Annual St. Anne pilgrimage!

Every year since my first blogiversary, I’ve gone on a pilgrimage to a St. Anne Shrine as a way of thanking her for her patronage of my blog and her intercession in the many many prayers I’ve prayed for all of you and my own special intentions. It’s been fun to find St. Anne shrines that are close enough to me to either do a day trip or an overnight at most — there are more than I ever realized! The first year my husband and kids and I went to the shrine in Isle la Motte, VT; the second year was Sturbridge, MA; the third year was Scranton, PA; and this year we went to Waterbury, CT.

Look at the name of this beautiful shrine:

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Shrine of St. Anne for Mothers. So so perfect for this enormously pregnant woman praying for so many of you who are mothers, or who want to be and are struggling with infertility.

It was a huge, gorgeous church:

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(I know you all know my photog skills are lacking … I tried to capture how beautiful it was and failed, as always!)

I was determined that we would attend the 9:00 Mass, and the whole morning of trying to do something good was like a comedy routine, Catholic-style. First, I made sure we were all up and downstairs for the hotel’s complimentary breakfast by 7:30, so we’d have plenty of time to eat before needing to begin our pre-Communion fast as well as get to the church in plenty of time.

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They had several kinds of coffee; both Hubs and I went for Robust.

Apparently we were being way too leisurely, because I glanced at the time whilst finishing my coffee and it said 8:29. I almost had a heart attack! My hubs was still drinking his coffee and a couple of the boys were still picking at their breakfast! And Mass — a daily Mass, likely only a half hour — was at 9! So surely Communion would be before 9:29! “We need to stop eating!” I yelled, and said a quick prayer that something would happen that would delay Communion just enough. I was trying not to be upset — traveling with everyone is so hard, and getting anywhere on time is so hard, and we were trying so hard to do this nice thing, and breaking our Communion fast was definitely not part of the plan!

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This was on the car parked next to us in the hotel parking lot — I should have known it would all work out.

Once we got to the church, we tried the front doors and they were locked, but then we saw someone arrive for what we assumed was Mass, so we creepily followed him down these back stairs at the back of the parking lot and into a back, unmarked door, which led right into the sacristy … being the center of attention is not my favorite thing, which walking into the sacristy with our circus of a crew definitely makes happen, but indeed we were in the right place — Mass was held in a small chapel behind the main church, and we were there just in time.

Oh, and there was the heat. Oh the heat! This heatwave is killing me! I’m a total baby about being too hot anyway, and I’m a total sweat-er, so these past few days, being so very very hugely pregnant (much bigger than a normal 9 mos size, despite only being 28 weeks today) and so very very hot have been interesting. Not to make it all about me, but the idea did cross my mind that this heatwave came at just the right time to make our pilgrimage very pilgrimage-y. Sorry everyone.

Anyway, the chapel was sweltering — like, sweat pouring down my neck, chest, and back the whole Mass — but it was just beautiful and so perfect for our St. Anne pilgrimage:

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The meeting of Sts. Anne and Joachim (left) and the Annunciation to St. Anne (right)
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Education of Mary (left) and St. Anne de Beaupre (right)
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On the wall: “Good St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus and mother of Mary, pray for us”
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St. Anne with Our Lady on the right; Mother Mary down below; and that framed rosary said the most amazing thing on that little plaque: “Every Rosary Bead is a Cannonball launched at the Devil’s Head.” Amen!

Father gave a fantastic homily, which tied today’s feast day (St. Thomas the Apostle) in with the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and he talked a bit about Indian Catholics and how they have such a strong devotion to St. Thomas. It was so reverent and so informative! (I’m not sure if the Syro-Malabar church is the same as what he was talking about — I’m guessing yes? But anyway here‘s a post I did on Syro-Malabar naming traditions.) And he mentioned St. Anne a bunch of times during the Mass. I really felt like I was doing what I wanted to do — I was at a beautiful St. Anne Shrine, and I offered the Mass for all of you.

So back to the Communion-fast bit … wouldn’t you know, but Mass started a few minutes late. And then, despite the heat and poor Father in his vestments (he requested a towel at one point, which one of the church ladies immediately jumped up to get, and I assumed it was something he’d forgotten for the altar, but no — he just needed to mop his face), his homily was so long — much longer, I thought, than I’d expect at a daily Mass. Just after the Lamb of God I snuck a peek at my phone to see the time and wouldn’t you know: it was 9:29. Exactly one hour since I’d realized at the hotel that we needed to stop eating. Communion was a couple minutes later, and I felt like clicking my heels as we went up to receive. God is so good. ❤

After Mass, Father stopped us to chat for a minute, and several of the ladies too, who were kind of swoony over my boys (I don’t blame them 🙂 ) and amazed that I have three months left before this baby comes (them and me both!) — anyway, Father said we were welcome to take a look inside the main church. Oh! It was so beautiful!

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St. Anne and Our Lady ❤
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I’ve never seen a statue of Our Lady and Jesus like this!
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Sacred Heart of Jesus
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Immaculate Heart of Mary

All in all, it was such a wonderful trip. I’m so grateful for St. Anne’s intercession for these past several years, and I’m so happy to make these small trips as a way of thanking her and praying for all of you. St. Anne, pray for us!

