the fact that western society, weakened by generations of cultural Marxism,  is simply not strong enough to cope with the influx of (at least) 60 million muslim migrants in Giving Everything. I finished the month by visiting the Mosque near me that was recently arsoned.

 

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In December I learned that Fr Dan Fitzpatrick had decided to leave the priesthood following a meeting in which his Bishop had unsuccessfully put forward the case for married clergy to the other Bishops of England and Wales.  I also found out about the shocking things that had been going on at Ushaw seminary in The silent problem within priestly formation. I also took a good look at Celibacy and the Priesthood. Then I began to understand that the Christian influences Muhammed was exposed to were Christian heretics in: From Santa Claus to Islam: An Arian Triumph. I was honoured to feature a guest post written by Dr Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass society: Catholic Bishops ask Rome to change Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews – because it is not politically correct enough. And then I spent some time Gazing at my Father. Finally this year I spoke about how I knew a miracle was going to happen regarding my husbands health in “The air feels soft – like Christmas.” and was delighted to announce that after 2 years at home, my husband will be returning to full time work in the new year 🙂

 

Zelie &amp; Louis Martin

I will never be able to thank you enough for your intercession this year, beloved St’s Louis and Zelie Martin.

 

Like I said, this really has been one of the most amazing years of my life. And I cannot express enough how much it means to be able to share what is going on in my life and in my heart with all of you. Of course I do not share everything that goes on in my heart – some things are just for me, but I do share 95% of what goes on in there 🙂 and I hope in some way it can begin to alleviate the isolation that so many of us feel. And besides, this blog is basically my diary – and writing it saves me hundreds of pounds on would-be therapists!!

 

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I love Jesus. I am His child. My whole life is for Him. Without the unceasing help from our beautiful mother Mary I would not know how to follow Him. She guides me on, fully aware of my hopeless limitations and inadequacies. You see, luckily for me God is not looking for perfection, He is looking for us to trust in Him and let go of ourselves. And when we do, our tiny insignificant ordinary lives suddenly become extraordinary, and as we begin to find God in the pots and pans (Teresa of Avila) we suddenly find He is using our prayers and our obedience to move mountains in other peoples lives – usually those closest to us.

Thank you for all your support of the blog this year – you know this is the best Catholic blog out there 😉 and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you!

Clare x

 

Silent retreat FAIL.

So I’ve just come back from my first Carmelite silent retreat. It was awesome.

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With 3 kids and a sick husband i could only commit to going for 24 hours so I was determined to make the most of it. Of course my alarm didn’t go off the morning i was going, so I arrived late and unfortunately i missed the first talk.

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When I did get there I suddenly realised that i had completely forgotten to reply to the original email so there for i had forgotten to book a room, and it seems they were fully booked.

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Thankfully, one of the other seculars was leaving that afternoon, so they allowed me to stay in her room. I apologised, and thanked her – in silence.

Actually the silence was exactly what i needed. I was tired from my stressful morning and 2 hour drive and so the first thing i did was to make a cup of tea and go and find a nice spot in the beautiful grounds to sit quietly on my own. Of course at this point it started raining.

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Never mind. There was some benches undercover, and the chapel was open 24/7. So i had a little explore round silently on my own.

After about an hour i started getting restless. An hour of silence is a complete luxury for me. In fact i would go as far as to say it is completely alien. I have 3 screaming kids and an unemployed husband. My home is NOT a quiet place. I’m just not used to it any more. I didn’t realise how noisy my life had become.

But the real issue was the fact that the silence was making me aware of all the internal noise going on within me. It was actually making me extremely uncomfortable. Ironically, at home, the constant screaming and shouting actually serves to distract me from what is going on inside me. But now i was in a situation where the silence was forcing me to confront the things inside. It was ugly. I didn’t want to admit a lot of stuff. I needed to find a distraction.

So i got my phone out and went on Facebook. In silence.

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When I had finally summed up enough courage to instruct my friends to block me for the next 24 hours because i was on silent retreat (because i have no will power AT ALL) I finally found myself alone. With God.

I couldn’t take it! I just COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! So i started talking to myself. Out loud.

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Thankfully at this point it was time for the second talk which focused on Teresa of Avila and how she described our own personal relationship with God as something that is inseparable from our relationship within our own communities, and how we need great humility to be able to live this active/contemplative life of prayer. And even though the talk was excellent and hit exactly the right chord – this was pretty much the last straw for me.

