Reflections by Patti Murphy Dohn on the Church, family, grief, saints, and hope amidst the storms in our lives... May you always find that God is in the clouds! 

Patti Murphy Dohn retired in 2014 after 33 years of service as Campus Minister, retreat director, and Religion teacher at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland. Committed to making a difference in the lives of our youth and their families, she has served the school community since 1981. Presently, she continues her ministry through bereavement outreach, coordinating the school's alumni prayer chain, while archiving the school's history.  

Patti was awarded the Medal of Honor in Youth and Young Adult Ministry by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2012. She served the Archdiocese on the Screening Board for the Office of Vocations under Cardinal Keeler, Cardinal O'Brien, and Archbishop Lori. She is also a past-board member for the Msgr. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, MD. and Saint Margaret School in Bel Air.

Along with writing for "The Catholic Review," Patti is a member of the Catholic Press Association, as well as the Catholic Writers Guild and the Associated Church Press. She is available for speaking engagements, consulting, and retreat work.

Patti and her husband George split their time between their homes in Bel Air, Maryland and Singer Island, Palm Beach, Florida.

Email: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com

Twitter: @JCSMinistry

Facebook: Patti Murphy Dohn

Instagram: @PattiMurphyDohn

 God is good!! All the time!!

 

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Beautiful story! thank you for continuing to inspire us Patti.

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And your BFF didn't know this story? Great article to read. I,can envision it! What an amazing intuition you followed. Someday soon we will talk more!

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God is in the clouds

Prayers to the patron saint of the hurricane season: Seeking the intercession of Saint Medard during Hurricane Matthew



Saint Medard, patron saint of bad storms, pray for us! 


Preparing for Hurricane Matthew:

Hurricane season runs annually from June 1 to November 30.

Since we retired in 2014, my husband and I spend a great deal of time at our home on Singer Island in South Florida. Today, all eyes are on Hurricane Matthew, which formed quickly and was just upgraded this morning to a Category 3 hurricane, currently with 120 mph winds. 

The National Hurricane Center classifies as "major hurricanes" all those in Categories 3 (111-130 mph), 4 (131-155 mph) and 5 (156+ mph) on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Matthew is now off Aruba, moving toward Jamaica and Cuba early next week, then it’s likely headed toward the Bahamas by Wednesday. The storm continues to evolve, and it is really too soon to know where its exact track will go

All news media outlets and weather are urging families to review their emergency plans and be prepared in the event that the hurricane comes our way. It has been twelve years since a hurricane has directly impacted Palm Beach County, and most families in the area have become rather complacent. Florida is vulnerable geographically to tropical storms and hurricanes that might make landfall here. And no matter where the tracking for Matthew goes, we will at the very least be on the outer bands and get lots of wind and rain.

Back in September of 2004, Hurricanes Frances (105 mph winds) and Jeanne (120 mph winds) hit our area just twenty days apart. The next year, Wilma (105 mph winds) hit South Florida, causing 25 deaths and again leaving a number of counties without power. 

Prayers for hurricane protection at Mass:

Parishes here in Florida often incorporate a prayer for protection from hurricanes and tropical storms during the general intercessions at Mass each week. Our parish, Saint Paul of the Cross in North Palm Beach uses the following intention

That we would receive the grace of physical protection from
all storms, disaster and calamity this hurricane season, we pray… 
Lord, hear our prayer.

Offering prayers for safekeeping is comforting, even if Mother Nature has other ideas.




Saint  Medard, patron of bad storms:

I first wrote about Saint Medard in February of 2014 in anticipation of the winter snowstorm Pax: "Praying to Saint Medard, the patron saint of bad storms."

Saint Medard is the perfect patron saint for the hurricane season. He was a sixth-century bishop, preacher, and missionary, who, as a child, according to legend, was once sheltered from the rain by an eagle hovering over him. His feast day is observed each year on June 8. 

An old French folktale refers to the June 8 feast day:

“Should Saint Médard's day be wet, 
It will rain for forty yet; 
At least until Saint Barnabas, 
The summer sun won't favor us.” 

