Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored

By Patrick B. Craine
ROME, September 29, 2010 ( – The late Polish midwife Stanislawa Leszczynska will be honoured in a display at the 5th World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome next month for her heroic efforts in saving hundreds of newborn babies from a brutal end at Auschwitz.
Before she arrived at the camp in April 1943, all the newborns of prisoners in the infamous Nazi concentration camp were drowned and allowed to be ripped apart by rats before his or her mother’s eyes.
But, as Matthew M. Anger reports in his article ‘Midwife at Auschwitz’, Leszczynska refused to carry out the Germans’ order to kill the babies – even opposing the infamous Dr. Mengele – and, amazingly, was allowed to carry on unimpeded.
During her time at Auschwitz, Leszczynska delivered over 3,000 babies.  Half of those were murdered and another thousand died from the horrible conditions in the camp.  But those with blond hair and blue eyes, about 500, were sent to be raised as Germans, and another 30 survived the camp.
In her ‘Raport from Auschwitz,’ Leszczynska described how the pregnant women were plagued with intense hunger and extreme cold, and faced a severe lack of medicine and water.  She and others had to work day and night to keep away the rats, which would gnaw off the noses, ears, fingers, and feet of the sick.  “Rats with their diet of human flesh grew to sizes of large cats,” she said.
During Leszczynska’s entire time at the camp, no mother or baby died under her care.  Asked by her supervising doctor to report on the death rate, she reported this fact to his astonishment.  “Lagerarzt looked at me in disbelief,” she recounts.  “Even the most sophisticated German clinics at universities, he said, could not claim such a success rate.”
While she suggested in her ‘Raport’ that "the emaciated organisms were too barren a medium for bacteria,” Anger reports that her children and other inmates called it a miracle.
Leszczynska was able to use a secret tattoo under the newborns’ armpit to help many of the families reunite after the war.  “As long as a newborn was together with the mother, motherhood itself created a ray of hope. Separation with the newborn was overwhelming,” she said.  “The thought of a possibility of future reunion with their children helped many women go through this ordeal.”
The cause for Leszczynska’s beatification in the Catholic Church is underway.  The Stanislawa Leszczynska Foundation, led by members of her family, is working on a feature film about her life.
The 5th World Prayer Congress for Life, organized by Human Life International and a number of other major pro-life organizations, will be held in Rome from October 5th to 10th, featuring many of the major figures in the worldwide pro-life movement and various high-level Vatican officials.
LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen will address the Congress on how to communicate the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality in a hostile culture.

Click here to register to attend the Congress.

Latest Papal Outreach to Pro Life Movement

Holy Father Urges Participation in Pro-Life Vigil
US Bishops Mark Respect Life Month
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is calling on all Catholics to join in a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, to be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses Nov. 27.
The Pope will celebrate the vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, and is requesting "all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements," a communiqué from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reported.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Family collaborated in creating an outline for the vigil, and the U.S. bishops' conference is developing resources for the parishes.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, chairman of the episcopal conference's pro-life committee, highlighted the "unprecedented" nature of this request from the Pontiff.
In a statement written for Respect Life Month, which begins Friday, the prelate said, "I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer." (In the United States this year, the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.)
He noted that the purpose "according to the Holy See is to 'thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,' and to 'invoke the Lord's protection over every human being called into existence.'"
The statement also provided a reflection on the theme of this Respect Life Month, which is: "The Measure of Love Is to Love Without Measure."
"With over 1 million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture," Cardinal DiNardo stated.
Widening rift
He observed that "in many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government."
The prelate explained: "For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll.
"In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to members of Congress, urging them to 'retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.'
"Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people's abortions through their health care premiums."
"Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research -- and demand the use of all Americans' tax dollars to support this agenda," the cardinal stated.
He noted that "in a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57% of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other 'adult' tissues."
"Only 21% favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings," the prelate added.
"Yet the current administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court's finding that these guidelines may violate the law," he warned.
Cardinal DiNardo affirmed, "Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that 'The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.'"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Charity and Truth: On Marriage

