East February Liturgical Living Ideas!
Hello! I hope that you are enjoying February so far! It’s been cold and snowy-ish here in Northern KY and while my girls have been LOVING it, I just want to snuggle on the couch with a blanket, a book, and some hot chocolate and read. All. Day Long. But with a house full of toddlers things are never that peaceful until after bedtime and the hot chocolate would definitely keep me up all night :)
But on to our task at hand! What are we looking at this month as far as feast days? So many great ones that I hope will make what is typically a dreary month (at least for me!) sail on by!
Feb 1. St. Brigid of Ireland
Patron of: Ireland, dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, and newborn babies
A little about St. Brigid: Brigid was a contemporary of St. Patrick and it is believed that her mother, Brocca, was actually baptized by him before Brigid was born.
Her father, Dubthach, was a chieftain and her mother was a slave, when it was discovered by Dubthach’s wife that, Brocca was pregnant she was sold to a new owner. Legend says that their new owner tried to provide food for baby Brigid, but she would vomit up everything he gave her, instead she was sustained by the milk from a white cow with red ears.
As a child Brigid was very pious not only continuously giving food to the poor, but she was also known to them as well.
At 10 years-old she returned to her father’s home and continued her charitable ways much to his annoyance. Eventually her father became so fed up that he took Brigid to the king of the area, where Brigid proceeded to take his jeweled sword and give it to some beggars so that they could buy food. The king who was a Christian saw her charity and instead of reprimanding her convinced her father to set Brigid free (she was still a slave...to her father...)!
But her father had a new plan for Brigid’s life - marriage - however Brigid had already vowed to remain a virgin. So legend has it that she prayed for her beauty to be taken away until she became a nun so that no one would want to marry her. Her prayer was granted and she received her beauty back once she had taken her final vows.
Brigid went on to spend the rest of her life founding monasteries, building churches and starting a religious order for women in Ireland with seven of her friends.
Ways to Celebrate St. Brigid:
- St. Brigid wasn’t attached to her appearance especially when she felt that her beauty was keeping her from God. Offering up a no makeup day would be an awesome way to celebrate her.
- Since she is the patron of dairymaids, I think that ice cream is definitely in order for dessert!
- And then of course gathering food for the poor, particularly shelf stable dairy items like dried milk.
Source: Catholic Online
Feb 3. St. Blaise
Patron of: throat illnesses, animals, wool combers, and wool trading
A little about St. Blaise: St. Blaise was both a bishop as well as a doctor. He is recorded to have particularly helped patients when they were choking.
It is believed that once he became a priest he went to live in a cave where people came to him often in search of prayers and miraculous healings.
Blaise was eventually arrested for being a Christian and as he was being led to jail was stopped by a woman whose son was dying with a fishbone in his throat. He healed the child which amazed the governor, who had had him arrested, but Blaise was still beaten and eventually beheaded because he refused to renounce his faith.
Ways to Celebrate St. Blaise:
- Receive the blessing of the throats after mass today!
- Pray for those who suffer from diseases of the throat and the doctors that care for them.
- Maybe serve fish for dinner? Just check for any bones first :)
Source: Catholic Online
Feb 6. St. Paul Miki and Companions
A little about St. Paul and his companions: On this day we celebrate a group of 26 native Japanese Christians and foreign missionaries who were martyred for their faith in 1597.
The Christian faith was first brought to Japan by St. Francis Xavier in the 16th century and was continued by the Jesuits after his death. An amazing 200,000 Japanese had entered the church by 1587. But as often happens tensions between the christians and the local government and religion rose and the Christians were forced to practice in secret.
Soon a new group of missionaries arrived to Japan causing tensions to rise even more. The last straw was when the Japanese government confiscated a ship off the coast of the island which was filled with military weapons. Their response was to sentence 26 Christians to death including priests, missionaries, and lay people including children.
The prisoners were forced to march around Nagasaki before their execution during which time Paul Miki (who was training to be a priest at the time) joined with another priest in preaching to those who came to mock the prisoners.
Ways to celebrate St. Paul Miki and Companions:
- Pray for our fellow Catholics in Japan. While no longer under persecution like they were during the 16th century.
- Support a local Japanese restaurant for dinner.
- Pray for those who are still being persecuted for their faith!
Source: Catholic News Agency
Feb 8. St. Josephine Bakhita
Patron of: victims of modern slavery and human trafficking and Sudan
A little about St. Josephine Bakhita: Josephine was born in the village of Ologossa in the Darfur area of Sudan. Her uncle was a tribal chief and because of this she grew up with a relatively carefree childhood.