In a similar manner, Cajun folklore, which refers to June 8 as “Samida" (for Saint Médard), holds that if it rains on this day, it will rain at least once a day for the next forty days.

Pray for us:

This week, we again call upon the intercession of Saint Medard to keep us safe and to protect all those who are vulnerable to the rage of Hurricane Matthew.



Saint Medard, patron saint for protection against bad storms, 
we ask you to intercede for us during the storms of our lives as well as the storms in nature.
Protect our families and our homes.
We pray for assistance for the victims of snowstorms, hurricanes,
tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters,
especially now with the impact from Hurricane Matthew.
Loving God, send in more helpers, 
and multiply resources and supplies for the aid of those in need.
You calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee;
Deliver us from the storms that are raging around us now.
Saint Medard, pray for us.
Amen.



September 30, 2016 04:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Celebrating the little way of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Prayers and simple spirituality from the Little Flower




“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden to me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”
— Saint Thérèse of Lisieux/ Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873–1897)

Seen here in a photograph taken by her sister, Celine Martin (Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face) on Easter Monday, 1894.
(Archives of Carmel of Lisieux)

———

The beautiful Carmelite nun Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is often referred to as one of the most venerated saints in modern history. Today, September 30, the Church observes the 119th anniversary of her death. We celebrate with her feast day tomorrow, October 1

Thérèse was born in 1873 in France and given the baptismal name Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin. The youngest Martin daughter, she had a childhood marked by illness, great familial affection, very devout Catholic parents, four close sisters, the untimely death of her mother when Marie was just four years old, followed by several years of depression and self-isolation, before realizing a childlike faith, hope, and a strong desire to do God’s will. This paved the way for her deeply spiritual life journey. 


The Little Flower:

When Marie Françoise Thérèse was 14, her father told her a story while they were sitting in their garden. After she had asked her father if she could follow her two eldest sisters and enter the nearby cloistered Discalced Carmelite community, he gave her a small white flower and described to her how God loved and cared for her just as He had brought that perfect little flower in being and cared for it.

Young Marie Françoise Thérèse saw that flower as symbolic to her own life, and would later write, as Thérèse: "while I listened, I believed I was hearing my own story.” This story not only shaped part of her spiritual journey, but also explains the back story of how Thérèse would eventually become known as "The Little Flower of Jesus" or simply as "The Little Flower.”

The next year, at age 15, Marie Françoise Thérèse entered the Carmel in Lisieux. She was given the religious name of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D.

Her spiritual journey has been preserved through her letters and her writings, most importantly, her memoir Story of a Soul.  Therese’s spirituality, called her “little way,” is based on seeing herself as a child of God and simply trusting in Him.

There is much to meditate on as we read about the experiences which shaped the Little Flower and molded her into a model of holiness for all of us, most especially as a spiritual role model for women.

Thérèse’s death:

Thérèse died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24 after suffering greatly from the effects of tuberculosis, which was not properly diagnosed at first. She looked ahead, “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth. I will raise up a mighty host of little saints. My mission is to make God loved…”

Pope Pius X called Thérèse "the greatest saint of modern times.” Later, after miracles were attributed to her intercession, Pope Pius XI dispensed the waiting period and beatified her in 1923, and then canonized her two years later, only twenty-eight years after her death. In that era, the usual waiting period for beatification was fifty years.

Later, Pope Pius XII named Thérèse a co-patron saint of France in 1944 with Joan of Arc, one of her longtime heroines. Then in 1997, Pope John Paul II declared Thérèse to be a Doctor of the Church, only the fourth woman to be given this status.

———

Ten fun facts about Thérèse:

Did you know?

1. Thérèse always carried the Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul close to her heart. She noted,

“But it is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for my poor little soul. I am constantly discovering in them new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings.”     

2. Thérèse’s parents, Louis and Zelie Martin, had nine children, four of whom would  die in early childhood. 

3. Louis and Zelie became saints of the Church on October 18, 2015. Notably, they were the first married couple to be considered together for sainthood, and then were the first to actually be canonized together. 

