The domestic church is like an enclosed garden; a planned space
for the cultivation, nurture and care of the family.
The present is the only chance to build our family as a domestic church.
One Fruit of a Novena
In the beginning of February, I started a novena for our daughter, Mary. In the last semester of her high school, she is still discerning where to go to college in the fall and her major of study. In looking for the appropriate novena to pray for her, I chose the Visitation Novena which is based on the scriptures of Mary visiting St. Elizabeth since our daughter is named Mary Elizabeth. I trust that the Lord will answer my petition for our daughter through the intercession of Mary and St. Elizabeth. One fruit of praying the novena for me was the grace of a growing desire to “visit” with people.
I am one of those women who makes a big deal of cleaning the house and preparing to host guests in our house. I take hospitality seriously and it is work. I want my guests to be comfortable in our home, enjoy good food, and be delighted to have spent time with us. And we have had many of these gatherings in our home. Although these events are celebrations of special days and holy days, they are not occasions for true visiting. Visiting is a natural and integral part of life or life in a community that was commonplace only a generation or two ago but seems to have disappeared from our regular life today.
A Church Visit
Edith Stein, a Jewish German scholar and philosopher, observed a woman carrying a shopping basket enter into the Frankfurt Cathedral and kneel for a brief prayer. Edith wrote, "This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited, people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot.” This was a beginning step for Edith Stein on her journey to become a Catholic, and later a Carmelite nun with the name of Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was arrested, transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and martyred. Canonized in 1998, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross is a co-patron saint of Europe.