I’ve decided to simplify my monthly feast day posts this year, mainly to make sure I can get them done and posted in time :) Rather than sharing a broad overview of ways to celebrate lots of major feast days, I’m taking it home a little by sharing just the few we’ve chosen to focus on for the month ahead, and what we plan to do to celebrate. By sharing in this way, I hope to open up the conversation about why we choose the specific celebrations we do and how they’re significant to our family–I’d LOVE to hear the same from any readers who are also striving to live the liturgical year intentionally. I’ve already learned a ton from the comments people have shared over the last year about what liturgical living looks like in their own families. After a little bit of a post-Advent and Christmas breather during January, I’m so excited about the days and saints we’re celebrating in February!
Two of these feast days–the Presentation of the Lord and Our Lady of Lourdes–are pretty significant ones in the Church as a whole, so those were immediate “yeses” for us. As for the other two I picked, St. Paul Miki and Companions and St. Josephine Bakhita, their place on our calendar was inspired by something Shannon Evans shared in an Instagram caption once last year. She posted a photo of St. Charles Lwanga and said in her caption “He is a Ugandan martyr, but you may not have heard of him because our airtime tends to be reserved for European saints. (If you feel defensive about that statement, it’s okay. Take a moment to respond with honesty and curiosity about whether it could be true…).” That struck a chord with me because, well, it was sadly true. One of the BEST things about Catholicism is its universality, across history and across the world, and I want to make a conscious effort to look beyond America and Europe for examples of holiness and great faith. Have anyone in mind I should know about? Please let me know below!
February 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
This was one of the first feast days we celebrated last year, so it will now forever have a special place in my heart! The traditional food associated with it is crêpes (since they look like the swaddle that baby Jesus would have been wrapped in), so we’re going to give this dairy-free version a whirl for breakfast before Mass.
February 6: St. Paul Miki and Companions
This feast honors the 26 Japanese martyrs, including St. Paul Miki, who were crucified and stabbed with lances on this day in 1597 because of their Catholic faith. Along with reading their story to learn more about them, we’re going to pray a rosary specifically for persecuted Christians around the world. More Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined (source), and while it’s easy to forget that in the relative safety and freedom of religion in America, it’s something I need to commit to praying about more fervently.
February 8: St. Josephine Bakhita
I first heard about St. Josephine Bakhita in one of Charlie’s books, of all places (this one, and it’s phenomenal)! All I really want to do on her feast day this year is to take the time to learn more about her, so I’m carving out some time to read and research whatever I can find online.
February 11: Our Lady of Lourdes
St. Bernadette is the unofficial patron saint of those suffering from allergies, so we bless Charlie with holy water from Lourdes every night and pray for Our Lady of Lourdes’ intercession for his healing. We are starting the Our Lady of Lourdes novena on Saturday (let me know if we can add any prayers for healing for you or a loved one to our intentions!) and will go to the Marian grotto of Sacred Heart Church (which depicts Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette–throwback photo of Charlie at the grotto last year above!) for the final prayer and to bring flowers to Mary. We’ll also let Charlie watch the St. Bernadette video on Formed (also available on DVD here), which he is a big fan of :)
I love these ideas! Especially the rosary to pray for persecuted Christians. It is all too easy to take for granted our ability to practice our faith openly. Are you doing anything for Valentine’s Day? Thanks for sharing, I look forward to these posts every month!
We don’t have any big plans for Valentine’s Day this year! I wish we knew more about St. Valentine but it seems like most of what we “know” about him may just be legend. Alas, we’ll just do a date night in with fancy takeout, and I’ll cross my fingers for some flowers from Dave, haha! :)
I love St. Josephine Bakhita! St Moses the Black, St Kateri Tekakwitha, Blessed Miguel Pro, and St Juan Diego are some other saints from around the world I’ve enjoyed learning about. There’s also some Saints that are more well known that we default to thinking of as white, but likely weren’t, like St. Augustine (he was from north africa!). And I recently saw this article, which has some lesser known Blesseds and Servants of God from the African American church – http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/african-american-sainthood-causes-illustrate-the-beauty-of-everyday-holines
St. Juan Diego also ties in to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a beautiful reminder that Mary loves to come to her children looking like them. The Shrine of the Immaculate conception in DC has so many images of he around the world. There’s a statue of Mary, Mother of Africa there that makes me weepy to look at. My husband and I want to make sure the religious art in our home reflects worldwide Catholicism – especially avoiding anglicized versions of the holy family. Because Mary was most likely not blonde ;)
So many great recommendations–thank you! Blessed Miguel Pro is in Charlie’s book as well, so I’ve been learning more about him…what an incredible man. I had totally forgotten about all of the beautiful images of Mary at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It’s been years since I was there, but I think I need to plan a return trip :)
Related to your comment about looking towards a more diverse vision of the Church (and you likely already know but in case not!) – the Spiritual Choir at Holy Name does all the music for the 12pm Sunday masses and is wonderful! They incorporate traditionally African-American music into the liturgy. When I was a parishioner at Sacred Heart that was my favorite mass to go to because of the music!
Yes!! We used to be regulars at the noon mass before Charlie was born (it’s too close to his naptime now, unfortunately) and LOVE the Spiritual Choir!
Dad and I will be praying the Novena for Charlie as well! ????
I will need to do something special for my confirmation saint’s feast day!
Hi first college roommie! I’ve been reading your blog since the beginning, but usually on my phone, so I get lazy and don’t comment.
For St. Josephine’s feast day, I think you and Dave would love Spe Salvi by Benedict XVI. His telling of her story is incredibly beautiful, and it is thanks to him that Josephine has become one of my favorite saints. The section about her isn’t terribly long, but I highly recommend the whole encyclical…it’s an easier read than some and all about how to live out of hope like she did. Bonus, it’s free online!
Keep up your lovely work! I’ve always enjoyed your home, lifestyle, and fashion posts, but I’ve been reminded through a recent job change that your faith content is very relevant. I work with young families, and their #1 request is always for more ways they can live their faith at home!
[…] daily (it’s so amazing!) and go to two holy hours without anything to read. 2. Celebrate four February feast days. 3. Read one fiction book and one nonfiction book. 4. Choose and buy a rug for our master bathroom. […]