Thursday, November 30, 2017

About Rose Geranium Essential Oil

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
I use rose geranium essential oil in both the Morning Bouquet Facial Treatment and the Grotto Facial Cleanser because its fragrance is both calming and uplifting, helping the day to start well. The scent of rose geranium is similar to that of a rose but more mysterious, almost like the soul of a rose. (Read more.)
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Nazism in America

From Matt Walsh:
The majority of our citizens do not sympathize with Nazism outright. Many, however, sympathize with some of the primary goals and most brutal tactics of the Nazi party.  Though they may not think of it in those terms, they still celebrate the achievement of “eliminating” medical conditions by killing the babies who have it, and they applaud governments that “expand reproductive health access” by forcing helpless citizens to fund the mass extermination of human beings. They may not march through the streets waving swastikas around, but they look with indifference or approval at our own version of the Nazi death camp. Indeed, with all due respect to the skinheads who only play pretend Nazi, the spirit of the Nazi movement really lives on in the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood may not hang the Nazi flag on the doors of its clinics, but it has enough blood on its hands to impress even the most prolific concentration camp executioner. (Read more.)
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Bad Catholic Music

An oldie but goodie from Crisis:
It usually starts with the missalettes — those lightweight booklets scattered around the pews of your parish church. They contain all the readings of the Sunday Masses, plus some hymns and responses in the back. There’s nothing between the covers that would offend an orthodox sense of the faith, and most of the songs are traditional by today’s standards. So, what’s the problem?
Well, if your missalettes are like those issued in more than half of American parishes, they’re copyrighted by the Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) — the leading Catholic purveyor of bad music in the United States. Four times a year, it prints and distributes 4.3 million copies of the seemingly unobjectionable booklets (which OCP doesn’t call missalettes).
But that’s just the beginning of its massive product line, where each item is integrated perfectly with the others to make liturgical planning quick and easy. To instruct and guide parish musicians and liturgy teams, the OCP prints hymnals, choral scores, children’s songbooks, Mass settings, liturgy magazines (with detailed instructions that are slavishly followed by parishes around the country), and CDs for planning liturgies and previewing the newest music. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gabrielle d'Estrées and Marie-Antoinette.

Vive Henri IV
Vive ce roi vaillant !
Vive Henri IV
Vive ce roi vaillant !
Ce diable à quatre
A le triple talent
De boire de battre
Et d'être un vers galant.
The royalist anthem Vive Henri IV was from Collé's 1770 opera La partie de chasse d'Henri IV. In 1774 it was often sung to honor Louis XVI, became popular again during the Restoration in 1814, as is told in the novel Madame Royale. The lyrics which celebrate the monarch who was seen by the French people as the epitome of justice, kindness, and virility. It was an attempt to identify the Bourbon dynasty with the popular first Bourbon monarch, Henri IV. Louis XVI had also been seen as sharing with the King from Navarre an easy manner with the common folk, as well as a strong sense of justice and love of the hunt. Early in their reign, the King and Queen held a costume ball where everyone came in dress from the era of le bon roi Henri, with Marie-Antoinette herself garbed as Henri's beloved mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées. It was part of the Queen's attempt to show that she was loved by her husband, and that she was his mistress as well as his wife. During the Restoration, members of the Bourbon family, especially the daughter of Louis XVI, the Duchess of Angoulême, were frequently welcomed with the anthem. After the fall of the Bourbons in 1830, the anthem was no longer played, and soon became a relic of the past. Share

True Diversity

From Dr. Esolen at Crisis:
I’m reading, for one of my classes at Thomas More College, Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel set in the last days of Saints Peter and Paul, Quo Vadis? The Rome of that imperial matricide, mass murderer, poetaster, and buffoon, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus Nero, was “a nest of evil,” “a seat of power, madness but also order, the capital of the world and also mankind’s most terrible oppressor, bringer of laws and peace, all-powerful, invulnerable, eternal,” so wicked, that Peter cannot fathom why God should lead him to build the Church upon such a foundation. Even the libertine Petronius understands that such a Rome cannot endure. “A society based on brute force and violence,” thinks that arbiter of taste, “on cruelty beyond anything possible among the barbarians, and on such universal viciousness and debauchery, could not survive forever. Rome ruled mankind, but it was also its cesspool and its seeping ulcer. It reeked of death and corpses. Death’s shadow lay over its decomposing life.”
Rome, pagan Rome, was exhausted. She would, in the next few centuries, produce a few fine public buildings, some aqueducts and roads, one near-great poet (Juvenal), a sad philosopher king (Marcus Aurelius), and a brief efflorescence of Platonic mysticism not uninfluenced by Christianity. That was it.

