The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation for Freedom, Family, and Faith offers spirtual accompaniment for families in crisis. Our initial mission is outreach to those affected by divorce and separation. A friend of the foundation, Vanessa Chastain, is an adult child of divorce, and in this interview she tells her story of faith.
I was born and raised initially in California. I was baptized as a Catholic as a baby at Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga, California, where I also received my First Communion and did Confession for the first time. The first prayers that I recall learning were a prayer to my Guardian Angel and the Sign of the Cross in Spanish. I had an interest in Our Lady. I was particularly drawn to depictions of Our Lady and the story of Our Lady of Lourdes, which I encountered in a booklet about the Saints when I was seven years old. Furthermore, I was interested in the Arts from a young age. I first sang when I was one year old and was involved in music during my childhood.
I found out that my parents had separated when I was eight years old, something that surprised me and affected me emotionally.
I moved with my mother to Sarasota, Florida in the summer after fifth grade. I continued to be engaged in the Arts and started singing at church. In addition, I liked working with computers and had diverse academic interests.
The earliest part of my teen years was spent handling the illness and death of my mother and the divorce of my parents, which occurred towards the end of my mother’s illness with cancer. This time period was challenging, but there was also a sense of great hope in it and a growing awareness of God. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation and was in Contemporary Choir at church for most of it, transitioning from children’s choir at the beginning of eighth grade.
The second part involved the aftermath of these events and took me to the end of high school. This time period involved spiritual battles. I experimented with bad things like transcendentalism and Yoga. However, God was still reaching towards me through the Catholic Church. I was involved in Contemporary Choir at church during part of this time.
In Holy Week of 2009 when I was in eleventh grade, I found out that there was a connection between my suffering, the suffering of my mother, and the Passion of Christ. Furthermore, I also learned about the Pieta, a concept common in Art of Our Lady holding her Son Jesus after His Death, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows, a title of Our Lady, and the related Seven Sorrows of Mary, sorrowful events in her life. I had difficulty understanding the Seven Sorrows of Mary, but I could understand the Pieta and Our Lady of Sorrows enough that these influences stuck in the back of my mind for years. Moreover, it was through the idea of the Pieta that I first thought of Our Lady as somebody that I could look to as a Mother to make up for the absence of my own mother.
These realizations during Holy Week helped me, but I decided towards the end of high school that it was not sincere to continue attending Mass if I was not sure of God’s existence. At that point, I decided that I was an agnostic.
Right before I started college, during the third part of my teen years, my grandmother passed away, and almost a year later, I was going through her things when I happened upon something that looked like an icon of Our Lady. Since then, I have heard that it was not an icon of Our Lady from somebody, but I am not sure if that is true. I was mysteriously drawn to it. Moreover, there was a small bust of Our Lady that I found very beautiful and was drawn to. I decided to keep both of them. I still considered myself an agnostic at the time. I continued to admire Our Lady during this time period and to be drawn to Catholicism though I rejected it.
When it comes to healing from suffering involved with divorce, it might be necessary to grow in trust in God. After all, trusting Him is necessary to handle suffering well. Prayer could help with doing that. I would suggest reciting the Rosary every day and engaging in daily mental prayer, especially with the ability to trust in God and persevere in trust as one of the intentions. That might help growth in trust to occur.
Lectio Divina is a method of prayer with Scripture that traditionally involves four steps. It is a great way to practice mental prayer as two of the steps are the two kinds of mental prayer (meditation and contemplation). It can help people to focus on the Truths of the Faith and the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Furthermore, for people who are dealing with suffering, it can help the person to reach towards God by focusing on Him and bringing one’s life to Him, with any suffering that one might have, to be made holy with His help.
Meditating on the Passion is trying to understand the Passion and relating it to one’s life in the context of prayer. An example would be the meditation (Meditatio) step of Lectio Divina with a passage from a Passion account in the Gospels. It is important for people who are going through suffering. It can help a person to understand how the suffering relates to the Passion of Christ and the Mystery of the Resurrection, and it can help the person find meaning in the situation and understand how to respond to it well (virtuously, with devotion, etc.).
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are seven events that involved suffering in Mary’s life. It can be helpful to meditate on these events, saying one Hail Mary with each event while meditating, or to do the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows (otherwise known as the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is especially helpful in times of suffering. Our Lady of Sorrows (Our Lady under the associated title) can intercede for us, and we can find meditating on her sorrows helpful for dealing with suffering.
The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation
The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation is here for you and your family during times of crisis for spiriutal accompaniment. Please stay in touch with us through our website at Nonnatus.org or and send us your prayer intentions here at this link. Learn more about our monthly on-line support meetings held the last Thursday of each month at 8 p.m. ET for adult children of divorce. Information is on our website.
Our Lady of Mercy and St. Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us!
Please check out https://olsprayerforbroken.wordpress.com/ for more information
The Importance of Prayer...Always
Taking the time to pray as a family of great importance, but most imperative during times of crisis holding families together through trial praying for all those in need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, families are drawn together but most powerfully through prayer.
Ideas to Stay Close as a Family of Prayer
The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation for Freedom, Family, and Faith is devoted to outreach to families in crisis. We pray daily for those families and individuals going through challenging times offering our sacrifices and prayers for them. We at the foundation continue those prayers always for your own intentions.
Here are a few ways you and your family can stay close to the Lord during this crisis for our country and the world.
1. Daily Rosary. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is offering a nightly Rosary on-line via the Zoom platform at 8 p.m. ET. People from all over the country are joining in to pray. Go to www,phillyevang.org for more information. One does not have to join an on-line call to pray. Pray the Rosary at anytime of day as a family!