I had to face the ugly fact that i had been using prayer as a distraction from my responsibilities as a wife and a mother. The truth is that i’m not particularly enjoying my vocation at the moment. It feels like i am completely trapped in a life of screaming kids and “conversations” about the fact that we have not had an income for 18 months and what the hell we are going to do about it.  My home feels like a prison. God is the jailer and my sentence is marriage and family (God forgive me for saying so…)

To admit the fact that i am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and heavily resenting my vocation is something i had been avoiding admitting to myself for a long, long time. Besides – when you are in the situation of constant noise and relentless activity, the exhaustion becomes, well, normal. It is only when faced with silence, real silence, that the external and internal distractions start to melt away and I find myself alone with God. This is Carmel.

“Ok.” I said out loud. “If i’m going to have to face this with You then I’m going to need a packet of Cigarettes.”

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“WHAT???!!!” I hear you say – “A Catholic mother of 3 smoking???!!! On retreat???!!!”  Yes, I’m afraid so. I spent most of the rest of the evening sitting outside in the rain smoking, and and polarising between being extremely angry with God, and begging Him for help. In fact I stayed out there so long into the night, I actually found myself locked out of the retreat centre. In the rain.

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So eventually they let me in and I went to my room to dry my tears and lay down in the silence – until the fire alarm went of at 1am and proceeded to “BLAH!BLAH!BLAH!” until 4am.

Awesome silent retreat. Awesome.

Banana Flavoured Altar Cake!

For those of you who don’t know already, I had my own cake business for 9 years. I was sadly forced to close the business after same-sex marriage became law here in the UK last year, and it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the law was not going to protect my right to follow my religious beliefs in regard to traditional marriage.

After all – I wouldn’t want anyone threatening to sue me now would I? 😉

Well, it just so happens that a priest friend of mine was celebrating a significant birthday recently and I had the pleasure of making him a cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this cake. And before someone says “blahdy-blahdy-blah…” not everything is necessarily accurate. I have used a bit of artistic license! It is just a cake after all.

The cake itself was banana sponge, and the flowers are all made out of sugar. The monstrance, cross, pillars, and statue are plastic. The rest is made out of icing. The stained glass window is a giant biscuit filled with coloured melted sugar to make the glass. The whole thing took about 2 days to make. And yes – he loved it!

Anyway, all glory to God!… Enjoy!

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Fr. Dan now publicly publishes letter saying he will NOT sue me because he’s poor- but continues to slander my name!

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Well by the end of yesterday I was starting to feel a little bit of sympathy for Fr. Dan who has had to face the music. Then this morning he posts this *remarkable* letter on Twitter. He is still accusing me of abusive/insulting language towards him, yet still fails to produce any evidence of this AT ALL.

Thankfully he has admitted he was wrong in calling the Holy Spirit a female – he was simply re-tweeting Fr James Martin (who must also be wrong then?) And that the post in favour of gay marriage was ‘not his own views’ but simply put their to encourage discussion! Does this mean that you actually think the Marriage can only exist between 1 woman and 1 man Fr Dan? Would you like to actually come out and affirm that for us all? Go on – I dare you.

Well, I’m glad to see him apologise for his Holy Spirit comments …

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Catholic Priest threatens Mum of 3 with legal action, because she told him off for saying that the Holy Spirit is female, and then he lies on Twitter about her!

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Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick

This is not a spoof post. This actually happened.

So my in previous article I wrote about how Fr James Martin SJ and Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick had been tweeting about how the Holy Spirit was female:

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And how both of them had been sharing posts saying that ‘Ireland is for gay marriage because it is Catholic’.

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And I gave them both a jolly good clip round the ear about openly contradicting the teachings of the Catholic church. Well, this morning I got a message from Fr Dan threatening me with legal action because I was ‘defaming his character’.

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I messaged him back saying:

“Would you like to tell me the 2 statements that cause you upset? I would be happy to rephrase anything that is not correct.”

He messaged back with:

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Edited out some of the abusive comments??! I did nothing of the sort! The truth is that there were no abusive comments to begin with. It is all there in black and white, clear as crystal for the whole world to read. There was however an extremely abusive comment from a lady who seems to hate me. I was able to track her IP address to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Does anyone know who Christine Wright is?