The west, the post-Christian west, is exhausted. She exceeds ancient Rome in population by twenty to one, she enjoys plentiful food and drink, and labor-saving (and labor-eliminating) machines, and the moral heritage of its Christian past, mainly spent down and in many places mortgaged. But she is exhausted. (Read more.)
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St. Leo and Attila the Hun

From Word on Fire:
St. Leo the Great was an ardent theologian, a defender of the Faith, and a pastoral, simple man of holiness. Leo, one of only three pontiffs who’ve been given the title ‘Great’ (the others being St. Gregory and St. John Paul II), was the Supreme Pontiff from 440 to 461. When he took the reins of leadership Rome was in a dire fall, yet St. Leo was more than capable to steer through the raging waters of cultural and political strife. One of Leo’s great contentions was the necessity of unity for the Christian Church. Heretical factions were popping throughout the faithful. The Manichees, who held that evil was co-eternal with the good. The Nestorians who attacked Mary’s title of Theotokos. The Monophysites, who contended that Christ could not have been human and divine. And the Pelagians, who taught that man could achieve his own goodness by his own unaided will, no need for the grace of God.

Leo was a staunch defender of the primacy of Peter, not because he held the office but because of Christ’s call to have an authoritative head of His Church, through which the will of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit finds an embodiment. He practiced this office most profoundly at the Council of Chalcedon. However, his role as the pastor and shepherd of the Christian people took a much deeper tone in the wave of the coming Hun army, distinctly setting its ravenous sights on the great city of Rome. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Medal of Louis and Antoinette, 1781

A medal celebrating the birth of the Dauphin. Share

A Nun's Story

From The Catholic News Service:
“My biological parents were high school students, 17 years old, obviously not married,” she said. “To this day, I’ve never seen her face, but I have a deep intuition that at one point my mother thought of aborting me, but she didn’t. And I stand here before you today because a scared 17-year-old girl said ‘yes’ to life and to the child in her womb.”

Then there was the choice of the couple who became her mother and father when they adopted her.

“One of the first pictures my parents have of me was at Christmas time. My mom put me under the Christmas tree and said I was the gift to the family that year.” She told the audience that God also offers people the gift of his love. “We don’t understand his heart for us. We don’t understand his love for us,” she said, emphasizing that “God longs to heal you because you are made for more. He looks at you, and he just loves you.” (Read more.)
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Albania And Greece Make Historic Agreement

From Tzarizm:
On Saturday, 11 November, discussions between Albanian Foreign Minister Bushati and his Greek counterpart Kotzias, were held on Kreta island. The meeting to solve pending bilateral issues seems to have produced good results. Talks were centered on the problems of the Greek minority in Albania and other important topics, such as the Yonian Sea Agreement, and the Law of War between the two countries.

Greece has accepted that the part of the Ionian sea they acquired under the 2009 agreement was illegal. Albania lost sovereignty on part of its territory. The agreement prescribed that a part of the Albanian Ionian Sea would pass to Greek control. At that time, there was lots of debate between the Albanian government that signed the document, and the opposition and civil society on the other side, who called the procedure a clear betrayal of the interests of Albania. (Read more.)
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Monday, November 27, 2017

What Is Figgy Pudding?

From NPR:
This holiday season, one popular Christmas carol has been raising some questions here at NPR headquarters. Namely: "Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh, bring us some figgy pudding, oh — "
Wait. What is figgy pudding? First of all, it's "absolutely delicious," says Debbie Waugh, who recently served the dish at a tea at the Historic Green Spring House in Alexandria, Va.
Figgy pudding — also known as plum pudding or Christmas pudding — is a staple of the British Christmas table, she says. "It resembles something like a cannonball, and it maybe feels a bit like a cannonball when it hits your stomach, but it's tradition and we love it," Waugh tells NPR's Michel Martin. And despite its moniker, the dessert features neither figs nor plums. (Read more.)
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Blaming the Victim Has to Stop

From Crux:
"Our Catholic teaching tells us that the only person who’s responsible for a sin is the sinner. Rape is a horrible crime and it’s also a sin, so the only person responsible for rape is the rapist,” said Dawn Eden Goldstein, an assistant professor of dogmatic theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, and author of books on healing from trauma and abuse, including Remembering God’s Mercy and My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, in an interview with Crux.

