Images for Easter

Acts of the ApostlesDivine MercyEaster People

As some of you know, I run the Cap Corps Volunteer blog. One of my favorite parts of that job is that I have the chance to make fun images for the blog and for social media. I personally like to use a website called Canva. This website is free to use, with the exception of some of the designs. But to be honest, you can get by just fine with using the free layouts and features. All of the images above were made using free tools.

I found Canva through some Pinterest research last year. I’ve also heard good things about an app called Word Swag. I haven’t used it yet, but once I do, I’ll let you know how I like it. 🙂

The three images above were created for the first three weeks of Easter. The John Paul II quote is up on the Cap Corps blog tomorrow for our post on Easter. The Divine Mercy image will go up next week for Divine Mercy Sunday. And the Acts of the Apostles image will go up the third week of Easter as a part of a reflection on the Acts of the Apostles and being a Christian.

Do you have any programs that you like to use to build up your online presence in ministry?

Mary

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Images for Lent

Lent ImageFourth Sunday of LentMarch 17- image

One of our online initiatives at CYFM is a Ferverini, or a brief pious or spiritual thought, which is posted on our Facebook page a few times a week. While in part this is to keep an active online presence, it is also a part of caring for those who attend CYFM spiritually.

I really love preparing these short spiritual thoughts. Our director sets up a schedule every couple of months, and we are responsible for 3-4 of these fereverinis. We are asked to look at the readings for the day, and to come up with some sort of reflection, and maybe a question or reflect on. We then send our reflection to Father Fred to proof and to make sure that everything in the reflection is theologically sound.

Another thing that I like to do for my Ferverini posts is to make images on Canva. I’ve always loved the images that ministries like Lifeteen, Ascension Press, and Chastity Project post. I think that it’s a great way for a Ministry to catch the attention of those who follow it on social media. The problem is that I have no graphic design experience and I don’t have access to any programs that are used in that process. So about a year ago, I was doing some Pinterest research, and found that many blogs use a website called Canva to create their images and to make their blog posts more eye catching.

The great thing about websites like Canva is that there are so many free tools to use. All of the images above were made using free tools on Canva.

The first image appeared in a Ferverini and a CYFM blog post on Ash Wednesday for the beginning of Lent. The second image will appear in a Ferverini on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. And the third image will appear in a Ferverini on March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day.

Do you have any favorite programs that you like to use for blogging or social media?

Mary

My Sisters the Saints, by Colleen Carroll Campbell

  1. My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell (to finish this book)
  2. Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell (to finish this book)
  3. Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
  4. Wife Mother & Mystic: Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi by Fr. Albert Bessieres
  5. Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three saints who challenged my faith, gave me hope, and taught me how to love by Elizabeth Ficocelli
  6. Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
  7. St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton
  8. Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly
  9. Jesus a Pilgrimage by James Martin (to finish this book)

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We’re almost two months into 2016 and I have finally finished a book. My friend Britt gave me this book to read back in August when I moved to Beacon. So, it sat on my shelf as I adjusted to life as a full time volunteer. I barely read anything from August to December, which is pretty unlike me. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to incorporate more reading into my prayer life this year. I decided to start with this book because it was lent to me by a friend, and it is a spiritual memoir. So, it would be interesting (I hoped) and still fulfill the requirement of spiritual reading.

I started to read this book during the College Capuchin Outreach Program (College COP) in early January, where I had a few college students comment on how much they loved this book. So I started it before bed, and had a hard time putting it down. Campbell’s memoir was relatable to women in college, and beyond. Her spiritual journey starts as a little girl, but as a teenager she strays away. In college, she picks up a copy of St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography, and her life is transformed. (Don’t worry I’m not giving anything away, this is all on the back cover!) She writes of her father, and her profound respect for him and his faith, especially as his health declines later on in the book.

