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.


Twitter: @JCSMinistry

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 God is good!! All the time!!



September 2016
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Recent Comments

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


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!

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.

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.


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

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.  



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

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.


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!


Stacey Sheets

(Photo courtesy of Stacey Sheets)


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.


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.


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

Email your stories to me at:

Read more on St. Anthony's intercession: 

January 19, 2016 01:07
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.


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. 


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)


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. 


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. 


November 1:


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. 


Looking ahead:


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.


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

Be sure to email me:

God is good! All the time!

October 25, 2015 10:52
By Patti Murphy Dohn

A new school year is here: Time to reflect and pray about the transitions

The photos are all over Facebook… 
Bright smiling faces (mostly), new book bags, shiny shoes, fresh haircuts, clean school buses, and some teary-eyed Moms (and Dads).

The new school year has started for most of the schools in our area. As a matter of fact, our grandson Tyler started third grade this morning at Piney Ridge Elementary School in Sykesville. Both Tracy and Stephen walked him to the bus stop with cameras in hand (from their smart phones). Even their sweet dog Stella was on hand to see all the children off to their first day of school.

Our grandson Tyler was back to school on Monday

I'm not going back to school...again:

For me, the start of the new school year, as always, brought the anticipation of new beginnings and challenges. 

And then I remembered… I’m not going back to school.  Again
This is the start of the second school year since my retirement from John Carroll in June of 2014. 

It was a new and strange experience last year to not be there for the first day of the new school year after 33 years on campus. My husband and I tried to fill up our newfound freedom. We even went to the beach.

Change, change, change:

But transitions can be tough. Not only for adults who may be experiencing change due to retirement or new jobs, but also for all the children who are experiencing new changes in their lives… Including those who are new to preschool or kindergarten, those starting elementary, middle or high school, and all those making transfers to new schools in new areas.

Hopefully, we pray, the parents and teachers of those most affected by change this school year will provide much comfort and will guide our children in their transitions with patience and compassion.

What’s the toughest part of back to school?

I have heard from quite a few parents and children who share that the challenges in starting a new school year include:
-reestablishing a weekday/school night routine after the freedom of summer vacation, 
-having earlier bedtimes,
-packing lunches again,
-waking up to the alarm clock’s early call, 
-getting back in the habit of doing homework,
-balancing school, sports, and other outside activities,  
-and much more.

Every household is different and thus faces different challenges.

A prayer from the patroness of Catholic education:

One of the principal patron saints of Catholic education is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. She started the Catholic school system here in the United States under the direction of our first bishop, Archbishop John Carroll.

The following prayer from her writings is a wonderful way to start each day this year, especially for teachers and older students. 
Prayer of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton:

O Father, the first rule of our dear Savior's
life was to do Your Will.
Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule
of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for
its most full and complete accomplishment.
Help us to follow it faithfully, so that in doing what
You wish we will be pleasing to You.

Another great prayer for the new school year is from Sadlier Publishing Company:

It is excellent for teachers, parish catechists, and for families too:


May your first weeks of this new school year be filled with new adventures and a smooth transition to a new routine.
May God richly bless our families and our teachers!

September 01, 2015 02:47
By Patti Murphy Dohn

A patron saint for the hurricane season: Praying to St. Medard for protection

St. Medard, patron saint of bad storms, pray for us!

We are in the midst of hurricane season here in the United States. It runs each year from June 1 through November 30. 

The possibility of hurricanes hitting home should be on the minds of people living in South Florida. But it has been a number of years since one struck here in Palm Beach County, so many people have been rather complacent.

My husband and I bought our home on Singer Island eight years ago, three years after Hurricanes Frances (105 mph winds) and Jeanne (120 mph winds) hit the area just twenty days apart in September of 2004. The following year Wilma (105 mph winds) hit South Florida, causing 25 deaths and again leaving a number of counties in the dark. 

The outlook for the 2015 season:

"It's very unusual… This is by far the longest that state has gone without a hurricane hit going back to 1851…
Florida is just one of those areas that is most vulnerable because they're in an area,
geographically, in which tropical storms can easily maneuver and make landfall.”

—AccuWeather meteorologist and hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski on the 2015 hurricane season

Hurricane protection prayer at Mass:

Every Sunday when I go to Mass at St. Paul of the Cross Church in North Palm Beach, I am struck by the standard weekly petition for protection from hurricanes in the Prayer of the Faithful:

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

Calling again on St. Medard:

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

St. Medard seems to be the perfect patron saint for the hurricane season. A sixth-century bishop, preacher, and missionary, he is the patron saint for protection from bad storms. As a child, so the legend goes, he was once sheltered from the rain by an eagle hovering over him. His feast day is observed each year on June 8.