“Catholic teaching is very strong on the fact that abuse victims are never responsible for their abuse.” (Read more.)
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Strange and Curious Wills of the Georgian Era

From Geri Walton:
A will or testament is a legal document that allows a testator (the person who has written and executed a last will and testament) to express his or her wishes as to the distribution of their property. According to the Roman citizen, Greek biographer, and essayist Plutarch, the first written will was invented long ago by the Athenian statesman, poet, and wise law giver named Solon. Eventually, many types of wills were generated, and sometimes these wills contained strange or curious requests. This was the case in the Georgian Era when certain testators in the Canterbury Court left behind these following interesting requests:

GEORGE APPLEBEE – Rector of St. Bride’s, London – 7 August 1783
“My body after being dressed in a flannel waistcoat, instead of a shirt, an old surtout coat, and breeches without linings or pockets, an old pair of stockings, shoes I shall want none, (having done walking) and a worsted wig, if one can be got, I desire may be decently interred.”

JOHN DAVIS – Woollen Manufacturer of Clapham in Surrey – 24 January 1788
“I give and bequeath to Mary Davis, daughter of Peter Delaport, the sum of five shillings (which is sufficient to enable her to get drunk with, for the last time at my expense), and I give the like sum of five shillings to Charles Peter, (the son of the said Mary) who, I am reputed to be the father of, but which I never had, or ever shall have, any reason so to believe.” (Read more.)
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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bust of Nefertiti

From Joy of Museums:
The bust served in the workshop of the Tuthmosis, as a model for artists producing portraits of the queen. Nefertiti is shown as a woman with a subtle beauty which is not diminished by the folds under the eyes and chin or the slightly sunken cheeks. The bust is made of limestone which is covered with modelled gypsum. The eye is inlaid with crystal and the pupil attached with black coloured wax. The second eye-inlay was never completed.

The bust was discovered by German archaeologists in 1912 when they excavated the Thutmose’s workshop in Egypt. The German expedition was digging under license at the time from the government in Egypt, which was ruled by the Ottoman Empire.

The “Nefertiti Bust” was brought to Berlin in 1913 just before World War I. During World War II, it was removed by the Nazi government to a secret location for safekeeping from the bombing of Berlin. The Nefertiti Bust was discovered by the occupying American forces in a salt mine and put on display in West Berlin. The Soviets who occupied East Berlin where the Neues Museum and Museum Island are located, objected and demanded that the bust is returned to the Neues Museum and Museum Island. The “Nefertiti Bust” became a pawn in Cold War rivalries between the East and West. Many masterpieces that were found in East German Museums by the Soviets were shipped to the Soviet Union as the spoils of war in 1945-1946. (Read more.)
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Meanwhile, in the UK....

It is forbidden to "refer to female pupils as 'girls' or 'ladies' because it 'reminds them of their gender.'" What? From The Telegraph:
Natasha Devon told headteachers of the country’s leading girls’ schools that they should be using gender-neutral language when they address their students, and added that the same applied for boys. Speaking at the Girls’ School Association’s annual conference in Manchester, she said that she would “never walk into a room in an-all girls’ school and say girls or ladies” because it was “patronising”. (Read more.)
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The Alhambra Decree

A tragic history. From War History Online:
The hostilities reached boiling point when two Catholic monarchs, the rulers of Aragon and Castile, decided to get rid of the Jews, once and for all. Their marriage formed a union that gave them unprecedented power. Both shared the opinion that the Jewish converts were unfaithful, insincere and were actually practicing Judaism in secret.

In 1478, they made a formal application to Rome to investigate these suspicions converts. In the meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate of Granada, the last remaining stronghold of Muslims was put under extreme pressure to surrender. There was little left to fight with so the Emir Muhammad XII signed the Treaty of Granada, formally ending over seven centuries of Muslim presence in the region.

Three months later, the King and the Queen issued the Alhambra Decree in which the Jews were accused of trying to contaminate the Catholic faith and draw Christians from their real beliefs. Some of the Jews were given four months to settle their affairs, ordered to convert to Christianity properly or leave the country. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except any gold or silver. Basically, the Alhambra Decree was a deal that meant the end of Jews in Spain. Lastly, the punishment for not leaving the country within 3 months was summary execution! (Read more.)
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Decade of Bliss

From Victoria:
For readers of the original Victoria, the revival of the publication signified a return to loveliness. Breathing life into the magazine’s legacy has invited faithful friends and new devotees to savor the romance, grace, serenity, and charm within its pages. With gratitude, we commemorate our tenth anniversary with a dazzling holiday fête....A palette of blush, gold, and ivory establishes a welcoming ambience for this opportunity to reflect on the enchanting destinations and inspiring women shared in Victoria over the past ten years. (Read more.)
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The Religion of Muggles

