Book review: The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia

The Deliverance of Sister Cecilia as told to William Brinkley (223 pgs.)


From the very first page, Sister Cecilia’s story is gripping and suspenseful. Through determination and many sacrifices, Cecilia transforms from a simple farm girl to a courageous nun able to outwit the Communists while remaining loyal to her calling. Sister Cecilia’s unique story-telling weaves together amusing stories from her childhood, her call to the religious life, the role she played in defying Communism, and her love for the Catholic faith into a beautiful and inspiring adventure. This remarkable true story will transport you back over 50 years to Catholic Slovakia, a time that was charming and simple, yet at the hands of the Communists, became dangerous and deadly.

Note: This book is out of print, though occasionally can be found on Amazon or eBay.

Pentecost cupcakes

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit…”  Acts 2:1-4

This is a great project for young children and teenagers to help celebrate the Descent of the Holy Spirit. They can help with almost every step!

pentecost cupcakes

Pentecost cupcakes

You will need:

  • 1 batch of cupcakes, frosted white
  • hard candy (“flame” colors: red, yellow, orange, etc.)
  • tin foil
  • cookie sheet
  • ziploc bag
  • cutting board

Begin by crushing the hard candy. The best method we have found is putting a mix of red, yellow, and orange candy into a ziploc bag and crushing it with a meat tenderizer. You might want to do this on a cutting board.

pentecost cupcakes

Line a  cookie sheet (with sides) with tinfoil. When the candy is in little pieces, spread it onto the tin foil.
pentecost cupcakes pentecost cupcakes

Place the cookie sheet in an oven heated to 300 degrees and let the candy melt completely.

pentecost cupcakes

When it looks like the candy has melted together, removed the sheet from the oven and allow the candy to cool completely. When it is cool, you should be able to remove it in one big sheet like this:
pentecost cupcakes

Break the candy into “flame-shaped” chunks and slide them into your cupcakes.

pentecost cupcakes

Optional: Place a dove in front of each flame. We placed wooden toothpicks  into miniature dove sugar cookies- after the cookies were baked and frosted white.

pentecost cupcakes


Stations of the Cross Booklet

One of the most common suggestions and requests we receive is for coloring pages that are more suited to little hands.

This Lent, we are excited to offer our first mini coloring booklet!

little stations of the cross booklet

Our booklet features our Stations of the Cross coloring pages- now in 1/4 page size!

Click the image to print the sheets.

stations of the cross booklet

To print the sheets, you will need to set your printer settings to double-sided and follow the instructions. The sheets will print out with 4 stations per side.

little stations of the cross booklet

Simply cut the pages in half horizontally…

little stations of the cross booklet

…then put the pages in order! It’s that easy :)

little stations of the cross booklet

We recommend stapling the pages together for easier coloring and to keep the book in order.

little stations of the cross booklet

This is a great way to introduce your children to the Stations! We’ve found that children love to lead prayers. Let your young ones lead Stations this Lent, using their booklets and adding an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to each Station, or any other prayers you choose to say.

little stations of the cross booklet

Leave a comment below and let us know how you will use your Stations booklet this Lent!

Our Lady of Lourdes Snow Grotto

Have you ever made snow paint?  All you need is a little food coloring, water and a spray bottle…

After shoveling our driveway for the tenth time this winter, we thought of a great way to use the high mounds of snow that have accumulated!

catholic snow craft

Creating your own snow grotto is easy! We began by carving out the inside of this mound of snow.

snow grotto

We wanted to add some color to our creation so we mixed a couple drops of black food coloring with water in a spray bottle.  This gave us a medium gray mixture that turned a little greenish as it soaked into the snow.  For  darker colors, you can add more food coloring.

snow grotto

Heavy, wet snow works best for molding people and other figures. If your snow is too powdery, use a spray bottle with plain water to wet the snow as you work.

snow grotto

…and this is our grotto lit up at night…
catholic snow ideas

We chose to make this grotto in time for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (Feb. 11th), but you could mold  other Catholic objects or scenes.

snow grotto

Leave a comment and let us know what you create!

Book review: The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass

The Hidden Treasure: Holy Mass
by St. Leonard of Port Maruice (123 pages)

hidden treasure holy mass book

“Treasures, however great and precious, are never appreciated until examined, counted over, and summed up.” Thus begins one of the most compelling discussions of the Mass ever written. As Catholics, we tend to take the Mass for granted, attending out of obligation, rather than desire. However, St. Leonard warns, this is not enough. In his book, St. Leonard offers a beautiful meditation on the tremendous powers of the Holy Mass, while fervently urging the reader to take advantage of these powers by hearing the Mass as frequently as possible. Not only does he discuss the great powers of a single Mass, but he also offers many suggestions for hearing Mass more devoutly. The Hidden Treasure is beautifully woven together with Scripture, anecdotes, stories of the saints, and the author’s own compelling voice. If you desire to better understand the mystery of the Holy Mass and attend it more often, then put this book at the top of your list of books to read!

