I am a big fan of St. Joseph. BIG fan. Patron of the Church, Patron of Canada, always been a fan, and my husband has shared his deep devotion to the best model of a husband and dad with me! So I was very happy when the installation of Pope Francis was going to take place on March 19! I watched as much of the mass as I could, waiting til the last second to turn it off when my living room was full of the teenagers who come over every Tuesday morning for a class. I LOVED the points Pope Francis made in his homily about protection. Protecting creation, our world, protecting life and our families and protecting Christ in our life, our relationship with him and union with him through sacramental grace! There is a work plan for years of life right there!!

Then yesterday I had a strong experience of just how much our world needs Our Lady, the Undoer of Knots.

Pope Francis is clearly very devoted to Our Lady, but one of the Marian devotions he has an affinity for is one you may not be very familiar with! it is Our Lady the Undoer of Knots. As a cardinal, he spread devotion to her through out all Argentina. And as soon as you read a little more about her, you will probably understand why our world needs her so much right now.

The devotion dates back to St. Irenaeus in the 3rd Century who described Mary by her obedience untying the knot that Eve tied with her disobedience. Likewise, Mary is all to happy to intercede for us as we struggle with all the “knots” that are with us in our life;

But what are these knots? There are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution … knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home. There are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God.(from the website)

If you are seeking freedom from any of those “knots” in your life, join us in a Novena to Mary, the Undoer of Knots! We will be starting today, Saturday, and ending on Easter Sunday! What a beautiful way to stay beside Mary during Holy Week! Please see the novena prayers at the link below, and pray with us! Know that each of you will be specially remembered in our prayers as we pray this novena for the next 9 days.


And then just yesterday… This happened (Click to watch the video)

2 popes

In the chapel, the Pope emeritus offered the place of honor to Pope Francis, but he said: “We are brothers,” and wanted them to kneel together in the same pew. Source



Wow, our world is blessed!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and a blessed and joyful Easter.

Remember, today is a GREAT day to change your life!



Everything I see, everything I read, it just gets better and better, I LOVE the gift that God gave to us all in this new Pope. Sometimes people describe themselves as the “JPII Generation” or say that Benedict was THEIR Pope and I never felt that either applied to me. I was very blessed, I had the opportunity to see both JPII and Benedict numerous times. John Paul in Rome in 2001 and at WYD in Toronto in 2002, and Benedict in Rome in 2006 and 2007, and in Washington DC and New York in 2008. I tried to read their encyclicals, I started this blog to spur me on to read and try to digest and apply to my day-to-day life what my Holy Father (whoever he might be at the time) was saying.  But everything he does and says, even this little wave

from Catholic Memes on Facebook

Just makes me love him more and more! I am so excited for the Church, for the World, for every Catholic who might be reached by this humble holy man, because his style, his words, his kindness is just so attractive!

The title of this post, ‘an open mind and a believing heart’ is a paraphrase from a homily of Cardinal Bergoglio and the cardinals through their dean, cardinal Sodano, promised to keep that attitude as they work to serve the Church with their new Pontiff. see here

In Pope Francis’ first homily as Pope he spoke about three kinds of movement, walking, building and professing. (Full text here) short version here:

“Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong”…”Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!”…”When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.”…” When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly”

I have been trying to keep up with that our wonderful new Pope has been saying, and this quote really struck me:

“Let us never give in to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day. Do not give in to pessimism and discouragement. We have the firm certainty that the Holy Spirit gives the Church with His mighty breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. The Christian truth is attractive and persuasive because it responds to the deep needs of human existence, convincingly announcing that Chirst is the only Saviour of the whole person and of all persons. This announcement is as valid today as it was at the beginning of Christianity when there was a great missionary expansion of the Gospel.

quote also from here

Theres just so much, its all powerful and moving and so kind and gentle and, normal! Understandable without being too philosophical or too deep or complex, like this message:


Welcome Papa!

“And now I would like to give you my blessing. But before I do, I would like to ask you a favor: before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that He bless me…. the prayer of the people for a blessing upon their bishop. Let us take a moment of silence for you to offer your prayer for me.”

Most powerful words of the day. I was pretty much stunned when I watched our brand new Holy Father ask for our blessing! I felt so united and close to this man that yesterday I had barely heard of, and so united as a whole Church as we prayed together, we NEED each other, we need our Pope and he needs us! Let’s not stop praying for him, and I look forward to getting to know him better every day!

Quote from http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-1st-words

quick takes vol III

— 1 —

This little girl became half a year old!

6mos We have certainly smiled a great deal more, slept a little less, and become a stronger holier family in these past 6 months!

