A big thank you to Maria Franklin for organizing and sharing her experience of this wonderful event!
How wonderful to be able to share my reflections on this day – both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday.
The new My Saint My Hero classes bring women together looking to deepen their faith and enjoy creative fun within the intimate space of our Experience Boutiques – It’s part of the blessing revolution beginning to take shape in the community!
For two days last week we were able to offer 20 women the opportunity amidst our busy lives, to slow down and learn about the meaning of Lent with Fr. Charbel of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington. He spoke about being attentive to our own patterns and triggers that distance us from God. While shaking a water bottle with dirt in it, he attempted to look through the cloudy murky water; he could not see through it. However, when he sat the bottle down, the dirt settled to the bottom allowing clear vision through the bottle. I grasped the meaning of this imagery: that the busier I am the harder it is to see through and really examine my life. I must be still – only then will I see clearly to take inventory of my ways, reactions and intentions. I realized my need to slow down and make a commitment devoting time to Jesus this Lent.
Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. James 4:8
We then painted our own beautiful journal covers guided by the talented local watercolor artist Suzy Cyr. Each of us left ready to begin our own “journaling pilgrimage”, learning ways to create a daily routine to meditate, write and reflect on our lives and open our hearts to hear His word….
Speak Lord your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:10
I was fortunate to be part of these evenings offered; laughing, learning, and stretching not only our artistic abilities but together also stretching our faith encouraging each other to walk closely these next 40 days with Jesus.
BE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE THROUGHOUT THESE NEXT 40 DAYS!
In the weeks leading up to this week of Advent we’ve focused on our misery, the darkness we live in, the need for our redemption, and the desire of our hearts to be rescued by a Savior.
This week, however, just as the colors of the candles on the Advent wreath, our reflections take a turn, from longing to rejoicing. Gaudete! This week is all about the joyful hope that springs from our faith that He, our Savior, is indeed coming among us! The reading today (Song of Songs 2: 8-14) is absolutely gorgeous.
“Hark! my lover–here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.”
Our Lord is the Ultimate Romantic
” My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!”
When was the last time you allowed Our Lord to romance your heart? To allow yourself to be washed by His merciful love, let His love heal your heart, fill the voids and chase away the darkness of fears, doubts, and sin? He longs for you today,
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, For your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”
Do Not Be Afraid
Do not be afraid of such love, for your heart was designed for it. That longing in your heart was put there by God Himself for Him to fill. His love is beyond our comprehension and stronger than death, doubt, or any fear. But He waits for you, until you open the door of your heart, even just a crack, because of His love and respect for you. He desires you to desire Him.
This Christmas He is born for you. He comes as a tiny, helpless babe so you can let down your guard. He calls to your heart and yearns to be nestled in your arms. Let this love melt away any hardness and draw your heart to Him in gratitude.
Today’s post and photos comes to you from our Brand Curator, Madi. A big thank you to her for sharing her experience and reflections with us!
Advent, which began on Sunday, is the beginning of the new year in the church. The word itself means coming. Oh the beauty of new beginnings, the freshness of new seasons. How beautiful is it that we have a church that starts its new year in winter, a season of darkness and nature taking its course to journey to new life. It’s so like Jesus to do that, to give us newness in the old, to come in the darkest night, the darkest time of the year, and bring His dazzling light in the form of a child in a manger in Bethlehem.
One way to prepare this Advent is to dive into traditions and prayer with the family. This season is such a sweet time of traditions, preparation, hope and the chance to start anew.
The Advent Wreath
Our My Saint My Hero Experience Boutique hosted an Advent Experience this past week. We gathered around the table in community to make Advent Wreaths, something we’d love to share with you in the hopes that you too can find renewal in the season with your family. If you wanted to make your own simpler Advent wreath, all you’d need is faux eucalyptus garland around a gold wreath candle holder and Advent candles.
Why Have an Advent Wreath?
Our dear friend, Father Kalu, shared with us the meaning of this beautiful tradition, emphasizing “the family that prays together, stays together” (Father Patrick Peyton). He explained that there are four candles in an advent wreath, one lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Each candle symbolizes the four centuries of waiting before Christ’s birth. On the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, the purple candles are lit, symbolizing prayer, penance and the royalty of Jesus. On the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit, symbolizing the joy of the Lord.
The Advent wreath is a beautiful opportunity for prayer as the candles are lit, especially together with the family. You could reflect on Scripture together or pray over a different person each week. Amongst the women that were there, we shared glory stories of the Lord’s faithfulness in prayer within our families – it is hard, vulnerable, and attacked, but the fruits of this prayer together are so worth it all.
Let’s gather together this season, friends, and begin again this Advent season to prepare a way for the coming of our Savior. Let’s light the world up today with His love, especially amongst our families.
When was the last time a certain song played over the radio and it was like you were instantaneously transported back to a specific time or place in your life? Perhaps it brought you back to your college days? A fun dance off or karaoke moment at a party? That first date? The first time you drove alone in your very own car? A flood of emotions stirred within you and all these memories and feelings seemed to be so present, right there in front of you. It’s a strong yet involuntary reaction that can change our mood and affects us. Certain sights, smells and sounds that are powerfully linked with our memories have the incredible ability to move us and remind us of certain times, things, and people.