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St. Anne, pray for us

(I’m going to add some of these on Instagram, including one of me and the baby taken in the fingerprint-y hotel mirror!)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

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We have some winners!

Rafflecopter has randomly chosen the five winners of the blogiversary giveaway: congratulations Alyssa, Julie, Sarah, Allie, and Emily! I’ve emailed you each!

Thank you all for your ideas about naming a boy after St. Anne! You have to know I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and you still came up with some ideas I’d never thought of! I love that, and I love all of you!

I’m still in the midst of saying the St. Anne novena for all of you! ❤ Have a wonderful Saturday (day of Our Lady!)!

It’s my blogiversary! I have some goodies for you!

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Even WordPress is excited for me! 😀

You guys! Four years ago yesterday I posted my very first post! (I actually started writing this post yesterday on the actual day, but then had to make an unexpected run to the dr for an unexpected diagnosis of strep in my 11yo, so here we are! A day late!)

Each year on the anniversary of the beginning of the blog, I’m newly blown away by how amazing this all has been, and especially how amazing you all have been! I’m forever grateful for you and our little community here, and all that God’s allowed through it. Thank you thank you!!

In celebration of my blogiversary and as a thank you to you all, I started a St. Anne novena last night for all of you, with a special mention of those of you who are mothers or who want to be, and those who are hoping for a baby or are suffering from the loss of a baby or from infertility, as well as for all of your children, both living and deceased. St. Anne is the patroness of the blog, and I’ve felt her close by so many times in the last four years. She’s a loving and holy mother and grandmother and a great intercessor!

I’m also doing a giveaway! Yippee!! 😀

I have a few things to give away, so I’m going to pick five (5) winners. The first two will receive:

— A copy of my book (signed or not as you like, and I absolutely won’t be offended if you don’t want them signed!)

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(Best name book you’ll ever own! Just sayin! 😉 )

— This beautiful book of prayers and novenas to St. Annestannebook

— One (1) sheet of these amazing temporary tattoos that have “Be not afraid!” in St. John Paul II’s own handwriting! Each sheet has two (2) tattoos, and they come courtesy of Lindsay at Just Love Prints (she has the coolest things!). Consider the possibilities! Labor and delivery would be a great time to wear one (that’s my plan!), or during finals or job interviews, or medical procedures … these babies could really give you some peace of mind just when you need it! You can put them somewhere discreet, or show them off, whatever you like!

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Image from Lindsay’s Etsy shop

Again, the first two winners will receive the three things listed above: my book, the St. Anne book, and a sheet of temporary tattoos.

I wish I could give you all a copy of my book! But since I only have two to give away, I’m going to choose three (3) additional winners, who will receive the St. Anne prayer book and a sheet of the temporary tattoos.

To enter the giveaway, click here! It’ll direct you to answer today’s burning question: what’s your favorite way to honor St. Anne in a boy’s name? It will be open through tomorrow (Friday) night at midnight eastern, and I’ll announce the winners on Saturday!

Thank you again for all the fun name talk over the last four years, and for how we pray for each other, such a blessing. Happy Thursday! ❤ ❤ ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Couple good “Anna” posts

Don’t forget to enter the Feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim giveaway — it ends tomorrow at midnight!

Continuing our theme of St. Anne, I read two posts today about the name Anna that I thought you all would enjoy as much as I did! There’s this one at British Baby Names: Name Help: Honouring Anna, which provides an awesome list of names that have a connection to Anna.

The second was this dilemma at Baby Name Wizard: Boy and Girl Name Help for Helena’s Sibling – can’t commit to any on the shortlist and due in 5 weeks! Extra fun for us is the fact that the mama wrote, “We also would like one of the names (first or middle) to be a saint name/religious in nature as we are practicing Roman Catholics.” Lots of names on their lists are ones we often love here!

Happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! A giveaway for you! ❤

It’s our patronal feast day!! 🎉🎉🎉

I’ve absolutely loved having St. Anne as the patroness of this blog — she has shown herself to be a help to me and to our Sancta Nomina community so many times! In preparation for today I did a St. Anne Novena, which ended yesterday, and I offered it for all of you and your intentions. 💕

And I have a few things to give away! The major thing is a Matching His & Hers Rosary and Rosary Bracelet set from our friend Shannon‘s Chews Life shop, which has been posted especially in honor of this wonderful feast day!

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Screen shot of the Chews Life IG post

The winner will be able to choose the color — there are several available, all beautiful.

Secondly, I have two Tiny Saints St. Anne charms, perfect for any little one with St. Anne as patron (or any big one too!).

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To enter this giveaway, just click here! It’ll run until midnight on Friday, and I’ll randomly draw three winners on Saturday — the first will get the Rosary and Rosary Bracelet set, and the second and third will get a Tiny Saints charm.

Thank you all for being so wonderful, and thank you to St. Anne for watching over us and praying for us! ❤🌹❤🌹❤🌹