So I've been having a debate in my head for the past year (or longer) on which element in the Faith is more important:  Truth or Charity.  I engaged in a lot of debate with Catholics during the 2008 presidential elections, and it was hard for me sometimes to discern whether I should promote the truth in my witness or to hold back to allow time for spiritual growth in charity.  I've learned a lot since then, but I still struggle with this question - when is it more important to promote the truth for the good of another's soul, as opposed to withholding the truth for a time when one isn't spiritually in a position to receive it out of charity.  My husband posits that in Heaven we will more clearly recognize that Truth is indeed and in fact Charity, and I can't wait to see that!  But for now in my human weakness, I continue on with my fellow human family and wonder.  It's so easy to say "truth always", but I've seen a lot of well intentioned Catholics throw tenements of the Faith at people who were not spiritually ready to receive them, and have been turned away.  I've been guilty of this myself.  I think there are grace filled times for truth in evangelization, and there are grace filled times for charity.  For me, it comes down to having the spiritual where-with-all to discern the different points of grace along the way.  When do we respond to a person in Truth?  When do we respond to a person in Charity?  The only way to discern this is through the veil of humility, the key to witnessing the Faith.  When we're really close to a person, and we'd like to sacrifice the Truth out of fear of their rejection, we need to pray for the gift of humility to help us promote the Truth in spite of another's reaction or rejection.  When we're really on fire with the Faith and we're ready to lead in the Crusade, we need to pray for the gift of humility to help us act charitably so that we are kinder and gentler to those around us who might be struggling.  I guess when I get really good at evangelizing, those two distinct facets of the Faith will be indistinguishable. 

Another analogy of Truth and  Charity in action could be found in a marriage.  The man of the household, the husband, personification of Truth, leads and guides the way.  The woman, the wife, personification of Charity, supports and lives the Truth with her husband.  I feel that in a good marriage  one does not seek to dominate the other, but both strive to live for the other, lending their virtue one to the other on the path toward Heaven.  I was made for my husband, for the vocation of our marriage.  Therefore I have gifts and strengths that aid my husband along his way to Heaven.  I have weaknesses and faults that my husband was made to help me correct.  I believe this is true in every Catholic marriage that lives the Holy Sacrament.  The husband in a Sacramental marriage should not seek to dominate his wife, just as the wife in a Sacramental marriage should not seek to undermine her husband.  Thus, in the end, Truth and Charity must work together, equally for the good, in order to become more fully Catholic.

An Unhappy Anniversary

RU-486: Ten Years After

Today, September 28, 2010, marks the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Mifepristone (popularly known as RU-486). RU-486 is the only drug the FDA has approved for the sole intention of inducing abortions.

While proponents often claim that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” one could make a strong case that chemical abortions, while indeed legal, have over the last ten years posed major safety concerns including infection, life-threatening bleeding and even maternal death.

Chemical abortions have become anything but rare. Despite this dubious safety record, it appears to be a major goal of the abortion industry to increase the number of chemically induced abortions.

By way of explanation, RU-486 is in a class of drugs called selected progesterone receptor modulators (SPRM). RU-486 is “effective” because it blocks the necessary action of progesterone, the key hormone that a baby needs to implant in the uterus and survive during the first ten weeks of development. In this way RU-486 cuts off nutrition to a developing unborn child.

Looking back at the spring and summer of 2000, the FDA approval process of RU-486 was flawed, rushed, politicized and deviated from the FDA norm in a variety of ways, including the use of inferior clinical trials to support its safety. For example, when the FDA’s advisory panel voted to approve RU-486 in 1996, American trial data was neither finished nor sufficient, so the FDA relied on French data primarily, which is atypical.

Worse yet, this same data had been found by the FDA to be marked by “carelessness,” “fraud” and “evidence tampering.” Those were the FDA’s own words! This is one example of many.

Over the course of the next six years story after story hit the news about the serious side effects of RU-486—the most grievous ones being death. One of the most well-known tragedies involved the death of Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old from California. In 2003, Holly received RU-486 at a Planned Parenthood clinic and died a week later from septic shock.

In her father’s words, “The medical community treats this as a simple pill you take, as if you’re getting rid of a headache. The procedure, the follow-ups, it’s all too lackadaisical. The girl gets a pill. Then she’s sent home to do the rest on her own. There are just too many things that can go wrong.”

Holly is only one of many negatively impacted by this “safe” and legal drug. In fact, as recent as 2006, only six years following its approval, the FDA admitted that they had received over 1,000 adverse-event reports related to RU-486. Of these, 116 cases involved blood transfusions, 232 required hospitalizations, and most grimly, 8 were fatal incidents. As shocking as these numbers are, they are a gross underestimation because approximately only 10% of problems with drugs are submitted in reports to the FDA.

Yet despite concerns about safety, use of RU-486 is increasing. A recent New York Times article touted the growing popularity of the drug. One group recently reported that the number of Planned Parenthood Clinics providing chemical abortions with RU-486 has increased over the last few years: in 2007, 108 facilities administered RU-486 whereas in 2009, the number had increased to 131.

One reason for the increase in RU-486 abortions is that Planned Parenthood has begun a process called “telemed abortions.” In these abortions, the doctor is no longer physically present with the patient when prescribing RU-486 and its accompanying drug. The doctor does it by closed circuit TV.

The procedure is attractive to abortionists given their declining ranks. With telemeds, fewer doctors can prescribe a greater number of abortions. Unfortunately, fewer doctors also mean reduced patient oversight, attention and care. For example, the doctor might be in another state when the woman having the abortion needs critical attention—like a transfusion caused by a failed abortion or damaged ongoing pregnancy—and has to go to an emergency room. Despite the gross inferiority of this procedure, in May 2010, Planned Parenthood announced a five-year plan to nationalize “telemed” abortions.