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Anyway, I wrote back to Fr. Dan saying:

“Again, if you tell me exactly what 2 statements are bothering you, I am happy to rephrase them. From a legal point of view, because I have offered to amend any offending statements, the problem can be resolved and there is no reason to take the matter further. Your solicitor will be able to explain this to you in more detail.

Besides, suing me because I pulled you up on calling the Holy Spirit ‘her’ is going to be rather difficult for you as what you said is in direct contradiction to the Catholic faith!

As I said before, the best thing you can do now is to admit you didn’t understand the ancient Hebrew, and stop listening to Fr James Martin. I’m throwing you a life line here! I gave you the chance to put your side across before I wrote the article. I’m giving you another chance now to redeem yourself. Don’t waste it. I will always support priests who defend the churches teaching. Come back to us Fr Dan. Don’t sell yourself out. I couldn’t bear to watch that happen to a young priest. All my prayers and fasting next week is for you xx”

A few hours later I was alerted to the fact that Fr. Dan had posted a rather bizarre Tweet:

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WHAT???!!! I did nothing of the sort! What am I supposed to be apologising for?

I’m afraid to tell you that I did no such thing. This is a bare faced lie from Fr Dan, obviously trying to close down the whole affair because he realises by this point that I am not one to be scared off by threats or bullying. But wait.. there’s more! Then his best mate Fr Marc Lyden-Smith gets on board:

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I’m sorry – am I missing something here?! Has everyone seen this alleged apology except me?! Can anyone tell me what I apologised for?!

Fr Marc is the other half of the duo ‘The PodFathers’ With Fr Dan. You can hear their pod casts at http://thepodfrs.blogspot.co.uk/

'The PodFathers' - Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick and Fr Marc Lyden-Smith

‘The PodFathers’ – Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick and Fr Marc Lyden-Smith

Actually Fr Marc seems rather pleasant in the above Tweet. Much more pleasant than he was last night:

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Hmmm… Where’s all your feel good peace and love gone Fr. Marc?

And then of course there was this:

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I’m not sure Faith in Our Families has ever been described as an offensive blog before?! But I guess there is a first time for everything! I also guess it’s good news that I have ‘seen sense’ and deleted all these fictitious libellous comments!

Please – Fr Dan, could you produce these libellous comments for us all to see? No, I didn’t think so.

What appalling behaviour from 2 Catholic priests. It’s just embarrassing. I will be speaking to their Bishop.

Well, time is ticking on. There is only a few hours left until midnight, when Fr Dan will launch his legal campaign against me. Although I’m not sure what suing a Mum of 3 with a recovering husband will do to for his already damaged reputation. He certainly wont get any money out of us – as regular readers of this blog know, our family has not had an income for over 18 months now!

Someone please notify Michael Voris would you?! And the CDF while you are at it! I’ve got a headache…

Catholic Priest Denies Burning Down 17 of the Ugliest Churches Ever Built.

Polish born Fr. Pileov Ash.

Polish born Fr. Pileov Ash.

Police are questioning a 38 year old Catholic priest on charges of arson after 17 out of 18 churches he was stationed at burned to the ground over a 13 year period. Polish born Fr. Pileov Ash denies the charges saying that the events are an “unexplainable co-incidence”.

As part of the interrogation process, Fr. Ash has been asked to take a lie detector test while being exposed to a series of slides – each containing photographs of some of the churches he was stationed at before the fires took place.

“Fr. Ash, please could you tell us a little about each of these churches?”

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Austria.

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Austria.

“Oh yes! I remember this one – there was so much glass used in the design of this building. It used to heat up like a greenhouse. Sometimes temperatures would reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I felt so sorry for the congregation. They reminded me of trapped ants getting frazzled under a magnifying glass. One time a woman’s hair set on fire – just like that! Spontaneously combusted. I think it was a weave…”

Catholic Cathedral of Brasilia.

Catholic Cathedral of Brasilia.

“Ahhhh! Brazillia. I always said those candle stands looked dodgy. They wobbled if you looked at them. Really, really wobbley. In hindsight i should have done more to fix them than just jamming a folded up parish newsletter under one of the feet. Live and learn I guess?!”

L'église Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay, France. And 'Mater' from Disney's Cars.

L’église Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay, France. And ‘Mater’ from Disney’s Cars.

