Monthly Archives: April 2012

The moral minefield of being a mum

From the moment that extra line appears on the dipstick a mother has decisions to make about how to best take care of her child. There are some moral absolutes in there, but many decisions about how best to be a mother fall into the prudential judgement area, and that can be more difficult. Starting with what you put into your body. It is obvious that ingesting some kind of poison that will be detrimental to the baby is bad – but then is drinking any alcohol really bad? Or should all pregnant mothers really avoid soft cheese and prawns because some minor studies say so?  Once you have tiptoed through that little minefield and the baby has arrived, what about breast feeding?

Is breastfeeding a moral issue? In some ways yes, but again it’s in the prudential judgement area. Putting aside for one moment the obvious non-moral case of a mother who can’t breastfeed thanks to medical problems faced by her or her child (reflux, tongue tie, needing very strong meds such as chemo etc) there is still the question of breast verses bottle and how long to do what. I have seen some people make the strong sweeping statement that bottle feeding is immoral. But it isn’t intrinsically immoral, any more than needing a wet nurse is.

This is followed by what has been dubbed the “mummy wars” where a row breaks out over what is best, stay at home or work outside the home? If a mother has to work outside of the home, what is she morally obliged to do with her children?

Then there’s the education war between home education and send them to school. When, if ever, is it morally right to put children into institutional education? Is there ever a time when it is immoral to home educate?

Among this comes the question of when or whether to have the next baby.

We also are called to guide and teach our children to live good moral lives and that means using discipline. So what kind of discipline should be use?

When there are so few absolutes in being a mum, where do we turn for guidance, truth and strength? Is there a design for the family that we can try and follow so that we offer the best for our children growing up, while retaining some level of sanity?

Lots of questions. Now I have to try and work out some answers…

Medjugorje and Me.

At the moment the 30 year events going on in Medjugorje in Bosnia Herz are being fully investigated by a team at the Vatican. There’s a general belief that a definitive judgement on whether Our Blessed Mother has been appearing there will be made by the end of this year. In the meantime there’s quite a bit of argument and controversy over the matter. I don’t want to add to that, but I thought I might tell what part this place and it’s events have had on my faith.

I grew up and went to Catholic schools in the 1970’s and early 80’s. It was during the Catechism-free-zone days of Catholic teaching. I was being unpleasantly sandwiched between the dark judgemental “can’t wait for an excuse to send you to hell” god on the one side and the pink and fluffy”how does it feel for you?” god on the other. It was not good.

One thing that began to bug me was the sheer volume of miracles. I don’t mean cures as such, but the spinning sun seemed to happen all the time and then there was the business of people’s rosaries turning to gold. Something about that seemed wrong.

Without going into the rigmarole of my painful Faith journey back then I had reached the point where I knew God existed (from reason) but I had no idea who He was and had a strong suspicion that even if the Jesus of Scripture was God and that He had spent nearly 2000 showing His love for His people, all that had vanished some time after the first world war and He had shipped out, leaving us to ourselves. I could see no evidence at that point in my life that God had anything more to do with the world or His Church (if the Catholic Church was His Church and I was not convinced of that).

News reached me somehow (I can’t remember how) that Our Blessed Mother may be appearing to some young people in a place called Medjugorje. At first I wasn’t able to find out much about it, but eventually I found a magazine about the events and I signed up to see if it was true. I was pretty cautious at first as I wasn’t one to trust anyone very easily, but the stories of the apparitions, cures, conversions and the joy that came with them all captivated me and I began to think it highly likely that the apparitions were true and I was so grateful to have the hope that God hadn’t done a runner. (As you can see spiritually I was way off beam still). The fact that I was beginning to believe in it meant that I decided to make the effort to live the messages; going to Mass more often, praying the rosary, reading the Bible – just trying to be better at this Christianity thing I was so unsure of. I have to admit, it was all very good for me and certainly played a pretty big part in steering me in the right direction. But doubts began to creep in.

I can’t remember when exactly, I began to sense something off about it all. One of the first red flags was the Bishop of Mostar being so against it and the anger towards him by those who supported it. He may have been completely wrong, I didn’t know (and having been brought up in the catechism-free-zone I had no idea that the local ordinary had the authority to declare on local private revelation. I don’t think I even knew there was a distinction between public and private revelation at this point).  The other thing I began to feel uncomfortable with was the number of times I met people who put immense pressure on me to go there. One couple in particular had a really negative effect on me, even though I thought they were very nice people. It was the “come and see the miracles” approach that niggled at me. I didn’t give up hoping it was real though.

Then I met a friend who had been there. He told me that his rosary had turned to gold while he was there. Far from being pleased with this, it had unnerved him. He said that he had thought the event “brash and tasteless” and wondered if it really was Our Blessed Mother doing this. Somehow this conversation vocalised the niggling doubts and strange feeling that had been growing for me and I decided to leave well alone until there was a definitive judgement. Some time after that the Bishop of Mostar asked the visionaries not to speak any more on the visions (or some say he asked them to stop having visions) but nothing has changed. Knowing that in other apparitions Our Blessed Mother has obeyed the Bishop’s request because he has the authority from her Son – this was the clincher for me.

At this point it is 30 years down the line and a lot has been written and said. Many, many of those who have or still support the authenticity of the apparitions are truly good, holy people who I respect. A couple of the leading lights against Medjugorje on the other hand come across as arrogant and snarky. But there are also good, holy people who are pretty sure the Vatican will say it is not authentic.

