A few nights ago, the idea of a new blog popped into my head while praying the rosary, so three days later, here is the result: A Few of My Favorite Catholic Things.
I explain a bit of the motivation behind this project on the About page:
Prior to my life as mother and author, I traveled extensively and lived in France, Rome, and Poland. One of my first articles was about a high-end hotel in heart Krakow, Poland, written for a travel industry magazine.
I have always found it exhilarating to explore the foreign, but particularly countries that boast a Christian past - and even better if they have a Christian future. I'm intrigued to see how Christ and his Mother, the saints and religious symbols, are included into the fabric of everyday - from the simple, such as Christmas ornaments and holy cards, to the elaborate, in soaring architecture and priceless paintings.
Having spent years studying the philosophical side of beauty, there is no reason why we can't reclaim beauty in our every day lives and let go of the kitsch that is so prevalent in Catholic art and objects.
Not everything here is overtly Catholic, but everything will have something that can reach a Catholic soul. This is the true capacity of beauty - it is the breathe of God. All true beauty comes from him, so whatever captures you, renews your sense of wonder, fills you with awe, enlivens your heart, or helps quiet your soul with peace, has its source in Our Lord.
I look forward to exploring products, books, art, architecture, and any thing else that captures my attention. Please join me in Reclaiming Beauty in the Everyday.
Two years ago, I tried to find a book like this for my own children. When I came up short, a priest friend suggested that I write this book. I drew from my experience as a homeschooling mom and my work on The Marian Option to bring together a book that will hopefully help children understand who Mary is and how much of a Mother she is to them.
Tan Books has further details available here.
It should be released in March. Stay tuned for more details about pre-ordering.
Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty; these are the stories that have animated the imaginations of little girls for centuries. Popularized by Disney, different versions of these stories, particularly Cinderella, have crossed the divides of cultures and time throughout much of history. There are many lessons that can be extracted from such fairy tales, but the primary issue is the timeless vice of envy.
Glas Koncila: CARRIE GRESS, AUTORICA KNJIGE »MARIJIN IZBOR« »Marija nikada ne će doživjeti neuspjeh«
Knjiga »Marijin izbor – Božje rješenje za civilizaciju u krizi«, otkad je u svibnju objavljena, već je mjesecima među najprodavanijim knjigama u SAD-u. Napisala ju je Carrie Gress, izvrsna poznavateljica marijanske pobožnosti, znanstvenica, doktorica filozofije te vrsna komentatorica američkih katoličkih portala. S obzirom na to da je Sjeverna Amerika većinom protestantska zemlja, uspjeh te knjige još više iznenađuje…
I've recently been reading children's books from bygone eras and marvel at the freedom the children had to be away from their parents. In All of a Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor, the five daughters navigate their 1910 neighborhood of New York City without giving their mother the slightest concern. I can't even navigate Gymboree without that kind of freedom. What has changed?
By Carrie Gress, Ph.D.
Dirt is making a comeback. For decades, farmers and consumers took it for granted, but now people are realizing how vital it is for healthy crops and healthy humans.
Joel Salatin may not be a household name, but he is a man that knows a lot about farming. Called the world’s most innovative farmer by TIME magazine, Salatan has been featured in books and films like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Food, Inc. for his practices that are changing the way people think about food. While his approach may seem radical (such as, no antibiotics, no growth hormones), his farming practices emphasize working with nature instead of against it. And all of it starts with soil. Salatin, like most farmers, know that soil health is crucial. “Stimulating soil biota is our first priority,” says Salatin, “Soil health creates healthy food." Farmers are relearning how “to foster what nature grants.”
Like Salatan, one farmer-turned-priest took his Midwestern know-how and applied it to the idea of growing vocations. Instead of starting with young men directly, this priest went to the heart of where vocations are born; he went to the soil. He first started a women’s Bible study; then a couple’s prayer group; then a men’s group, then a father and son group; a mother daughter group; and finally, he started a group for young men and women to discern their vocations. This farmer-priest knew he had to start at the source - with women. Not surprisingly, his efforts yielded great fruit. He fostered what nature grants.
What is interesting about this is to consider that if women and mothers are the real "soil" of the family, of communities, then what does the devil have to do to get to everyone? Take "the soil" out at the knees. And how have we seen this happen? Convince "the soil" to sterilize herself, or terminate anything that starts to grow. And eventually, everything else rots, or doesn't grow as it should.
Like farmers around the world, people are beginning to realize that there really is something important about soil.
I recently spoke on Catholic Answers about Mary and the modern woman. A man called in asking about his daughter, saying that although he homeschooled her and taught her the catechism, at 17, she now had little regard for the Church. It was clear he was struggling with how he had failed her. Based on what he told me, this concerned dad was not the problem.
Cy Kellett and I discussed, perhaps the challenge of our age, Mary and the Modern Woman.
(For the record, that is Douglas Beaumont pictured in the photo, not me.)
There is a lot of confusion in the world about what it means to be a woman. I sat down with Becky Carter and Megan Schrieber, the hosts of Thriving the Trenches, to discuss womanhood/motherhood through more of a Marian Option lens. Yes, thinking of Mary as a model for our lives today, may see like a stretch, but it is one well worth making once we can see a way back to her.