Perler bead Advent wreath

The tradition of the Advent wreath is relatively newer. Originating in Germany, it was brought over to the United States by immigrants in the early 20th century. The beautiful custom of lighting a new candle each Sunday of Advent not only anticipates Christ’s birth on Christmas Day, but also the second coming of Christ.

This Advent, celebrate the tradition of the Advent wreath with our newest Perler bead project!
perler bead advent wreath
You will need:

  • Advent wreath and candle template
  • 1 large, square peg board
  • 1 sheet of Perler ironing paper or parchment paper
  • Perler beads:
    168 dark green
    29 light green
    63 purple
    21 pink
    4 yellow
    4 orange
  • an iron

Place the template beneath your peg board. You might want to tape the template to the table or work surface.
perler bead advent wreath
It is important to leave the gaps in the wreath, to allow your candles to stand up.

We made our candles on a heart-shaped peg board, creating bigger flames on our candles. If you have extra beads, get creative with your candles and wreath and let us know what you discover!

Remember to use Perler paper or parchment paper between your project and the iron!

You can add your candles all at once, or add a new candle each Sunday.

Blessed Advent!

Saint Andrew the Apostle coloring page: November 30th

“As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4: 18-20).

Andrew left behind his life as a fisherman to follow Christ. After Christ’s death, Andrew traveled to Greece, preaching the Gospel. It was there that he suffered a martyr’s death, tied to an X-shaped cross. He is now the patron saint of Scotland.

Click the image below to print the coloring page.
saint andrew the apostle coloring page


Veronica’s veil activity

Christ was not alone as He carried His cross to Calvary. The women of Jerusalem wept over His afflicted state and one man was made to carry the cross with Him.

Tradition also tells us of another woman named Veronica.
saint veronica activity

Moved by pity, Veronica offered her veil to Christ. He, in turn, wiped His face on her veil and left on it the image of His face. Today, Veronica’s veil is in St. Peter’s in Rome, Italy.

Recreate Veronica’s veil in just a few simple steps!
saint veronica's veil activity

You will need:

  • black crayons (peeled)
  • Christ’s face template
  • 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper
  • hot glue or white glue
  • white or light-colored fabric (cut about the same size as your paper)

Begin by printing out a copy of the Christ’s face template.
christ's face veronica's veil “Trace” this template onto another piece of paper using glue. Hot glue works well, but you can use whatever glue you have on hand.
saint veronica's veil
Allow this  ”glue outline” to dry completely. This is what you will use to put Christ’s face onto your “veil.” This glue outline is reusable- you only need one for a small group of children or repeat this step to have multiple outlines for larger groups.

Tape the glue outline to a table or hard surface.
saint veronica craft
Center and tape your fabric over it. Using the side of a black crayon, rub back and forth firmly to transfer Christ’s face to your veil.
saint veronica's craft

St. Veronica, pray for us!

saint veronica craft

Rosary Holder

Fast and easy way to make a rosary holder…
rosary holder
We went from this…
rosary holder craft idea
to this…
rosary craft ideas
in five minutes— with items we had at home.
rosary holder ideas
We started with an old picture frame that wasn’t being used,
rosary holder craft
attached some roofing nails evenly spaced, and then let each family member pick a saint medal for their nail.
rosary holder craft
We attached two nails on the wall 8″ apart to hang the rosary holder in order to keep it balanced.
rosary holder

Saint Peter Claver coloring page: September 9th

Peter was born in Catalonia, Spain, to a poor family. As he grew older, he desired to become both a priest and missionary. Feeling called to “save millions of perishing souls,” Peter traveled to northern South America, the center of the slave market in the Western Hemisphere. He lived with the belief that, ”I must dedicate myself to the service of God until death, on the understanding that I am like a slave.” Peter spent 33 years there, serving the thousands of slaves that arrived there each month. He would personally board the ships as they arrived, tending to the sick and dying, administering the Sacraments, and catechizing slaves. Through his efforts, hundreds of souls were converted. In addition to his work as a priest, Peter also fought for slave trade to be abolished.

Click the image below to print the coloring page.

saint peter claver coloring page

saint peter claver coloring page

Pope Saint Gregory the Great coloring page: September 3rd

Gregory was born to a wealthy family in Rome, Italy. His mother is now also saint. By the age of 34, Gregory was the Chief Magistrate of Rome. He built seven monasteries in his lifetime, including one that he founded in his own house. Gregory received the habit in this monastery, known as the Benedictine Monastery of St. Andrew. There was unanimous support for Gregory’s appointment to the papacy. Though he accepted the position, he often missed the simplicity and quiet of the monastery. Gregory spent his time in the papacy writing letters and books and renewing the missionary activity of the Church. He is the one responsible for sending St. Augustine on the successful mission to evangelize pagan England. Gregory remained pope from 590 until his death in 604. Today, he is the patron of teachers.