Where do I stand now? I can’t help thinking this probably was a genuine apparition to begin with. But so many other things have happened that need unknotting or undoing that I can’t see there’s much room for the Commission to say any of it was authentic. But they have far more info than I do- so we wait.

I have to say I think the Church has taken the Ent-Moot far to far on this matter. Countless souls are wrapped up in these events and I am afraid I think they have been left to flounder without proper guidance. Hopefully the Commission will give and clear, definitive judgement. As a matter of fact one of the advantages (to me) of being Catholic is that there are rigorous investigations of purported miracles and apparitions. It is a shame it’s taken so long, but better late than never.

Good books for late teens/young adults (and old adults who need to reignite those battered grey cells)

One of the joys of home education is the massive opportunity to invest in good books for the children (and me) that encourage thought, silence of the soul and goodness. Simcha Fisher’s post about books for young adults begins with what can only be described as insitutional emotional manipulation “everything we read had to be about two or more of the following, the Holocaust, suicide or bulimia…”

Having typed up my oldest sons A level essays (he has only recently learned to type – so much for school) I was always somewhat disturbed that just about everything he had to write about involved some sort of depression, self harm and dark misery of the utterly pointless kind. How it was supposed to be helpful or encouraging of maturity in any way completely escaped me.

I want something better for my other children and wish I had been savvy enough and brave enough back then to pull him from school.

Simcha’s list include books I have read and loved.

Til we Have Faces by C S Lewis is an excellent book and the fact it is not on any A level list is deeply sad. Peter Kreeft has an excellent lecture on Beauty includes a good study of this book.

Another one of her choices is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller which is available in audio here. I loved this book. It’s got a weird feel to it at times but it has that deep rooted truth that makes the story real much like Lord of the Rings has, although both books are completely different in style and story. I also have Leib and the Horse Woman but I haven’t read it yet.

The Don Camillo books are brilliant. I read them in my teens and now my dh loves them. They give a genuine and funny insight into Italy after the war and my favourite book Comrade Don Camillo gives a  funny and poignant insight into communist Russia and the ordinary people who had to find ways to survive there. Why not let young adults see the horror of those times without bashing them over the head?

She then returns to C S Lewis with the Out of the Silent Plant trilogy although Simcha leaves out That Hideous Strength. I loved these books but I must admit I found Perelandra hard going and I…erm…skipped a bit. ahem. Anyway the trilogy is good but I think it would suit the older end of teens.

I would add some classics like the works of Jane Austin

Crime and Punishment and Conan Doyle books

For lighter reading my older children have enjoyed the Regina Doman retelling of fairy tales for older people

I must write a blog post on the joy of a good murder. But before I do there’s Fr Brown. Now I am going to say something – brace yourself Chesterton fans – I don’t think all the Fr Brown stories are that good. But the ones that aren’t are still way better than some of the stuff you could be inflicted with otherwise so this isn’t a terrible diss of G K.

Had my EEG today.

Today’s hospital appointment is the last one for the time being. Still awaiting the Lung Specialist, but apparently the waiting list is very long indeed.

Anyway today it was the EEG. Interestingly (to me anyway) the myoclonus has calmed down a bit over the last few days and so I wondered if the fact I’ve been back on Prednisolone might have anything to do with that, or whether it was just coincidence. The eeg-man (who probably has a proper title, sorry) said he wasn’t sure, but it was possible that if the twitching, jerking, absences and general weirdness is to do with some sort of inflammation, then steroids could possibly calm that down. Interesting.

I was duly wired up. The way it works is I parked up the wheelchair with a little box on a stand behind me. From the box came all the lovely coloured wires. These were attached to my head with stickers and gel which included a wire stuck to each collar-bone area. Not sure what they were for. Nothing too uncomfortable.

There was a camara pointed at me.

Once I was wired and properly facing the camera the test began. I had to just sit there, eyes open, then shut, then open and so on. That was ok, although keeping my eyes shut was weird as my body started twitching – not something I had expected. Don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

The next bit involved looking into a bright flashing light, eyes open and shut. It was pretty unpleasant. He did say I could stop him but I decided to keep going. At the point where I thought the nausea was more than I could politely manage the thing finished! Thank heavens for that!

That was it. No idea how long before I get to hear of results but the next epilepsy clinic appt isn’t until October so I am guessing I have to wait 6 months (Ah the NHS).

I’ve had a look at a couple of epilepsy sites to see what I can hope for especially if (as always seems to happen) they can’t see anything on it or as happens even more often they simply lose the thing. Unfortunately it seems that EEGs are not as useful as I’d hoped. So many people have clear ones even at the point of grand mall seizures. This is not what I wanted to read.

For ten years I have handled all the “there’s nothing in the results” from doctors and I’ve coped with FM and all it’s extras reasonably well. During the major flare two years ago I realised that even in a serious state of illness like then, there is no medical support for this disease.  I started to read the research myself and find my own way through, learning to accept that I am getting worse and that I wont ever get better (unless God offers me a miracle). I have managed that. I have been extraordinarily blessed that I have never had to deal with depression or anxiety about any of this. I have been frustrated and angry at times and I have lost what little faith I ever had in the medical profession as a whole – with one or two exceptions, but I think a bit of anger and frustration helps the fight, whereas I think depression must make it so much harder to deal with.

But this business is proving a real challenge to my keep-b%$%^ing-on (as Churchill signed all his letters) approach to life and this disease. I just can’t stand the idea that I will be having these weird jerks and twitches in public. The idea that I will be left with them, and that they will have to get a lot worse until I’m having full fits before there’s a hope of treatment is terrifying frankly. Seeing the number of people left to suffer just because the machine hasn’t spotted the problem is deeply disturbing. So many good doctors and researchers have spoken out against a machine based approach to medicine. Patients are human beings not mere machines, and we know our own bodies.

