Therese, Faustina, and Mary: Ladies of Radiance

ladies of radiance

Photo courtesy of Melissa Clayton

From Radiance and Grace Magazine:

I’ll be honest. When I think of the word “Radiance,” I usually think of a pregnant lady first. But a few other things come to mind like the word “effulgent,” a synonym of “radiant,” the imagery of fireworks, and a bright, shining light. The beautiful thing about being a Catholic is that there are so many beautiful, wonderful ways to be a woman, to be a Catholic woman, and there are many unique ways to have radiance. Like light shining through a stained glass window, God shines through our lives in a multifaceted way, giving us His radiance. You can have radiance just by doing little things every day, as St. Therese did. You can have radiance by trusting completely in God like Saint Faustina did. Most of all, you can have radiance by being active, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Read the rest here!

Headcanons of Joseph and Mary: OTP of the New Testament

In the world of fandoms, there is something called OTP also known as One True Pairing. It basically means “the relationship that fans of a show love the most.” In the Bible, there are many beautiful relationships. My OTP is Joseph and Mary

I only gained a devotion to the Holy Family recently, but I would sometimes talk on Tumblr with other Catholics about what Joseph and Mary’s life could’ve been like. These speculations are called “headcanon.”

An example from a past Tumblr post:

  • Who decorates the house: Even though Joseph made all the furniture in their house, Mary is the one who always makes sure that the house is filled with flowers and little things she gathers from walking around town.
  • Who does the cooking: Mary does the cooking as per tradition. She taught Jesus how to cook, too.
  • Who kills the spiders: Neither of them kill spiders, but instead release the spiders to a safe outdoor area as far away from their house as possible.
  • Who is more organized: Mary. I’m very certain that she came up with the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
  • Who wakes up first: Joseph. He always smiles at his wife and child before getting up.
  • Who has the weird taste in music: Given that they had limited means of listening to music at the time, they both take what they get.
  • Who spends the most while out shopping: Joseph. He wants to make sure that what he gets is perfect.
  • Who sings in the shower: Mary. Joseph does hum, though.
  • Who cries during movies: Given that the closest thing they had to movies was folk tales and stories from Scripture, neither of them.
  • What’s their favorite non-sexual activity: Since neither of them have sex, Mary and Joseph pray. A lot.
  • Who is more protective: Joseph.
  • Who’s the cuddler: Also Joseph. He’s not much for words, after all.
  • Who’s the big spoon/little spoon: Joseph always spoons behind Mary. And it’s always my headcanon that they share a bed even though they don’t have sex because they love each other romantically.
  • Who kisses more roughly: Neither of them.
  • My rating of the ship from 1-10: 10! They’re 2/3 of the Holy Family!

I’ve written about my personal Joseph/Mary headcanon before. But my friends on Tumblr and I  are not the only ones who love speculating on

My dad, who has an amazing devotion to St. Joseph, has a book called Joseph the Silent by Michael Gasnier, O.P., which goes into detail about the kind of man St. Joseph was. There’s also a famous story of how Joseph became betrothed to Mary as described in the Protoevangelium of James: when it came time for Mary to find a husband, the priests of the temple called on all the eligible men to place their rods in the temple and the owner of the rod that would flower would become Mary’s husband. Joseph’s was the one that bloomed. However, the Protoevangelium of James speculated that Joseph was an old widower.

Rachel and Kateri made this video about what Fulton Sheen said about St. Joseph, who thought that St. Joseph was probably a young man, closer to Mary’s age (14):

Even fellow Patheos blogger Rebecca Frech goes into her headcanon on what Mary was like (or at least her kids do). Hopefully, we’ll see what her kids have to say about St. Joseph soon.

Which brings me to the question everyone’s asking: Why speculate about Joseph and Mary if it’s not in the Bible?

Headcanons are a very weird and funny thing. I think the reason we love speculating about Joseph and Mary is because headcanons make the characters (or in this case Biblical figures) feel more human. We can imagine Mary and Joseph as people and not just as images depicted on stained glass windows or statues that are part of a Nativity set.

We can imagine 14 year-old Mary turning to the handsome, young possibly 17-year-old Joseph for comfort and strength when she couldn’t deal with everything on her own. We can imagine the two of them trying to raise Jesus even as they deal with the constant mood changes that come with adolescence and young adulthood. We can imagine Joseph dying at a young age, in the arms of Jesus and Mary, and realize how short life can be.

St. Joseph, bring us closer to Jesus and Mary and grant us the grace of a happy death.



What the Holy Family Taught Me During My Retreat Weekend


Serving a retreat can be just as much an emotional rollercoaster as being on a retreat. You’re being asked to serve on a really big level. And it takes a lot out of you, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I brought two sets of prayers with me to the retreat: one was the series of meditations for the renewal of my Marian Consecration and the other was a small book of prayers dedicated to St. Joseph, since I was in the middle of a St. Joseph Novena and wouldn’t have access to internet. Throughout this weekend, Mary and Joseph were with me, leading me to Jesus.

I prayed 2 prayers a lot during the weekend: The Memorare and this simple petition “Mary, Mother of Jesus, give me your heart that I may receive Jesus.” I was currently nursing a broken heart and couldn’t really talk about it because I didn’t want to ruin the retreat by whining. If anyone could understand a broken heart, it was Mary. In spite of the pain I had, my prayers to Mary gave me the strength to carry on in spite of it.

There were times during the retreat that I felt left out. I have MAJOR problems making small talk with people. Oftentimes, there would be conversations about stuff I was never a part of and I felt awkward because I had nothing to contribute. There were other times that I felt outright invisible, when I felt as if people only saw through me.  I also made some mistakes during the retreat, like forgetting things. And I wanted to cry or get angry or just leave and go home.

But I didn’t. I thought about times that Mary and Joseph probably felt invisible or inadequate. After all, people overlooked Mary’s importance in The Wedding at Cana. Yes, Jesus was the one who changed the water into wine, but it took Mary to ask him first. I also remembered that Joseph and Mary both forgot Jesus at the Temple. My time at the retreat was similar to their exile into Egypt, a time of growth away from the dangers of the world.

Whenever I asked for the intercession of Joseph, that prayer was quickly answered with an action or a sense of consolation. Prayers to Mary helped when I woke up restless in the mornings (lack of sleep is something retreat staffers know all too well) and needed some peace. (Now I’m wondering how many nights Baby Jesus woke Mary and Joseph up with his crying.)

I had small periods of consolation throughout the weekend in between the heartbreak and the interior struggles. I cherished my time in Adoration and found great joy in celebrating Mass. But the best consolation came from making new friends and rekindling some old friendships. I was reminded why I love serving retreats: I help people in the process of growing, giving them the same experience I received as a retreater. One friend I made from a previous retreat told me that she was entering the convent. I felt so proud of her for finding her vocation.

There were two other things that I learned during the retreat, aside from how amazing the intercessions from Mary and Joseph can be. I learned that when you grow up, you are responsible for yourself for better and for worse. Nobody’s gonna be there to remind you about something. You have to hold yourself accountable, ask for help when necessary, and make the best out of a bad situation. I also learned that a vocation isn’t something that you aspire to be. It’s something you live everyday. I know that someday, I could be married to a man (preferably one who’s gone through the Marian Consecration; liking Taylor Swift is optional, but highly recommended) or I could live in a cloister or I could be a consecrated virgin/teacher/novelist/blogger. But right now my vocation is what I’m doing now: writing about what I love and using my gifts of writing, teaching, and intercessory prayer to serve God and serve others every day.

From my Instagram

From my Instagram