4. Each of the five remaining children of Louis and Zelie, all girls, would enter religious life:

--Thérèse’s two oldest sisters were the first to enter the local cloistered Carmelite monastery in Lisieux:

--Marie Louise, the eldest, would became Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart;

--Marie Pauline, the second sister, who would eventually be elected as the mother prioress of Carmel, would be known as Mother Agnes of Jesus;

--Marie Françoise Thérèse, the youngest daughter, would enter in 1788 at the age of 15, taking the name Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D.;

--The fourth sister, Céline, who cared for their father until his death in 1894, entered Carmel that same year and became Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face.

--Their first cousin, Marie Guérin, followed them to Carmel in 1895 and became Sister Marie of the Eucharist.

--Finally, the third sister, Léonie followed a different path and entered the Monastery of the Visitation of Holy Mary, taking the name Sister Françoise-Thérèse, and becoming the only Martin sister to not enter Carmel. 

5. In 2012, Léonie Martin was declared “Venerable” and her cause for canonization was opened. 

6. Archival photos: Céline Martin was given permission by her eldest sister, Mother Agnes, to bring her camera and the necessary supplies to process photographs to Carmel. The photos she took of Thérèse over the years have been a treasure to the Church and to all those who have devotion to the Little Flower.  

7. Thérèse’s childhood heroine was Joan of Arc. Later, while at Carmel, she would write two plays about Joan for the Carmelite nuns to perform on feast days to honor of the Catholic woman who would become the patron saint of France.

8. Two years after her canonization, Pope Pius XI named Thérèse the Patroness of the Vatican Gardens in 1927.     

9. Thérèse’s relics have traveled on religious pilgrimage and been venerated all over the world. Also, her writing desk from Carmel was on display throughout the United States in 2013. 

10. The Basilica of Saint Thérèse in Lisieux is one of the most visited shrines in France

———-

“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus...I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers...I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”

—Saint Thérèse of Lisieux on prayer

———-


Bring your special intentions to Saint Thérèse in prayer:

Miraculous Invocation to St. Thérèse:

O Glorious St. Thérèse,
whom Almighty God has raised up to aid
and inspire the human family,
I implore your Miraculous Intercession.
You are so powerful in obtaining every need
of body and spirit from the Heart of God.
Holy Mother Church proclaims you "Prodigy of Miracles…
the greatest saint of Modern Times.”
Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition
(mention in silence here) 
and to carry out your promises of
spending heaven doing good on earth…
of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses.
Little Flower, give me your childlike faith,
to see the Face of God
in the people and experiences of my life,
and to love God with full confidence.
Saint Thérèse, my Carmelite Sister,
I will fulfill your plea "to be made known everywhere”
and I will continue to lead others to Jesus through you.
Amen.

———

To learn more about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux:

The Society of the Little Flower:

Spreading Devotion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Greatest Saint of Modern Times 



September 30, 2016 03:45
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Countdown to the canonization of Mother Teresa: Our encounter with the saint



Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997)


Tomorrow (August 26) is the 106th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder of the Missionaries of Charity. 

This tiny nun, who died at age 87, has inspired countless generations of people all over the world, both Christians and non-Christians alike, who are motivated by her unconditional love and service to the poorest of the poor. 

When Mother’s death was announced on September 5, 1997, less than six months after she had stepped down as head of the religious order she founded in 1950, the world mourned.

Countdown to sainthood:

Fast-forward nineteen years:

In less than two weeks, on September 4, 2016 at the Vatican, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Church in Saint Peter's Square. The next day, the nineteenth anniversary of her death, will be observed each year as the feast day of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

It’s no coincidence that the Holy Father is canonizing Mother during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
For mercy indeed was her mission. 

Not only did Mother serve the needs of the poor and the dying, but she often travelled around the world, speaking at religious gatherings and overseeing the ministry of those who also served as Missionaries of Charity.

My children and I were lucky enough to have our own encounter with Mother Teresa in 1996 in Baltimore.

Our encounter with a saint:

I remember the day so clearly:

I had an unsettled feeling all morning as I taught my religion classes at John Carroll. It was May 30, 1996 and Mother Teresa of Calcutta was going to be in Baltimore later that afternoon. And I wasn't going to be there....

