A Wonderful Find!

I recently connected with a second cousin on Ancestry and discovered that he had uploaded a photograph from Christmas of 1903 which included our great-grandmother, far left (Mary Regina Smith Hamilton 1866-1909) and our great-grandfather, far right (Thomas Scott Hamilton 1865-1945) and their children (one son is missing and one toddler daughter had passed away a few years earlier).  Both lived in Philadelphia their entire lives.

I have been researching my family tree for over 35 years and this was the first time I had ever seen a photo of either of my Hamilton great-grandparents. So I was so thrilled to find this!  And very happy to be able to put faces to names I had known almost my entire life.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  My great-grandmother looks less-than-excited (she was probably tired!) My great-grandfather looks a bit creepy and perhaps mad.  My grandmother told me about how strict he was, but I’ve also heard stories about what a kind and good man he was.  The house (if indeed it was theirs) looks more upper class than I had previously believed.  The toys were certainly those of at least an upper middle-class family.  My great-grandfather was a clothing cutter so I don’t imagine they were rich. Looking at the house and beautifully-decorated tree, it appears as though they were quite comfortable.

This is such a beautiful snapshot in time.  My great-grandparents would go on to have three more children (including one set of twins — my grandmother, Margaret Hamilton Gable, was one of those twins).  Just six years after this photo was taken, my great-grandmother dropped dead suddenly when her twins were only 18 months old, leaving her husband and oldest daughter (Kate, the smiling one on the right) to raise the children.

This photo illustrates such a different time in history than we are living, a simpler time.  Yes, mothers and fathers still die suddenly and widowers and widows are still left to raise children. But many Catholic families are limiting the number of children they have.  I can’t begin to judge any other couple, but I know in our own case, we remained open, despite the doctors’ orders that we stop having children.

We can learn so much from our ancestors. Back then, contraception wasn’t even a thought in most Catholic couples’ minds and really wasn’t readily available anyway.  Most welcomed children as they came.  I’m thankful to my Hamilton great-grandparents for welcoming children as they did, even when it was so obviously difficult and challenging.  My grandmother, Margaret Hamilton Gable, was one of twins in Mary Hamilton’s last pregnancy. If they had stopped having children, if they had discovered contraception, I wouldn’t be here today.

My grandmother (Margaret) went on to elope with my grandfather (Fritz) and eventually they had four children (my father was the second oldest).

This was indeed a wonderful find!

 

Hamilton Family 1903, with thanks to Rich Boyle

 

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Summer Blog Tour – The Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know

From the Publisher’s Website: You find yourself in a profoundly painful position: you’re a Catholic, and you’re divorced.

Friends and family probably have lots of opinions and advice. But who do you listen to? You might have searched online or in books for answers, but find the information confusing or unreliable. How can you trust what you’re reading? Or you might be so devastated you’re not sure where to turn.

Now in this short, easy-read booklet, divorced Catholics will learn three important things they need to know now:

1. What the Catholic Church really teaches about divorce

2. How and when divorced Catholics can receive the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. What annulment is, how it works, who needs it, and why it matters

Using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal documents, Scripture, and personal stories, author Mary Lou Rosien provides you with facts that can shape your decisions and actions, along with the encouragement and compassion that can only come from someone who has been through it herself.

My review:  This is a short, easy-to-read and very informative book that will help clarify what the Church teaches about divorce. Ideal to give to those who are divorced or comtemplating divorce.

To purchase the paperback book or ebook, go to the publisher’s website here at this link!

 

Highlights of the Catholic Writers Conference Live and CMN #cmntradeshow #cwcl2017

Setting up the CWG Booth, the FQP section of the Booth, Tuesday luncheon and socializing

 

Clockwise from top left: CMN Author Event, speaking on 21st Century Indie Publishing, CMN breakfast at the Catholic Mom contributors table, CMN breakfast with Barbara Golder and Meggie Daly

 

Thursday: eating at Culvers (great burgers and coleslaw!) and with my dear friend, Lisa Mladinich (top) and FQP Author and dear friend, Amanda Lauer!

 

Last day at the Friday book signing, with my wonderful minion, Maria, and with FQP authors!

 

With my dear friend, Susan Tassone, AKA “The Purgatory Lady” and we’re color coordinated!

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the beautiful Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!  I found this gem of a picture in my mother-in-law’s possessions and thought it would be ideal to post for today’s feast.

At this link is the Efficacious Sacred Heart Novena that St. Padre Pio prayed every day.
https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/heart/sh_novena.htm

Other suggestions for this Solemnity:
1. Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Found here
2. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home! Resources here
3. Confession and Holy Mass
4. Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Here
5. Prayers of reparation against the Sacred Heart – Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Rest in Peace, Mumsy

It’s been a few weeks since I posted here on my blog.  My mother-in-law (who already had advancing dementia) started declining rapidly with the diagnosis that she had cancer. Despite her dementia, she had made it clear to my husband that she did not want to go to a home, that she just wanted God to take her.  Shortly after that, a CT scan showed advancing cancer.