I am not saying I wont carry this cross if God sends it. Obviouly I will. But I can’t help a little hope that the doc will say, “The results show you have this…” and then “And we have a great treatment for that…” or better yet, “And we can stop it happening.”

Home Education, Living Literature – because Charlotte Mason is still my heroine.

Obviously when it comes to children reading and being read to grades are a very vague guide. For example Ronan has been reading St Ignatius without too many problems – apart from the Spanish names – but it isn’t on Seton until much later (I discovered by accident t’other day). While I am a great believer in giving children books to read that expand their vocabulary and stretch them a bit, I don’t advocate making reading so hard it puts them off.  I think there’s a place for “page candy” as well (in small doses) – although I can’t think of any the children are reading at the moment.

(Grade 3-4) Ronan is reading (to me) Tom’s Midnight Garden  (from my Kindle) and St Ignatius Loyola.

Avila is reading Why? by Tomie DePaola which she has nearly finished. Once she has I will buy For the Duration which both she and Ronan have been looking forward too. I think she’ll probably get to read it first.

Avila will also be reading The Weight of the Mass and Take it to the Queen.

Ronan and Avila are allowed to read in bed now.

Ronan is reading T. H. White’s The Sword in the Stone which Iona picked up from a charity shop.

Avila has been reading mainly picture books each night – lots of Tomie dePaola and other stuff.

I’ve been printing off comics from Treasure Chest of Fact and Fun for them both as well. This has gone down better than I expected. The only complaint so far has been the type quality sometimes.  I’ve got some copies of Fairy Tale Parade  (I didn’t get them from the site linked but hopefully that site works ok) as well which now we have a cheap to run laser printer I am printing selected stories from.

They have been listening to Stranger Moon from Ancient Faith Radio’s Under the Grapevine. We have all the Narnia books downloaded as well as some other stories. It’s lovely stuff and has been a God-send now that I can’t read out loud for any length of time. Heleyna’s favourite is the story of St. Helena and the Cats. There’s also that lovely Wemmick story – we have the book from a friend.

Other books the children have been reading or will be reading over the next few weeks are:

The Librarian Who Measured The Earth for the little ones history.

Wise Guy about Socrates.

This beautiful book Angel in teh Waters to go with a little project we are doing on human fetal development.

Iona is reading Anne Fran’s Short Stories lent by a friend. Anne wrote them when she was a teenager and Iona reckons she was very wise for her age. Then she will read The Flight of the Falcon by Daphne De Maurier 

I am still reading Osler’s Web which I very much recommend. It’s a brilliantly researched and written expose of the sheer corruption, egos and narcisistic personalities as well as the heroic and genuine care and hard work done by reserchers and medics into the mystery of ME which was named Chronic Fatique Syndrome in a deliberate and frankly malicious attempt to prevent patient care.

Check out my Amazon Store (no, I am not making any money on this) for other books we either have or wish to have that I think I worth reading.

Home Education. What we are using or plan to use for Pre-k grade 1 and grade 3 and stepping up.

I’ve been sorting out and planning for the rest of the term to the Summer. As we have moved more towards workbooks and bought curriculum things have become a little easier on my foggy brain. One thing that has been fortunate is that the workbooks and curriculum I already have is working well so that I am not having to buy lots of new stuff over and over. So here’s the list.

As this post is going to be very long and some of you might want to come back to check resources and links I’ll make it sticky.

Continue reading

Is there are history curriculum out there that doesn’t lean to a world view, but just tells the truth?

Teaching history is a mine field, peppered with little bombs of “worldview” that can go off at any time.

In my search for a history curriculum I actually came across advice on one homeschool site, that parents should make sure the history package they choose reflects their world view. That means as a Catholic I have to buy Catholic history books, not just to teach my children their Faith and history, but because non-Catholic history books will be skewed. Or I can’t buy Catholic books if I’m protestant or Jewish because Catholic books will be skewed. By skewed I mean dishonest.

I have no objection to buying my children well written history books that offer them the stories of their Faith, particularly on saints and great Catholics good and bad and downright awful. What I don’t want is to read Catholic history that has had all the truly awful ones removed. I want a TRUTHFUL history with all the saints and sinners who took part given a fair hearing.

I don’t want to buy a protestant history that dishes out all the Black Legends and blood libels against Catholics, while white washing the appalling behaviour of some of their “heroes” like Luther and the tyrant Elizabeth I. I want to see the whole story, told properly and honestly with actual history. If a writer must break the commandment against bearing false witness in order to give their ‘worldview’ then that worldview isn’t worth much.

Just one example of this is in a well known children’s history book in which it is stated that Catherine of Aragon had a “real” marriage with Arthur Tudor. The author, without producing any evidence, is saying that Catherine perjured herself when she took an oath in God’s Name saying her marriage with Arthur was not consummated. On her oath the marriage was annulled freeing her to marry Henry VIII. Even secular historians do not accuse Catherine of perjury.  As the same author says Henry VIII was pleased with Luther I can only assume she wrote a book without having read any on this subject! The same author decided that Prince Vladimir the great joined the Orthodox church quite some years before it even existed, presumably because she had no idea of the Catholic Byzantine Rite. (Eastern Rite Catholics understandably roll their eyes at the lack of recognition of their existence).