She writes of her prayer life, her journey with these incredible women saints (Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina, Edith Stein, Teresa of Calcutta, and Mary), and her career. I think that many Catholic women can relate to Campbell’s journey and discernment to place her career or her internal desires first. She is a talented writer, which is displayed throughout this text, but also through her career as a correspondent and speech writer for the White House.

I found the text enjoyable to read, but also spiritually deep and enlightening. One of my favorite parts about this text was the intertwining of the lives of the Saints with the different stages of Colleen’s life. For me, it was reminder of the incredible lives of these women saints, whom I have journeyed with before. Although I have read about all of these women before, this memoir inspired me to learn more about Edith Stein and Faustina. This summer, I’m making a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day. Both of these women will come up in my journey. I will be visiting the Convent where St. Faustina lived and received her visions. I will also be visiting Auschwitz, where Edith Stein and many others were martyred. Faustina has inspired me to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet more and Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) has inspired me to read more of her texts on women. I knew that Stein was a philosopher, but I had no idea what she had written or how it could be interesting to me.

I finished this book last week while on retreat in Esopus, NY. I was so pleased to have finally finished a book on my list! But, a spiritual companion, or Saintly Stalker as I sometimes call her, showed up at the end of the book. In the chapter on Mary, Campbell writes about her wedding, and how she and her husband knelt before an icon of none other than Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I wanted to laugh and show the paragraph to my community, but I was in a chapel where the Eucharist was exposed, so I kept it to myself until we retired to the living room. They laughed too.

I’m happy that I chose to read this book first. I now realize why my friend lent it to me, and why so many others have raved about it. (It even came up in a podcast that I was listening to yesterday!) For my next journey in the world of reading, I will be diving into Matthew Kelley’s Rediscover Jesus. Although it isn’t specifically for Lent, it can be used for this season, and is purple. So it works. I read Rediscover Catholicism this past summer and I really enjoyed it, but also found it as good preparation for this year of service. I also hope to read a bit of James Martin’s Jesus A Pilgrimage during breaks from Kelley’s book. I have been “reading” this book since it was published, but I usually only read  one chapter at a time, with months in between. But it works for me.

Mary

I’ve been having some fun with Canva

One of the really cool things about my job is that I get the chance to make pretty things for the CYFM blog, and also for the retreats that we run. For a few of our retreats we have been making pamphlets for the retreat-ants to use for reflection and prayer time.
So, I took the lead with the help of my fellow CCVs.
Below are a few of the pretty things I’ve been able to make through Canva:

Serve one another through Love

For our family and service retreat

Social Justice Image

Also for our family and service retreat

the beatitudes

For our Lock-In based on the Beatitudes

One of the things that I really enjoy about this is choosing quotes that I think people would be able to reflect with. I’m still perfecting the whole ‘making it pretty’ thing. But, I do love it. Canva is great because most of their things are free and you can work from a template, which makes it super easy to choose fonts and backgrounds.

DIY Mugs

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When I first decided to look into long-term service programs, I knew that I would want little projects to work on for my relationship with Chris. One of the things that I found through my beloved pinterest was DIY sharpie mugs. So, I went to the dollar store and bought two identical mugs. My dollar store only had green, but I like green so I went for it. I used this tutorial from pinterest, and I found it very helpful.

This particular tutorial called for outlining the design in eyeliner and then going over it in oil-based sharpies. Now, I didn’t have oil based sharpies at the time and I have a pretty steady hand. So I decided to forego the outlining procedure. I did the whole design free-hand with regular sharpies. Then I let the mugs dry out for 24 hours. The next day, I put the mugs in our oven, and then set the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. I put the mugs in while the oven was cold, let the oven be on for an hour, and then turned the oven off at one hour. I didn’t take the mugs out right away, instead I let them cool in the oven, so that there were no drastic temperature changes.

I decided to do the process again since parts of my design faded. So I went over the parts that I wanted to be darker, and re-baked the mugs in the same fashion. All in all, I was pleased with how they turned out. : )

I decided to use a quote from Mumford & Sons, because I thought that it fit with my and Chris’s semi-distanced relationship.