“For more than a thousand years, church bells have rung out throughout the world to call Christians to prayer. At midday and a few minutes before every mass, bells ring out from tiny villages, to mission churches, to the skyscraper-filled cities. Bells also ring inside the churches – at the sacred moment when Christ becomes present again. And now, with this necklace, a bell rings for you too.
Your personal story is a unique and essential part of a much bigger story. You are a vital part of God’s divine plan. You are a beautiful chime in the harmony of life. Listen to the ringing of the bell, imagine all the other bells, and smile: the Good Shepherd will never let you wander beyond the reach of His care.”
-Fr. John Bartunek, LC ThD (RCSpirituality.com)
Awaken and Listen
The ringing of bells makes us stop and listen, if only for a moment, and it tells us that God is present very near, within ear shot. It is a sweet invitation to come visit Him, or in the least think of Him, and that in itself is a prayer, a simple “I love you” to Him.
Wear this necklace and let the gentle chime remind you that you are never alone. God sends you his company of angels and saints. His providence guides you through every struggle, sorrow, victory and joy. When you hear this chime, allow it to awaken your senses to the presence of the angels and saints.
You Are Not Alone
The chime of a bell will always remind me of the classic Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life. “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”. Know that as often as you hear the chime of this bell around your neck, your Guardian Angel is beside you, protecting you, guiding you, and is your very own faithful friend from heaven. Find comfort that the Archangels: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, are your advocates. With the feast day of the Archangels on September 29th, and the Guardian Angels on October 2nd, we are surrounded with reminders that these powerful allies are ever present to help us on our journey to heaven.
The Awaken Angel Chime Necklace
The bell is inscribed with the My Saint My Hero logo; a cross and the intertwined letters A & M for Auspice Maria, meaning “under the protection of Mary.” This represents the saints as they walked under the protection of Mary and in union with Christ. The chain has seven crystal stones representing the seven archangels.
Designed with love, may you be blessed by the community of love and prayer at My Saint My Hero. Your purchase enables us to use the power of giving to help transform lives and make the world a better place.
God has something to say to you today, at this very moment.
He is with you right now. In fact, He never stops thinking about you: You really matter to Him.
This is the heart of Jesus Christ’s revolutionary message. But today’s world is so noisy, so disoriented, so crazy that His message is getting lost.
The two colors of this bracelet represent how God has woven us together, and how our prayers keep us connected to Him and to each other.
The Deep Meaning Behind the Benedictine Cross
In Christian tradition, the Benedictine cross is one of the Church’s most powerful signs of divine protection. It was created in the mid 600’s as a symbol of the spiritual truths that enabled St. Benedict and his many followers to resist evil and do good. “The Holy Cross be my Light,” is written in Latin on the front of the cross, which is used all over the world to help spread Christ’s Kingdom of love and light. Wear this ancient symbol to help protect your soul, your loved ones and your home from anything contrary to God’s love.
Father John Bartunek, LC ThD
Made with love in the small pilgrimage town of Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina; may you be blessed by the prayers of those making each piece and the love and prayers of My Saint My Hero. Your purchase enables us to use the power of giving to help transform lives and make the world a better place.
A Beautiful Way to Say, “Thank you!”
Our Gratitude Blessing Bracelet is a gift, a card, a sentiment, and a blessing all in one that is beautifully packaged and ready for you to personalize. It is a gift with meaning that is fit for anyone who you want to remind that they are a blessing, that they matter to you, and that they are God’s gift to the world!
It was quite fitting that the day before Mother’s Day, we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions in Portugal. Her message was simple: pray the Rosary daily, offer sacrifice for sinners, complete the consecration and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, complete the First Five Saturdays Devotion, and wear the Brown Scapular.
“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.“ – Sister Maria Lucía of Fatima
The simple yet profound prayer that is the Hail Mary makes up the vast majority of the Rosary. We recite it 53 times. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer to Our Mother in Heaven that ought never to be too far from our lips. The My Saint My Hero Hail Mary Morse Code Prayer Rope is a stunning piece of jewelry that can be worn around the neck or wrapped around the wrist to remind and surround us with the power of this prayer.
The Inspiration for this Piece
If you look at the bottom of the card, you can see the pattern of the bead colors corresponding with the Morse Code shown above.
Truly this inspiration was like a spring overflowing with newness and joy! We wanted a way to transcend prayer into a wearable blessing encoded with prayer. Morse Code carries words through patterns of sound and rhythm -an extraordinary form of communication. This pattern on your necklace resonates within that same coding, through the light blue dots and the hematite dashes. May this rhythm delight your heart and soul.
Morse Code Chart for the alphabet.
Not only is the Hail Mary Morse Code Prayer Rope a versatile piece, but one overflowing with meaning, and is especially appropriate for this year as we continue the celebration of Our Lady of Fatima, holding the rosary and our Hail Mary close to our hearts.