She entered the palliative care unit at the Arnprior Hospital on June 8th and was given pain medication to keep her comfortable. She passed away on June 13, 2017, with family by her side.  The medical personnel were kind, caring and compassionate to her and to our family. Her obituary is below:

Shirley Hrkach

Passed into eternal life on Tuesday morning, June 13, 2017 with family by her side. Shirley was the devoted mother of James (Ellie) of Pakenham; Jan of Hobe Sound, Florida; Jocelyn of Maui, Hawaii; and Jody (Karen) of Longwood, Florida. Loving “Mumsy” of Josh, Ben (Kayla), Tim, Adam, Paul, Ashley, Katelyn and Sean Hrkach. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. The last surviving of 11 children born to the late Charles and Katherine (née Legree) Laderoute. A long-time parishioner of St. John Chrysostom Parish in Arnprior, Shirley was an active member of the Catholic Women’s League for many years. She will be missed. The family will receive friends during visitation at the Pilon Family Funeral Home and Chapel Ltd., 50 John Street North, Arnprior on Monday evening, June 19th from 7 to 9 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. John Chrysostom Church, Arnprior on Tuesday afternoon, June 20th at 1 o’clock. In memory of Shirley, please consider a donation to the St. John Chrysostom Church Memorial Fund.

Although it was sad to lose Mumsy, she leaves behind a beautiful legacy in her descendants.

 

May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Requiescat in pace, Mumsy.

 

Catholic Writers Retreat October 2017

Are you a Catholic writer?  Do you need time away to work on a writing project?

The Catholic Writers Guild is offering its biennial retreat October 8-12, 2017 at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, Michigan, five minutes north of Lansing.

Your Word is My Delight: A Catholic Writers Retreat offers abundant time for writing and critiquing with other Catholic authors in a beautiful and serene retreat setting. Author and editor-in-chief of the English edition of Aletia.org Elizabeth Scalia, Obl, OSB, is the keynote speaker.

Cost ($550) includes four nights’ lodging and meals.

St. Francis Retreat Center

I’ve attended this retreat in the past and it was a wonderful experience!  Great food, writing time, fellowship and opportunity for prayer — what more could a Catholic writer ask for?  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend this year because it’s being held on the same weekend as Canadian Thanksgiving.

 

An Open Book – January 2017 #openbook

Open Book

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading for the past month:

joy-to-the-world

Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) by Scott Hahn

From the Amazon summary: The cast of characters is strange and exotic: shepherds and magicians, an emperor and a despot, angels, and a baby who is Almighty God. The strangeness calls for an explanation, and this book provides it by examining the characters and the story in light of the biblical and historical context.

Bestselling author Scott Hahn who has written extensively on Scripture and the early Church, brings evidence to light, dispelling some of the mystery of the story. Yet Christmas is made familiar all over again by showing it to be a family story. Christmas, as it appears in the New Testament, is the story of a father, a mother, and a child–their relationships, their interactions, their principles, their individual lives, and their common life. To see the life of this “earthly trinity” is to gaze into heaven.

My review:  Excellent book, a kind of “behind-the-scenes” narrative. I was able to buy the Kindle edition for 1.99 when it was on sale a few weeks ago.

unsinkable

Unsinkable: a Memoir by Debbie Reynolds

From the Amazon summary: Unsinkable is the definitive memoir by film legend and Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds. Actress, comedienne, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds shares the highs and lows of her life as an actress during Hollywood’s Golden Age, anecdotes about her lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor and her experiences as the foremost collector of Hollywood memorabilia, and intimate details of her marriages and family life with her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher.

My review: Like most people, I was shocked at Carrie Fisher’s death last week and then just one day later, equally saddened by her mother’s death.  I’ve always liked both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but this book gives the reader a better idea of all the heartbreak and financial challenges Debbie has had to face in her life. The Kindle edition was reduced in price a few days after Debbie’s death so I took advantage and downloaded it. For mature audiences only.

heart-div

A Heart Divided: A Novel by Kathleen Morgan

From the Amazon summary: It is 1878 and the Caldwells and Wainwrights have been feuding for decades. Still, Sarah Caldwell has misgivings when her father pressures her into distracting a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwright place. When it becomes clear that hand is actually Cord Wainwright, Sarah realizes she needs to lay low. But Cord spots her in town and, with the sheriff away, makes a citizen’s arrest, dragging her off to the Wainwright ranch until the sheriff’s return. As the feud boils over, Cord and Sarah make a most inconvenient discovery they are falling in love. Can they betray their families for love? Or will their families betray them? Against the beautiful and wild backdrop of the Rocky Mountains comes this sweeping saga of romance, betrayal, and forgiveness from beloved author Kathleen Morgan.

My review:  Just started reading this one, but if it’s like other Kathleen Morgan books, it will be a clean, Christian romance that I will thoroughly enjoy.