As RU-486 celebrates its ten-year anniversary, one thing is ironic. The abortion movement promised decades ago that women having abortions would have the best medical attention—no more unsupervised, lonely abortions with women bleeding away in back alleys. Well, now with chemical, and especially with telemed abortions, women have less medical attention and still bleed away, having a lonely, unsupervised abortion over a toilet. Progress for women’s health? No. Instead, pursuing an agenda of increasing chemical abortions at all costs, the abortion industry is reverting women’s health back to the Dark Ages.

Jeanne Monahan is the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. Prior to FRC, Jeanne worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Secretary. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from James Madison University and a Masters degree in the theology of marriage and family from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

This post can be found here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So I'm in our bedroom...

...hanging out on the blogosphere as my husband prepares to spend some time praying at the local abortuary for the 40 Days for Life campaign.  Our Diocese does  not allow women to go after sunset to the Clinic alone, so my husband looks for hours at night to go so that there is that "male presence" which sadly is very much needed for everyone's safety.

Our oldest sneaks out of bed, and gives Dad his send off "Good night Dad.  You're going to pray?"

My husband responds that yes, he is going to pray for the babies.

"And Mom says you're going to stay awake for 40 days?!" 

Hahaahha!  I guess I have to be careful in how I toss things out so carelessly around this little detective:)

Changing the world, one diaper at a time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why housewives will save the world
Exclusive: Patrice Lewis explains how 'glued together' families build strong nations

Posted: August 07, 2010
1:00 am Eastern
By Patrice Lewis

Once in a while a reader is astonished to learn that I am, quite literally, nothing more than what I've always claimed to be: an opinionated north Idaho housewife. I am not a journalist, or a reporter, or anything loftier than a keeper of the home. I use the denigrated term "housewife" deliberately because I am proud to be a member of this elite group.
If you associate housewives with dull women too dumb to do anything but wipe noses and clean toilets, I'm here to tell you otherwise. I will even make the extraordinary declaration that it is housewives who will save the world. Or at least, our nation.
The standard assumption about housewives (besides the obligatory doubts about our intelligence and educational level) is that our husbands make so much money that we can "afford" to stay home with the kids. This assumption always sends us into peals of laughter because it is so seldom true. Let's face it, the term "thrifty housewife" was coined for a reason.
Housewives spend years learning to be thrifty. We shop at Goodwill, not Nordstrom. We mend holes and patch jeans. We purchase basic food items and cook from scratch. Most of us don't do this because we are green and environmentally conscious. We do it because it's cheap and it keeps us home with the kids.
Many housewives supplement their husband's income with cottage industries. I do freelance writing. I know a woman who makes brassiere holsters for handguns (yes really … this is Idaho, remember). Yet another woman makes reusable feminine hygiene products. Yet another woman sells items on eBay.
Perhaps the most encouraging film on marriage of our time -- own it for yourself: "Fireproof"
None of us is sitting around watching soap operas and eating bonbons. We're too busy making our home welcoming, too involved in looking for additional ways to earn money, too occupied in finding yet more techniques to trim the household budget so the bacon stretches further.
We praise our husbands for bringing home this bacon, however modest in size it may be. It's our job to stretch that bacon so it lasts the whole month.
A housewife takes her marital vows seriously and does whatever it takes to make her husband feel like a man by giving him respect, dedication, love, faithfulness, a warm home and happy children. Housewives don't (or shouldn't) speak disparagingly of their husbands. We praise them. Praised men are happy men.
And that's why I believe the housewives of America will save this nation.
When the chips are down, the housewives rise up. We work harder, stretch the dollars further and discover creative ways to do even more things from scratch. We become cleverer and more resourceful at "making do."
These may seem like such small, trivial things. How will baking our own bread or making our own laundry detergent save the nation? It may not … but it could save the family. And if a family is saved, then bit by bit, family by family, the nation is saved. See the logic?
What I mean is this. On a massive scale, our nation's problems are far beyond our individual ability to do anything about them. Housewives cannot stop the insane spending spree our government has embarked on during the last 50 years. We cannot keep the economy from its free fall.
But we can help ourselves. Inch by inch, foot by foot, we can keep our family afloat. If our husband loses his job, we tell him he's still manly and sexy. We give him the confidence to look for work. We tighten an already tight belt even more. We pick up part-time employment. We write more columns, make more holsters, sew more feminine hygiene products and clinch another eBay sale. We stroke our husband's fevered brow and whisper that it will be OK, we'll weather this together, we'll stumble along doing whatever it takes to keep our family whole. We don't let the cruel winds of financial hardship rip our family apart. We are the glue that binds it.
You see, the role of a housewife is so much more than wiping noses and cleaning toilets. Feminists have looked with contempt at housewives for decades and have tried to convince our daughters that only lofty careers and hefty paychecks can fulfill a woman. But housewives know better.
(Column continues below)
Men work hard at jobs they often dislike to provide for their families. For a man, it is not his job that grants him identity, fulfillment and meaning; it is his wife's praise and admiration. The wise housewife honors her man for his dedication and sacrifice. The smart housewife becomes the kind of woman her man wants to come home to. This is the glue.
A glued-together family stays together no matter where they are. If they are evicted from their home because they can't afford the mortgage, then they rent a cheap single-wide. The housewife will then turn it into a beautiful haven because she knows it is not furnishings but love that makes a home.
When the hurricane roars during an economic storm, it will be the thrifty housewife who will bear her family aloft through hard times. Her frugality, common sense and familial glue will keep the boat afloat until it lands on a more fruitful shore. As the waves settle, she will continue to bind, weave and mesh her family into a seamless harmonious whole. In return, she is blessed a thousandfold for her actions.
On the surface, it may not seem like wiping noses and cleaning toilets can have any significant impact on saving our nation. After all, these acts are not spectacular achievements like winning a court case, negotiating a contract or curing someone of cancer. But the foundation of a nation is a solid family unit. It is the humble, collective efforts of housewives that build those solid, happy families. Nation upon nation is built on this foundation. Without housewives, such a foundation would not – could not – exist.
Don't thank us. We're just doing our job. But please, remember to put the toilet seat down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Churching of Women

