Monday, June 13, 2011

The role of Catholic music in my reversion

So, dear readers, I am so excited, LOL.  Two of my all time favorites are now friends on Facebook,  and MySpace! and I am thrilled!  One more favorite has their own page, which I belong to.
From the moment the first package arrived from Philip Golden, of EWTN, Catholic Music has had a tremendous impact on my journey.
Dana Rosemary Scanlon reached in and touched my  sinful heart with "Humble Myself", and the Blue Rosary.  I listened to those tapes until they broke, and then got the CD's.  Of course I should add, that I met Dana twice, once while I was still very sick.  It was such a HUGE deal that I drove to see her many miles away, (while somewhat agoraphobic) ALONE!   I just wanted a chance to tell her what her music had done for me.  How she had brought me comfort in the solitary life and suffering.
I was so nervous, as I sat down with her at a parish hall table, and touched by how she talked to me for such a very long time, and listened to my story, as if I were the only person there.  Later, I received two of the CD's that I had previously had on tape, and jumped for joy.  I'm sure I bought them, but am not really sure, I had barely enough funds to pay for the gas to go to see her.  My collection has grown, and needs to be refilled, as I do have a habit of "lending" CD's and never getting them back.
The second time was after I was doing much better, and she remembered me.  She asked me to write my story and send it to her..... I never felt worthy enough, yet in some way, this blog is in response to her request.

Donna Cori Gibson appeared on Life on the Rock with Jeff Cavins one evening, when I was really suffering.  I can't swear to it, but I think one of her songs was "I lift up my heart. "  I was captivated beyond words! Listening to her angelic voice, was better than any pain killer I'd ever taken.  She filled my heart so deeply that I was convinced she was singing just for me. 
Since I was unable to go out to much, I begged anyone I could to get me her music.  Maybe I received that first tape from the EWTN Religious Catalog, honestly I don't know.  But I listened to it over and over again, then, again and again.
When Donna Cori came out with the sung Divine Mercy Chaplet, I had to have it, and have given it as a gift to so many.  If you haven't heard it, you owe it to yourself to listen to it!
Dana and Donna are truly Spirit inspired Catholic vocalists and songwriters. 
In the depths of my suffering both of them had the ability to lift me out of moments of despair and fill me with such love that I rejoiced in offering my sufferings in unity with Jesus on His Cross.  I wish there were enough words to express how very important their songs, their lyrics were to me.  If only I could find the words.

As I write this, tears of joy come to my eyes.  I am praying so hard that I will be able to bring Donna Cori to our parish, and Dana too.
In the last few hours I have had the blessings of conversing in email with Donna, and honestly, I'm worse than a little kid with the prospect of seeing Disney World.  Oh if God would grant me the Grace to have her come to my parish, let her stay with my husband and I!
Oh how I would love to share my blog with Dana and Donna Cori! What a joy that would be!
Do you know what I mean?  These awesome Ladies were there for me in my loneliness, when it felt like the entire world had forsaken me, I could listen to them, and feel the depths of love that God has for me.
To this day, the only CD's that ever play in my car are Donna Cori, and Dana and Jon Michael Talbot.  It's been so many years, and I have never tired of their words, melodies, and the way the Holy Spirit touches my soul, my heart with their works.
Thanks for listening/reading.  My journey back home has so many twists and turns, I will write them as the Spirit moves me. 

Tell me, who are your favorite Catholic Musicians?  What makes them move you?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What is it with public comments?

I just have to vent here..... I'm so upset that it might sound like a rant.
This week a police officer killed himself, and the papers reported it at least 5 different ways.  The rude, insensitive comments, the horrible things that were said in the public comment section has really disturbed me!  Who are these people?  What is the purpose of causing such harm to the family, co-workers and friends of the deceased?
Then there are the comments on the NCRegister page regarding the article of Bishop Tobin and his wonderful pastoral piece regarding civil unions. 
All kinds of people claiming to have once been Catholic, or worse, practicing Catholics that want to disagree with the Teachings of Holy Mother Church!  Catholics speaking out against each other?
Maybe I'm old fashioned, wait, what?  When did it become old fashioned to have respect for grieving families? When did it become old fashioned to have some degree of common decency?
Why is alright to go on a Catholic news paper and write the most ridiculous comments?
I fear that Satan has truly found his niche, and once upon a time I was part of it.  Between relativism, and the homosexual agenda, people are being led to perdition!
I will share one of the posts that I made in the NCRegister in another blog post.  It shares some of my journey.  However, the more I walk my journey, faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church, the more I question what this world has come to!!!!
When I was sick in bed, without visitors, save the visiting nurses, and rare visit to my family, I watched EWTN 24 hours a day, it was the only TV station I watched, (well, except for watching Aileene's Creative Living, ) and I had no idea how bad the world was changing.  I am more than disturbed by what I am seeing, and urge everyone to please pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for the Mercy of God, and intercession of His Immaculate Mother.
I know one thing, if I were God....... well, this world would be dust!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What do you think?