“To model a church on a Disney character is something I never really understood to be honest. Especially one that has a petrol engine. Petrol = fire. That’s all I have to say.”

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Vienna.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Vienna.

“Jesus wept… *long deep sigh* The architecture of the 1970’s was as stupid and ugly as its theology… *another long deep sigh* Forgive them Father, They didn’t know what they were doing… *yet another long deep sigh*

Santa Monica Catholic Church, Spain. And a Spaceship.

Santa Monica Catholic Church, Spain. And a Spaceship.

“I have no idea how the fire started, but at its peak there were flames literally shooting out of the windows at the back. It reminded me of an episode of StarTrek from 1968 where the Klingon’s were attempting to jump to warp speed. I almost expected the entire building to lift off and boldly go where no man has gone before.”

San Paolo Catholic Church, Italy.

San Paolo Catholic Church, Italy.

“Forensics traced the source of this fire back to the sacristy. That didn’t surprise me at all. There was just so much polyester in there. At night you could hear crackling and literally see sparks as the low quality vestments brushed against each other. The levels of static electricity in that place were OFF THE CHART. Vanpoulles has got a lot to answer for.”

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, England.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, England.

“The Metropolitan famously has the nickname ‘The Chimney’. You can see why. The place was literally one big furnace. An accident waiting to happen if you ask me. White smoke was bellowing out of the top like a new Pope had just been chosen! I guess that’s why all the people were clapping and cheering?”

Iglesia de la Consolación, Spain.

Iglesia de la Consolación, Spain.

“This one deserved to die. I hated it. It was so ugly, so embarrassing, so rectangle, so depressing. It actually made me ashamed to be a Catholic. Not that I started the fire of course – you understand that right? Are you recording this?”

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, California.

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, California.

“Now this one was the fault of the architect. Who in their right mind would create a window that long at the front of the building? When opened, the whole place acted like a giant bellows. It created a back-draft that whipped up the votive candles in their pastel coloured glass holders into an inferno the likes of which I have never seen before – or since. The front doors burst open and several giant fireballs shot out. It was like watching a huge angry metal dragon with indigestion.”

Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora da Glória in Maringá, Brazil.

Catedral Basílica Menor Nossa Senhora da Glória in Maringá, Brazil.

“This one reminded me so much of a witches hat. You know what they used to do with witches in the middle ages? They used to burn them. Oh yes, they used to burn them. WHAAAAAaaaaaaa!!!!”

St. Anne's Church, England

St. Anne’s Church, England

“Now this was such a shame. I was trying to make a cup of tea and I accidentally left the large box of PG Tip’s on the gas stove. It wouldn’t have been a problem except that the gas stove was on at the time. I had also left a pan of hot oil on the boil and accidentally tossed my lit cigarette end into the bin – which was located just underneath the 1960’s purple paisley patterned nylon curtains. Silly me! Silly, silly me!”

Christus, Hoffnung der Welt in Donau City, Austria.

Christus, Hoffnung der Welt in Donau City, Austria.

“Oh c’mon! It’s a giant microwave! What did you expect?!”

Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp in Ronchamp, France.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp in Ronchamp, France.

“Seriously, I was only at this parish for 2 weeks when the accident happened. The best person to speak to about this is the 94 year old permanent Deacon based in that parish. Go and speak to him. His name is Offring – Deacon Burt Offring.”

Kappal Matha Church in Uvari, India. (This. Really. Is. A. Catholic. Church.)

Kappal Matha Church in Uvari, India.
(This. Really. Is. A. Catholic. Church.)

Fr. Ash remained silent when shown this slide, but detectives did notice that his heart rate went up to almost 190 bpm and he started sweating profusely and omitted a low growling noise.

The Vatican has responded through the Liturgical Art and Sacred Music Commission, saying that Fr. Ash and Deacon Offring are obviously innocent of any crime. “The real crime” they say “is that these monstrosities were allowed to be built in the first place.”

Sources in Rome also report that in a highly unusaul move, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has recommended Fr. Ash and Deacon Offring for immediate canonisation stating that “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” and that “The fire of the Holy Spirit moves where it will.” He went onto to say that it was “Miraculous” that not a single person was hurt in any of the fires and that God has obviously chosen these two men to “clear the way” for new architects that want to restore the “dignity, beauty and reverence” that has been disregarded in Catholic architecture over the last two generations.

The case continues…