7QT: Encounters, Books and Prayer

encounters books and prayer
1. A blessed meeting
– Have you heard of the Blessed is She community? It’s a community of women online, who connect via blog and Instagram. Every day the Mass readings for the day and a short reflection by a member of the community arrive in my inbox. It sets me up for the day. Through this online community, I connected with a Blessed is She sister who also lives in Ireland, and we met for the first time at the weekend! A happy encounter and the first of many, I hope!

2. Park life– the sun has been shining this week so we have replaced indoor play with outdoor play and trips to the park. Sometimes twice a day! Little T loves the swings and the toddler slide. And watching the other kids, the dogs, and the man cutting the grass… happy days!

3. Longer runs– I’ve mentioned before I recently completed a couch to 5k programme, and I am hoping to run a 10k at the end of the month. Well, I have no official training plan, other than do a couple of 5k runs and one long run per week. The few weeks, I have started doing those longer runs (6k, 7.5k and 8k) and I love them! Changing my route really distracts me from the fact that the run is longer and running up hills I thought I could only roll down has made me appreciate how much my fitness has improved.

4. #UNIRL– #UNIRL, UN Ireland, was trending on Twitter this week. Why? Because a UN committee have said that Ireland must have a referendum on abortion to ensure women and girls in Ireland can fully realise their economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee said that the Irish Constitution appeared to “elevate the unborn to the status of a citizen” and said there was a “contradiction between” the Irish Constitutional right afforded to the unborn and the rights guaranteed by the Covenant “to a woman’s right to life and to health”.

This is being pushed further by so-called human rights organisation, Amnesty International, who fight for human rights while simultaneously denying a person’s first right- the right to life. It’s sad and disheartening to see UN agenda being played out in our small country.

walk softly5. Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag– Teresa Tomeo, host of EWTN’s Catholic Connection, published this devotional book at the end of last year. I have been dying to get it and it finally arrived through my letterbox this week! Yey! I have only read a few of the reflections, but lets just say, I won’t be putting this book on the bookshelf, I will be carrying it round with me in my bag so I have it to hand when I have a few free minutes for some reading

6. Dawn Eden– speaker and author came to Ireland this week and I managed to catch her on her tour. She is a faith-filled, inspirational woman who has overcome a difficult start in life and is now a convert to the Catholic Church, and writes and speaks about chastity and healing wounds. She shared her testimony on EWTN’s The Journey Home. I’m looking forward to reading her new book- the Thrill of the Chaste- Catholic Edition!

7. The Sacred Heart Novena- The novena for this great feast began last Thursday, so I should have been praying the novena all week. Well, I thought about praying it every day, and desperately wanted to do it, but it didn’t quite work out… until Thursday, one week later. I did all the readings, prayers and reflections for every day in one go. I know, its not an ideal way to pray a novena, but I am learning that, as a mum, prayer time and Mass time are different!

How was your week? Post me a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you 🙂

Head over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes!


A Snapshot of Ireland’s Changing Culture

A snapshot of Ireland's changing culture: same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion, gender Talking About FamilyWhat does the future hold for the island formerly known as the Isle of Saints and Scholars?

Last month saw Ireland become the first country in the world to vote in favour of same-sex marriage. 62% of voters supported a constitutional amendment  to introduce same-sex marriage. This was a wake-up call to many people, home and abroad, who still viewed Ireland as a Catholic country. There have been many factors that have contributed to this change in identity and culture in Ireland. The aim of this post, however, is not to examine why a supposedly Catholic country voted definitively in favour of same-sex marriage.

This post is a snapshot of Ireland’s changing culture. It outlines six other items in the news in the last month which didn’t gain as much attention as the marriage referendum, and may have even passed some people by. Yet, they point to a radical cultural shift which is transforming the island and impact the family.

FacebookCustomGenderSelector1 May: Irish Facebook users can choose from 71 gender identities on Facebook (The Irish Times)

Users can now choose up to 10 of the 71 terms to accurately describe their gender identity. Gender theory is the denial of biology and promotes the idea that gender that this is infinitely fluid and malleable.

21 May: The Ashers Bakery Ruling (The Belfast Telegraph)

In Northern Ireland, Ashers Bakery, owned by Christian couple Daniel and Amy McArthur, were asked to make a cake for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The customer (a volunteer member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space) wanted the cake have a picture of Bert and Ernie (the Sesame Street friends who have been hijacked by the gay community who portray them as a homosexual couple) and the words “Support Gay Marriage”. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Northern Ireland. As same-sex marriage is against their beliefs, the owners declined the order. On 21st May, a judge ruled that “this is direct discrimination for which there can be no justification”. This is not direct discrimination, but now raises major concerns about religious freedom in Ireland.

marref results22 May: Marriage Referendum

Ireland voted in favour of amending the constitution to include “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.

24 May: “Dr Death” holds a euthanasia workshop in Dublin (The Independent and Newstalk)

Dr Philip Nitschke held a workshop in Dublin on “end of life options”. He is famously known in his native Australia as Dr Death, and claims to be the first doctor in the world to administer a legal, voluntary, lethal injection. He successfully campaigned to legalise euthanasia in Australia and helped four people die, before the ruling was overturned.

The following day, Dr Philip Nitschke was on national radio station, Newstalk, sharing his chilling ideas with Pat Kenny. The podcast of the interview is available online.

25 May: Labour party promise abortion referendum (Newstalk)

The Monday morning after Friday’s marriage referendum, Minister for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin appeared on Newstalk and promised a referendum on the 8th amendment if Labour are elected in the next general election.

caitlyn2 June: Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlyn Jenner (The Irish Times)

The unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner to the world brought the issues affecting Irish transgender individuals to the news headlines

3 June: Gender recognition bill (The Irish Times)

The Gender Recognition Bill was first published in 2014. It came to my attention this week when the Bill was changed. Under the 2014 Bill, a person who changed gender would have to divorce their spouse, if married. The 2015 Bill has dropped the “forced divorce” clause. Furthermore, the Bill adopts a “self-declaration” approach to affirming gender identity, as individuals will no longer have to have a supporting statement from a psychiatrist or endocrinologist.

This short video paints a bigger picture of the question of gender identity and the issues surrounding it in Ireland.