Your eyes they tie me down so hard
I’ll never learn to put up a guard
So keep my love, my candle bright
Learn me hard, oh learn me right

This ain’t no sham
I am what I am

Though I may speak some tongue of old
Or even spit out some holy word
I have no strength from which to speak
When you sit me down, and see I’m weak

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
They’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

And we will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

So as we walked through fields of green
Was the fairest sun I’d ever seen
And I was broke, I was on my knees
And you said yes as I said please

This ain’t no sham
I am what I am
I leave no time
For a cynic’s mind

We will run and scream
You will dance with me
Fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste
As it keeps my heart and soul in its place
And I will love with urgency but not with haste

Brush Lettering and Watercolors

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How does one figure out if a new hobby is worth the investment? Well, if you enjoy it, go for it. I grew up loving art. I especially loved painting. One of my common daydreams was being a painter along the river seine. This new obsession started with Blessed Is She and their beautiful weekly wallpapers. One of their designers, Be A Heart, is probably my favorite at the moment. Be A Heart is offering a few workshops in NYC in the next few weeks. Alas, I really shouldn’t be spending that kind of money.  So, I went for it. I went to Blick and bought a few good watercolor brushes so that I could play, and hopefully build up some sort of skill, so that I can make beautiful pieces over the next year.

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For my first attempt, these aren’t too bad! I’m excited to continue practicing. It was very relaxing, and I had a definite sense of accomplishment at the end. Do you have any hobbies that you were nervous to try at first?

Also, here are some pins that I’ve found helpful in learning how to properly use watercolor paint:

OneTwo, and Three

Celebrating Irish Literature

I can't think of a case where poems

Yesterday, there was an event held on campus. Now, this event was one that I wasn’t going to, but at the last minute, my professor begged the class to go. So, I rearranged my schedule and I went. We were each asked to pick a poem to read. Now, it had to be an Irish poem, it didn’t have to be in Irish, but it had to be about Ireland or of Irish origin. I knew what poem I would read. It was going to be by Seamus Heaney, because he is who I did my major project on last semester, and if need be, I could talk a little bit about him. I decided to read “Scaffolding,” mainly because I didn’t want to read “Digging” or “Mid-term Break.”

SCAFFOLDING

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

The program opened with traditional Irish dancing (soft-shoe) and a reading from James Joyce’s “The Dead.” Yeats was a crowd favorite. One other reader chose Heaney (“Blackberry Picking,”) that comforted me. Old Irish poetry was also read. My old professor did an interactive storytelling, much like what we experienced in Salt Hill.

What makes me sad is that this reading, this celebration of art, was not greatly attended. The University has been doing different series centered around Literature. For instance, the Great Writers, Great Readers series has been a success. But, that series doesn’t allow students to get up and read something that they love. It is a great event, because students have the chance to interact with other writers. It holds a different purpose than these poetry readings though. There is also an event where students read their works, after they have been accepted into the Literary Journal, on campus. Again, this isn’t a highly publicized event.

I’m glad that I went to this reading. It was an hour and a half of appreciating great works of art with other people who also appreciate it. The quote above is attributed to Seamus Heaney, that’s probably why I picked it. But I think that it still holds true. Poetry has never changed the world, but it does change people, and people change the world. Literature is a lens that allows people to better understand society. Hopefully, these little readings will continue to grow.

A Long Loneliness, A Review

Something I’ve been working on for the past few weeks…

I've Always Been a Storm

As I begin the process of applying for post-graduation jobs and internships, I found that I needed a few writing samples. So here is one that I have been working on for a few weeks. If there has been anything that I have learned in this process, it is that God is faithful if we trust in him.

much love and prayers,
Mary

A Long Loneliness, a Review

Although published in 1952, Day’s written memories are still read in classrooms across America. The first chapter of her autobiography, entitled “Confession” was an introduction to Day’s writing style and of her process of writing an autobiography. Reading her autobiography in a college setting is a bit puzzling. One might think that in order to grasp the life of a Catholic, the lives of the saints should be read in place of Dorothy Day. However, Dorothy Day’s beloved autobiography is still relevant…

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Great Writers, Great Readers: Belinda McKeon

Every semester, my school has a program called “Great Writers, Great Readers.” Essentially this is a series of readings and discussions for students to attend. This month, the guest author was Belinda McKeon.