May you always be sheltered by Mary’s loving mantel,
I just arrived back in the States from a very special trip to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. At each place, I was asked the same weird question, “What else in you needs to die before I bring you back to life?” I was at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher the first time I heard those words. I had my hand in the hole of the rocks where Jesus’ cross was placed when He was crucified, where, in a very literal sense, God died. “Madi, what else needs to die?”
As I stood in one of the little chapels of the Magdala Center along the Sea of Galilee, I gazed upon a mosaic of Jesus taking the hand of a little girl and telling her “Talitha Koum.” “Little girl, arise.” I heard the words again, “What else needs to die?” I didn’t get why He was asking me that question, like “Jesus, what the heck dude, aren’t you life itself? Why are you asking me about death?!”
But the thing is – death isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning! Three days after God died on the cross, He rose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene first, to anoint her with the mission of spreading the message of life. After the whole town knew that Jarius’s daughter was dead, Jesus took the little girl’s hand and told her to rise and be who she was called to be. In order to show His resurrection power, Jesus had to die. There is no resurrection without death. What else in you needs to die so the Holy Spirit can empower you into who you are called to be; because that person, empowered by the Holy Spirit, being exactly who you were made to be, will change the world.
The question kind of reminds me of Bob Goff’s (author of Love Does) practice of quitting something every Thursday. Sometimes it’s small stuff like biting his nails, sometimes it’s big stuff, like dropping out of board positions of important companies and organizations. I think the idea behind it is revolutionary and gets to the same question… what no longer has a place in your heart or life? What is holding you back from being who you were created to be? What is getting you stuck in a rut? You don’t have to be the person you used to be. That’s why Jesus came, to give us life, new life, life to the fullest. When we lose our lives we find them. When we die He gives us new and better life. It’s not morbid at all. It’s the story of the gospel.
“Consider seriously how quickly people change, and how little trust is to be had in them; and hold fast to God, who does not change.” These words of St. Teresa of Avila (one of My Saint My Hero’s patron saints) inspire us to hold fast to our faith no matter what society may be struggling with at any given time throughout history. We are able to take courage in God, for He will always make Himself known in all that is true, good and beautiful. – Christine Rich
The Women’s March. The new feminism. Throughout history, we have marched. We marched for the right to vote. We marched for equal pay. We marched for equal rights with men. We marched against violence on women. We marched, we marched, we marched. And we are marching still today. Millions strong and all around the world, we march.
There are dozens of individual reasons why. Some we relate to, others we don’t, but dare I say there’s only one deep seated reason that we march: We march because we want to be whole. In order to be whole, we must voice the truth of who we are as individuals and support the voicing of others as a collective. No matter what they’re saying, whether we agree or disagree, it’s the process of finding their True Design, that Feminine Genius and voicing it that we must support. It’s gonna take some time for each of us to figure out what that is. But as much forgiveness and love and space as I need in order to strip away the lies, I came to believe as truth about who I am. I’ve got to offer that love and space up to others. Or what right do I have to it myself? There’s no other way. We’ve got to do this together.
Drawn together by a common desire to more deeply discover and ignite our True Design, that which makes us uniquely and powerfully who we are, Amy and I met Christine and a handful of beautiful women from the My Saint My Hero team in the pilgrimage town of Medjugorje, Bosnia, after spending time at the sacred site of Magdala in Israel. Each of us wanted to open up to the possibility that as we stepped more fully into our individual truths, a specific purpose might be revealed satisfying our desires to bring forth that which would positively impact the world. There we were, a dozen or so women separated by race, religion, culture and age, each of us peeling back the layers and awakening to our true design, when suddenly we had a profound realization: We are indeed individual but we are in no way separate. For through the ages, we as women have been charged with the awesome responsibility of Union. We realized that individually we are only a thread, but together we can weave the fabric of love and compassion, power and intelligence that will heal humanity and bring about the change our world so hungers and thirsts for. We must support one another through acceptance, non-judgment and love. For the fabric is only as strong as its weakest thread. Here we bring to you the fruit of our union in Magdala and Medjugorje. It is your invitation to discover and stand in awe of your uniqueness, your True Design born of the Divine spark within and to bond together with us in creating a Tapestry of Feminine Genius. – Nia
NIA PEEPLES Nia Peeples’ career has spanned over two decades. With her award-winning performances in a variety of disciplines—film, television, music, and dance—Nia has proven herself to be both the consummate entertainer and one of those rare artists whose passionate expression actually transcends the medium. Nia has made her biggest mark as an actor. Best known for her turns on “Fame,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” and most recently “Pretty Little Liars,” Nia is in her own words an “actor, dancer, writer, director, mother and friend—exploring, expressing and experiencing all things beauty, body and being.”
Each of us is on our own journey as we walk this earth. Our goal is to find the path that leads us to perfect union with God and we are thankful for the saints who have gone before us to show the way. They exemplify the beauty of the diversity with which God has a personal relationship with each one of us. He knows how to meet us exactly where we are in every moment of our lives and we are grateful to those like Nia who are open to sharing their story.
Share the story of YOUR journey here or by tagging #MSMHstories on your social media.
“Lord, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be and becoming that person.” St. Thérèse of Lisieux