I had heard of this custom, mostly as a young girl from my mother who disdained the concept of it. She told me that it was distasteful for the Church to consider women unclean due to the physiological repercussions of labor. They bled, therefore they were unclean. My mom saw this as archaic and masochistic, to say the least. My dear husband, in yet another great yard sale find, found a "Manual of Prayers" book dated 1889, that gives the prayer form for this ritual, and I became intrigued when I read through the beautiful ceremony. I don't know yet if I will have the opportunity to "get Churched" myself after my little one is born, but I thought I'd leave the prayers here for my dear friends who are about to re-enter the joys of motherhood (and those who just love beautiful rituals:) to peruse.


A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth. Only a Catholic woman who has given birth to a child in legitimate wedlock, provided she has not allowed the child to be baptized outside the Catholic Church, is entitled to it. It is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom (Rituale Romanum), dating from the early Christian ages, for a mother to present herself in the Church as soon as she is able to leave her house (St. Charles Borromeo, First Council of Milan), to render thanks to God for her happy delivery, and to obtain by means of the priestly blessing the graces necessary to bring up her child in a Christian manner. The prayers indicate that this blessing is intended solely for the benefit of the mother, and hence it is not necessary that she should bring the child with her; nevertheless, in many places the pious and edifying custom prevails of specially dedicating the child to God. For, as the Mother of Christ carried her Child to the Temple to offer Him to the Eternal Father, so a Christian mother is anxious to present her offspring to God and obtain for it the blessing of the Church. This blessing, in the ordinary form, without change or omission, is to be given to the mother, even if her child was stillborn, or has died without baptism (Cong. Sac. Rit., 19 May, 1896).

The churching of women is not a strictly parochial function, yet the Congregation of Sacred Rites (21 November, 1893) decided that a parish priest, if asked to give it, must do so, and if another priest is asked to perform the rite, he may do so in any church or public oratory, provided the superior of said church or oratory be notified. It must be imparted in a church or in a place in which Mass is celebrated, as the very name "churching" is intended to suggest a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the church, and as the rubrics indicate in the expressions: "desires to come to the church", "he conducts her into the church", she kneels before the altar", etc. Hence the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (No. 246) prohibits the practice of churching in places in which Mass is not celebrated.

The mother, kneeling in the vestibule, or within the church, and carrying a lighted candle, awaits the priest, who, vested in surplice and white stole, sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. Having recited Psalm 23, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof", he offers her the left extremity of the stole and leads her into the church, saying: "Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring." She advances to one of the altars and kneels before it, whilst the priest, turned towards her, recites a prayer which expresses the object of the blessing, and then, having sprinkled her again with holy water in the form of the cross, dismisses her, saying: "The peace and blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon thee, and remain forever. Amen."

Our help is in the name of the Lord.
[R] Who made heaven and earth.
[Ant.] She shall receive.

Psalm 23
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein.
For He hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart: who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord; and mercy from God his Saviour.
This is the generation of them that seek Him: of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of Glory? the Lord strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of Glory? the Lord of hosts. He is the King of Glory.

Glory be to the, (etc.)...

[Ant.] She shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God her Saviour; for this is the generation of them that seek the Lord.