Click the image below to print the coloring page.

pope saint gregory the great coloring

Saint Irenaeus coloring page: June 28th

Irenaeus was raised in a Christian family. He became both a priest and bishop during his lifetime. Irenaeus is most famous for his work against the spread of Gnosticism, a great heresy that threatened the Church at the time. He wrote several books that were immediately popular and successful in refuting the heresy. One of the most famous was Against Heresies, which we still have today. The Church honors Irenaeus as a martyr for the Faith on the date of his death, June 28th.

Click the image below to print the coloring page.

saint irenaeus coloring page

Saint Scholastica coloring page: February 10th

St. Scholastica is the twin sister of St. Benedict. Though they both entered religious life, she spent much of her life with or very near to him. The monastery she founded was only about five miles from Benedict’s monastery. Once a year, they arranged to meet at a nearby house.  They spent this time together in spiritual discussion and prayer. After meeting one night, Scholastica begged Benedict to stay for one more day. When Benedict refused, Scholastica began to pray. A terrible thunderstorm began, causing Benedict to stay. The brother and sister spent the night discussing spiritual matters. That was the last time they ever spent together. Three days later, Scholastica died. In his cell, Benedict received a vision of his sister’s soul ascending to heaven. He himself prepared her body to be buried.

Click the image below to print the coloring page.
saint scholastica coloring page

Saint Rose of Lima coloring page: August 23rd

At birth, Saint Rose was given the same Isabel.  However, Isabel was such a beautiful child that she was called “Rose” and the name stuck. Her beauty grew with each year that passed. Her mother loved to show off Rose’s beauty, even placing a wreath of flowers on her head to draw attention to her.   Rose shunned such displays and attention and even placed a long pin in the wreath which pierced her head.  She cut her hair and rubbed pepper on her face, in an attempt to hide her beauty. Other times, she put herself through severe mortifications like tying chains around her waist.

Against her parents’ wishes, Rose refused to be married, wishing only to give her life to Christ. Her father would not let her become a nun, but that did not prevent Rose from entering the Third Order of St. Dominic. She spent many hours each day before the Blessed Sacrament and fasted often.  She also devoted herself to caring for the poor and sick.  The crown Rose is commonly pictured wearing is one she made for herself with small silver spikes as penance. St. Rose is the patron saint of Latin America and the Philippines.

Click the image below to print the coloring page!

saint rose of lima coloring page

Saints Monica and Augustine coloring page: August 27th and 28th

The feasts of St. Monica and St. Augustine are on separate days- August 27th and 28th respectively- but their lives and paths to sainthood are inseparable. Monica is credited with bringing not only her husband and mother-in-law to the Catholic faith, but also her son Augustine as well. She prayed fervently for the conversion of her pagan husband and difficult mother-in-law for years, patiently bearing their insults. Her husband finally converted a year before his death. But Monica’s patience and perseverance would soon be tested further. Though Augustine was raised in the Faith and was said to be incredibly intelligent, he chose to follow a dark life of sin and worldly pleasures. Monica prayed diligently for her son for 17 years, never losing hope that he might return to the one, true Faith. Augustine finally converted in the year 387, just before his mother died. He went on to become a priest, bishop, author, saint, and  Doctor of the Church.

Click on the image below to print the coloring page!

saint monica augustine coloring page

You may also be interested in:

Saint Monica Coloring Page catholic coloring pages Saint Augustine Coloring Page
catholic coloring pages

Craft for the Feast of the Assumption- August 15th

Those of us with original sin do not take our bodies to Heaven. However, Mary, Our Mother, was conceived without sin and reigns in Heaven as Queen- in both body and soul.

When we die, our bodies will remain here until the last day of this earth. When Mary’s life here on earth ended, the body of Our Blessed Mother was not allowed to become corrupt. She was taken up body and soul into the glory of Heaven.  Though she was human too, she has no grave here on earth. Her body is not here.

This year on the Feast of the Assumption, lift Mary up to Heaven with our floating paper lantern project!
feast of the assumption flying lantern
catholic flying lantern

You will need:

  • 8 sheets of tissue paper, any color
  • 1 sheet of black tissue paper
  • Mary template
  • fire retardant spray
  • 2 sticks of balsa wood- 1/16 in. x 1/4 in. (each 24 in. long)
  • ruler
  • wire
  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • rope or clothesline
  • clothespins
  • 8 sheets of cardstock or a large piece of cardboard
  • craft glue
  • tape
  • strip of cotton fabric- 10 in. x 4 in.
  • candles (different color than fabric)
  • matches
  • fishing line
  • jar lid or tin foil

To successfully and safely launch your lantern, there are some precautions that are necessary to take. The first is to use fire retardant spray. This can be purchased online or in fabric stores.