I've been away from my blog for a while, but with it in spirit.
I'd like to share a bit of why I it takes me so long to write.....
In my story I explain that God gave me back my life, but not necessarily my health.  It may sound strange, but I think He made the right choice! However, fatigue and other difficulties, as well as clinical depression just limit my ability to get everything done.  I want to be a good wife, a good daughter, sister, so if something has to take a back seat, it will always be the computer.
     My husband is a wonderful man, and my family of origin is a loving group of individuals that I really enjoy spending time with.  I have a new life, one I never expected to have, and am still settling in with. I've never owned a house before, so I'm thrilled with the constant nesting possibilities, including gardening, which due to my need to not be in heat/sun requires I do what I can in the odd hours.
     Recently there was a post in the NCRegister  regarding Bishop Tobin's recent article about the RI Legislature voting to accept Civil Unions of Homosexuals. (I love Bishop Tobin! even have pictures of myself and husband with him!)
      I was appalled at the comments, and realized that I would love to address the very strange comments..... I posted a few replies on the article, yet.... the more comments get posted, the more I feel like I just have to distance myself from the same bad logic that I bought into when I was living in that lifestyle. 
     I hope that makes sense....
     I'm not saying I won't write in my blog about my journey, however, I am not that person anymore.  I really want to blog about how wonderful life is when you come back to The Catholic Church, and the various things that come to mind on a daily basis as I walk this journey.
     I know I don't have a huge following, however those that do follow are fabulous and encouraging.  I don't want to let you down by not writing something!
     Please let me know what you think, do you think I should continue on writing about my journey?  It seems so many are interested in my reversion, and I'm glad, very glad, however, is it acceptable to write about the here and now part of my journey as well?
     Please leave me a comment, and if you have questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them, (at least that gives me a direction....), last but not least, please accept my apologies for not writing as often as I myself would like.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thank you!!!

I can't begin to tell you all how honored I am that so many have read my new blog!  I only recently discovered the page that allows me to track and see the sources of traffic.  Thank you to so many for linking back to my blog! What an honor! I am humbled, and very grateful to you. (Lisa, The,, CredoCatholic, Patheos,, and my new twitter friends!)

I've been struggling with a serious infection the last two weeks, but am glad to say I am well on the way to being mended!  During my illness, I've been reading other blogs, feeling overwhelmed by the welcome's, and realizing that I really want to share my Faith Journey.  If I can help one person, I'll be happy.
Besides needing to catch up on house keeping, and the responsibilities of being a wife, I am also praying on my next blog post. 

Happy Birthday Dear Pope Benedict!, Happy Feast Day St. Bernadette.  Congratulations to AmericanPapist, and TheAnchoress for the invitation to Rome! 

I dedicate this Holy Week to prayer for DD of a Woman's Catholic Journey, and all the other wonderful people coming Home to The Catholic Church at Easter Vigil!  God bless you all.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  I'm so new to this, and excited, not to mention nervous.
Again, thank you all for your wonderful encouragement and support!

A very special thank you to Lisa Graas, who befriended me, and has helped me a great deal along the way.
God bless and Mary keep you!
To Jesus through Mary,
Pax Christi

P.S. Any tips on using blogspot would be great appreciated! (What is a gadget? How do I get them?)

Friday, April 8, 2011

So what is my story?

You maybe wondering what I have to share in my story?  I've been thinking of this a great deal, how do I share it?  What is the purpose of telling my story? 

