We love celebrating Mary in our house! She is my constant intercessor and role model for what a loving, patient mother should be. I know I fail at this everyday raising my own children, but I feel the graces from her when I need it most, which is why I have such a strong devotion to her for my family. She is truly our spiritual mother!
Being that it’s May, a month devoted to Mary, I really wanted to honor her this year with a May Crowning. The boys are at a great age to get involved in this beautiful tradition.
My husband bought me a gorgeous Mary statue for Mother’s Day this year. So this became the perfect opportunity to start our May Crowning tradition.
Our boys loved participating and we recited the Hail Mary as they crowned her.
Below are the supplies and instructions I used to make our own floral crown for Mary.
Hope you enjoy celebrating this beautiful tradition in your own home.
Our household was filled with excitement as we anxiously awaited to see who our new Pope would be! Even more exciting is that he took the name Francis, as that is Eli’s favorite saint. We love his humility and how he asked for everyone’s blessings upon him. Very touching and heartwarming! VIVA LA PAPA!
I found this informative article on our local diocesan’s website. I’ve always loved this tradition, but never really knew the history behind it.
Centuries ago, Sicily, the big island off the southern tip of Italy, suffered a drought and famine. No rain fell and the crops that fed both people and livestock withered and died. Sicilians turned in prayer to their patron saint, San Giuseppe, St. Joseph, for relief.
The drought continued. Wheat stalks dried up and cracked beneath farmers’ feet as they trudged through barren fields. Drifting dust and brown, shriveled vines were all that remained of what had been rows of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Still, the people prayed to St. Joseph for help.
Finally, the clouds opened, pouring desperately needed rain, and all of Sicily rejoiced. After the harvest, to show their gratitude, they prepared a table with special foods to honor St. Joseph and to share with the poor. After thanking and honoring the saint, they distributed the food to those in need.
That first St. Joseph Table set up in Sicily was small, but as time went by, the tables grew larger, more ornate, beautiful and bountiful. And the tradition continues today in parishes throughout Italy and America. After the tables are decorated, they are blessed by the parish priest, and the parish and larger community is invited to come see the table and share a meal.
A St. Joseph’s Table is usually a three-tiered display representing the Holy Trinity. A statue of St. Joseph is placed at the top tier. A special smaller table, set for the Holy Family, is placed at the front. The tables are filled with displays of food, flowers, candles and “zepolla”. Dispensing food to those in need is an important part of the tradition.
Many symbols can be found on a St. Joseph’s Table. Bread crumbs on pasta represent saw dust on the floor of St. Joseph the carpenter’s workshop. White lilies symbolize transformation and purity. Breads may be baked in the shapes of carpenter’s tools, canes or chalices. Wine recalls both the miracle at Cana and, with bread, the Last Supper. Pineapples on the table symbolize hospitality and 12 fish represent the 12 apostles.
Red clothing is traditional, worn to symbolize charity and strength.
Blessed fava beans are often given out at St. Joseph’s Tables. Once considered cattle feed, fava beans survived the Sicilian drought, sustained the people, and saved them from starvation. It is believed that if these beans are carried in a coin purse all year, one is never without resources. Blessed, dried beans are also kept in the pantry, so there will always be food in the home.
The breads, cookies and pastries decorating the tables are later sold to raise funds for the sponsoring parish or for charity. A traditional spaghetti or pasta Milanese (fish sauce) dinner is often hosted.
Sicilian immigrants introduced St. Joseph’s Tables to this country; today Catholics of many nationalities honor St. Joseph. He is a patron of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, honored in many parishes with a St. Joseph Table and pasta dinner.
Centuries after the first St. Joseph Table was prepared in gratitude for rain, the tradition continues, reminding us to share with people in need.
Our lives took an unexpected turn on Wednesday, February 27th. I felt my whole world turn upside. I’ll never forget when I saw my husband was calling on my phone, but when I answered a stranger was telling me my husband was having a convulsions and being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Literally just moments before, Michael texted me that he was leaving Eucharistic Adoration and coming home early from work. Fear quickly overcame my whole being. I immediately called my parents as they only live minutes away, all the while trying to keep my composure to not panic our children. My dad rushed us to the hospital, while my mom stayed with the boys. The whole time I just assumed Michael had been in a terrible car accident and had no idea what condition he was in. I immediately started saying some Hail Mary’s for him.