— 2 —

I started, and finished this book! Yes, all within a week. It was a quick read, not the most exquisite writing, but quite a riveting story, bringing together midwifery, which I love to read stories about, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where my parents-in-law live and we spent Christmas, and Finnish culture, which I really didn’t know anything about at all, but my husband’s maternal grandmother is Finnish, and it is a fascinating culture. If you are interested in any of those things I would recommend it.

— 3 —

bridalfair I filled my kitchen with these lovely ladies to host a little brunch for my sister who is newly engaged and starting the wedding planning adventure! We then took her to the Wedding Expo craziness which happens this time of year, along with two other soon-to-be-cousins. 2013 is going to be a big year for weddings, on both sides of my extended family!

— 4 —

twins We where the happy hosts to some cousins of mine, and baby girl got to spend some time playing with her nearly-twin-cousin.

— 5 —

In this year of Faith, I want to share this beautiful quote from Pope Benedict XVI:

Like Abraham, we too are called to let faith shape our thoughts and actions in accordance with God’s saving word, even when this runs contrary to the thinking and ways of this world. With the eyes of faith, we discern God’s presence and his promise of eternal life beyond the realities of this present existence. In opening ourselves to God’s blessing, we become in turn a blessing for others. full text here

When I looked up that quote, from the Holy Father’s Wednesday audience this week, I found a link on Vatican Radio where you can watch the actual audience! It’s mostly in other languages than English  so there were only a few parts I could understand, but I love getting to see Pope Benedict’s face and watch him and pray for him!

— 6 —

I am one (Real) step closer to getting a bit more exercise – I registered for 5 classes of hot yoga. I don’t buy into any of the yoga life style stuff, but living through the Canadian winter I sure can appreciate the “hot” part! It’s like diving into a cool pool on a hot summers day, sitting in a hot room on a cold winter day has about the same effect!

— 7 —

I tried to do some “pinterest projects” this week, even though I do a horrible job of keeping my pinterest boards anything near interesting, ideas I like I am trying to actually DO instead of pin and look at. So this week I accomplished a couple;

  • made my own baby wipes (very easy. nothing to brag about)
  • froze fresh herbs in olive oil for use later
  • froze large ice cubes in muffin tins with slices of lemon in them to use in water pitchers
  • tried some new recipes – chicken curry, vegetable stock, two kids of peanutbutter squares and today; eggplant parmigiana

  • for number 3 my cousin and sisters and I made pretty little veils for the brides to wear to the wedding fair, and I also printed out labels with each of the brides info on them to make it easier for them to enter the many draws that they have at these things! (tip: use a new email address eg .peoelopeandrichard@email.com because this email WILL get spammed to kingdom come!)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Cheesecake Recipe

As promised, the New York-White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake with an Oreo crust!

cheesecake 1cheesecake 2

crush Oreos in a zip lock bag, mix with melted butter and press down firmly into bottom of cheesecake pan.
Bake at 325°F  for 10 minutes

cheesecake 3cheesecake 4

Mix other ingredients as specified and pour into your pan

cheesecake 5

I find drizzling through a piping method a lot easier to get thin, straight-ish lines

cheesecake 6

drag a knife very lightly through just the topmost layer of the cake, deep cuts will lead to HUGE deep cracks in the cake later.


Garnish, and enjoy!!

cheesecake 7

30 Oreo cookies, crushed
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
Bake at 325°F  for 10 minutes


4  (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
a generous amount white or semisweet chocolate chips or chopped bakers chocolate (or both)
raspberry jam

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing at low speed after each addition, just until blended.
Blend in sour cream, stir in chocolate, pour over crust.

Top with raspberry preserves or raspberry jam, warmed and drizzled on top through the corner of a small zip lock bag

Bake at 325°F for 30-40 minutes, reduce heat to 275°F and continue baking for an additional 40-50 minutes or until centre is almost set (still slightly “jiggly” when the pan is moved) remove from over and run knife around rim of pan to loosen.

Cool, refrigerate 4 hours or over night, garnish, and eat!

I garnished with chocolate drizzles and white chocolate flakes and would have added fresh raspberries if I had any

Recipe modified by my amazing  mother in law Melissa who took it originally from a Philadelphia Cream cheese cookbook
A lot of things could be added to the basic New York recipe instead of what we did; fresh/frozen/canned fruit, caramel, pumpkin etc. Its the sour cream that makes this basic cheesecake light and fluffy!recipe

The recipe can be halved, or “three quartered” for a smaller cake, if you have a smaller (6 or 8 inch) pan. This is quite a lot of cheese cake to eat, but if you have a lot of friends or family to invite over…. you can also freeze a few pieces, or half the cake! Its never a bad thing to have cheesecake in your freezer!

We can see God’s face!