Honestly, the reason is a selfish one.  I need to never forget the journey that is my life, and how God has provided for me, had Mercy on me, Loved me, and the Graces He has provided for me.

I've written several drafts, all seem to ramble on about things I don't know if a reader will be interested in.  Maybe I will post them, maybe not.  For now, I thought I would skip ahead to the "Readers Digest version" and give you a glimpse of why I am sharing my journey.

Here is a snippet from a recent email to a friend:

In a nutshell..... so we can continue our getting to know each other.... I call myself a recovering feminist.  LOL
Once I walked with the attitude "I deserve", now I walk with the attitude, I will SERVE!"

I was raised in a devout, wonderful Irish Catholic family, large extended family, and went to a wonderful Catholic School.  To say I knew my faith would be an understatement!  I did, and do, very well.  But that didn't stop the world from getting a hold of me.  First it was drugs, then it was sex, with men and woman. All along, I could hear in my heart as if God Himself was always whispering to me..... come home My child, come back to me..... for the most part I ignored Him.

Long story short, I identified myself as a Lesbian, I had power, prestige, money, position, sports cars, toys and more toys, and lots of friends... I loved deeply, and cared for my friends, but there came a point where I knew I was not long for that world.... but I had no idea how I would find my way out. 

Examples of the constant struggle going on under the surface for me, I can remember telling my girlfriend how much I wished we could get married.  I didn't mean I wished the state would allow us to marry, I meant, I wish God thought it was OK to be married, but I knew He didn't, it didn't matter if the state did.  I also had very personal reasons (discussed in my second post,) to be pro-life, which was certainly not a very acceptable position to have in the lifestyle I was living in.

Suffice it to say that by 1986 God had waited enough, and began with a whisper, which I ignored, then with a 1x2, and I sorta heard Him, I have always been sick, always, it is what it is..... but He gave me illnesses that were not to be ignored, and I sort of turned back to Him, sorta..... by 1992 He resorted to a 4x6, since the 2x4 hadn't really gotten my attention, if you know what I mean.  I went down for the count, the final count.... I lost my friends, my awesome job, my identity, money, the whole works..... I was left with one choice, and thank GOD I was smart enough to recognize it.  When you realize you are potentially going to stand before Truth Himself at any moment, you either know you can defend your choices, or you can't..... I couldn't and I begged for Mercy, and He granted it to me!

There is so much more, the details, the suffering, and the joy of suffering that I want to share. 

I can remember as if it was last night the turning point.  It was a Tuesday, in June of 1995. By this time a long time friend that I really cared about, had shown up and told me she just couldn't be my friend anymore, my illness was just "to much."  I was hurt, to say the least.  I was flipping through channels on TV, when this nun showed up, complete in a full habit.  I stopped, listened, and she was responding to a caller who was talking about being Gay.  I didn't like her answer!  I picked up the phone, dialed the number on the TV and was going to tell this nun what I thought of her answer.  The show rolled credits, the nun said good night, and the phone was still ringing. 

Philip Golden answered the phone, I could hear the music of the end of the show on the phone, he asked me if I was aware the show was over, to which I explained I had never seen the show before.... a short conversation ensued, and he asked me in the most gentle voice for my name and address.  I gave it to him.  Within a few days, a package arrived, containing three tapes; Sister Bridge McKenna, Dana, Humble Myself, and Dana and Fr. Kevin Scanlon's Rosary. I popped them into the tape recorder, and listened to Humble Myself. Then the tears began to flow, and flow. 

The scales on my eyes, and my heart were starting to crumble. I had to listen to this Nun! 

There were many times I was blessed to talk to Mother Angelica, I treasure every conversation, all recorded on her classic's TV shows.  Mother Angelica had told me on more than one occassion, that I needed to offer my suffering up, in uniting it with Jesus's suffering, I was allowed to suffer purgatory on earth, and I do believe that is why my life turned around.  She also told me that I was able to help souls in purgatory.  The show forever etched on my heart she said to me, "Theresa, when you die, there will be many souls that come and thank you, and you will say for what?  They will say, that day you were in such pain, and anguish, and you offered it up for souls, when you said Jesus and Mary I love you, save souls, it was ME!  I was released from purgatory that day!  Thank you!"

