The wound that heals

For the past couple of years, I’ve belonged to a small faith conversation group that runs from around May to August. It focuses on the writings of Discalced Carmelite saints St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila and St Therese of Lisieux along with other traditional and contemporary spiritual writers. Due to social…

Female beauty and St Thérèse’s Unpetalled Rose

I can’t help proceeding with caution when it comes to letting any of our kids spend a great deal of time, effort, and mental space on their appearance, or other people’s. We live in a world where it is practically considered morally unacceptable to not be physically attractive according to narrowly-defined standards of physical beauty….

Need to rest?

Simcha Fisher writes in The Catholic Weekly this week, about the need to take breaks to stay in a good emotional and mental place. Resting, she says is, “completely necessary to our well-being, and to our ability to keep on working. Observing the Sabbath is actually one of the commandments – one that busy, modern people of…

A friend in the ‘sister’ of St Therese

The canonisation of St Elizabeth of the Trinity recently was pretty special for our family. We have a social butterfly, piano-playing, fun-loving, sweet and prayerful girl in our family who is very happy to have a namesake in one of the Church’s newest saints. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880), Elizabeth Catez, was born in…

Doubts and growth in prayer and life

A few months ago, speaking with a friend, I tried to explain my sense of loss of intellectual conviction about the most important beliefs that have so far underpinned my life and identity. At a deep level I seemed to be truly fed by the rituals of Catholic faith, it’s tradition, its people and the…

How to keep busy when you’re on retreat

When I was at the mothers’ retreat at the Mt Carmel retreat centre the other week I gave them a one-page ‘to do’ list of things that I suggested they try to complete by the end of the retreat at Sunday lunchtime. When I wrote this list I just thought it was a cute idea…

Carmelite spirituality for mothers, a retreat

I had this idea about three years ago that it would be wonderful to take a group of women out with me for a weekend at what I affectionately know of as ‘Carmel’ – especially those mums with young children and babies who really need a break from their homes and families in order to…

The once-a-year habit that keeps me sane

My happy place has undulating hectares of tall, golden grass marked by wire fences and wide, welcoming gates, generously dotted with cow-pats and little shrubs, clusters of tall eucalypts, and a tranquil dam that shelters a family of black swans and other birds, frogs and crickets.

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…