Let us call upon the intercession of Saint Medard to keep us safe and to protect all those who are vulnerable during the hurricane season.

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 tonight.
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.

July 23, 2015 02:07
By Patti Murphy Dohn

St. Anthony of Padua: More testimonies and prayers to the patron saint of lost items

“Happy the man whose words come from the Holy Spirit and not from himself.”
—Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231)
Feast day: June 13

The feast of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of Italy, is celebrated each year on June 13.
Anthony is widely regarded for his intercession in the search for lost or stolen items. The popular "St. Anthony of Padua" children's book, published by Catholic Book Publishing Company in 1984, is subtitled, "The world's best loved saint."

According to oral tradition, Anthony, who was a Franciscan friar, had a book of psalms, one of his most treasured belongings, which contained his notes for teaching young novices. This psalter was stolen by a young man who had left the religious community. Story has it that after Anthony's prayed for its recovery, not only was the psalter returned, but the young man also returned and was accepted back by the Order.

After Anthony's death, people began praying to him to find their lost or stolen items:

“The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
While treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thine aid implore.”
- From the "Responsory of St. Anthony"

Last year, I wrote about personal stories of those who sought St. Anthony's intercession in their own quest to find lost items. It is one of the two most widely-read blog posts in my three years of writing "God is in the Clouds."

Since it was published 17 months ago, it has not only had thousands of hits from online readers, but it has also elicited dozens of comments and emails from all over the world with requests for prayers, as well as tributes of gratitude to St. Anthony for his successful intercession.

Some stories about St. Anthony's intercession:

Read that blog post here for stories about the finding of:

~the treasured necklace belonging to one of my former's student's beloved deceased sister;

~the camera and memory card with hundreds of photographs of my friend's newborn grandson;

~a bride's purse filled with all the wedding cards (and money gifts) lost before the newly-married couple departed for their honeymoon and not found for four weeks until the bride's grandmother invoked prayers to St. Anthony;

~a daughter-in-law's lost engagement diamond and a friend's lost honeymoon airline tickets by an old friend who prays to St. Anthony all the time, claiming that "once you say the prayer, you have to stop looking for whatever it is you lost. Turn it over to St. Anthony and let him lead you. He always does!"

~and the story of a former student who has called on Anthony's intercession so often that she considered naming her son after the saint.

Praying for St. Anthony's intercession for lost items:

Over the past year and a half, I have received numerous emails with prayers to St. Anthony to intercede in finding lost or stolen items. Some of the most common request are to locate purses, laptops, keys, wallets, passports, and jewelry, especially wedding rings or heirloom family pieces. Some have surprised me by writing about their love being lost or found!!

"I'm not the type to pray for myself because I sometimes feel like others prayers are of greater priority than mine. So I have take to praying for others. Two weeks ago I lost my wedding band and engagement ring. My husband and I dated for 10 years before getting married and to lose them now, when we just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, breaks my heart. I have turned my house upside down and inside out looking for them. I have also been praying every night since the day I lost them. I hope that someone out there can say a little prayer for me so that I may find them."
~Denise wrote to me on May 27:
Please pray with her to St. Anthony.

Testimonies and gratitude for St. Anthony's intercession:

"I tore apart my office looking for an case file. I couldn't find it anywhere and this could mean my license to practice law if I lost original documents. I prayed and prayed to St. Anthony as I touched every file in the office...nothing. I finally gave up and thought I'd try again tomorrow and see if I could find a different prayer for St. Anthony. As I sat here about to write a prayer on this website, with my foot I gently pushed a small metal box back into its place on the lower shelf of the computer desk. I noticed that underneath my computer desk a brown file folder was peaking out. I asked could this be it? I gently pulled it out and there was the missing file.So my prayer for petition turned into a prayer of gratitude. THANK YOU SO MUCH ST. ANTHONY! You are so good to me."
~From Rose who emailed on June 2

"Just wanted to let you know that after almost a week of praying to St. Anthony for my son’s missing laptop computer, he found it last week on Thursday at school. It turned out a teacher had found it and put it in his desk for safe keeping. We are so grateful to St. Anthony who always helps us when we need him and we can’t thank him enough!"
~From Anna who wrote to me on June 3