Hang all the sheets of tissue paper on a rope or clothesline and cover them with the spray. This will prevent your lantern from burning both before it is launched and while it is flying.

Ideally, it is best to spray the sheets outside. However, if it is windy, the sheets will tear and tangle when wet. Find the best place to spray the sheets and do not remove them from the clothesline until completely dry.
tissue paper flying lantern

Once the sheets are dry, they can be glued together. Lay a sheet horizontally and put a line of glue along the bottom edge. Lay a second sheet on the glued edge, overlapping the two sheets about 1/4 in. It is important that there be no holes or gaps in the sheets, otherwise your lantern will not fly. The new large sheet should be at least 35 in. x 22 in. Repeat this process with the rest of the colored sheets until you have four large sheets. These are the walls of your lantern. Let these walls dry completely.
catholic floating lantern

While the walls are drying, make your silhouette of Mary using black tissue paper and our template. Cut out the template, cutting carefully around the rays and Mary’s halo. Trace the the template onto the black tissue paper with a pencil and cut it out carefully. The Mary silhouette should be glued to one of the four walls of your lantern. We attached our silhouette to the lightest colored sheet so that she could be seen from the ground when in the air. We also did not glue down the rays from her hands, but kept them free from the wall.

mary flying lantern
Next, make a template that will be used to trace onto your tissue paper- to make the “walls” of your lantern. Use cardstock or cardboard to create a template that is 6 in. on the bottom x 35 in. long x 11 in. at the center.
template for floating lantern
Fold each of your “walls” in half vertically and trace your template onto each one with a pencil. The flat edge of the template should line up with the folded edge of each wall. Cut out each wall carefully. Repeat this with each sheet until you have four shaped walls.
Open up one of the walls and lay it out flat. Line the right side only from top to bottom with glue. It is important that you only glue one side and do not glue the bottom. Taking a second wall, lay it on top of the first sheet, lining up the sides. Press the right sides together, making sure there are no holes or gaps. Fold the second sheet in half, folding the free side over on top of the glued side.

mary floating lanternLine the second sheet with glue in the same way as the first. Glue the right side from top to bottom. Attach the third sheet to the second, lining up the edges. Fold half of the third sheet over, folding the free side onto the glued one. The fourth sheet is the only one that can be glued on completely. Apply glue to the edge of the third sheet as well as the edge of the unfolded half of the first sheet. Lay the fourth sheet on top, lining up the edges so that the fourth sheet is attached on all sides except the bottom. Set aside, allowing the lantern to dry completely.

Make the wooden frame using tape and balsa wood. This frame will attach to your lantern walls and support the flame of your lantern. Tape the two pieces of balsa wood together, overlapping them no more than half an inch. Bending the wood gently, from a circle and tape the opposite ends together, as well.

Use wire to create an “X” on the wooden frame. Wrap the wire securely to the sides of the frame.
how to make a floating lantern
Once the walls are dry, they can be attached to the wooden frame. Open the walls gently. Working on a small section at a time, line the inside edge of the walls with glue and attach the wooden frame. Press the glued wall to the frame firmly, making sure there are no holes or gaps. Continue all the way around the walls until the entire frame is attached.
catholic floating lantern
While your lantern is drying, work on your fire source. Fold your strip of fabric in half and tie it in a knot, making a small bow.  Place the knot on a jar lid or foil. Drip wax from a lit candle onto the knot until it is completely covered. Depending on the size of your candle, this may take more than one candle. It is helpful to use a wax that is a different color from your fabric, making it easier to see how much fabric still needs to be covered.
how to make a flying lantern
Attach the wax-covered bow to the middle of the wire “X” on the frame. Use plenty of wire to secure it.
catholic floating lantern
Light the end of the fabric to launch the lantern. It takes a few minutes for the lantern to fill with hot air. Do not try to force the lantern up. You will feel it lift upwards when it is ready.
assumption day floating lantern
Safety precautions

  • Use fire retardant spray on both sides of each piece of tissue paper.
  • Launch lantern in an open area away from trees and buildings.
  • If you prefer to bring your lantern back down after it burns out (some areas do not allow floating paper lanterns), use fishing line. Attach the line to the wood frame and fly it like a kite.
  • When lighting the fabric to launch the lantern, be sure to light the end of the fabric. If you light your fabric in the middle, the ends may fall off as they burn.
  • Only allow adults to light and launch the lantern.

Have fun!