From First Things:
The main reason for disliking the Harry Potter books is obviously their membership in the Enid Blyton genre. A further reason I could not make it past the first dozen pages of the first Potter book: I have a respect for “Muggles” and cannot empathize with a dualistic universe in which Muggles belong to the dark side. Our unimaginative, Muggle aunt and uncle provided my brother and me with a bit of adult reliability. Our parents found it unthinkable to decide on a holiday destination before we got in the car to make our escape. It would have turned their dream vacation into a nightmare even to consider booking a hotel in advance. Although no one seemed to enjoy it at all, it was a first principle, beyond discussion that the unplanned holiday is the only one worth having. “Why,” we wailed to Aunt and Uncle Muggle, “can’t we book a hotel! Why,” we forlornly demanded, “must we drive around for hours without a map looking for a hotel, and then sleep in the car?” Our Aunt Muggle pursed her lips, and then she said something which seemed to unveil the heart of the matter: “It’s their religion.” (Read more.)
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Homeschooling a High Energy Child

From Far From Normal:
You will not lose any child, especially a high energy one by making them do boring work! Make sure what they are reading is something they want to read, if you’re struggling with writing try letting them write about something they love, or let them use a crayon, pen or marker. Do a lot of hands on work, manipulatives for math, experiments or models for science, even craft projects for history or Language Arts. Field trips are another great way to engage in learning that is interesting and fun. Since most field trips require walking, talking etc. they are perfect for a high energy child. (Read more.)
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Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday 2017

 I will begin my Black Friday by begging alms on behalf of some of God's most vulnerable children, my friends at Emmaus Home in Philadelphia. Emmaus Home is truly a home for adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. Anne and Larry have created a loving, nurturing environment for the special needs adults there, combined with music and art therapy and lovely outings.  Please visit their blog, Today at Emmaus Home, which they hope will bring the good work of Emmaus Home to the attention of those who would like to help by praying  and/or donating their time or money. The adults there are people whom some would want to institutionalize but at Emmaus Home they have a chance for a well-rounded and happy life. Please donate HERE. And follow the adventures at Emmaus Home on Twitter and Facebook!
      


 
As many of you know, in my spare time I make all-natural face creams and have recently created a facial cleanserPlease do visit my online shop to learn more about the creams which make great gifts. I have also begun a health and beauty blog with information about skincare.  All products are sold with free shipping from now until Christmas! 

 I wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving weekend. And with Advent coming, let us remember that books make wonderful gifts!
 
 The Paradise Tree: A Novel
 
 “With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes ‘the past and present mingle and become one’ for the reader’s great delight.” ~Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

"An Irish immigrant builds a new life in Canada, the decades marked by marriage, children and the odd otherworldly encounter....An imaginative, meticulously told history that will especially appeal to those with Irish roots." ~ from Kirkus Reviews

"This is a stunningly lovely book, the perfect thing to get lost in for an afternoon." ~from the San Francisco Book Review (starred review)

"...Historical fiction at its best" ~D.Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

The Paradise Tree does what good novels should. It tells us a story, it shows us what it means to be human—replete with the triumphs, sadness, and conflicts entailed in being human—while whisking us away to another world that is not our own. For 232 pages we are extracted from our lives and into the lives of the O’Connor family. We root for them. We feel their hardships. We feel their connection and disconnection as a family while we are shown a distant time and place, filled with potentially unfamiliar folkways. In the end we are pleasantly reminded that the O’Connors’ story is just as much ours as we traverse the familiar territory of faith, family, and love, and how we still find ourselves dancing in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.~ The Portland Book Review

"Vidal does an excellent job of demonstrating the lifeline that the Catholic faith becomes for the O'Connor family and how it binds them together in the toughest of circumstances." ~Savvy Verse and Wit

"Weaving fact with fiction...realistic and stirring. An emotional tale of hardship, struggle to survive...with vivid descriptions of life in that place and time period. This book will appeal to those that like a good historical fiction story with depth and new beginnings." ~Just One More Chapter

"Vidal was able to write about devout Catholicism in a way that Protestants and other non-Catholics could follow." ~West Metro Mommy Reads

"The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal is a sweeping tale of an Irish-Canadian family that I happily dare to mention in the same breath as Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind" ~ from Back Porchervations

"As we journey through the years of the O'Connor family the author brings alive the joys, triumphs, struggles, and sorrows in such a vivid way that often you feel as though you are experiencing them yourself." ~Peeking Between the Pages

"Despite the sadness of many of the scenes, there is great charm in the lively portrayal of a family filled with love of learning and poetry. The hope of eternal life sustains Daniel, his wife and children through many tragedies.  Joy continually mingles with sorrow." ~Cross of Laeken

"The Paradise Tree is one of those books that made me feel happy and secure while reading even though some really terrible things happened to the family. I always had the sense that they would persevere and thrive. The Paradise Tree is a sweeping family saga that I will be suggesting to my friends and family. It was such an enjoyable book."~A Book Geek