As we listened to Belinda read from her second novel, “Tender,” I could not help but think of words like mesmerizing, eloquent, and illuminating. To be honest with you, I hadn’t read Belinda’s work before I went to this reading. My professor, Dr. Murphy was at the forefront of this event, and so I decided to attend. Belinda is from County Longford and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She said that she doesn’t have any particular attachment to County Longford, but it is quiet and has an understated beauty, which is alluded to in “Solace.” Belinda read from a manuscript, and later answered questions of students. I found the question and answer sessions much more interesting than I had originally anticipated.

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There were questions concerning her first novel, “Solace,” her writing process, personal taste in literature, the Abbey Theater, and teaching. Her answers were genuine, making it enjoyable to ask her real questions. Regarding her writing process, she said it is helpful to be able to take a break, to take a walk. Writing every day is for the best, otherwise you lose momentum. She said that “morning pages” was a helpful practice. It’s essentially free writing, in the morning. Writing makes you a better writer. She said at one point, “it really is just about doing it” (Field Notes). Listening to Belinda speak about writing gave me a greater insight to the writing process as a whole.

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I ended up buying a copy of her first novel, “Solace.” She signed it. I came back from this event feeling refreshed. I tend to forget why I read, why I write, and what my next step should be. I’ve written about it here and here. I came out of this event more conscious of writing as a skill, and more conscious of my professors’ confidence in me.

Also, did you know that literary/creative nonfiction is a thing?

“Burial at Thebes,” a translation of “Antigone”

This past Sunday I was able to see a performance of “Burial at Thebes.” This is a translation of “Antigone” by Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet and translator. I went into the play knowing the plot of “Antigone” but had never read Heaney’s translation.

Dramatic Opening
The play opened with lights off. The audience looked down upon the stage, which was covered in hay. The stage lights came on and focused on a group of people, dressed all in black, fighting among one another. It was here that the audience was able to understand that Eteocles and Polyneices are both killed. I really liked the way that the theater decided to open up the production. It was dramatic and helped the audience understand the severity of the event that begins this play.

Translation
Listening to this unique translation of the text was very interesting. Hearing words like “Keening” outside of an Irish plot was not expected. Keening is an Irish form of mourning which often includes loud singing and wailing. Instances like this one allowed the audience to remember who translated this version of the ancient text. Seamus Heaney translated it! Of course there are going to be instances of Irish Culture scattered throughout the text.

Meter
I have heard that the meter used in this translation was intentional. I don’t know that much about it but there was a scene of the play where the meter was emphasized. The furies stood all around the theater and stomped a beat. The characters then spoke along to that beat. It showed how the important the meter was to the play and to the translation.

Favorite Scene
My favorite scene in the play was when Tiresias confronted Creon. The actor who played Tiresias had an awesome costume! He had in some type of contact that made him appear blind. His lone, but important scene was chilling. The costume design of his character made the effect of the scene that much more powerful.

Although I had to attend this play for credit, I am glad that I went. Seeing Heaney’s translation played out opened windows to the understanding of Heaney and the ancient text. I now have a greater respect for the plot of Antigone having seen it spoken aloud as it was written to be. I’m interested to see what my professor does with this text in the context of Irish History and Literature (although I already have some ideas)

If you’re in or around Long Island, you should consider seeing it for only $10! Really, it was well done. If you’re interested you can read about it here. This play made me appreciate “Antigone” in a new way, I really am grateful for the opportunity to go.

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” Sophocles, Antigone