Love in the family wins when it comes to bringing people to God

A recent survey has confirmed that one’s parents and other family members have the greatest influence on a person’s religious attitudes and beliefs throughout his or her life. And many people are attracted to examine their ideas about religion and faith by people, not celebrities or public figures, who they observe to be authentic examples…

How writing a regular column has changed my life

Over the last couple of weeks in spare moments I’ve been making an inventory of my Catholic Weekly columns, entitled Pitter Patter. I started writing it when I was five months pregnant with my first child at the suggestion of the then-managing editor, Kerry Myers. That little bean on the ultrasound imaging machine I described…

The Best Thing You Will Do All Year For Your Children

To welcome guests to our home I keep a peace lily plant in a pot by the front door. Whenever its dark glossy green leaves lose their graceful arch and start wilting (usually when I’ve been too busy to notice it for a few weeks) I don’t just spray some water onto it and expect it to perk up.  I…

Three points to ponder from a retreat with Fr Jacques Philippe

Popular Catholic author and retreat director Fr Jacques Philippe has just completed a round of speaking engagements in Sydney giving retreats and talks at a variety of events held over ten days. I attended his retreat day for women held at Notre Dame University, along with around 300 others from all over the city and elsewhere who had heard about…

What St Teresa of Avila and Jamie Oliver have in common

I’ve been following lately an excellent informal book study on the Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila run by author Connie Rossini on her blog Contemplative Homeschool. St Teresa is a Doctor of the Church because of her teachings on prayer and the spiritual life. Next year, 2015, will be the 5th centenary celebration (500th anniversary) of…

Thank you Elisabeth Leseur

As All Saints day approaches, here’s something I wrote about a woman who (while not officially a saint) helped me a lot about five years ago – although she died 100 years ago. I was in the city for a meeting recently and when it was finished I used the opportunity to visit St Patrick’s at…

Return of the scapular!

It sounds a little bit like a B-grade horror movie doesn’t? Instead of this innocuous thing: One day maybe I’ll write an article about the history, spiritual significance, and practice of the wearing of a scapular. I can’t quite face that right now. Instead, let’s just say that it is a form of silent prayer and a very beautiful…

On walking some new paths

Hi, I haven’t dropped in here just to chat for a while. I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks thinking, planning, and working on a couple of projects partly as a result of my attendance at the Catholic Digital Media Conference. That experience really gave me the impetus to begin working towards some things I’ve had in mind for…

The Little Book of Anxiety, atheism and faith

Kerri Sackville is an Australian author whose first book, When My Husband Does the Dishes, was a light-hearted look at marriage after children. I read the book after going to a talk she gave as a guest author at my local library a few years ago. She seemed a charming and funny lady in person…

Suffering, doubt, and faith

You only have to look around at your own family and friends, and read the headlines on the news feeds, to see that some seem to suffer too much, right? And it’s unbearable when it’s children who suffer. There are so many ways they can suffer, through wars and accidents. Birth defects or health problems….