As for secular history book; Editing out all that any Christian did unless it was bad and of course including legend, is both pointless and dishonest. It is because of these books that Christians and others have taken up the task of writing their own history books. The problem is, in reacting to the shoddy work of some of these books, they are in danger of falling off the other side and producing shoddy work slanted dishonestly from another worldview. Some of the Catholic books seem to lean that way, and while they are great at putting forward parts of Catholic history that has been edited out and deliberately ignored – there’s a danger in this I believe, that we can get a bit of a ‘victim’ complex. Do you know what I mean?  For 2000 years almost without a break Catholics somewhere have faced injustice, persecution and martyrdom. wholesale anti-Catholic propaganda especially (and shamefully) in the English speaking world has meant quite a backlash now Catholics have more freedom (in the English speaking countries).

Persecution is something to be proud of, not get angry about. Blaming those alive today for what their ancestors did doesn’t strike me as all that helpful and as Catholics we are forbidden from this anyway because Jesus said so! Saying it happened and how is good history, but the facts can speak for themselves.

There has been a view, which I have never agreed with, that the winners write history and so all history is necessarily dishonest. This isn’t so. There are plenty of ways of ascertaining what happened, especially these days when more archives and documents have been made available; when it happened, to whom and why using documents and archeological evidence from both sides. It’s when chunks of the story are deliberately ignored because it’s embarrassing that things go wrong.

For us Catholics there is a great deal of history that is toe curlingly bad. We look with sadness at the Avignon popes and the growing political corruption that came to a head under the infamous Borgia family.  (With the shining exception of St, Francis Borgia – was he related to them? I haven’t read his story yet). We see Christendom filled with sinners and saints who faced the corruption of popes and bishops head on – most notably women saints such as St. Catherine of Siena and St. Bridget of Sweden. We see the work of St Francis of Assisi against some of the appalling decisions made by crusader armies. None of that needs to be avoided. Surely we can learn as much from the sinners in history as the saints.

I did once see a home ed mother actually bragging that she had removed her child from the carefully chosen secular school because they were teaching Bible events as though they actually happened! LOL! Bigotry and ignorance always seem to go together – but honestly! To be fair to good secular history books they don’t go so far as to try and pretend Jews and Christians have no history!

In some ways Catholic history writers are almost forced to write the bad things Catholics did, because God raised up so many very powerful high profile saints to tackle it. It would be difficult to impossible, I would guess, to write about saints like Sts Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Bridget of Sweden, Dominic, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila…and so on without mentioning that they faced the often utterly immoral and appalling behaviour of Catholics both clerical, lay and of course political.

You certainly can’t talk about Our Lady of Guadalupe without pointing out that the reason God had to send her, was the lack of conversions among the native people thanks to the slave trade and greed of the so-called Catholic rulers. The priests and brothers who worked so hard and protested the slave trade so well received their reward when nearly 9 million native south American people converted.

But I don’t want a history that has the guts ripped out of it as authors avoid the wonders of Art and architecture, medicine and philosophy, just because it was so strongly Church led.

All I want is a good children’s (mixed age) history curriculum that tells the truth. Written by someone who actually knows the history they are writing! I want it editorially honest treating black legend with the same disgust as the Jewish blood libel.


OK I wrote all that and now I am going to say that with another family we are going to have a go at R C History because the books are broad and they make the boast that they are catholic as well as Catholic.  Let’s see how it goes.

Happy Birthday Papa Beni.

It’s Pope Benedict’s birthday today and he has turned 85. In three days we will celebrate the 7th anniversary since he was made Pope.

Over the last 2000 years of the Church and her 265 popes there have been a lot of saints and a good few sinners sitting in the chair of Peter. But in these times we have seen some very holy, saintly popes who have shown heroic graces in the face of a growing toxicity of culture all around the world.

The Pope was praised today for remaining truly Bavarian which I think he has. And I think there’s a quiet symbolism in that. In the 1930’s election that brought National Socialism to power in Germany, the least votes came out of Bavaria, probably because the people had listened to the advice of the nuncio who went on to become Pope Pius XII. Bavaria had been on the front line in the encroaching darkness of Socialism just as Warsaw and Krakow suffered hugely thanks to the jaws of Nationals Socialism and Communist oppression.

Blessed Pope John Paul the II and our present Holy Father taken up the fight for Christ and His Bride and those of us in the ranks are grateful.

Happy Birthday.

Doctors – not all bad, but modern medicine has massive holes in it.

I have seen more than my fair share of doctors over the last ten years or so, and very often I have been astonished by just how awful many of them are. But the last couple of appointments show that things don’t have to be that way.

My GP surgery is very good, and as I’m quick enough to blog when I get cross with doctors, I should be equally quick to be thankful. On Thursday, having spent three or so days struggling with my breathing I decided I’d had enough and phoned the surgery, “Can I just pop in and use the nebulizer?” I asked expecting to have to jump through many a bureaucratic NHS hoop. But no, the receptionist said she would inform the duty doc I was on the way.

I got there about 20 minutes later and was taken straight through to the room and plugged into the nebuliser within a couple of minutes! I then saw the doc who gave me a script for steroids and other stuff, and so I can now breath nicely again. Lovely.

I had an appointment with the Rheumi at the hospital today. I do try and avoid mentioning FM when I see doctors now, but as FM comes under Rheumi it’s difficult to avoid. She did immediately ask if I’d had pychi referrals for the FM. I said no, as I am not depressed (thankfully) She then mentioned GET and CBT as having good outcomes. Actually it doesn’t, but I didn’t mention I’d read all that research. She was a good doc though, and did listen to what I said and did a good examination.

