Monday, July 9, 2018

“Oh every time it rains
It rains pennies from heaven
Don’t you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven
You’ll find your fortune
Fallin’ all over town
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down
Traded them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love
You must have showers
So when you hear it thunder
Don’t run under a tree
There’ll be pennies from heaven
For you and me"

Whether you’ve heard this from Bing Crosby or Billie Holliday or St. Mary’s Bookstore, the outcome is always the same... to have "the things you love"!! And that's just what we want you to have; from sunshine and flowers after the rain, to books and sacramentals on sale from your favorite local bookstore.

When my mom moved the store from 6th Avenue downtown to 1909 mid-town, she added a few members of her Cursillo group to help her. In the 1980s, when discussing a summer sale, Mimi Heer came up with the idea of “Pennies from Heaven,” and we’ve used it ever since. The idea is to have tables of overstock items or slightly defective items and other goodies starting at a penny and going up from there. The sale is truly heavenly and has been a popular tradition within the bookstore, and with our customers, for years.

Please join us as we continue this tradition. We know you will find some true treasures. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

I Get Asked A Lot ...

"What medal is that?" "Where did you get it?" "Why do you wear it?" Many people I know wear medals they have received as gifts, from aunts or grandparents who "knew they would actually wear it", from places they have traveled, for protection and for devotional purposes. I personally own more medals than I could ever wear all at once. Medals that have been blessed by popes or in holy places. Medals that have been handed down from loved ones. Medals that I have purchased while traveling. Each and every one has significance to me. I have worn a St. Gerard medal for 29 years when it was given to me by one of our vendors after the loss of our first child and upon the birth of our oldest on earth. The only time I have taken it off for any length of time was when I put it over the head of a friend on her way to the hospital to give birth (she was a bit worried but all went well, of course). I also continually wear my Miraculous Medal that I received after my consecration to Mary and my scapular medal, because with promises like that, how can I not?! Last but not least, I wear a medal of St. John of God, patron of booksellers. I also often wear a shorter chained medal, usually something from a Marian Apparition; Fatima, Lourdes, or Guadalupe just because they are beautiful and they fill me with memories of being at a certain Grotto or apparition site.

Now don't get me wrong, I know that it's not as simple as putting a medal around our necks and POOF, protected or holy or instant sales or whatever. I know that these medals are simply reminders for us to pray to Our Lady and Our Lord and the patron Saints. They are reminders of promises to cling to faith and hope and love. They are reminders to visit and to listen. They are reminders of those who have come before us, the community of believers who have paved our way, who have planted seeds and who have prayed for the future of the Church on earth.

I get asked a lot, and so we ask you...what medals do you wear? Why?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

What to Get Dear Ole Dad for Father's Day

We are nearing that time when dads, young and old, are getting ready to jump for joy upon receiving gifts for Father's Day. So we've been thinking...why not find something to go with the traditional mug or tie or hand-made bookmark to show our appreciation for dad? Hmm. Maybe some Mystic Monk Coffee to go with that Mug or a cool Scapular Medal to wear with that tie or a new daily prayer book for his bookmark.

As patron Saint of fathers, St. Joseph is a great example of the role a man plays in his family and the importance of fatherhood in general. Here are a couple of gifts related to St. Joseph for Father's Day.

St. Joseph Statue
Scapular Medal
St. Joseph Daily Prayer Book
The truth is, St. Joseph's available all the time in prayer. Ha! Being an awesome father can be difficult and yet we know many who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. God bless our dads on their special day and throughout the year. May they stay close to their Patron St. Joseph. May they emulate his goodness and his care.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Visitors Old and New - Gifts of the Spirit

I just have to say, last week was quite a week! A week of new customers from Dallas and California and Ohio and Oregon and probably many other places we were not told, as well as a week of regular customers from in and around Tennessee and Kentucky. A week of people with stories; stories that share the good stuff. And when we share the good stuff, we share Him. His Spirit. His work. His Love. His healing. His goodness. We share faith in Him and hope in our future with Him. And for today, I'm going to share one of those stories.