"The people in the story felt so real to me and almost like they could have also been my ancestors."~Book Drunkard

"I loved the historical perspective that Elena Maria Vidal presented in The Paradise Tree: A Novel. It was interesting and informative to learn about the Irish. Vidal's writing was engaging and the story was filled with heart, soul, family loyalty, history, and unexpected twists and turns. I enjoyed this beautiful story and recommend it." ~Book Nerd

"Whoever you are, wherever your people came from, and whatever you enjoy doing with your free time, I don’t hesitate for a moment to recommend purchasing Elena Maria Vidal’s latest historical fiction novel The Paradise Tree." ~Lear, Kent, Fool

"A good historical fiction novel takes you back in time and presents the good, the bad and the ugly in a manner that informs and clarifies. A great historical fiction novel goes beyond that to lift up your soul as the heroes and heroines overcome obstacles both man made and natural. The result is the reader is left open jawed amazed and transformed. This book is a great historical fiction novel. I wept with them, I laughed at them but most importantly, I felt privileged to be invited to gaze inside their paradise tree." ~Stephen's review of The Paradise Tree on Goodreads

 
 Purchase The Paradise Tree HERE.  


Trianon: A Novel of Royal France

 

"What distinguishes this short and readable book from others is Vidal's examining their lives in light of their Catholic faith in a country that, until the Revolution, was the 'eldest daughter of the Church.'" ~Mike May, Pittsburgh Magazine

 "Exhaustively researched and yet completely accessible for those who wish to understand the events from a very personal perspective." ~Genevieve Kineke, Canticle Magazine

"Through the tragedy and the violence, the genocide and the thousand petty cruelties, Trianon remains, resolutely, a novel of hope." --Gareth Russell, author of Popular and The Emperors

"It's very refreshing to see fiction that strays away from the popular view of Marie Antoinette. Vidal has done extensive research on the royal family and it truly shows." ~Anna Gibson at Reading Treasure

"For me, reading Trianon was like the Heavens opening up and hearing the angels sing.  It's the 'be all and end all' of all things Antoinette." ~Book Drunkard

"A master of storytelling, the author makes you laugh and cry, right along with the characters. A true masterpiece, I rank this book along with the great Classics." ~Wilsonville Public Library Blog

"Be prepared to learn history as it should have been told. You will experience their life, their love, their faith, for you have never known them as you will after reading this book...Be prepared to be moved beyond belief." ~Enchanted by Josephine 

"Elegantly written, it is, quite simply, a heart-wrenching account of the trials and martyrdom of the king and queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette." ~Christine Niles, radio host of Forward Boldly

 
 

Purchase Trianon HERE.


Madame Royale: A Novel

 

 


"An unforgettable portrait of a royal life... Madame Royale is a fantastic tribute to one of Europe's most tragic, but courageous princesses." ~Gareth Russell, author of Popular and The Emperors

"The...backdrop of this heartrending story is that none of us can choose the circumstances into which we are born, and yet those...circumstances are the very proving ground of virtue, our own gymnasium of charity." ~Genevieve Kineke, Canticle Magazine

"Vidal gives us a gripping portrait of a woman whose personal destiny is enmeshed with the convulsions of the French Revolution and European history." ~Catherine Delors, author of For the King and Mistress of the Revolution

"In Trianon, faith gives the King and Queen the courage to face death; in Madame Royale, faith gives their daughter the courage to face life. Marie-Thérèse's story is truly one of bloodless martyrdom." ~Cross of Laeken

 

Purchase Madame Royale HERE.


The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

 
 
"From the first page, Vidal draws the reader into a vibrant world of action and emotion. Raphaelle de Miramande is an engaging young heroine, bravely facing physical and moral dangers and dilemmas in search of truth and love. Vidal's novel captures the spirit of the Middle Ages." ~Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival

"A harrowing and engrossing journey." ~Catherine Delors, author of Mistress of the Revolution and For the King

"The novel illustrates how easily and insidiously the abhorrent becomes desirable, the selfish honorable when individuals seek nothing beyond the fulfillment of their own desires, a message perhaps even more relevant today than it was centuries ago." ~Julianne Douglas, Writing the Renaissance 

"Elena Maria Vidal has been gifted with an eye for historical detail, an energetic imagination, an elegant writing style, and a keen and informed faith, all of which blend attractively together in this her latest work." ~Christine Niles, radio host of Forward Boldly

"In the first chapter the setting, plot, and all the main characters are all well-established....The novel moves on, mixing history and drama, at a good pace. Raphaelle is caught up in several major dilemmas; we can truly sympathize with what she is going through." ~Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller, blogger


Image source
 Purchase The Night's Dark Shade HERE.