So this past week I was trying to live like Mary, with peaceful acceptance of what God is asking in each moment….but that got kind of upstaged by the constant thought that “any day is a great day to change your life!” that kept running through my head. Either way, I  tried to start a few new things, one being exercise (we got to the class but it was full, but getting there was a heck of a lot closer than I have gotten in a long time! ) and the other being prayer, every morning, with my Love, offering our day up to God and having Saints, Scripture and the Spirit to learn from! Oh and I also have succeeded in finishing a book I was reading, completing a lot of back burner projects and making my way slowly through the Bible! Take that life – you’ve been changed! Now just to stick with it for another week!

This week on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I found this picture of the event and made it my computer wallpaper.

I have found myself looking at it a lot, and although the Jordan river is hardly done justice. When I saw it, it looked like this

it still has given me a lot to think about. I will pass on to you what I thought were the more beautiful words the Pope spoke on that feast day:

above all I would like to invite you all to remember your own Baptism, the spiritual rebirth that opened the way to eternal life to us. May every Christian, in this Year of Faith, rediscover the beauty of being reborn from on high, from the love of God, and live as a child of God.

But Pope Benedict just can’t get enough of Christ’s incarnation, of His revealing himself to us, and in doing so, revealing His Father to us as well. During the Audience on Wednesday the Holy Father talked about the disciple Philip asking Jesus to show him the Father:

“He[Philip] asks to ‘see’ the Father, to see his face. Jesus’ answer is an answer not only for Philip, but also for us and leads us into the heart of the Christological faith of the Church; the Lord affirms: ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.'”

The Holy Father goes on to say: “The whole of life should be directed towards encountering Him, towards loving Him; and, in it, a central place must also be given to the love of one’s neighbor, that love that, in the light of the Crucified One, enables us to recognize the face of Jesus in the poor, the weak, the suffering,” he said. “This is only possible if the true face of Jesus has become familiar to us in listening to His Word, in interior dialogue, in entering into this Word in such a way as to really encounter him, and naturally in the Mystery of the Eucharist.”

This photo is of a statue in Jerusalem that was made
from the shroud of Turin. If the shroud is Christ’s,
this is exactly what he looked like. (We got to see it 
before the museum exhibit was open, hence the
bubble wrap)

So I feel like maybe I have a bit of a head start on this week just because I am a little more in the habit of prayer and Sunday means Mass!! Yay! I love spending some time before Sunday getting pumped for mass, hopefully it can keep building all weekend so by the time Sunday morning rolls around I can take advantage of the beautiful opportunity to be at the Sacrifice of the Mass!



7 quick takes vol. II

— 1 —

Today (Friday) morning I am facilitating a book club meeting on this book which is basically permission and an admonishment to be aware of the media habits of our families and to be active in limiting the time and lifting the quality of media that our kids are exposed to, since its a powerful influence on their relationships, attention and privacy. I would appreciate prayers that the session goes well; my mom was supposed to come help with my nearly 6 month old baby but there is a ravaging flu travelling around and I’m not sure she will make it.

— 2 —

Speaking of media consumption, I found this book also very compelling, and pointed more at what I should do about myself instead of what I should try to make my kids do. Basically the premise is that just like mega companies making millions by selling junk food, there are mega companies making millions by selling junk information, and we have to again, be aware and be active of what information we are filling our heads with, just like we try to watch our eating habits.    Instead of giving into eating what we crave (but is no good for us, fats, sugar, etc) we should not fill ourself with information that is the same (gossip, affirmation, slander, tantalizing maybe but no good).

— 3 —

Did I mention it’s my birthday? I will post the recipe of my birthday cheesecake I made in case anyone wants to celebrate with me! (or more likely because its easy and delicious and um, cheesecake. need I say more?)

Plus it looks like this ->DSCI0246

— 4 —

After posting on Saturday I really wanted to make it mass a few times this week but it hasn’t worked yet. I made it to mass only on Sunday, I had plans to go today but woke up to a dump of 15 cm of snow and its still coming down, the road report this morning was 45 accidents already and I didn’t really want to be #46. Tomorrow. tomorrow. Good things can always begin tomorrow.  Sometimes when I say that I have to remind myself resolutions don’t have to be on new years, that anyday is a good day to change your life. I don’t know where I heard that but its a great motto!

— 5 —

Baby got her first tooth. And Daddy got his 4 wisdom teeth pulled out. All in all that’s a lot of dental related crummy feelings around this house for one week.


— 6 —

My wonderful mom and dad gave me a subscription to Magnificat for Christmas (or my birthday? not sure) I am so excited to use it! I haven’t ever really prayed the daily office for any length of time but have always wanted to, and now with this tool its a great day to start!

— 7 —

My husband just surprised me with some wonderfully thoughtful birthday gifts! one of which was a new winter coat! I am very very excited and happy about going out tomorrow morning in our new 10-12 inches of snow wearing this thing!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!