All of that changed when she was abducted by Arab slave traders. Over the next twelve years she was bought and sold many times and she eventually forgot her given name because of the time she spent as a captive.
She was subjected to horrible treatment by her owners, receiving countless beatings, scars purposely inflicted in a specific design by one of her masters and many other abuses. Eventually she was bought by the Italian Vice Consul, Callisto Legani whom she left Africa with. When they arrived back in Italy she was given as a gift to a local family to serve as their nanny.
When her new masters left to travel back to Africa without Bakhita they left her with a group of Canossian Sisters in Venice. This is where she learned about God. When her owners came back to get her she refused to leave with them and eventually the Italian court granted her her freedom.
She went on to enter the Catholic Church and later became a Canossian Sister and spent the rest of her life serving the Lord with this community.
Ways to celebrate St. Josephine Bakhita’s life:
- Pray for all of those who are victims of human trafficking and prayerfully consider donating to an organization that is working to put a stop to this atrocity. I love the work that Children of the Immaculate Heart does for victims and their children!
- This would be a really great day to read the story of St. Josephine Bakhita and talk to our children about slavery (in particular) and why it’s wrong.
- Find Sudan and Italy on a map to see just how far St. Josephine Bakhita had to travel to when she left her home country. Take some time to learn more about Sudan and maybe make a Sudanese dish for dinner. I found this website which has several really yummy looking recipes!
Source: Catholic Online
Feb 11. Our Lady Of Lourdes
Patron of: Lourdes, France, bodily ills, sick people, protection from diseases
A little bit about Our Lady of Lourdes: The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes celebrates the series of apparitions that Mary made to a young french girl, St. Bernadette, in 1858 in Lourdes, France.
Mary appeared first on February 11th and prayed the rosary with Bernadette. She continued to appear weekly after that praying the rosary and then eventually speaking to Bernadette. Her message was to “repent and pray to God for sinners.”
The local people while at first captivated by the visions that Bernadette was receiving eventually began to ridicule her when they found her digging in the ground (creating the miraculous spring of healing water that still flows at Lourdes today!) and eating weeds.
Our Lady also asked that a chapel be built at that location, but the local priest refused because while it was widely believed that it was Mary appearing to St. Bernadette the apparitions hadn’t been confirmed. (Also maybe he was a little bit crabby, in the words of my toddler.) He charged Bernadette with asking the Lady her name and after a few more apparitions she came back with a response “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Since this dogma had only been defined by the church four years prior and Bernadette was uneducated the priest was shocked by this revelation. He went to the local bishop who a few years later in 1862 declared the visions worthy of belief and a chapel was built there as Our Lady had asked.
Ways to Celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes:
- Y’all know I’m a huge fan of Marian processions and crowning Mary for any of her feast days :)
- Make a pilgrimage to your local church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes (or to Mary) and go to mass and confession.
- Read the story of Our Lady of Lourdes to your little ones and color an Our Lady of Lourdes coloring sheet! Our girls love hearing stories about Mary.
- We love to make crepes or something a little fancier to celebrate Mary. Here are a bunch of awesome simple French recipes that look absolutely delicious.
Feb 14. St. Valentine’s Day
Patron of: Love, Young People, Happy Marriages
A little bit about St. Valentine: While little is known of St. Valentine’s life, and some even question if he was actually anything more than a legend I wanted to include him on here anyways.
One legend about him says that he was the bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, and at one point was under house arrest under the guard of the judge Asterius. The judge asked Valentine to restore his daughter’s sight and in exchange he would do anything for Valentine. Valentine put his hands over the girls eyes and she was miraculously healed!
Valentine asked that the judge destroy all of the idols in his home, fast for three days and then join the church. The judge entered the church with his whole household and released all of his Christian prisoners.
The accounts of his death are largely debated, but it is agreed that he was martyred for refusing to renounce his Christian faith sometime in the late 200’s.
Ways to celebrate St. Valentine:
- When I was growing up we always made a special dinner and dessert for my dad on Valentines Day.
- Make Valentine’s cards for the residents of a local nursing home.
Feb 17. Ash Wednesday
Can you believe that lent is already upon us?! I’m always shocked every year by how quickly it comes around.
I just wanted to take a second to share a few resources that I’m LOVING as we prep for lent and wish you a most prayerful and growth filled lent yet!
I am so excited about this Lenten Devotional from Brick House in the City!
And lastly I have my own resource I created to help you have a meaningful lent even with young children with a bunch more resources and ideas for how to celebrate the season with kiddos. You can find that blog post HERE!