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy
 

Here is a quote from a letter I received from a reader in Belgium: "I immediately began to read, and I really love your style. I love the way you tell us stories about Marie Antoinette and how you put yourself in these stories. This way of writing deeply touch me because it is very personal and it's like...comfortably sitting by the fire and listening." Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars is available internationally from Amazon.com. Share

The Sexual Revolution Has Turned Ugly

Actually, the sexual revolution has always been ugly; it has just reached another phase. Now the Revolution is destroying its own children. From Crisis:
The Sexual Revolution is now out of control. Initially promising freedom, like all revolutions, it has entered something like its Reign of Terror phase and is devouring its own children. As with other revolutions, it is not because the revolutionaries enjoy broad popular support; it is because civic and religious leaders are confused, divided, and cowed into silence. Those whom one expects to impose some order on all this—conservative politicians, religious leaders, civil libertarians, journalists, scholars—are either hiding under the table or signaling their virtue by themselves fanning the flames of a hysteria that they show no interest in trying to understand.

Even as one hysteria—the campus “rape epidemic”—is finally exposed as a hoax by the common sense of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, another breaks out over Harvey Weinstein and others (and still others) emerge almost daily. The commentariat from the left to the right is either diffident or so intoxicated with sanctimony that they are unable to write about it critically. Yet once we strip away the obfuscating jargon and ideology, it becomes very clear what is going on. For there is nothing new about the sordid behavior. All that is new—and all that makes it newsworthy—is that it has been politicized.

To begin with, there is not, and never has been, any epidemic of “sexual harassment,” “sexual assault,” “domestic violence,” or the rest. It is not that deeds associated with these terms do not happen; the terms themselves are ideological constructions designed to create hysteria and mean nothing. There are, and always have been, criminal statutes in place to protect women (along with everyone else) from violent crime. There have also long been civil provisions to protect them from sexual pressure from superiors in the workplace. Anyone experiencing either of these offenses can readily file charges or complaints. And no, there is certainly no longer any “stigma” against doing so, if there ever was. (Read more.)
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Made-up Quotes

From the Brisbane Times:
France's Queen Mary-Antoinette is forever associated with the dismissive "let them eat cake". As the story goes, it was the queen's response upon being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread. Because cake is more expensive than bread, the anecdote has been cited as an example of Marie-Antoinette's obliviousness to the conditions and daily lives of ordinary people. It would in later histories be quoted to illustrate the callousness and indifference of the upper classes in pre-revolutionary France.But there is no record of her having uttered the words. While the first known attribution was in an 1843 book by Alphonse Kerr – that is, half a century after the French Revolution – a similar quotation appears in the works of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, written in about 1765, and attributed to "a great princess". It's unlikely it was Marie-Antoinette, who was just nine at the time.

 There is, however, evidence that such a quotation, expressing scorn as much as ignorance, has an even longer history, with seventh-century Chinese chronicle The Book of Jin attributing to Emperor Hui (259-307), when told his people were starving because there was no rice, the words: "Let them eat meat."French philosopher Voltaire, hailed as the great champion of free speech, continues to be quoted as saying: "I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." A great quote, to be sure, but Voltaire never said it. It comes from a 1906 biography by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in which it was intended to represent a summary of his thinking on free-speech issues. (Read more.)
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

The True Story of Thanksgiving

Squanto, the pilgrims and the pope. (Via Esther.) To quote:
The Puritan Pilgrims were not always considered the survivors of religious persecution American history made them out to be. Writer, H.L. Mencken described Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” And G.K. Chesterton once famously remarked:
“In America, they have a feast to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. Here in England, we should have a feast to celebrate their departure.”
(Read more.)
Capitalism made Thanksgiving possible. From Red State:
 Once Governor Bradford provided each family with a private portion of land, and allowed each family to keep the vast majority of the fruits of its own labor, prosperity came to the Colony. The starvation and stagnation of the first two years in the new world were reversed when freedom came flooding in. Gone were the days of the sluggards, who sought to survive off the sweat of their neighbors. In were the days of industrious self-reliance, which brought a rising tide to lift all boats. The real meaning of Thanksgiving is that the LORD of Providence provides for His people. The sub-theme, however, is that He used freedom to provide for those in need. The Apostle Paul had it right when he told the early church: “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” I, for one, believe that these words of Paul are just as inspired as the others that he preached. (Read more.)
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What Did 17th Century Food Taste Like?

From Res Obscura:
What can we learn about how people ate in the seventeenth century? And even if we can piece together historical recipes, can we ever really know what their food tasted like?