Mother was scheduled to attend a 3 pm Mass that day at Baltimore’s Basilica of the Assumption, our nation's first cathedral, where 35 of her Missionaries of Charity would renew their vows in her presence. This was the top story on all the local news stations, which included announcements of the closure of Cathedral Street after lunch, along with warnings about possible rush hour traffic delays later that day.

As the day progressed and the unsettled feeling persisted, I came to an abrupt realization that I simply had to stop everything I was doing and make it happen. And I came to this conclusion just 90 minutes before the Mass would start in downtown Baltimore, while I was thirty miles north of the city, in Bel Air in Harford County.

Long story short, I called the nearby Catholic grade school and asked if the secretary would have my children packed up and in the main office for an early sign-out in ten minutes. Having a free final period that day, I quickly packed up my books and made my way over to St. Margaret's, realizing with dismay that I needed to stop for gas before I got on the I-95 highway toward Baltimore City. Obstacles galore met us along the way, including every red light possible… 

By the time I got to the packed parking lot located around the corner from the basilica, it was 2:50 p.m. It was actually a miracle that we made it there and found a parking spot before 3 o’clock. The kids and I jogged through the garage and around the corner to find the street closed to car traffic in order to accommodate the numerous media vans and TV satellites on location, along with dozens of reporters. 

Just as we slowed our footsteps in front of the basilica, the most amazing thing happened. The doors opened and out onto the portico stepped Cardinal William Keeler, the Archbishop of Baltimore, accompanied by the diminutive 85-year old Mother Teresa. And we were there!

My children, dressed in their Catholic school uniforms — ages 7, 9, and 11 — and I were right at the bottom of the steps in direct view of a press conference with these two incredibly inspiring people. I remember being so thrilled that my old camera had been in my car, hence, I was able to take some great photos.

After the press conference, the children and I made our way in the side portico door of the basilica to an at-capacity crowd, where the very long liturgical procession was ready to begin. I told the kids to follow me closely, and we made our way down a side aisle where we found a place to stand near the front with a perfect view of the Mass.

It was amazing to be in the presence of this saintly woman, whom I had first seen in person in 1976 at the International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia. She had gained much notoriety over the twenty years that followed for her work for the poorest of the poor. I was so overcome with gratitude to be there.

We watched as Mother Teresa led the vow renewal ceremony, after which she addressed the congregation, asking all of us to pray for her Sisters and their apostolate. She asked those in attendance to "give us some of your daughters" so that her Sisters can continue to serve the poor and disenfranchised.

After Mass was over, and as we waited to leave our standing-room location, I looked over my shoulder and couldn't believe my eyes... Mother Teresa, who had recessed out with her Sisters in the liturgical line, was coming back down the side aisle toward us. Escorted by a very tall security guard, Mother walked right next to us with her hands folded as if in prayer, while making eye contact and smiling, bowing her head down gracefully toward each of my three children.

It was such a humbling experience to be so close to this holy and inspiring woman. My children were so moved. As we joyfully made our way out of the basilica to walk to our car, we saw why Mother Teresa had walked past us on that side aisle.... There in the little alleyway next to the basilica was the large motor coach bus that her Sisters were boarding. Mother was able to slip out the side door through the sacristy and then onto the bus without being overwhelmed by the massive crowd gathered out front.

I will never forget this last-minute, Holy Spirit-inspired experience as long as I live. And neither will my now-adult children! 

God is good.... All the time!
-------

Read more:

Read more and see other photos from this 1996 historic visit of Mother Teresa to Catholic Charities and to Baltimore’s Basilica of the Assumption: 



August 25, 2016 12:15
By Patti Murphy Dohn


A World Youth Day Prayer for parents, parishes, and friends




By Patti Murphy Dohn

Their bags are packed, boarding passes are printed, and all those passports are ready to be stamped as our young pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and other dioceses around our nation head to the airport.

The occasion?
World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland, the homeland of Pope Saint John Paul II.

Praying for our WYD pilgrims:

Let us join together each day and offer up this prayer for all those attending this year’s WYD celebration with Pope Francis.

