prayer surprises.

I woke up this morning and began my usual routine.

Wash my face. Brush my teeth.  Saunter downstairs for my morning Spark drink. Feed Helen. And then I begin morning prayer, where Helen often joins me with one of her many friends.

Helen & Minion ask, “Is it time to pray?”

This is what I expect to do tomorrow too.  And the next day. And the day after that.

Every once in awhile though there is a surprise tucked in there, something just a little ‘different’ that I’m not expecting.  Like Cuppycake using the last of the toothpaste and I must search the linen closet for a fresh box. Or maybe I’ll chose a different flavor of Spark than my normal Pink Lemonade. Today I was surprised when I sat down to pray, as I opened my Breviary to recite Morning Prayer & discovered that today was the Feast of Saint Katherine Drexel! Immediately a smile stretched across wide enough to reach my heart and I was transported in mind & spirit to when I’d visited her in Philadelphia during my pilgrimage to see Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families!


What is a Catholic Saints Feast Day?

The Catholic Church assigns one date out of the year for each and every canonized saint — known as the saint’s feast day. The saints are remembered on their individual feast days with special mention, prayers, and possibly a scripture reading.

A saint’s feast day can be the day of their actual death or a day assigned by the Church. Typically, the Church only assigns a day when the day of death is unknown or if several other saints are already assigned to that day. The number of canonized saints, however, is greater than the number of days in a calendar year. So two or more saints often share the same feast day. Because overlap often occurs, and the Church isn’t sure of the date of death of some saints, other calendar dates are sometimes chosen — such as the day that the saint was canonized. -What is a Catholic Saints Feast Day for Dummies.

Katharine Mary Drexel was born Catherine Mary Drexel in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of investment banker Francis Anthony Drexel and Hannah Langstroth. Her family owned a considerable fortune. She was born into a tradition of philanthropy. Her uncle was the founder of Drexel University.

Katharine Mary Drexel

When her family traveled to the Western states in 1884, Katharine Drexel saw the plight and destitution of the native Americans. She wanted to do something specific to help. Thus began her lifelong personal and financial support of numerous missions and missionaries in the United States.

In January 1887, the sisters were received in a private audience by Pope Leo XIII. They asked him for missionaries to staff some Indian missions that they had been financing. To their surprise, the Pope suggested that Katharine become a missionary herself! Although she had already received marriage proposals, after consulting her spiritual director, Drexel decided to give herself to God, along with her inheritance, through service to American Indians and Afro-Americans.

Sr. Katharine

She took the name Mother Katharine, and joined by thirteen other women, soon established a religious congregation, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The order continues to pursue their original apostolate, working with African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states and Haiti. Drexel-with-children-660x350





The process of canonization for Katharine was begun by John Cardinal Krol who officially introduced her Cause in Rome in December 1964. On January 26, 1987, Mother Katharine was declared Venerable.  On October 1, 2000, in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City, during the solemn celebration of Mass, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Mother Katharine Drexel, “Saint Katharine Drexel.”

And today I was delightfully surprised to be whisked back to my time spent at her National Shrine and the very blessed experience to have prayed in The Shrine area, which holds the entombed remains of Saint Katharine Drexel.  During the World Meeting of Families the National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel attracted more than 200 large busloads of people! Thousands visited the Motherhouse grounds, the Mission Center and Shrine. (Imagine how surprised the Sisters & Volunteers were when, at one point that Weekend, one bus was scheduled and SIX buses arrived instead and 50 persons poured out of each!)

 The National Shrine of Saint Katharine Drexel & The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament’s Motherhouse.

The banner which hung in Saint Peter’s Square during Saint Katharine’s Canonization.

Saint Katharine’s former student, Mary! She frequently volunteers at the Shrine now & was one of the over 200 volunteers wearing chartreuse shirts helping to be sure everything went smoothly! (Mary & her family were invited to the Vatican when Blessed Katharine was Canonized.)

I can only imagine how Sr. Patricia, Sr. Agnes, and Sr. Annette, all Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, must have been smiling today too! And oh what a joy it was to have prayed, even so far away, this same prayer with all of them too…


Ever-loving God, you called Saint Katharine Drexel to teach the message of the Gospel and to bring the life of the Eucharist to the African American and Native American peoples.

By her prayers and example, enable us to work for justice among the poor and the oppressed, and keep us undivided in love in the eucharistic community of your Church.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Katharine Drexel, pray for us!

hugs n’ blessings for all the surprises that life often brings us!

knot a problem…anymore.


I’m still suffering from a Pope-Hangover.

For five days we immersed ourselves in all things “Papa” and “Faith.”


But now life is glossed-over. A clear-film of joy covers over each day.

And I feel this is a very good thing!


I am enjoying this somewhat detached manner of living from the chaos the world often has to offer.  The problems in my life are still present, yet somehow they are no longer problems; but rather simply…difficulties.  And those are much more manageable, don’t you think?