This might seem like a relatively unimportant question. For one thing, the senses of other people are always going to be, at some level, unknowable, because they are so deeply subjective. Not only can I not know what Velázquez's fried eggs tasted like three hundred years ago, I arguably can't know what my neighbor's taste like. And why does the question matter, anyway? A very clear case can be made for the importance of the history of medicine and disease, or the histories of slavery, global commerce, warfare, and social change.

By comparison, the taste of food doesn't seem to have the same stature. Fried eggs don't change the course of history.

But taste does change history. (Read more.)
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The Holy Week Breviary Used by Marie-Antoinette in Prison

Even as people continue to scrutinize old letters under a microscope, searching for the least word or phrase that would indicate a love affair between Marie-Antoinette and Count von Fersen, evidence of the Queen's fervent Catholic faith continues to surface. Soon to be auctioned in Paris is the Office de la Semaine Sainte en Latin & en François à l'usage de Rome et de Paris. Dédié à la Reine pour l'usage de sa Maison. Paris, Veuve Mazières & J. B. Garnier, 1728. In English, it is translated as follows: Office of Holy Week in Latin and French According to the Usage of Rome and Paris. Dedicated to the Queen for Use in Her Household. La Reine mentioned in the title was Marie Leszczynska, the grandmother of Louis XVI and Madame Elisabeth; the volume bears her coat-of-arms. The book was bequeathed to Madame Elisabeth, whose cause for beatification has been introduced, when the old Queen died. The princess brought it with her to the Tuileries when the Royal Family were taken to Paris by force in October of 1789. Madame Elisabeth left it behind when fleeing from the palace in August of 1792 but later sent a secret communication to her lady-in-waiting, Madame de Sérent, to smuggle books to her in the Temple prison, including the Holy Week Office. The Royal Family made use of the book not only during Holy Week but throughout the year, reading aloud the words of the Mass every day. According to Beauchesne's biography of Madame Elisabeth, the Queen and Madame Elisabeth were sewing and listening to the fifteen-year-old Madame Royale read to them from the Office of Holy Week, when the guards came to take away the eight year-old Louis XVII. Later, when the Queen was taken to the Conciergerie for her final ordeals, the prayer book went with her. To this day the book opens easily to certain pages, including p. 310, which has the passage:
Scarcely is he [Jesus] raised to the sight of all these people, that he is insulted, and charged on all sides with curses and reproaches. In the end, he makes one last effort to raise his eyes to Heaven: My Father, he exclaims, forgive them, I pray you, because they know not what they do.
A guard at the Temple gained possession of the book after the Queen's death, and it later came to the great nephew of Louis XVI, Henri d'Artois, the Comte de Chambord. Read more, HERE.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mesmerizing Translucent Waves

I love ocean paintings. From My Modern Met:
The late 19th century Armenian-Russian painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky created some truly spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the beautiful, shimmering essence of the tumultuous waters. The marine artist gained recognition for his impeccable ability to recreate the expressive quality of oceans with over half of his 6,000+ paintings from his lifetime being devoted to the subject.

What separates Aivazovsky's seascape paintings from others is his ability to replicate both the intensity and motion as well as the translucency and texture. His energetic waves and calm ripples are equally effective. Aivazovsky also plays with colors, simulating the effects of sunlight filtering through the waters to present an ethereal quality that imitates a sort of magical realism. There's something absolutely stunning about the painter's ability to skillfully emulate the emotional connection to the coastal scenes that translates centuries later. (Read more.)
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Syriac (Christian) Sutoro Fighters

Please read about the unsung heroes who risk everything to protect the weak and vulnerable. Chivalry is not dead. To quote:
Sutoro was formed in the Kurdish city of Qamishli in March 2013 to protect Christians and other religious minorities. They are a close Ally of the Kurdish YPG Forces and are Fighting side by Side against ISIS. Sutoro received the military training in the training camps of the YPG. The Christian religious symbols, various forms of the cross and Jesus’s name tattooed on the hands and arms of these young fighters signify their strong determination and willingness to fight for their ethnic and religious rights. “I have the name of Jesus tattooed on my arm so I can never lie about my faith if I’m captured alive by the enemy and fear may overcome my bravery.” (Read more.)
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The Deaths of Jean-Marie Roland and Madame Roland

How the Revolution devours its own children. From Geri Walton:
Jean-Marie Roland de la Platière and his wife, Madame Roland, were supporters of the French Revolution. In addition, Jean-Marie was also an influential member of a loose political faction called the Girondins. When the Girondins fell in 1793 during the Reign of Terror, Jean-Marie went into hiding in Rouen with two spinster sisters, the mademoiselles Malortie. The spinsters were sisters to his previous fiancée, who died unexpectedly.