Then, reaching the left end of the stole into the woman's hand, the Priest introduces her into the church, saying:

Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of this Blessed Virgin Mary, who hath given thee fruitfulness of offspring.

She, having entered, kneels before the Altar, and prays, giving thanks to God for the benefits bestowed upon her; the Priest says:

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father (inaudibly).
[V.] And lead us not into temptation.
[R.] But deliver us from evil.
[V.] O Lord, save Thy handmaid,
[R.] O my God, who putteth her trust in Thee.
[V.] Send her help, O Lord, from Thy holy place.
[R.] And defend her out out of Sion.
[V.] Let not the enemy prevail against her.
[R.] Nor the son of iniquity draw nigh to hurt her.
[V.] O Lord, hear my prayer.
[R.] And let my cry come unto Thee.
[V.] The Lord be with you.
[R.] And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Almighty, Everlasting God, who, through the Delivery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, hast turned the pains of the faithful at childbirth into joy: look mercifully on this Thy handmaid, who cometh in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, through the merits and intercession of this same Blessed Mary, she may be found worthy to attain, together with her offspring, unto the joys of everylasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
[R.] Amen.

Thanksgiving After Childbirth
Gracious God, by whose providence we are made, who formest us in secret, who beholdest us when we are yet imperfect, and in whose book all shall be written: I humbly beseech Thee to accept this my acknowledgment of Thy power, and to receive this my most hearty praise and thanksgiving, which I now offer to Thy divine Majesty, for Thy favor and goodness towards me. Behold, O Lord, what Thine own hands have fashioned; and grant that this infant, which Thou hast made by Thy power, may be preserved by Thy goodness and, through the grace of Thy Holy Baptism, may be made a living member of Thy Church and be carefully brought up to serve Thee in all piety and honesty. Through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 and why we shouldn't build that Mosque

This passage is taken from The Light Weigh cookbook Building the Family Cookbook by Suzanne Fowler.

"...a date that should be the most famous in history, September 11th, 1683."  This quote is taken from Hilaire Belloc's book The Great Heresies and was written in 1938.  Hilaire Beloc was referring to the Battle of Vienna where 250,000 Turks had laid siege to Vienna, Austria.  The Islamic forces were camped outside Vienna, with a better army and artillery than the Polish Catholic forces they came to conquer.  The Polish army was under the command of the King of Poland, Jan Sobieski.  The Islamic forces outnumbered the Polish Catholic soldiers nine to one.

Pope Innocent VI realized the gravity of the situation and called for an emergency Rosary Crusade.  Every Polish soldier was given a Medal of Mary before the battle began and went into battle with the cry, "Jesus, Mary, help!  Help us!  Be at our sides!"  Miraculously, the Catholic King of Poland and his troops defeated the Turks.  This defeat was critical because it kept Islamic forces from sweeping thorugh all of Europe.  Hilaire Belloc writes, "But the peril remained, Islam was still immensely powerful and within a few marches of Austria and it was not until the Great Victory of Prince Eugene at Zenta (on September 11th) in 1697 and the capture of Belgrade that the tide really the end of the seventeenth century."

The September 11th date in 2001 was chosen because of its signficance to the Islamic world.  The East remembers what the West forgets.  These victories, which occurred less than one hundred years before the Declaration of Independence, are forgotten to us; yet they changed the course of the world forever.

Talk to your children about the heroism that has been exhibited on this date throughout history.  The Catholic King of Poland and his Polish soldiers; Prince Eugene of Zenta and his soldiers; both going up against incredible odds, armed with their weapons, but more importantly armed with their Catholic Faith! These soldiers were also protected by the prayers of thousands and thousands and thousands of people who were praying the Rosary!  Remember the heroism of St. John Gabriel Perboyre, who suffered like Christ for our Roman Catholic Faith.  He would not trample on the cross to relieve his own suffering!  Remember all of the men, women, and children who died in the September 11th attack on the United States of America in the year 2001.  Many of them died in the line of duty, others were going to work to support their families, others gave their lives in a fight to take one of the airplanes back, so it could not be used to hurt more people.  Let us learn fromt he victories of the past on this date.  The Rosary was critical to winning the battles that changed the world.  The Rosary is as critical today as it ever has been!  Please pray a Rosary today with your family; for our Faith, for the Holy Father, for the people who have died, for our country and for our enemies, that their hearts may be converted, that they too will know the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

September 11, 1649 is the date of the massacre by the English General Oliver Cromwell and his forces, in Drogheda, Ireland.  On that day three thousand men, women, and children were murdered, because they were Roman Catholics.