"My son had attended a local Catholic elementary school where I volunteered to watch the children during lunch in the cafeteria. One day, I went to put on my disposable food preparation gloves and noticed the diamond in my engagement ring was missing. I was looking everywhere on the floor, and the school receptionist came over to ask me what I was looking for. I told her, and she and the secretary held hands and prayed.
Afterwards, I went home to look and decided to use my vacuum with a piece of old stocking on the head to see if I may have lost it in my bedroom. As I vacuumed I prayed to St. Anthony. I sat on my bed to look through the dust that accumulated on the stocking.
All of a sudden a feeling came over me; I stopped, got up and walked over to a bath towel that was in front of my bedroom sliding door for my dogs’ wet feet. I turned over one corner of the towel and underneath was my diamond. I felt a prickle up my neck.
I immediately called the school and was told that our principal, Sister Anne, over the loud speaker, had just had all the children say a prayer for the lunch mom who lost her diamond. I know deep in my heart that our prayers were heard and answered."
~From Kathy who wrote on May 26

"I want to thank you Saint Anthony for helping me find my car key. I lost my car key, and after hours of looking for it and calling places that would charge me almost $400 for a new one, I finally thought about how there was a prayer to help you find lost items. And so I found this prayer, and after I prayed over and over again, I then took a nap due to the stress of looking for my key all day. Then when I woke up I found my key on the floor in the middle of my step on the stairs inside my house as if he had placed it there!! I am sooo grateful, I even cried because I was so thankful!"
~From Malerie who emailed on May 25

Do you have any stories about the intercession of Saint Anthony?
Email your stories to me at:

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 (name your 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.

Have you lost anything and want us to pray with you for St. Anthony's intercession?
Email your prayer requests to me at:

June 13, 2015 09:59
By Patti Murphy Dohn

Remembering Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to Denver for World Youth Day 1993

“I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.” –John 10: 10
Theme for World Youth Day, Denver 1993


Photo: Helen H. Richardson/ Denver Post

“Imagine Woodstock with all of the good and none of the bad… It was an event of more than 100,000 young people that changed society, but there was no marijuana; no beer bottles on the ground.” –Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, communications director for World Youth Day Denver


Looking back to 1993:

The third visit of Pope Saint John Paul II to the United States (not counting two flight layovers in Alaska) was held in Denver for the 1993 World Youth Day (August 10-15, 1993). The Archdiocese of Denver, under the leadership of then Archbishop J. Francis Stafford, hosted this historic event.

This marked the eighth WYD, which was started by Pope John Paul II in 1986 in Rome. Denver’s event was the first World Youth Day to be held in North America, as well as in an English-speaking nation. Pope John Paul II initiated plans for World Youth Day in 1984, with the first celebration in 1986. The Denver event was the eighth celebration and the first to become an international media sensation.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register

The Holy Father arrived in the Mile High City on August 12 following the first-ever papal visit to the island nation of Jamaica (August 9-11), and a brief stop in Mexico. He arrived by helicopter. The photos taken on board showed him, rosary in hand, as the young people gathered at Mile High Stadium gave thunderous applause, pointing to a rainbow that lit up the southern sky.

“Young people were pointing to it [the rainbow] in wonder…The Pope wept openly before the thunderous ovations of the universal Church.”  --Cardinal Stafford reminisced last year during the 20th anniversary of the event 

President Bill Clinton met with the Holy Father at the Welcome Ceremony on August 12, just eight months after his inauguration as the 42nd President of the United States. This was the first of four meetings of President Clinton with this Holy Father.


Photo: James Baca/ Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register


"Jesus has called each one of you to Denver for a purpose! You must live these days in such a way that, when the time comes to return home, each one of you will have a clearer idea of what Christ expects of you."

–Pope John Paul II to the youth at Mile High Stadium



Photo: Denver Catholic Register


Gifts for the Holy Father--Photo: Denver Catholic Register


The August 15 Closing Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption had to be moved to Cherry Creek State Park because the massive crowds could not be accommodated at Mile High Stadium. Estimates mark upwards of 750,000 in attendance.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


Photo: Denver Catholic Register

“It was predicted that the papal initiative would attract no more than 20,000 young people. Mile High Stadium would be more than adequate, they said, for the activities culminating with the vigil and papal Mass.” --Cardinal Stafford recalled.

Photo: Denver Catholic Register


The History of World Youth Day:

Enjoy this ten-minute video which traces the history of World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II.

August 14, 2014 03:42
By Patti Murphy Dohn

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