When I decided to write a mystery set in Tudor England, it took me a while to decide who my main character should be. A queen or princess? No! It’s been done and done and done. An ordinary woman? Perhaps, but….what about a nun? I started to get very excited as I thought about the possibilities.
Henry VIII famously broke with Rome and dissolved the monasteries. But what does it mean to “dissolve” a religious institution going back a century? I spent the next five years researching monastic life in late medieval England. It wasn’t easy. There are a hundred books about Anne Boleyn. But the nuns and monks and friars were largely forgotten.
I didn’t give up. I kept reading and digging and talking to experts. The real-life priory that I set my novels in was the only Dominican Order for nuns in England, located in Dartford. And I was, after much persistence, able to find out what happened to those nuns after their home was demolished and they were expelled.
Their stories contain more than one surprise.
To read about my discoveries, go here.
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Book Update on Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity – Finding Patience
Progress on my first children’s book titled, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity – Finding Patience, is coming along nicely. Meet Faith, age 8, Hope, age 5, and Charity age 3. In this book, these three sisters learn the value of the virtue of patience – a book for children ages 4-6. Read more about these lovely girls…
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the day! Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Trusting God with St. Therese is now available on Amazon for the Kindle and in print. For the time being (at least the next 90 days) the ebook will be exclusive to Amazon. However, the paperback should be available soon at Barnes and Noble and other online retailers. I hope to see it in some Catholic bookstores as well. And those of you who are local or who know me personally are always welcome to purchase the paperback directly from me as well.
The last 14 months writing and publishing this book have been busy but rewarding. I pray you will find them rewarding for you too. I really believe it will help almost everyone but those very advanced in the spiritual life to come closer to Christ.
Now for the fun stuff!
Visit Contemplative Homeschool to enter the contest and see the other contests and events marking the release of Trusting God with St. Therese.
Do you think you have little in common with St. Therese? Think again.
If I’ve learned anything in writing Trusting God with St. Therese, it’s how much Therese’s struggles were like mine. Consider these points:
Therese was born weakened by Original Sin.It took her years of grace and hard work to overcome family tragedy.She had difficulties relating to other children at school.She suffered from scruples. God repeatedly made her wait for things she believed were His will.Her family members misunderstood her spirituality.She felt natural aversion to people with difficult personalities.She feared losing her remaining loved ones.Spiritual darkness and dryness in prayer were her norm.Great deeds for God were beyond her capability.She suffered terrible pain.She was tempted to despair.Now tell me that none of those sound like you.
Think you can’t become a saint? Think again.
Therese believed in the same God you do. He was her strength and her righteousness. He can be yours as well.
Connie Rossini blogs at Contemplative Homeschool.
|This is my family (plus two friends) on June 10, 1974.|
I’m the one with the braids in the front.
Terri is behind me next to our mom.
|Here is how our car looked thirty minutes later.|
Today is the fortieth anniversary of one of the saddest events in my life so far. On June 10, 1974, our family was driving to the annual Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Notre Dame. We began our journey in Spokane, Washington, where we had spent a weekend on retreat. Just outside Missoula, Montana, the car rolled over three times, landing in the median of the freeway. I was in the back with the seat down and no seat belt. So were two of my siblings and two friends.
I ended up with stitches in my leg and a bump on my head. My sister Terri, who had been sitting next to me, was thrown from the car and died. She was ten years old.
Why did God let this happen? Didn’t He know where we had come from and where we were going? Hadn’t He heard Terri’s voice, when she had volunteered that morning to pray for a safe trip?
Continue to Connie’s blog to receive a free chapter of Trusting God with St. Therese.
Ready to celebrate the rest of Lent as a family? Here are several activities you can do together, whether or not you homeschool.
p=suitable for grades 1-3
m=suitable for grades 4-6
j=suitable for grades 7-9
s=suitable for grades 10-12
BooksBesides reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week, try reading and discussing the following books that deal with sacrifice, martyrdom, or resurrection:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (p).
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt (p+).
The Queen and the Cross: The Story of St. Helen by Cornelia Mary Bilinsky (p, m)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (p+ for reading aloud; m+ for independent reading).
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
Writing Trusting God with St. Therese, I have purchased or checked out from the library several book about the saint that I had not read before. I have also revisited some old favorites. There are countless books about Therese, but not all are of the same quality or focus. Here are some of my favorites, in brief. Throughout this year, I hope to give you more detailed critiques of them and others.
I Believe in LoveI Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux by Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbee is by far my favorite book on Therese. In fact, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. I have given this book away twice before. I just received it for Christmas for the third time and am rereading it.
The point that struck me most on my last reading was that we shouldn’t say, “I’m striving to love God.” Instead, we should simply say, “I love God.” Love is a matter of the will. If we truly will to love, we achieve love.
Read the rest of the list at Contemplative Homeshcool.
Finding good books for boys as they get older is always a challenge. Lat fall I put together a list of good books for boys aged 10-14 . You will see that the scope of it is limited. On my blog, I want to introduce you to some of my favorites in more detail. Not all of these are on the list.
A novel-length fairytaleThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are undoubtedly already on your radar screen. The Horse and His Boy is my favorite, and one of my favorite children’s books of any genre.
It is the story of Shasta, who has been raised by a Calormene fisherman, but is light haired like the people of the north. When he overhears the fisherman negotiating to sell him as a slave to a lord, he runs away, taking the lord’s horse with him. The horse, Bree, is a talking horse from Narnia, eager to escape back to his homeland. Soon Shasta and Bree meet up with a young Calormene lady named Aravis, who is also running away with her Narnian horse. The foursome eventually get caught up in politics, racing to warn Narnia of an impending Calormene attack. And Shasta discovers his surprising, true identity.
The entire Narnia series is perfect for introducing your children to symbolism. Aslan, the great lion who rules Narnia from across the sea, represents Jesus. Shasta symbolizes each of us. We are born in slavery to sin, but freed and made children of the King.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool
It has been a VERY busy and exciting two weeks for me. Immediately after the Mike Aquilina interview (read it here), site traffic went through the roof! That resulted in new publishers coming on board that I will be working with. These are all listed on the column to the right. Every one of the publishers on that list are fantastic and each offers great books for your spiritual enrichment. I encourage you to support as many of them as you can by visiting their websites, checking out their selections and making a purchase. Simply click on the publishers logo to be redirected there. I am currently reading Rebuilt by Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran. Continue Reading
CatholicFamilyGifts.com offered me a free first-Communion gift to review and give away to one of my readers. Since my boys are currently interested in hidden picture books, I chose Can You Find Saints?: Introducing Your Child to Holy Men and Women. After the review, I will tell you how can enter to win this book.
Can You Find Saints? is one in a series of four books by Philip D. Gallery. The series also includes Can You Find Jesus?, Can You Find the Followers of Jesus?, and Can You Find Bible Heroes? Janet L. Harlow illustrated all four books. They combine hide-and-seek fun with learning about the faith.
Given the cover and the genre, I was prepared for cartoon illustrations similar to the Where’s Waldo? series. Harlow provides more than that. The inside front and back covers contain a parchment-like timeline of saints, beginning with Abraham. “Search 1: Mary Lives a Life of Perfect Virtue” delighted me with its depiction of the mysteries of the Rosary and approved Marian apparitions, encircling a Renaissance Madonna and Child. A version of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam above St. Peter’s Basilica forms the background for “Search 7: Saints Who Were Popes.”
Finish reading the review and enter the contest.