**Note:  The following is my thought on the above.**
I know that as an American I'm called through my Patriotic duty to be open to everyone's Constitutional rights.  And I know that this Imama Rauf is within his rights when working to build this Mosque.  He can hide behind his "inter-religious worship center" all he likes, but we all know it is what it is - a Mosque.  On the 9/11 memorial.  In the place where thousands of innocent people died.  Because of the violence of jihadists who profess his relgion.  I know I'm supposed to take all that in view before I declare judgment.  Well here's my judgment, I don't like it.  When the concentration camps of Aushwitz were declared a Jewish memorial, did Nazis come in and say that in fairness, a German National Church was going to be built to recognize the German men and women who died who were of that faith?  They wouldn't have dared.  But as Suzanne Fowler so beautifully points out "The East remembers what the West forgets."  We as a society are so quick to forget international history, that we would declaredly consider ourselves in this Nation divorced from it.  Giantly divorced and sleeping from it.  No, this Mosque is not a means of healing between the Islamic East and the Christian West.  It is an attempt to dupe a culture who so wants to be duped.  If that were not the case then why would this Mosque have any ties with the Mosque in Cordoba?  Linking those names has no sense of irony for us does it?  Look closely at this beautiful Mosque in Cordoba -

does it remind you of anything?  Yes!  Absolutely!  Our Faith!  This "Mosque" was built as a Basilica in Spain before it was ransacked, pillaged, and plundered by the Muslim invaders of Spain.  And then it was kept standing to be used as a place of victorious worship for the Islamic community there.  And yet, no one in America is batting an eye, when this "innocent" Imam is looking to call his Mosque at 9/11 "Cordoba"?  What is wrong with this country?!
Sure, the WTC was not a religious place.  But it was held as an icon in the American tradition.  Just as the Pentagon building is an icon.  Just as the White House is an icon, and it was spared thanks to the brave Americans who gave their lives to crash their plane before it was able to crash into our Nation's capital.  And yet, there's already an Islamic crescent moon in the field where those victims should have been memorialized.  Why are we giving more religious credit to the men who attacked our country, then to the Americans who were victimized on that day?
Now, I'm not into violence.  I especially approve those brave leaders of the free Islamic world who have stood up in unity with Christians and decried the Mosque being built on Ground Zero (*crickets chirping...Anyone?  Anyone?*)  I don't believe in book burnings, I'd rather see all concerned Christians pray a Rosary on this day than burn the Koran (see above for historical significance.)  But Americans can hide behind this false god of inclusivity all they want.  This war between the Eastern Islamic countries and the Western Christian countries is decidedly that.  A war on religion, a war on religious principles.  This is the main reason why a majority of Americans who are queezy at the thought of a war in Afghanistan or Iraq or any other predominately Muslim country are 'uncomfortable with the thought of war'.  Because deep down, I bet they're 'uncomfortable' with the thought of religion.  And now?  In retaliation for standing up to this creepy Imam and saying "NO!  America does not want this Mosque built!" He is slyly saying that there will be repercussions on our troops.  "Give the Islamic community its tribute to the victories of this day, or more innocent men and women will be killed by our religion!"  That was his warning...So this same religion that was the reason for so many innocent lives lost on that day, September 11th 2001, for these proclaimed jihadists who were declared heroes and martyrs for their faith by the Islamic world, is to be allowed to build a place to worship over the unknown bodies of its victims from this horrendous crime against humanity?  And if we don't see 'reason' (e.g. the reason why this Mosque should still be built) then we're Islamaphobes.  And if we don't care about name calling, and still stand against this Mosque...Then we are threatened with the truth that MORE MEN AND WOMEN WILL BE KILLED IN THE NAME OF THIS RELIGION!!!

And that's what we want America?  We want to see this Mosque built, this religion of fanaticism honored in the place where it claimed so many lives?  This is the answer for America?  Peace at any price, and we'll foot the tab?

As for me and my  house?  We're praying the Rosary today for the men and women who were killed on 9/11, as well as for the conversion of many to the love of Jesus Christ and His Church.  I wouldn't kill a Muslim if he/she didn't come to my Faith (and yes, many have been killed by being labeled as "infadels" for not converting to the Muslim faith.)  No, I would pray and sacrifice for these people, for their souls, that they come to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life...And the Sacraments.  Christ called us to pray for those who persecute us, for our enemies.  And despite our best attempts at passivism, America has enemies.  Let's pray for them, and speak out against the plans for this Mosque to be built!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thoughts on Birth

At this point in my pregnancies, my thoughts turn toward birth.  I've had a pretty tumultuous journey this pregnancy with my Obstretical practice.  My local OBGYN decided to close his doors, leaving the only option "in town" to be the local Planned Parenthood.  For multiple reasons, I could not in good conscience join this practice.  One of my girlfriends said it best "it'd be like delivering your baby into the hands of King Herod himself."  Exactly!