It felt like everything was moving in slow motion - it felt like it took 10 times longer to get to the hospital. Relief flooded me when I was able to finally see him and to find out there was no horrific car accident as originally thought, but that he had terrible pain on his left side and started trembling and was able to pull into a gas station to call 911. His seizure took place once he arrived to the ER. It took him awhile to even start talking to me, which really scared me and even longer to start moving. But the ER nurse assured me he could talk and move.
He was admitted, where over the course of two days they ran numerous tests - CT Scans, MRI, ultrasounds, EEGs, EKGs etc. All tests came back normal and he was feeling ok besides being sore. He was discharged and so glad to be home. We left with no prognosis, just that it was an unfortunate incident and to follow up with the his primary doctor.
He was doing well at home Friday and Saturday, besides having a headache that he had complained about for 2 weeks now. However, getting ready for bed on Saturday, another seizure took place. This was two seizures in less than a week! Now we really knew something was wrong. It’s the most terrifying experience to witness. His whole body tenses up, he shakes uncontrollably, as he keeps repeating that it hurts and that he’s about to black out. I immediately called my dad and sister who are also nurses and then 911. The ambulance arrived and took him to the ER.
He was admitted again and we met a seizure specialist the next day. He told us the seizures were not exactly typical since Michael was experiencing such pain before they happened. But they started an EEG and began him on an anti-seizure medicine. He came home after two days and again with no real answers. He has had a tough time adjusting to the meds. They make him feel sleepy one day and yet the next day he can’t sleep. He feels very anxious at times, has occasional blurry vision and just feels off. So we’re trying to get through the two to three weeks of adjustment that the doctor told us about. It’s still unnerving to experience these side effects all day everyday even though the doctor tells you about them. To not feel right day after day takes a toll. He does have good days though or at least good moments of the day, which give us great hope. We have gotten through one week, so hopefully after one more week it will all level out a bit.
We still have an unsettling feeling about it all; that another seizure could happen since we really don’t know if the current medicine will work for him and will need to be adjusted at some point. So we still take it day by day.
We meet with the neurologist in April for follow up. Maybe things will be a little clearer then.
This has been a great cross for all of us, but especially for Michael. Even though we wish we didn’t have to carry it, much good has come from it. God brings much good from our pain and suffering. We’ve felt God’s love and mercy for us. Our parish family have been prayer warriors - offering daily masses, rosaries and adoration for Michael and just keeping all of us in their prayers. Because of this we know and understand the great power of prayer. It truly is the greatest comfort and joy anyone can give to someone in need. We are more empathetic to those that are sick and suffering, especially those who suffer alone. It’s so hard to get through difficult, scary and trying times even with the love of family and friends, so the burden for those who are alone must feel impossible. We pray for all those suffering everyday and offer our sufferings for others and the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Our priest and sacristan, both who are wonderful family friends of ours, have visited and called us, giving us much spiritual support. We’ve been brought meals and have had offers to take Michael to work. Our boys haven’t been forgotten either, as they’ve received coloring books and treats too. A ministry in our parish even surprised Michael with a beautiful prayer shawl they made for him. How comforting and beautiful that they made this shawl all while praying for him. The generosity, love and compassion of so many has been touching.
Of course our families have been a huge help to us as well. We’re lucky to have my parents and sister just a few minutes away, so our boys have had lots of fun being spoiled by them. More spoiling to be done when Michael’s parents come visit next weekend too.
Michael has to be seizure free for 6 months before he can drive again. We’re blessed he’s able to work from home through most of it, but he of course misses just being in the office. I plan to drive him in a couple times a week starting next month, as I’d like him to stay home while he’s still adjusting to the medicine.
This does really turn your lives upside down especially when you have young children. Michael is used to just taking the boys on long summer walks and having lazy days at the pool. We now understand I’ll have to be there with them on such excursions.
Just the thought of having to rely on a pill everyday for the rest of your life is a bit daunting especially when you’re not used to it. Something as simple as that really effects you. We do hope he can wean off of it when the time is right though. And we realize even with all of this, things could be much worse and so we are grateful that it is not.
We had the opportunity to attend Stations of the Cross on Friday. How therapeutic. I was so anxious going there, not knowing how Michael would do, but as I sat in the pew I could feel the embrace of our Lord and was at peace. We truly understand how wonderful our Catholic faith really is; that it’s truly the best medicine and how blessed we are to be Catholic. There’s much beauty in the fact that our pain and suffering, no matter how big or small, doesn’t have to go in vain. We can offer it up for a greater purpose. What a beautiful thing! We have Jesus as our ultimate example of that. His suffering and death on the cross became a beautiful testament of God’s love and mercy for us.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers, especially Michael. And know that all of you are in ours!