The consultant came in at the end and asked me where I wanted to go with this problem from here. I explained that I was managing it fine and that as I am well aware it isn’t getting better, and is getting worse, and as he pointed out there isn’t much in the way of medical support for it, that I can continue to do that. “My body is doing this and I can’t do much about it,” I said, “I just get on with life and accept this is how it is.” I think I’ve known for a long time now that there is nothing doctors can dare to do to help those people with fibromyalgia, or ME (CFS/CFIDS).

Machines might be big, white and expensive, but they are extremely limited and this is before the limitations of busy (and often poorly trained) doctors get hold of them.

Ignorance prevails and even though the two doctors who spoke with me today were both polite, good people, they are hampered by the politics, money and amazing egos of those who could  help, but are too arrogant and have blocked any hope of proper care and treatment, let alone a cure for fibro.

As I jump through the hoops I know I am facing an eventual joint dx of FM and ME. I will resist to the end. Sadly having a dx of either FM or ME let alone both is simply a ticket to nowhere useful. Sixteen years after the publication of Osler’s Web (which I must review) we are not much further forward in even gaining basic respect for patients. Until there is a massive change in attitude, egos, politics and financial mismanagement, people with ME/cfs and FM are going to be left not just seriously ill,  and dying, but treated with utter disdain.

I am grateful for the hard work and genuine care of the doctors I’ve seen the last couple of times. Their good professional approach does not cost more than the rude approach; and it can made a difference to how the patient feels about the medical hoops we are told to jump through and the horrible personal costs of the disease we battle every day.

Book Review: The Boy Who Met Jesus by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

 Immaculee Ilibagiza has written a short book about her personal favourite seer from the days when Our Blessed Mother came on urgent business to try and prevent the Rwandan genocide. If you have not read Immaculee’s other books Led By Faith and Left to Tell I recommend them highly. Before reading this book about Emmanual Segatashya is would be worth reading her other books on her survival of the Rwandan Genocide and Our Lady’s visit to Kibeho in the 1980’s.

Now, first I need to say something about private revelation. We know that all public revelation of the Faith ended with the death of the last apostle (presumably St. John). After that no new revelation has or can be given. While doctrine can mature and organically develop it cannot change. Private revelation can only reiterate what we should already know from Scripture and Tradition.

The Faithful are not bound to believe in any particular private revelation, although obviously some sensible discernment would mean accepting some as truthful. For example, I am writing this on Divine Mercy Sunday, which is based on the private revelations of St. Faustina who conversed with both Jesus and Our Blessed Mother and received the message that we need to be seeking God’s mercy, rather than His judgement.

The Church can take an awful long time before She gives her approval or disapproval of a revelation. Sometimes the decision is made quickly, especually where there are obvious problems, and on rare occasions a decision can be made quickly where it seems the message is clear and urgent. In Rwanda the bishop was on the ball and gave initial approval for some of the visions fairly quickly. The urgency of Our Lady’s message was so important that the bishop wisely approved the prayers and conversion that she was asking for.

A commission was set up to investigate all those who claimed to receive visions at the time and by this point the final decisions on many of them are still not in.

The decision about the visions received by Segatashya has not been made and therefore his visions at this moment remain unapproved – that is no decision has been made. Immaculee begins her book by saying those on the commission believed him and believe the young man will eventually receive approval, but she does make it clear that it has not yet happened and she adds that some of the interviews and tapes done with him were lost in the Genocide. Very sadly Segatashya along with some of the other visionaries were murdered in that all out demonic slaughter.

Immaculee then goes on to tell us about Segatashya. He was a pagan, born to a pagan family in the substance farming land of Rwanda. He grew up in a grass hut, helping with the bean crop every year. If the crop failed they would starve. He was fairly old when his mother decided she wanted him to get some sort of education and his dad walked him the long miles to the nearest school. Segatashya however thought there were better things to do than be stuck in a hot hut classroom all day and so avoided school. In the end he simply never received an education. When Jesus first approached Segatashya the boy had no idea who He was, but He felt sure He was important and immediately attempted to do as he had been asked.

Whether you accept that the visions happened or not, something happened to that pagan child, which lead to him and his entire family being baptised. Jesus sent his teenaged son away from the bean field and out to Burundi and the Congo to preach the Gospel. He received the gift of tongues when needed so he could preach in the local languages (having only learned his own kinyarwanda).

Immaculee gives some of the edited highlights from the massive interviews of the commission, which show us Segatashya knew he would die young and knew that God was warning people to stop the hatred before full scale evil and violence erupted. Of course we know that neither Segatashya nor the other visionaries were taken seriously enough and ten years later all hell quite literally broke loose in Rwanda and has continued in the Congo neighbouring regions.

One area where I think the editing was a little off was in letting some of the interviews go without some proper explanation. This has caused a couple of reviewers to misunderstand some of what happened. At one point Segatashya wants to know what Jesus suffered in His Passion. As with many saints who have received the immense consolation of face to face time with Jesus and His Mother, Segatashya was asked to partake of some of the Passion. As a result he received a terrible spiritual beating. It does not come across plainly enough in the book that this was part of the seer participating in Christ’s Passion. Only by knowing the immensity of the pain and suffering of saints like St. Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Padre Pio and seers like Bl Maria Taigi do we grasp what was asked of Segatashya here. It was asked in part because he was a witness for the people who were rejecting God and about to embark on a blood bath that still shocks the world today.