Fashioned on the official prayer from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, this version can be used each day by the parishes and families of our pilgrims. 


A World Youth Day Prayer for parents, parishes, and friends: 
(Based on the World Youth Day Prayer for the United States from USCCB)

God our Father,
Be with our young people on their pilgrim journey of faith.
Give them the grace and courage to step forward
in faith and hope on the road ahead. 

Lord Jesus,
Open their eyes to see Your face in all those they encounter. 
Open their ears to hear Your voice in those who are often ignored. 
Open their hearts that they might be faithful disciples of mercy and truth. 

Holy Spirit,
Transform them. Empower them to give of themselves to the poor;
to welcome the lost; to forgive those who hurt them; 
to comfort those who suffer and are marginalized. 
Bless all those who travel on mission from the United States of America
to Krakow in Poland, Land of Divine Mercy, 
to join the universal Church for World Youth Day.
Bless, too, those who celebrate stateside, united in faith and joy. 
Like the disciples who journeyed up the mountain
to witness the Transfiguration, 
May this experience be an encounter
that strengthens them for their work in the world. 
Through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception,
patroness of our nation,
May they be worthy witnesses of their faith,
humble representatives of our country,
and inspired missionaries
bringing peace, hope, and mercy into our communities. Amen.

Saint James the Apostle, 
patron of pilgrim travelers, 
pray for them.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, 
young faithful witness from our native land, 
pray for them. 

Saint Therese of Lisieux, 
patroness of missionaries and advocate for youth, 
pray for them. 

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, 
man of the beatitudes and patron of young adults, 
pray for them. 

Saint John Paul II, 
son of Poland and patron of World Youth Day, 
pray for them.  

Amen!

—-

Read more of my reminiscences on World Youth Day:




For more information on World Youth Day: 

1. Visit the World Youth Day page on the website of the U.S. Catholic Bishops;

2. The Catholic Review will provide daily coverage about their experiences in “Pilgrims in Krakow” 


 

July 21, 2016 09:18
By Patti Murphy Dohn


On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


On practicing good humor: Another look at the prayer of Saint Thomas More 



"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today.

The effects of Snowmageddon:  

The Holy Spirit has been hinting to me lately about the need for more good humor. Reminders have come in the form of articles and social media content to some of the circumstances, big and small, of our daily retired life. 

The historic weather events of the past week have brought about a need for some levity too, don't you agree? 

The massive blizzard, now known as Snowmageddon 2016, dumped more than two feet of snow to the mid-Atlantic region. The slow progress of many county snow plows brought about frustration in a lot of neighborhoods, making it necessary for many people to call on the virtue of patience. 

Potential chair wars broke out in urban areas over shoveled-out parking spots. And most schools have closed for the week leaving parents with the daily challenge of keeping their children fed and clothed in fresh snow outerwear, while troubleshooting cries of boredom and sibling rivalry. 

Oh my… 

And it was during all this chaos that one of my Florida neighbors found this photo of Pope Francis on my older Facebook feed. What an animated photo of the Holy Father laughing and filled with joy!



(Photo by Luca Zennaro/Pool via Reuters)


This photo by Luca Zennaro was often linked thirteen months ago to news accounts of the Holy Father’s December 22, 2014 address to the Roman Curia. In an otherwise sober year-end address, the Holy Father shared with these Vatican officials that he prays daily to English martyr Saint Thomas More for the gift of good humor, citing that a healthy dose of humor is very beneficial.


“An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps.”

Clementine Hall, Monday, 22 December 2014

I’m thinking today that perhaps all of us should consider making this beautiful prayer part of our daily prayer life. Our days could be richer for the laughter and light-hearted discourses that come our way! 




Prayer for Good Humor:
by Saint Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. 
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. 
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good 
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, 
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. 
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, 
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” 
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. 
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, 
and to be able to share it with others.
Amen.


May all of us have more laughter and gracious good humor in our lives!

God is good… All the time!


January 28, 2016 02:13
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Calling on Saint Medard: Prayer to the patron saint of bad storms



Once again, our family and friends along the east coast are in the calm before the storm... a huge snowstorm which meteorologists are calling Jonas. 