God knew best though, and sent me to another practice a little farther away, but with all the services I could want and/or need, above and beyond my former practice.  I've had two appointments with this new practice and they're amazing.  Plus I was able to witness one of the Obstetricians first hand as I was a labor assistant for my girlfriend who went here for her pregnancy.  Despite a very difficult labor and a delivery that did not go according to plans (she wanted a natural birth, a VBAC, and wound up with a C-section) the OB on call did everything she can to accomadate my very distraught friend, going above and beyond her personal comfort level, and maintaining professional decorum the entire time.  She was very impressive, and brought a beautiful baby into the world.

I don't really want anything fancy for my birth.  I've made no birth plans.  My husband and I who are advocates for Bradley Birthing haven't been practicing our relaxation techniques.  We used to do both for the entire pregnancy for our other children.  But the last birth I had was the simplest, and to date my best, labor and delivery so far.  It started out to be typical...I was 10 days late, and was scheduled for an induction the next day.  I didn't want to be induced, it was the biggest fear I had (and still have) regarding delivery.  I was induced for my first son out of medical necessity (I had developed toxemia and the night I went in to the hospital my Diastolic was reading around 300 - I can't remember my systolic, but I was not supposed to be able to be moving...)  I believe that it was for the life of my son and for myself that I had medical intervention - and that we're both alive today because of it.  But the induction was hard work, and I was exhausted at the end of it.  My body labored through drugs the entire 16 hours that I worked to birth my son, and it was unnatural.  I had an epidural for him, along with everything else...It was a very intense labor and delivery.  But I was okay with it as I felt it was needed to protect my life and my son's.

My next son was also induced, supposedly for being "late".  I do not have normal 25 day cycles, so my dates have yet to match up to the spinning wheel that they use to give you that 'magic number'.  But after 14 hours of induced labor, when they went in for him, my water was clear, he came out average weight and length, and indeed he was not late.  So again, I went through that tremendous work (thanks to pitocin) to deliver a baby that could have been born on his own without the use of drugs.  This was a very hard labor and delivery for me, and I was not as well suited to bond with this beautiful baby.

For my third son I gave them the wrong date with which to gague his due date.  They didn't give me an early ultrasound to confirm my dates, so I allowed myself an extra 10 days margin based on my own cycles.  Looking back, I know this was risky and dishonest.  But I couldn't fathom a third induction in 30 months.  My son came out precisely on my due date (and would have been late by their "spinning wheel") without the use of pitocin.  My OB at the time came in at one point during my labor and told me I was "failing to progress" at the speed he likes to see.  He told me he was going to have to give me some pitocin.  I told him he was not to come near me with that drug until I had an epidural.  I got my epidural, progressed from 4-10 cms in 4 contractions and was pushing within an hour.  They got the pitocin in me in time for me to contract my uterus down...Great...;)  My faith in this OB was shot, and I decided it was time to move on.

I chose a new OBGYN practice for my daughter and had a pretty positive experience.  The OB there was very laid back, but the midwife was a "Doctor light".  I tried to give them the wrong dates again purposely, but this practice did an ultrasound for dating and bumped me back the 10 days I had tried to tack on.  My midwife decided that I needed to be monitored continuously during this pregnancy because of my weight, and so I had to juggle babysitting for my other three in order to go in twice a week at the end for NST's, in addition to my regular pre-natal appts.  I'm not against additional monitoring, when needed, but my blood pressure was always low (it got to 100/70 a few days before I delivered) and my blood sugar came back right on.  The baby was always confirmed right on for size and development.  I did not see a need, outside of the preventative medicine that haunts OB's in CT, for all this additional testing.  And with the other children, and homeschooling, and maintaining some semblance of a life, it was burdensome to say the least.  When I went past the assigned due date, my mid wife told me she'd give me 3 days past that date before I was induced.  I panicked and told her that I'd need at least 2 weeks to give my body a chance to go into labor naturally.  She gave me 10 days, and it was on the ninth that my husband and I prayed for me to have the grace to accept God's will if I should go in for an induction.  The next morning I was in labor.  I progressed well (they had telemetric monitoring, so I didn't even have to get into bed until the very end of my labor for transition) and was able to stay ahead of my contractions with my husband's help.  They broke my water at 4 cm's, but I was confident that I would go.  Same thing happened as with my son.  Four contractions later I was pushing.  The funniest part was that my OB kept coming in to offer me an epidural and I kept telling her there wasn't enough time.  Sure enough, my daughter was born "drug free".  I'm not against drugs to help manage pain during birth.  I had used them for three out of four of my labors, and will use them to augment my labor if needed this time.  But what a joy it was to have full use of my legs after my daughter was born!  I could get up and shower within an hour of her birth.  The nurses didn't have to come in my room again to monitor my vitals from the epidural, so my husband and I got a restful night's sleep (note: that's not the same as full:).  I was "more myself" right after birth than I had ever been.