Another point in the book that I think has or will raise hackles is where Segatashya tells a protestant minister that Jesus wants all men to be the best they can be in whatever faith they are in. This could come across as syncretism or indifference. I don’t think that is what was happening here, but the lack of explanation could leave Segatashya’s words (on what he claimed Jesus said) open to this interpretation. But there are subtle additions in the text in which Jesus says that those who have more of the faith will have more expected of them. So we see that as Catholics who have the fullness of the Faith being part of the Church Christ Himself founded, we must be better, follow more closely and probably suffer more, than can be expected of good people seeking God who have yet to find the fulness of truth. Essentially it seemed to me that Jesus had told Segatashya that so long as men sought the Truth, whether they had found it fully or not at death, He would show them mercy.

Immaculee met Segatashya only once and spent a few short hours talking with him. He was a simple man who worked as a handy man once the visions stopped. Despite his gift of tongues he never learned to read. Soon after the meeting the lives of both were convulsed by the outbreak of genocide. Emmanuel Segatashya was murdered . His sister Christine managed to survive and she and Immaculee eventually met up.

This is a moving story, in light of the back story. It’s short, perhaps too short, but in light of the other books it is a great little addition to the story.

I hope one day Emmanuel Segatashya will stand alongside Alphonsine Mumureke, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka and Marie-Claire Mukangango as an approved visionary of Our Lady of Kibeho.

The message of repentance, prayer and truly loving our neighbour and especially the sanctity of marriage is still vital today. If we don’t turn around soon, how are we to avoid what happened in Rwanda?


Divine Mercy Novena Day 9

Divine Mercy Novena Day 9 and HERE

For those who have become luke warm. There is only two choices for every one of us, we can choose Mercy or Judgement.  We need to love God with all our heart, mind and strength because the lukewarm face a truly terrifying eternity (Rev 3:16)

One thing to remember about what the Church calls ‘private revelation’ is that it never adds anything to the public revelation that ended with the death of the last apostle. All private revelation does is re-point us back to the Gospel, so that we are reminded and encouraged.

Being lukewarm in faith is the most devastating state of being. How can you know God is real and know His love and all that Scripture has told us, and simply be too apathetic to bother about it? To be lukewarm is idle, comfortable and utterly ugly. It is lukewarm Christians and worse still lukewarm Catholics who are enabling the evils we see in our world. atheists who throughout history have been tyrants and murderers have more often than not seen Christianity at some point (Hitler was baptised in a Catholic Church) and yet have turned away from it, not just from pure free will, but from there being nothing to stop them.

It is the lukewarm that lead so many to the belief that anything that challenges a comfortable life for ourselves or those around us must not be allowed, even if it means suicide. How one woman came to see that being a burden is a horrible trick of the mind.

Lukewarm Christians put themselves first and not God. If you do not love the brother you can see, how will you love the God you can’t? (r. 1 John 4:20)

Divine Mercy Novena Day 8 souls in Purgatory

Divine Mercy Novena Day 8 and HERE

For souls in purgatory. They are doing their “as through fire” bit (1 Cor 3:15 but read from verse 11 ish) because as we know, we are called to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48) and nothing unclean can enter heaven (Rev 21:27).

Read all about it.

You may be thinking, “Yikes! Call that mercy?”  In the book of Job the suffering man says of God, “He has tested me, and I shall come forth as gold.” Job was tested this side of life; but for many of us we will not be “as gold” when we die – though we should certainly be “working out our salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12) Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not supposed to go to Purgatory. We are supposed to go straight to heaven. It is from the very depths of God’s mercy that a purgation exists for the saved, or not many at all would be saved.

I have heard it asked what we do about praying for people who seem likely not to have made it to Purgatory. We must pray anyway. Certainly praying for the those in hell doesn’t help them -but we are not to judge who is damned; only God knows that. So we pray and trust that in the infinite Mercy of God He will use our prayers for the best.

And just in case anyone reads this who doesn’t know this – only the saved go to Purgatory. It  is a cleansing process for the saved, not a second chance.

May the souls of the Faithful departed in the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Divine Mercy Novena day 7

Divine Mercy Day 7

Day 7 will appear here.

As many suffer perhaps we could remember that at this time across the world Christians, especially Eastern Rite Catholics are suffering huge persecution. 90% of the Christians in Syria have been forced out of their homes and/or murdered. In Iraq the Chaldean Church is being systematically destroyed with so many martyrs spilling their blood for their love of Christ. In many other countries Christians are being persecuted; pray for those of Pakistan, Cuba, China, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, many African countries, most notably Sudan. the list goes on and the enormous slaughter goes on.

You might like to listen to Light of the East #394 discussing the way Divine Mercy Sunday in the Latin Rite works so well with the Feast of St. Thomas touching the wounds of Christ in the Eastern Rites.

Kyrie Elesion.

Murdoch Mysteries Dr. Julia Ogden (ficticious) vs Dr. Maria Montessori (real)

Dr. Ogden fictional character

We’ve been watching the Murdoch Mysteries for some time and more and more I can’t help seeing a massive contrast between the fictional character of Julia Ogden and the real woman, Maria Montessori.The Murdoch story line is set around the end of the 19th Century in Toronto. Maria Montessori lived In Italy, mainly in Rome.

Both women trained as doctors. Julia makes a big deal of this showing off that she managed this as a woman. Maria trains and as far as I can find never made a big deal of herself about this. A minor difference between the two characters but one that I just like is that Julia simply does her post mortems whereas Maria employed a man to smoke cigars while she did hers because she hated the smell of dead people.