With blizzard warnings and school closings pinging alerts to my cell phone, my husband and I share the worry with our family back in Maryland as the hours tick down to the arrival of this huge storm. 


Praying to Saint Medard:

It's time once again to call upon the intercession of Saint Medard, the sixth-century bishop, preacher, and missionary, whose feast is observed on June 8. He is the patron saint for protection from bad storms. 

According to legend, as a child, Medard was once sheltered from the driving rain by an eagle hovering over him.  





The last time I wrote about praying to Saint Medard was two years ago in February of 2014 as Winter Storm Pax was making its way to the east coast. It dumped more than a foot of snow on the Baltimore area.

As we get closer to the start of winter storm Jonas, let us again call upon the intercession of Saint Medard to keep our loved ones safe and to protect all those who are in need of shelter and warmth.


Prayer to Saint Medard:


Saint Medard, patron saint for protection against bad storms,
we ask you to intercede for us during the storms of our lives as well as the storms in nature.

Protect our families and our homes.

We pray for assistance for the victims of snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, especially for the upcoming snowstorm that is headed our way this weekend.

Loving God, send in more helpers, and multiply resources and supplies for the aid of those in need.

You calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee; deliver us from the storms that are raging around us now.

Saint Medard, pray for us.

Amen.


January 22, 2016 12:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Another tribute to the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony: Patron saint of lost items



Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)


My Facebook memories “On this day” reminded me that it was two years ago when I first called for shared stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of finding lost and stolen items.

Many Catholics recall the familiar jingle used to call upon his assistance:

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around:
Something is lost and needs to be found!”


When I published my first tribute to his intercession in January of 2014, I had no idea that it would bring about so much interest. I included a number of stories about items found through Saint Anthony’s intercession, as well as the prayer so often used by those who seek his aid, “Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony.”

My first tribute has had thousands of readers over the past 24 months. And I have received more than three thousand emails from people all over the world both calling for prayers for items they have lost or had stolen, as well as testimonies and words of thanks for Saint Anthony's intercession for items found. 

The most common requests come from those seeking prayers for things lost, usually of great value, both sentimental and monetary. This includes lost jewelry, purses, laptops, keys, wallets, and passports. 

The stories of items found and credited to Saint Anthony’s intercession have been fascinating. I had received so many stories of gratitude that I published a follow-up on his feast day of June 13


A new testimony to Saint Anthony: A wintery lost and found story:

Just last week I received an email from Stacey Sheets of Stevens Point, Wisconsin with a shout-out to Saint Anthony:

“I have an amazing Saint Anthony story for you!  

I lost my wedding and engagements rings this past Monday. I was pretty sure I had left them at the gym that I belong to. As soon as I realized it, I went back to the gym and searched everywhere for my rings, including the parking lot.  

To explain, I usually take off my rings and put them in my coat pocket there.  
No luck, I couldn't find them.  We live in Wisconsin and that afternoon we were hit by a big snowstorm, about eight inches of snow.  

I looked everywhere, I even went back to the store I had gone to on Sunday thinking maybe I had lost my rings there.  

After a while, I just could not remember when I last had my rings on. So I just started looking everywhere imaginable, even my ice box in the freezer.

I told the ladies at the gym yesterday what had happened, and one of them said to me "Say a prayer to Saint Anthony"  and I said "No, isn't it Saint Jude?"  

I had been praying to Saint Jude, but I decided to google Saint Anthony and I found your website. I started praying to Saint Anthony yesterday evening, into the night and first thing this morning.  

And can you believe what happened?  I got a call at 12:45 today that a Good Samaritan had found my rings buried in the ice outside in the parking lot, even after snow plows went through!!  

I sincerely believe that it was Saint Anthony who made it possible for my rings to be found.  My little boy was with me when I got the phone call that my rings had been found. I have explained to him that miracles do really happen and that there are good people in the world.  

I am so glad that I found your website.  I just can't believe that in less than 24 hours after looking on your website, I am writing you a letter with my rings back on my hand!