While Jean-Marie was in hiding, Madame Roland was arrested, as were other Girondins and Girondin supporters. She was imprisoned at the Abbey of Saint Germain des Près that had inscribed over its door, “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!”[1] This was also the spot where a wave of killings, called the September Massacres, had taken place between the 2nd and 7th of September in 1792.

During her imprisonment, Madame Roland continued to insist that she had been wrongly imprisoned. It seemed as if her protestations worked because suddenly on the 24th of June she was released. She gathered her things, ordered a carriage, and went home. Unfortunately, she had not mounted more than few steps when she was rearrested by the Paris Commune.

This time Madame Roland was locked up at the prostitute’s gaol known as Sainte Pélagie. While there she learned that all the imprisoned Girondins were to be tried. Madame Roland realized the seriousness of her situation and came to the conclusion that the end of her life was fast approaching. She then wrote:
“If I must die … I know of life the best it contains, while its continuance would probably only exact fresh sacrifices. … The moment in which I gloried most in my existence, when I felt most vividly that exaltation of soul which dares all dangers and rejoices in facing them, was the one which I entered this Bastille to which the executioners have sent me. … It seemed to give me an occasion of serving Roland by the firmness with which I could bear witness; and it seemed sweet to be of some use to him … I should like to sacrifice my life to him.”[2]
 (Read more.)
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Julia's Gifts


World War One, or the "Great War" as it is called, was intended to be the War to End All Wars, as the major European powers fought to the death, dragging Canada and America into the fray. If the nations of Europe had intended to destroy themselves in a suicide pact, the ruin could hardly have been more disastrous. Fighting in old ways with increasingly newer weapons resulted in multiple bloodbaths that were reminiscent of scenes in the Apocalypse. Atheistic Communism gained control of the largest country in Europe (Russia), as three emperors lost their thrones, along with many lesser kings and princes. The precarious structures of Christendom which had managed to survive the great political, social and industrial revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came crashing down, or else hung on by a thread. Amid the upheavals, we have the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 which called for personal conversion to God, warning of greater cataclysms to come.

Against such a backdrop, award-winning and best-selling author Ellen Gable has set her most recent novel, Julia's Gifts, about an American Red Cross nurse serving in France towards the end of the war. The novel begins with Julia Murphy in the streets of Philadelphia, living a quiet life in a country untouched by war, with a happy, devout Catholic family. Julia dreams almost obsessively of the man she will some day marry but has not yet met, even buying gifts for her unknown "Beloved" at Christmas. The lighthearted innocence of the opening of the story, showing the heroine's girlish hopes and dreams, stands in stark contrast to the rest of the book. For Julia soon finds herself plunged into Armageddon as a volunteer with the Red Cross, having not the slightest concept of what she would be facing. As happens to most of us in the course of life, but to Julia in a short, intense period, the youthful dreams and misconceptions are stripped away by a brutal reality.

Julia, however, is young and resilient, and most of all, she has strong faith. As her romantic illusions are cast aside, her faith is purified in the crucible. Yet so strong is her fantasy about her "Beloved" that when he arrives in the shape of a young Canadian officer, she fails to recognize him. I think that it is a common experience for many Christians, that when God answers our prayers we do not always see His hand, because of our attachments to our own way of thinking, which is, of course, limited. The same global conflagration which is consuming lives all around her becomes an instrument of redemption and rebirth, bringing Julia to genuine love. Ellen Gable once again shows us the light that shines in the darkness.


Virtual Book Tour Stops/Links
November 1  (Open Book)   Plot Line and Sinker
November 2   Mary Lou Rosien, Dynamic Women of Faith
November 4  Karen Kelly Boyce
November 6 Carolyn Astfalk, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog
November 7  Jean Heimann, Catholic Fire
November 8  A.K. Frailey   Sarah Reinhard
November 9  Allison Gingras, Reconciled to You
November 10  Barb Szyszkiewicz, Franciscan Mom
November 11  Plot Line and Sinker  Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day post
November 12  Spiritual Woman   Patrice Fagnant MacArthur
November 13  Mike Seagriff, Harvesting the Fruits of Comtemplation                                                   RAnn This That and the Other Thing
November 14 Lisa Mladinich, Amazing Catechists
November 15 Theresa Linden
November 16  Barbara Hosbach   and Alexandrina Brant
November 17  Barb Szyszkiewicz    Catholic Mom
November 18 Cathy Gilmore, Virtue Works Media
November 19 Erin McCole Cupp
November 20 Virginia Lieto
November 21 Elena Maria Vidal  Tea at Trianon
November 22  Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold Miller, The Divine Gift of Motherhood
November 23  Leslie Lynch, author
Others:  Catholic Reads, Alyssa Watson
Prints of Grace, Trisha Niermeyer Potter

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