This practice does not believe in pitocin, even for the case of induction.  They like to work with the mother to insure she gets a birth that she wants.  They don't even like to induce if they don't have to...All very positive signs to my ears!  I don't have concrete plans for this delivery, but I hope that I can make it as natural as possible.  My husband is the best resource I have for "pain management", as he knows me so well and can tell when I'm not relaxing as I should.  I look forward to bringing our child into the world together again.  And this hospital is very low tech (for a hospital), so that makes me happy.  I'm excited about the birth, about meeting our beautiful daughter, and about working with the medical staff that I've gotten to meet.

Of course, these are just my thoughts:)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Who Says Chivalry is Dead?

So...My husband is the most romantic and chivalrous man I know...

Last night, after Hubby worked all day, he came home and finished the outside trim around our new windows (preparing for Hurricane Earl, we thought it wise to get this done).  Then he came inside, had dinner with the kids and I, went back outside to finish picking up the yard and his tools, as well as to finish one more window.  He casually mentioned he might need to run out to Home Depot for some more materials.  I jumped at the opportunity and asked if he would mind running to WalMart for me to buy me a new air mattress.

[Side story:] I am in my third trimester now (its official:), and with each pregnancy my hips become softer and softer earlier on in each pregnancy.  My husband had gotten me an air mattress in June, but it popped two nights ago.  I slept on our bed's mattress and was pretty sore the next day.  The next night I was not looking forward to another restless night on the same mattress, so when I heard he was going out, I jumped at the chance!

[Back to main story:]  I waited for Hubby to finish up in the yard, but ended up falling asleep on the couch.  He worked until midnight outside (again, mostly in preparation for the Hurricane) AND THEN he drove to our local WalMart and got me an air mattress.  He came home, blew up my mattress, made the bed, checked on the kids, woke me gently and helped me to bed in my new air mattress.  He didn't go to sleep until 1:30 this morning for taking care of his family.  And the most romantic part?  He woke up at 7:30 without complaint to head into the office for another day's work.

Sure ladies, we don't have dragons anymore.  Thanks to our modern day gutter system, most men don't have to lay down their jackets so that our hems stay clean, but chivalry is far from dead!  What a considerate, romantic, and chivalrous hunk I've married (yes, I know he's blushing right now *giggling*...)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Parental Choice in Education...

Back-to-school season can be emotional for parents.  As Johnny enters a new grade-level, it’s one more reminder that not too many Septembers from now it will be time to help him move into the dorm, not just pack his lunch for the day. Parents can, understandably, feel a little sentimental and sad about their children growing up too fast.

But that emotion pales in comparison to the angst parents feel about who their child’s teacher will be. A good teacher can make a dramatic difference in a child’s life. A good teacher begins to open the world’s wide horizon for a child, shedding light into the child’s small sphere of reference. A good teacher grounds a child in solid knowledge and builds understanding, equipping him with the tools of learning. A good teacher builds a child’s confidence to expand their learning and explore their world.

On the other hand, an apathetic teacher who takes little interest in her subject or her students’ lives can stifle children’s innate spirit of learning—or worse, create an aversion to education. The course of a student’s life often depends largely on his teachers.

Yet, as important as this their influence is, most Americans have no say in choosing their child’s teacher. Parents don’t have a choice when it comes to their child’s education, despite the fact their tax dollars pay for the public schools, and their children’s futures are at stake.

Parents in Los Angeles are getting some new transparency about their children’s schools this week.  The Los Angeles Times recently released the names of 6,000 elementary teachers and data showing how much each teacher’s students improved on standardized tests.

The strong message is that public schools and their teachers should be accountable to parents and other taxpayers. That’s a stark contrast to the status quo, in which education policy is most responsive to decisions of those who hold the government purse strings and the power of union collective bargaining.

The L.A. Times' release of the evaluation data has education unions fuming.  Their ostensible criticism is that the method used to compare the scores is questionable.  But their historical reluctance to embrace accountability to parents belies other motives.

Measures like those in L.A. that increase transparency and accountability to parents are positive developments and welcome alternatives to initiatives like the national standards that the Obama administration is promoting. With hardly any public debate, states are signing on to the plan that will make schools more accountable to bureaucrats in Washington, and decrease their responsiveness to the parents whose children they teach.

Ultimately policy needs to go beyond just informing parents about their children’s education. Parents should have the power to act on that information by choosing a school that meets their child’s unique learning needs. That’s the ultimate educational accountability.

That’s why it’s so disappointing that the Obama administration and Congress have failed to support the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to about 1,500 low-income students in the nation’s capital. Unions oppose the scholarships, even though they help needy children escape ineffective and often dangerous schools in Washington, D.C.

We can and should expect more of American education. Empowering parents is the most pressing education reform. Just ask the millions of American waving goodbye to their children this morning, hoping they’ll hear this afternoon how much they’ve learned from their teachers today.