Sincerely,

Stacey Sheets


(Photo courtesy of Stacey Sheets)


Gratitude:

I was so thrilled for Stacey and her family when I read this email. What an amazing story of her rings being found in the ice after that big snowstorm!

I had initially thought that her email was from a young woman with the same name who went to school with my children in the 1980’s at Saint Margaret’s in Bel Air.

Stacey and I emailed back and forth several times. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she is a parishioner at Saint Bronislava Catholic Church in Plover, Wisconsin. She was happy to have her story shared in one of my "God is in the Clouds" follow-ups about the powerful intercession of Saint Anthony.

Stacey told me, “I am still in awe of what happened, I just can't stop smiling!”

I cannot stop smiling either! 


Thanks, Saint Anthony, for coming around.
Something was lost and now it has been found!

God is good… All the time.
Amen.

——-

Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony:

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints"
O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.
 Amen.

——-



Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?

Email your stories to me at: pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


Read more on St. Anthony's intercession: 





January 19, 2016 01:07
By Patti Murphy Dohn


Praying for Paris: Our pilgrimage to the City of Light


The glow of sunset from the top of the Eiffel Tower (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)


After facing some medical challenges this past summer, my husband and I decided that we should cross one of the items off our bucket list. The time was right for a much-anticipated trip to Paris.

Having been there twice before, George was excited to show me the beauty of the City of Light, along with its cathedrals, museums, food, and unparalleled ambience. We enjoyed a wonderful week soaking up the Parisian culture. It was magical. 

The news of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris hit us hard. Like the rest of the world, we were in shock. Good heavens, we were just there! Lord, have mercy! 

We had been near some of the sites that were hit... 
But last month, by contrast, it was peaceful.




"Mona Lisa" at the Louvre (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)


It was a city of charm and grace, a thriving metropolis filled with culture and purpose. 

We saw the signs advertising soccer games at the stadium, as well as Fashion Week events down the street. 
We watched the sites pass as we cruised down the river. 
We gazed at the paintings in the Louvre.
We prayed and lit candles at Notre Dame Cathedral. 
We sipped champagne as the sun set over the City of Light from the top of the Eiffel Tower. 
We ate at their sidewalk cafes and bistros. 
We went to Sunday Mass at Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre.  



The Eiffel Tower from the river cruise on the Seine (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)


This past Friday, all that we experienced was shattered for the people of Paris as terror darkened the City of Light. 

As George and I watched the events unfold on all the news channels, we were overcome with worry for the good people of Paris who open their hearts and their city each day, year in and year out, for millions of tourists like us...Those who smiled as we fumbled with French expressions and those who were proud to share their heritage with us and with thousands of tourists from around the world each day.

The beauty of Notre Dame Cathedral (Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)


Prayers for Paris:

Our prayers have been united since Friday with the local Parisians who worship each week at all the churches we visited... Including Notre Dame Cathedral, the neighborhood church of St. Thomas Aquinas near our hotel, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Sainte-Chappelle, and the Church of Saint-Sulpice.



After Sunday Mass at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre


Proclaiming the Light of the World:

Perhaps the most profound of our experiences was at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre ("the mountain of martyrs"), the highest point of the City of Paris. The name Montmartre is derived from the martyrdom of the patron saint of France, St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris, who was beheaded on this hill around the year AD 250. 

It was truly a pilgrimage to the holy land of the City of Light. The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (the Sacred Heart) has held uninterrupted, perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament since the year 1885. The Holy Eucharist is exposed in a huge monstrance high above the main altar. The imposing mosaic of Christ in Majesty rises above the monstrance, one of the largest mosaics in the world. 



The mosaic of Christ in Majesty towering over the Blessed Sacrament at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur 
(Photos: Patti Murphy Dohn)


Where there is darkness, light: 

According to the biography (written in AD 475) of St. Geneviève, the protectress of Paris, we learn that she persuaded local Catholics to build a chapel on the site of Denis' martyrdom. 