Both women have affairs and become pregnant (although I believe Maria’s affair was more serious than Julia’s). Maria puts the life of her son first and gives birth naming him Mario. Her family help to take care of him. Julia puts her career first and has her baby aborted.

Maria and Julia work with sick children; Maria with mentally ill and with

Dr. Montessori the real deal

developmentally delayed children. Julia flits between her work, Maria dedicates her life to these children.

Maria Montessori sees the problems of poverty and puts all her efforts into providing a good education for poor children to help alleviate that poverty.

Julia (who by last night’s episode has one enormous god-complex) sees the poor and joins with the eugenicist thinkers in trying to eradicate the poor, rather than poverty. She tries to push poor women to buy contraception with the money they are barely making last for food. She also assumes that poor women are being beaten by their poor husbands because of course, as many eugenists taught, the poor are wicked. She also pathologises pregnancy; something many many women today are fighting against, because of the damage it has done to women and babies.

The legacy of eugenics has been and continues to be truly ugly. The contraceptive revolution has destroyed families and seriously damaged the health of women. But the legacy of Montessori is an education system that deeply respects the soul of the child and the children’s relationship with their parents. So thankfully Maria Montessori is the real deal, and Julia Ogden is fictional.

I don’t know much about the history of Canada, but here in the UK at this point, the work of Florence Nightingale was being seen as important and there was great work being done by Catholics (since emancipation) Quakers and the fairly newly formed Salvation Army. These people weren’t try to eradicate the poor, they tried to clean things up to eradicate diseases, especially things like chlorea. They worked for better housing, better justice for the poor and genuine care. It takes a great deal of humility to do that kind of work.

Divine Mercy Day 6

Today pray for the Meek and humble souls and little children.

It will be available in audio here.

Divine Mercy Novena Day 5


Jesus to St. Faustina “…there is no way to heaven except the way of the cross. I followed it first. You must learn that it is the shortest way…. do not be afraid…”

Holy Fire and Divine Mercy Novena day 4

I recently learned that at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the church built over the tomb of Jesus there is a lovely yearly miracle. It was first recorded around the 4th Century but is believed to date back much further, maybe to the days when the first little church was built over the Holy Sepulcher.

On the Orthodox Easter Vigil night (this year Easter falls on the 15th April which is the Catholic Latin Rite’s Divine Mercy) the Patriarch goes into the place where the tomb is. Before he enters he has his vestments removed and he is searched. The only items he is allowed on his person are the two candles he holds in his hands.

The tomb has been searched before hand.

Then as the crowds of the faithful wait holding their bunches of thin candles (I think the bunches are made up of 33 tapers representing the years of Christ’s life)

The Patriarch enters the tomb of Christ. There he prays and waits. This is so much like the role the High Priest had on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) when he enters the Holy of Holies. The Patriarch waits, sometimes hardly at all, sometimes for quite some minutes. But every year it happens, the Holy Fire bursts from the tomb and light the candles he holds. He then takes this Holy Fire and passes it out among the faithful.

Believe it or not, that’s your call.  Discernment is a good thing. But remember, if you disbelieve do so because of the evidence not because you think God can’t do this, or wouldn’t bother.

DIVINE MERCY NOVENA DAY 4 for unbelievers.

He is Risen! Alleluia! and Divine Mercy day 3

He is Risen! Alleluia!

We attended Vigil Mass last night which was as beautiful as always.

Divine mercy novena day 3

Divine Mercy Novena Day 2

It’s DAY TWO for the Divine Mercy Novena.

You can listen to it here

Good Friday:Stripping of the altar

We always begin the Good Friday Liturgy with a walk of witness. The abortion mill is open today, something deeply sad. We stopped with the cross and prayed for a while and then walked around the block back to church.

The Gospel was John’s Passion and as always we had the role of being the people who sent Jesus to the cross. Even though we do this every year, read out the words, “Crucify Him!” and the awful words, “We have no king but Caesar!” It’s still very powerful and deeply distressing.

Thank God that our tabernacles only look like this once a year.




Easter reading lesson packs reminder

Just a quickie to remind y’all I have a load of freebies to cover Easter.

The VIA DOLOROSA takes you through to the end of the Passion. Then there’s THE SEVEN LAST WORDS. To cover the Resurrection through to Pentecost there is the VIA GUADE and my most recent pack ST. PETER WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION.

Please keep the work of Kalei and those of us who contribute in your prayers.

A bit about Fibromyalgia research, FM and it’s hanger ons.

A fairly new and quite interesting piece of research suggests that people with fibromyalgia have a higher propensity to a genetic copied gene A1AT (alpha 1) that may be one of the factors contributing to FM. 38% of FM patients had the copy compared to 13% of patients with other neuro illnesses.

I am interested in this genetic mutation’s role in lung disease. At this stage in my own illness my lung disease level is very high (and my heart isn’t great either).  I’m still awaiting the results of the cardiac ultra sound which I assume means the results have gone missing. Meanwhile the waiting list for the lung specialist is so long the GP has me on all the meds needed to keep going until I finally get to see him. (Thankfully I have a good GP). He has taken me off a couple of inhalers and replaced them with seretide and montelukest (and Ventolin). This is stage IV care, so I’m getting what I need until I get to see the specialist. I am still infection free so that’s a massive improvement as I was having chest infections on a 6 to 8 weekly basis since last August. Must admit the Montelukest has some unpleasant side effects but I am hoping they will fade as I get used to it.