I was bed bound for over 13 years, during which time I lived, breathed, and died on EWTN, on the Bible, and Catechism, I found out that in the poorness of being severely disabled, with everything taken away, I was the happiest I could have ever imagined!  Like the "donut man" says, life without Jesus is like a donut, there is a hole in the middle of your heart!

God was even more merciful, He gave me back my life, not my health, but my life, and in 08 I married a wonderful devout Catholic man, and have the life I dreamt of as a child.  God is so great.  Today I teach Catechism, and Confirmation, I volunteer for the Church as a Social Worker, and I live for my faith.

A bit of my beginning

I was raised in the most incredible Catholic environment! I never questioned my faith.... well Okay, that isn't 100% true, I once asked a sister in Catholic School to prove to me the Pope had a white phone that was a direct link to God.  Haha, she was a smart sister, she assigned me the task of investigating what infallibility meant. That was fifth grade, I really appreciated Sister Lila Marie! She wore plaid tennis shoes!

It was a wonderful life!  I had the best priest in the world, Father Oscar Ferland!  He later became Msgr. Ferland, but at my church he was Father.  He would come and take my sisters and I to the beach.  He was an incredibly holy man.  He meant the world to me, and I never wanted to disappoint him.

When I was 9 years old, I broke my back, Father Ferland introduced me to the young college students who played guitar at our church.  I was so impressed with them, I never imagined breaking my back, landing in the hospital for such a long time would grant me the blessing of meeting them, AND becoming a member of their "Sing Out" group!  Oh the joy in my heart, and the love that I was to know, and still know from these incredible people!

I'm trying to paint a picture for you, of the blessings in my life.  Not only did I have parents that lived and loved the Catholic Faith, an AWESOME saintly Godmother, (God rest her loving soul), and aunts and uncles that really genuinely cared for me, but I had priests, and sisters that really helped me to be the devout Catholic that I was. 

I was incredibly well blessed, I think down deep I knew that too.

I'll share more of the growing years here and there, (I think, since I have never written a blog...) 
One thing that is important in my story, I am the oldest child, born prematurely, in the age when there wasn't special hospitals for premature babies.  I lived, the first of many miracles that would touch my life.  I would always hold that close to my heart. 

The youngest of my three sisters was born in 1973, the same year as Roe vs. Wade.  Now it is important to understand that we lived a very sheltered life and were never exposed to things that would confound our innocent minds.  When the Supreme Court passed Roe vs. Wade, I was 16 years old, innocent and shocked to hear what it meant.  When I say shocked, I mean, totally over the top mortified to think that anyone, for one minute could think it was acceptable to kill a baby, before or after it was born!

I can remember when I was very young, my aunt came over, quite pregnant; I asked my mother, "how is that baby going to get out???" My mother's reply will forever be the most intelligent reply I have ever heard, she said, "God has given woman a womb, a special place that the baby can grow and be loved in, when it is time for the baby to be born, He will open up the womb, and the baby will be born."  Wow! I thought, (in my mind,) So there must be a zipper that shows up, and that is how the mommy knows the baby is ready to come out, when she see's the zipper!  LOL, mind you I had to be about 4 years old, however, that explanation was good enough for me until I was actually present at a birth, at 15 years old.

My mother always had great Catholic answers.  How wonderful!

One thing my mother would tell me, as I got older, confounded me, I now wish she was more specific, though I doubt it would have made to much of a difference.  She would say, "why buy the cow, if you can get the milk for free?"  Huh?  What?  Since we didn't have cows, the whole thing was lost on me.  Ah, to be young again, and realize that giving away the most sacred part of your feminity for "free" was the same as damaging your most prized possession!  God's most prized possession!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I want to be Holy, set apart for You my Master

Song and lyrics Refiner's Fire

I am new to blogging, bear with me please.

I named my blog Refiner's Fire because that is exactly what my journey has felt like. Listen to the song, view the lyrics please.

Here I will attempt to share how my lifes journey has taken me from devout Catholic, to worldly sinfulness, and back to being a devout Catholic.

My life has been well blessed, there have been some amazing people in my life. There have been difficult times, and lots of suffering.  This is a journey of faith, and the love of being Catholic!

To Jesus, through Mary,
Pax Christi
Mrs. J