There today, under the watchful eye of the Benedictine Sisters of the Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre who lead the throngs of pilgrims with their sung prayers and liturgical hymns, the spiritual life of the basilica and its surrounding City of Light goes on day in and day out. 
This massive white basilica set high on the hill, a place of prayer, renewal, and peace, sends a message to all who witness its light: 
Jesus, the Light of the World, has come to turn the darkness into light. 
Good will conquer evil. 
And that for which the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi implores, "where there is darkness, light."


God bless the City of Paris as they strive to break the bonds of fear and turn their faces back toward the Light.
Amen.


November 17, 2015 09:51
By Patti Murphy Dohn


This Week in Church History: The 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and much more




Last week, I started a new feature in "God is in the Clouds":  “This Week in Church History.” 

Here is a look at events which occurred this upcoming week in years past, as well as a glimpse at next week’s highlights:

Historic events that took place over dates in the upcoming week:

October 26, 2011:

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut (the current Archbishop of Baltimore) called for the defense of “the American legacy of religious liberty” during a hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The bishop was addressing Congress in his new role as head of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Read an account of Bishop Lori’s day before Congress from the U.S. Bishops’ website:
 



The transcript of Bishop Lori’s full testimony before Congress can be read here.

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October 28 has great significance:


October 28, 1510:

The birth of St. Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572): 
Francis Borgia was the fourth Duke of Gandía (Spain), a Spanish Jesuit priest, and the third Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He expanded the Jesuit order into the Americas and Asia.



Borgia was canonized on June 20, 1670 by Pope Clement X and his feast is celebrated on October 10.
He is the patron saint of Portugal, as well for protection against earthquakes. 

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October 28, 1958: The election of Pope John XXIII:

On this date, Cardinal Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli (1881-1963), the Patriarch of Venice, was elected the 261st pope on the eleventh ballot of the 1958 conclave. The conclave that elected him took place from October 25 to 28, 1958, following the October 9 death of Pope Pius XII whose papacy lasted from 1939 to 1958.

On why he choose the name John:

"We choose John...a name sweet to Us because it is the name of Our father, dear to Us because it is the name of the humble parish church where We were baptized, the solemn name of numberless cathedrals scattered throughout the world, including Our own basilica...We love the name of John because it reminds Us of John the Baptist, precursor of our Lord...and the other John, the disciple and evangelist...Perhaps We can, taking the name of this first series of holy Popes, have something of his sanctity and strength of spirit, even—if God wills it—to the spilling of blood.”

--Excerpt from: Religion: “I Choose John…” from Time Magazine, November 10, 1958 edition.



Newly-elected Pope John XXIII extending his first papal blessing:
(Getty Image: Ullstein Bild)

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October 28, 1965:

2015 is the Golden Anniversary of "Nostra Aetate" (Latin for “In our time”):
This Vatican 2 document was promulgated on this date in 1965 by Pope Paul VI.
  
The document’s formal name is "DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS." It was passed by a vote of of 2,221 to 88 by the assembled bishops at the Second Vatican Council and was one of the most influential documents issued by the Council Fathers, paving the way for much-improved relations between Jews and Catholics.


50th Anniversary:

The Council of Centers for Jewish-Christian Relations has published “Resources for the 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate.” 



(Photo: Courtesy of American Jewish Committee)
March 31, 1963: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (Polish-born American rabbi (1907-1972) meeting in New York with Cardinal Augustin Bea, SJ (1881-1968), who shepherded the process of Catholic reflection that led to Nostra Aetate. A leading biblical scholar and ecumenist, Cardinal Bea was the first president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity from 1960 until his death in 1972. 

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October 29, 1950:

65 years ago: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Johannes Baptist Neuhäusler (1888-1973), the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. 

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November 1:


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November 1, 1946: 


Pope St. John Paul II was ordained to the priesthood by by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, the Archbishop of Kraków, just 12 days after becoming a deacon. 

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Looking ahead:

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November 6, 1789:

Baltimore was made the first diocese in the United States on this date in 1789 with Fr. John Carroll, SJ as the first bishop.


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Do you have a special date that you would like me to include?


Be sure to email me:  Pattimurphydohn@gmail.com.


God is good! All the time!

October 25, 2015 10:52
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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