Thursday, May 31st, the Feast of the Visitation, on my day off, I was at the movies with my youngest and received a text from a long time family friend who's mother has been struggling with her health. She was in town and actually at the hospital close to the store. She had finished 33 Days to Morning Glory or True Devotion to Mary or Preparation for Total Consecration, one of them, and was ready to Consecrate herself with her mom. She needed an image of Mary over at the hospital and asked if someone could run one over. Immediately I could feel goosebumps. I told her to call the store and ask my daughter about the Consecration medal I had found the previous Sunday at none other than the Flea Market. (I thought it was a medal of St. Dominic receiving the rosary or a Scapular medal but after cleaning it, found it to be an old Consecration medal of Mary with the words "True Devotion to Mary" engraved in the book on the front and the back with a large M in a shield with a crown on top and the rosary draped down the side. The medal available now seems to have totus tuus on the reverse.) A minute later she texted and said her father came in so she was headed to the store. My daughter showed her the medal and told her all we knew about it and before it was all said and done she was crying and she had my two daughters and sister crying right along with her. I received a text soon after; "thank you for letting Mary and the Holy Spirit use you today." I thought just the opposite, "thank you for a bringing us the gift of the Spirit." And, thanks to all who visit and call and make our life here at St. Mary's a "gift of the Spirit." We cherish the time.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Do We Ask Her Enough?

On this Feast of Our Lady of Good Help, I am reminded to ask myself, "Do I ask Mary for help, for all I need, for all the needs of others, to intercede? Do I ask her enough? Almost 2,000 years ago her Son gave her to us through the offering to St. John at the base of the cross, "Behold your Mother."

And again, over 150 years ago, Our Lady appeared to Sr. Adele Brise in Wisconsin and told her, "I will help you." There is now a beautiful Marian Shrine built on the site of this approved apparition. (the only approved U.S. apparition, Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and their Graces)

And today, as we go about our day to day activities, as we worry about our jobs, our parents, our children and our nation, as we stress over how we can afford tuition and house payments and car payments, as we struggle with health issues, can we hear her voice? In the stillness? In the quiet? "I will help you." Do we visit her? Do we believe? Do we ask her enough? On this Feast of Our Lady of Good Help, we are reminded to accept the gift given at the base of the cross by Her Son. She is our help in this world. Pray for her intercession. Pray the rosary for peace. Allow her to help us.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily Meds

Why are we so insistent on taking our daily meds? What keeps us loading that weekly pill box with all our daily doses? Easy answers right? They make us feel better. They keep us going. Give us energy.  Maybe even keep us alive. Many of us organize them at the beginning of each week so they are at our fingertips every morning and so we do not miss taking one or the other. this is what happens when I shorten words. I was not writing this about daily medication. I was writing about daily meditation. But actually, this is perfect. Let's check on some of those questions.

Why should we be so insistent on taking time for daily meditation? What keeps us opening that book filled with daily reflections? Easy questions right? It makes us feel better. Daily prayer and meditation keep us going. Give us energy. Maybe even keeps us alive in the Spirit by strengthening the love in our hearts. Many of us organize them at the beginning of the week so they are at our fingertips every morning, so we do not miss. Let's be real. Once you put yourself on daily meds and form a habit reading them, they are difficult to go without. So, here are some suggestions for 2017. Let's get started if you haven't already.

I Will Praise Your Name Forever - 2017 Journal With Scripture Meditations
This journal lists the readings for each day and allows space for us to write our personal thoughts and prayers.Updated every year, it is a wonderful way to read and meditate on the Word of God.

Saints Calendar and 16 Month Planner - 2017
If you want to spend a year with the saints, this calendar is loaded with lists of Saints and feast days. Each week highlights a special Saint and the patronage of many other Saints are listed within.

Blessed Among Us - Day by Day with Saintly Witnesses
"Two stories per day for a full calendar year, Ellsberg sketches figures from biblical times to the present age and from all corners of the world." Learn more about the spiritual lives of holy people who have not quite made it to Sainthood but who genuinely have touched the lives of millions. This rather large volume is worth it's weight and is one of my choices for daily reading this year thanks to a nice Christmas gift from my daughter.