This transition from problem to difficulty came through my visit to the Mary, Undoer of Knots Grotto established for Pope Francis’ participation in The World Meeting of Families. (Be sure to see the Pope’s visit to this lovely Groto on his final travels through the streets of Philadelphia on their web-site!)

A wonderful tribute, not only to this beautiful devotion to the Blessed Mother, Mary who was the undoer of the sin of Eve;

“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.” 

 but also to bring awareness to hunger & homelessness in America.


But what are these knots? They are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution.  Throughout time and across all cultures, a knot has been used to symbolize tension and struggle. The undoing of a knot symbolizes freedom from these burdens – a release of pressure. In the tradition of Mary, Undoer of Knots, Pope Francis’ favorite artwork, visitors of the grotto were able to add or remove knots, symbolizing their personal struggles and sharing the burdens of others.





And I know from the power of prayer & personal experience, many pilgrims returned home with knot as many problems…anymore.

Leaving prayer intentions to be placed into the hands of Mary.
Pope Francis does have a special devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. While studying in Germany in the 1980s, he discovered this devotion at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg.
My own Mary, Undoer of Knots which hangs in my sewing-corner.

“Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of His children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands, there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with your Son and my liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot. (Mention your petition here.)

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, O safe refuge.”

hugs n’ blessings to all who trust their knots to be undone.

Love always finds what is lost!

There were numerous blessings during my pilgrimage to be with Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Some were personal and others shared.   One inparticular was filled with great grace.

(Grace is God extending favor toward us that we do not deserve.)

Mother Superior & Sister, Members of The Sisters of Christ the Light
Mother Superior & Sister, Members of The Sisters of The Light of Christ

On Saturday evening I discovered, as I  was departing the Ben Franklin Parkway Oval where I had been standing for 7 hours awaiting the chance to see the Holy Father at the World Meeting of Families Ceremony, I had lost one of my treasured rosaries.

This rosary was given to me by a special young person while on retreat together.  They had made it themselves and the cord it was made from had been dipped & died in the colors of the Divine Mercy of Chirst; which as I have mentioned I hold a special devotion to. ( You may read more about this in several of my posts under the Divine Mercy Page, located on the Menu Bar!)  I had tied this rosary around my wrist, so that I would have easy access to pray the Rosary throughout my time in Philadelphia.

And I did!

I prayed on the bus,

while walking from one train to another,

while walking to the Grotto (read more about this in an upcoming blog,)

as well as with new friends from Mexico!

(Even though I do not speak more than 20 words of Spanish they helped me to follow along.)

I am pretty certain it was lost in the course of trying to find a woman, in our pilgrimage group, who had gone missing.   As I searched the area for her and while speaking to the authorites regarding the situation, I am confident it fell from my wrist.  Praise be she was found, but my rosary had been lost!  And although I retraced the areas I had traveled through, St. Anthony was not interceding for me this time!

The next day I felt the significance of it’s loss while praying the rosary on my walk, again to the Parkway; this time to celebrate Holy Mass with Christs’ Vicar, Pope Francis!!!  (There is always a way to pray the rosary with 10 fingers as your “beads!”)


When I arrived at the Parkway I again marveled at the enormous number of people, just like me, who were bubbling with joyful anticipation over what was to unfold this day!  And yet still there was an under-current of saddness regarding losing my rosary as I recognized my eyese were turned automatically toward the ground as I walked, in hopes of finding it.  Not long after I had chosen a spot where I would set myself up to wait for Papa’s arrival, I felt a tug at the hem of my skirt.  Turning around to see what had pulled at me so forceably…I found a darling olive-skinned litle girl, holding up toward me in her tiny hand, a clear plastic bag, motioning for me to take hold of it.  “For me?” I asked.  And with the biggest grin on her face, she bobbed here head up & down with the gesture of an enthusiastic “Yes!”  Accepting the bag to see what was inside, there I found….a home-made rosary.  

My Rosary-Angel!
My Rosary-Angel!

God had guided this little angel to find me & replace what had been lost.

I asked if I might give her a hug for this gift she had just given and without hesitation she warmly melted into my arms. I thanked & introduced myself to the man standing close behind her, who explained he was her father.  Speaking in very broken English he explained that after coming to America from Cuba just 5 years ago, their entire family gathers each Saturday to make Rosaries together.  They are then given the responsibility to hand out 5 rosaries (each) that next Sunday,  as a way of offering thanks to the Holy Mother for protecting them during the course of traveling safely to America.  This family has committed themselves to giving Thanks to God for the opportunity to have this new freedom while evangelizing to others as a bonus!  All born from the love they have for Our Heavenly Father and their desire for others to experience the same.  I thanked him and hugged my little angel once more before she skipped away to give yet another of her proud creations to the next unsuspecting person she was guided toward.  And I know she gave it with Love as her Mission.

“We believe that love is our mission, and that this mission is the only way we can be fully alive and be who we were created to be. God works through us. We are in the world for a purpose – to receive God’s love and to show God’s love to others.” Pope Francis

hugs n’ blessings to everyone who professes love to find what is lost!

Rosaries were
Rosaries were “raining down” everywhere in Philadelphia!