Just had a tentative dx of myoclonus from the doc at the Epilepsy clinic. He doesn’t think I have epilepsy, mainly because I don’t lose consciousness I think. Anyway have to have an EEG, so waiting for that appt and then he will see me in six months or so. I forgot to ask what I was supposed to do about the jerking and stuff, but I googled it and find that FM’s old friend magnesium is supposed to help as is calcium. So I’ll have to get back onto that.

This is an interesting little article that looks at how people will delay seeking medical help and dx for fibromyalgia because of fear of how they will be perceived and treated. It is very much behind my refusal to have a dx of ME. I don’t for one moment believe that having a dual dx will help me at all.

Austism, ME and how history doesn’t stop repetitive harmful mistakes.

After posting about World Autism Day yesterday, and wondering when some descent funding for proper research might happen, my oldest informed me he had read that in France they treat austim with psychoanlysis. In all honesty I believed he had read this as black humour April’s Fool’s joke. But then I googled it. Ye gods. It seems it’s true. (not just because the NYT says so obviously).

The history of medicine is packed with this sort of shameful assumption. There was a time when people with diabetes were told they had a mental illness, as were those with multiple sclerosis. It took a lot of money and research and of course tip-toeing around monstrous egos before the truth came out.

At least, in American and the UK (I’ve no idea about other countries) autism is known to be neurological. There are behavioural aspects that can be helped with behavioural training, but there is no way you can psychoanalyse your way out of autism. I was even more appalled to see that mothers were blamed for their children’s autism (The video isn’t available; can’t think why). This is just another flavour of the utterly discredited dx munchhausen’s by proxy.

The fact that Freud still has such a hold on PA in France is nothing to be proud of. The wise Victor Frankl moved away from Freudianism very early, having received some training from Freud himself.

Here in the UK people with a dx of ME/CFS are treated as having a mental illness. Well, no, actually they are not. They are treated as having a fake illness that’s “in yer ‘ead” and they should pull themselves together with exercise (because they are lazy) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (becuase they like being ill and need to change that). All the research that shows this is wrong and doesn’t work, and worse still harms patients, is ignored. All the research that shows immune deficiny on a massive scale and neurological results in high res MRI and spinal fliud analysis is roundly ignored. Meanwhile studies show that many ME patients are too ill to get medical help- and we are too enlightened to actually go to the patient in this country. I would like to believe that the death of Emily Collingridge might be the thing to change that.

I read many people saying that one day the medical profession will look back on it’s behaviour towards those with ME/CFS/FM and autism and be ashamed. But I don’t think so. (I’ve grown cynical) I have never heard a medic mention the shame of treating diabetics, MS patients or other people as mentally ill when they were not. Nor have I ever heard or read of a medic that recognises that while people with serious illnesses are told it’s “just” a mental illness, that this undermines the seriousness with which real mental illness needs to be treated.


World Autism Day

It’s world Autism Day today.

Autism has been treated very much like ME/CFS FM by political and medical personal. It’s been denied and hidden but this year the figures on people with a diagnoses of autism and aspergers are so huge that surely some damn somewhere will burst.

The figures for the United States were announced as 1 in 88 children today! That’s an exponential rise year on year since 2007.

But here in the UK the figure is even worse. 1 in 52 children are dx with Autism of some sort.

Is it my imagination or has the MSM in the UK ignored this? I haven’t looked very hard, but then a day to mark 1 in 52 people having autism ought to get a mention.

Read posts HERE and HERE and HERE

These writers are quite correct in asking what will happen to their children as they enter adulthood. Many children and adults are very disabled.

One of the other aspects of this of course is that it only increases the lack of trust in the medical profession and of course big pharma.

God bless all people with austism of any kind, and bless their families.

The priesthood of Judas Iscariot

There’s a great little saying that has been handed around Catholics recently. “You shouldn’t leave Jesus, because of Judas.” It came very much to the fore a few days ago when I heard someone phone in Catholic radio and openly admit that she had left the Church because she fell out with her parish priest! Many people claim they left the Church and abandoned Jesus in the Tabernacle, because of something a priest or religious did.

Judas was chosen by Christ to be one of the twelve. He was chosen to be one of the first bishops, fathers and teachers of the Church; to preach the Gospel and bring the Sacraments to all the nations. Jesus knew what Judas was going to do – but Jesus chose him anyway. He chose him and gave him every opportunity to not do what he was going to do. But he went ahead and sold Jesus anyway.

Don’t just look at Judas and see some tool, a “bad guy” who had to do what he did or Jesus would never have died for us. That’s not true. There could very well have been a moment for the Sanhedrin to get Jesus arrested and killed. It could have happened without Judas’ help. But it didn’t. He chose to turn away from the call to be a bridegroom, to be a Christ (in persona Christie) and instead divorced himself from Jesus and His Church and became an Anti-Christ.

Not one person turned away from the Church because of Judas back then.

We have our warning. There will be Judas’s in the priesthood, and religious and laity. There will be wheat and tares in the Church and they will be allowed to stay there.

How often have we heard the actual words of Judas repeated by people who dare to call themselves Christian? How often do they sneer angrily at the beautiful churches and art work that the Church holds like Mary’s alabaster jar? And they say, “It should be sold and given to the poor!”

How many of the people who spout the words of Judas have done anything significant to help the poor themselves?

I love that St Francis of Assisi who gave everything he had away, insisted that while he and his fellow Franciscans must live in poverty, that the churches with the Mass items and vestments but be of the very best material – for as Abel knew, God is worthy of the very best we can give Him.

We need to remember that we are supposed to come with the alabaster jar and fall at His feet in gratitude, not sneer at His followers who aren’t doing what we want. That’s what Judas did.