A Year of Daily Offerings
Read daily from the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, Fr. James Kubicki. Based on Ignatian spirituality, we are offered the chance to get closer to God through prayer and shown a way to live our "Eucharistic offering".

Graceful Living: Meditations to Help you Grow Closer to God Day by Day
Johnnette Benkovic "brings a sample of the truth of the Catholic faith to each day as well as practical questions to stimulate prayer and reflection".

The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections
"In this new book, authors Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard bring together more than eighty moms, dads, and trusted spiritual companions to provide fresh, uplifting meditations for every day of the year. Created for moms by moms."

Pope Francis Family Devotional: 365 Reflections to Share with Your Kids
"Now with the Pope Francis Family Devotional, you can take a few short minutes every day to grow in faith together as a family. You’ll be inspired by a quote from the Holy Father, and a simple reflection to spark discussion. Use at dinner time to guide prayer and conversation. Or at breakfast or bedtime as the perfect start or close to each day’s activities."

  Through the Year with Pope Francis

"Now you can start - or finish - every day encouraged by the same engaging spirit alive in these 365 short meditations written by Pope Francis.
Let his words inspire and challenge you, push you deeper into Scripture, raise your prayer to new heights, or simply fill you with gratitude for God's personal love for you.
Join Pope Francis and let the flame of faith catch fire within you, as it slowly catches fire across the world."

Jesus at My Side: 365 Reflections on His Words
Ever think about just reading His words? This year take time with me and reflect every day on the words of Jesus in Scripture. What do His words say to you today, in your daily life, at work, with family, in your community? His words are current. His words are pertinent. His words are for us today. Read His words. Listen to Him in your heart and reflect on what He is telling you in your personal daily encounter with Him.

Please share your favorite Daily Meds. We love new ideas!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Advent Wreath
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 524; see Revelation 22:17; John 3:30

The Church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. During this four-week season, we wait in great expectation to celebrate the birth of Jesus and look forward to his second coming. The Advent wreath is a popular sacramental that feeds our devotion to the Lord during this season.

As with many of the older customs of the Church, not much is known about the history of the Advent wreath. Most people agree that a wreath similar to what we use today originated in the sixteenth century in Germany, among the Lutherans. The tradition was brought to America with the German immigrants and became popular in the Catholic faith around the 1920s.

The Advent wreath is a symbol of the Light overcoming spiritual darkness. As the laurel wreath was symbolic of victory, so the wreath of evergreens represents the One who is to come and win over death. The circular shape represents the eternity he secures for us. Many people use holly in their wreaths to signify the crown of thorns, the red berries reminding us of the blood that Jesus shed for our salvation.

The three purple candles in the wreath symbolize preparation, penance, and sacrifice. We light the one pink candle on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, meaning “rejoice.” The Entrance Antiphon for this day is “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4–5).

Some people include a white candle in the center of the wreath. This is the Christ candle, to be lit on Christmas Day. The purple and pink candles can be replaced with all white candles and can continue to be lit throughout the Christmas season . The gradual increase of light throughout the Advent season illuminates into Light for the World, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Advent wreath in the home calls up many different traditions. Whether we make one from a Styrofoam ring or buy one that matches our other Christmas decorations, the wreath is meant to bring us to prayer, to lead us to the Light, and to renew our desire for him in our daily lives. Families seem to develop their own ways of gathering together during this hectic time of year, to read and to pray and to light candles. This sacramental reminds us to slow down, to remember why we give one another gifts, to think about whom we are celebrating.

Another favorite family sacramental during the Advent season is the Advent calendar. Also originating in Germany, the cardboard calendars generally have a Christmas scene on the front, with twenty-five cut-out doors that can be opened, one each day from December 1 until Christmas Day. Each door reveals a scene or a Scripture verse or both that lead us through the season to the birth of Jesus.