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I am looking forward to a visit to St. Louis in June.  It looks like the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France is near my hotel.  Looks beautiful.

This will be my first visit to St. Louis, so… any recommendations for things to see/do?

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I just feel like I’m running and running, on empty… getting tangled up and bogged down… crashing into walls, usually of my own construction… So much noise and murkiness…

In short, my spiritual life seems to be at a chaotic dead end.

I need a break.  I need some quiet and some stillness.  I need to rid myself of all the junk and get reconnected with God and with the most essential, truly necessary things.  I need to blot out all the glare and focus on the eternal light, my guiding light.  I need to tune out all the noise, so much of it within my own head, and listen to and learn what God wills for me.  I need to break down the barriers and lay myself open to Him, both to receive from Him and give to Him, without any of my silly and finite expectations or opinions of what is best for me.  I need to know, or recall, who it is He means me to be and what it is He means me to do.

A private, silent retreat of some sort sounds incredible to me.

Can anybody recommend something that might help me?  I’m really not sure what all is available.  Or where to start looking.

I just want a beautiful, peaceful, spiritually nourishing environment.  One that is absolutely faithful to and supportive of the Catholic faith (none of those retreat houses that offer reiki, tai chi, Zen meditation, etc.!).  The Mass and Eucharistic Adoration are a must.

Meanwhile, I do have my Lay Dominican retreat coming up on 8 August (St. Dominic’s feast day!), and that’s nothing to sniff at.  I always look forward to our retreats, and they are always excellent.  The wonderful Father Philip Neri Powell, OP, of Hanc Aquam fame, gives our talks, and this time he will speak on “Faith, Science, and the Contemporary Catholic.”  It’s sure to be fascinating!

[UPDATE] Thanks for the suggestions – they all sound like good places for retreat!  I’m nowhere near deciding yet, although, at the moment, I’m feeling sort of attracted to this Dominican monastery. [/UPDATE]

I’m going to Sarasota, Florida at the end of August.  As always, when visiting a different city, I like to plan ahead of time where I will attend Mass.

So, does anybody know of any good churches or chapels in Sarasota?  Is there anything I need to know about the local Church there?

I thought I’d ask for personal feedback before investigating on my own.

Thanks!

I just love waking up each day and saying, “Ah… it’s still Easter!” And there’s still about 6 weeks to go!

The secular world and its festive trappings are already gone, of course.  They’re always gone by the time we get through our penitential seasons and into the celebratory seasons.  Not that they really matter, but it can be a little distracting.  It can be all too easy to follow secular ways.  To regard these holy weeks as just ordinary weeks, and Easter as just one Sunday.

Do you have special ways of extending the celebration of Easter through the entire season?  Christmas is pretty easy… I keep my tree and creche out for the entire season.  But Easter doesn’t have the same material reminders that Christmas does.  Or does it?

I think that Catholics should make a point to celebrate all season long, even if it’s just in the privacy of our own homes.  It’s a way we can assert our identity and live our faith.

I’m just not sure how to go about it.  Are there any venerable traditions I can pick up?  If not, I guess I shall have to make my own.

Remember how I said I probably wouldn’t go with a lacy veil?  I may have spoken too soon.

A couple of friends directed me to the Halo Works veil/mantilla page.  And I’ve pretty much fallen in love with some of their creations.  I especially like the sciarpa piccolo and small Spanish rectangle styles.  I like how the former can be worn so that it’s short in front and long in back; I like how the latter can be nicely draped around the neck and shoulders.  All of them are far prettier than anything I ever wore as a goth girl.  You can tell they were made with love.

So… maybe I will get a lace veil after all.

But I still want to consider all my options and make sure I choose exactly the right one for me.  I’m not just doing this for myself, I’m doing it in honor of God.  I want something that expresses the person He created me to be.

Does anybody know of any other good places to look at veils and other appropriate head-coverings?  Please let me know!

…for me to attend my first Tridentine Mass.  I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.  But now I just feel the time is right.  Just as I felt on 12 May 2007 that the time was right to join the Lay Dominicans.

I like it when things happen this way, nicely, without any trauma or drama.  The phrase I’ve always used for it is “a gravity on my soul.”  A gentle yet irresistible drawing toward something.  Just when the time is right.  And all I have to do is allow it; I learned long ago that fighting it is futile and usually painful.  The trauma and drama start up when you fight the gentle gravity on your soul.

Of course, if you’re being gently pulled toward something evil, then you fight!  The devil is smart and capable of great subtlety.   He tries to imitate the gentle, holy gravity God exerts on us.  He tries to imitate the still small voice, the little whispering sound.  And we are all too willing to accept it.  This is why it is so important to stand by the Church’s teachings and form your conscience in her light.  Otherwise, you’ll be all out to sea.  You might end up fighting God instead of fighting the devil as you should–that is not a good situation to be in, and believe me, you can’t win in it.

But I digress.

I’ve also been thinking about getting myself a head-covering of some kind.  I don’t think the lacy veils are my style.  They were my style back in my goth days.  But then, I wore them out on the town, not to church.  I wore them to be eye-catching, not humble.  I don’t have anything against other ladies wearing lacy veils.  They just have a different “meaning” in my life, and one that doesn’t really belong at Mass.

So, I’m thinking that either a simple hat or maybe a plain, solid scarf will work better for me.

Does anybody have any words of advice–either about the Tridentine Mass or about the head-covering?  Words of encouragement will be appreciated also.  :)

I think I’m going to try to go this weekend, with or without a head-covering.  Unless somebody tells me that it would be incredibly gauche or inappropriate to go without a head-covering.

I’m looking for modern classical and/or sacred music. By modern, I roughly mean late-19th-century through today.  Fresh and unique, but not unnecessarily broken from the classical tradition… music that takes the classical tradition to new places.  Sophisticated, elegant, well-crafted by master musicians, using classical instruments and/or choirs.

To give you an idea of what I already love, think French composers like Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Duruflé, Poulenc.  I fell in love with these as a piano student and choir singer, and have never tired of their music.  But I think my horizons could use some broadening!

I’d also love to know about any good Catholic sacred/liturgical/hymn composers.  I’m convinced that they are out there… even though we don’t seem to hear very much of them…  I am not interested in anything that even vaguely resembles folk music, pop, rock, or any such thing.  I’m looking for solid classical underpinnings.

Note, however, that I do not dislike folk, pop, rock, etc.  Far from it.  But that type of music is everywhere, including, sadly in our churches.  I’m looking for something more rare and elusive.

Please, suggest away!

Does anybody have any advice or resources for locating Catholic physicians? 

Thanks!

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