2. Chaplet of Divine Mercy. During the pandemic, many families are home together even during the middle of the day. Take 15 minutes together and reflect and pray on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is a beautiful prayer from Jesus given to St. Faustina calling on the mercy of God so needed in all of our lives. Reflect now on that love God has for you. He has mercy on you at all times. The Chaplet is generally said at 3 p.m. each day, but can be prayed at any time.
3. Scripture Reading. Even if just for 10 or 15 minutes a day, read Holy Scripture. Take the time to slowly read over the words and think about how God is speaking to your life. Bible reading is a powerful way God speaks to all of us.
4. On-Line Daily and Sunday Mass. Although churches are not holding public Mass, it is the perfect time to watch an on-line Mass and also offer a prayer for "Spiriutal Communion" to stay close to Jesus. Go to your archdiocese or diocese website to find out where you can watch on-line Mass. Unite all of your prayers to the Lord during the Mass!
5. Interceding for Those in Need. This is the time to pray for the sick, those who have lost their jobs, for those who have died, the suffering, and all those on the frontlines working to help end this pandemic and serve others. Take a few minutes or more each day to pray for them. Don't be shy to offer an intention on social media and ask others to pray along with you.
6. Holy Hour at Home. Catholics all over the world are missing receiving the Holy Eucharist, attending Mass, and visiting Our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. Since this is not possible for most of us at this time, take an hour during the day praying in front of a crucifix or religious image and "be with God" in prayer. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary are a true blessing right from God; take time to pray along with them if you have these images within your home setting.
7. Sacrifice and Do Good for Others. This is an important aspect of what it means to truly be "Catholic". Our words and prayers must match what we do in reaching out to those who feel marginalized, away from God, and unloved. Be sure to reach out to them, give when you can to the poor, and "care" about all people not just people you happen to know. God blesses us in great ways always, and he smiles upon us when we love the unlovable. This is the mission of every Christian to love all people. This can never be forgotten when we reflect on "catechesis".
True Catechesis includes the importance of aspects such as forgiving people, loving your enemies, reaching out to the marginalized, and being kind to everyone, no exceptions.
We hope these ideas are helpful to you and your family! Trust that God will get you through this time of the pandemic. He is with you always. Send us a prayer intention by clicking here. Although our initial mission is outreach to those affected by divorce and separation, we pray and accompany families and individuals in crisis. Our prayers are with all of you at this time. Learn more about us at www.nonnatus.org.
God bless you and your family!
The Holy Father gave a very special blessing on March 27th at the Vatican. Learn about this unique blessing by clicking here for an article explaining the importance of the blessing.
YouTube video of the blessing here:
Patchwork Heart Ministry and Fiat Ministry Network Presents On-line Catholic Conference on March 28th
Patchwork Heart Ministry and Fiat Ministry Network presents: Our Fatih, Our Hope, Our Love On-line Catholic Conference on Saturday, March 28th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
Due to lockdowns in many states and the closing and canceling of churches and public events, two foundations have come together to bring to the public speakers offering talks to enhance one's faith in light of the COVID-10 pandemic. Patchwork Heart and Fiat Ministries are proud to offer this event for those who would like to enrich their faith-life during Lent in preparation for Easter.
Click here to watch a YouTube presentation about the event which will explain more about the conference.
The day will feature of the following speakers and talks:
10 a.m. Martha Fernandez-Sardina (Spanish)
Persigue To Corona/Pursue Your Crown
11 a.m. Judy Hehr
Mercy Starts with ME!
Noon Ray Haywood
Before We Intentionally Lead, We Must First Humbly Follow
1 p.m. Terry Modica
Faith Amidst Adversity
2 p.m. Kendra Von Esh
If I Have Not Love, I am Nothing
3 p.m. Anne DeSantis
The Whisper of Hope: God's Encouragement in Life and Love
3:45 p.m. Martha Fernandez-Sardina (English)
Pursue Your Crown/Persigue Tu Corona
4:30 p.m. MASS with Fr. Matthew Phelan, O.deM., Mercedarian friar,
Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy & St. Brigid's Parishes, Leroy/Bergen, NY
This is sure to be a wonderful day, so get your ticket here. Cost is $28 and there is a promo code which is ANNE to receive $3 off.
Please SHARE this blog post with others so they can benefit by attending this on-line Catholic conference!
The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation is happy to help promote this event for Patchwork Heart Ministry and Fiat Ministry Network. Please stay in touch with our foundation as we offer our prayers for you and your loved ones during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Email us here to leave your prayer intention. God bless!
During this time of crisis in the United States and in the world, the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation offers heartfelt prayers for you and your loved ones.
Affecting the world and our Catholic Church, we are here for you in this time of physical separation from our communities, churches, work places, and from many of our extended family members and friends. Although away from one another in physical proximity, we are close at heart and in the spirit.
Please keep in mind that since the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation is an on-line ministry, we will be operating as normal offering our on-line support meetings helping individuals and families affected by divorce and separation. Please see the Home Page of our website to find out about upcoming on-line events.
Let us pray together the prayer from our Holy Father to the Blessed Mother for her intercession:
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the crosss took part in Jesus' pain,
keeping your faith firm,
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Gaililee,
we may return to you and feasting
after this time of trail.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under you protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the
entreaties of we who are in trial, but
deliver us from every danger, O glorious
and blessed Virgin.
-Pope Francis March 2020
Have You Been Affected by Divorce/Separtion? Contact the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation for Prayerful Accompaniment
Have You or Your Family Been Affected by Divorce/Separation?
The St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation for Freedom, Family, and Faith was formed through the Mercedarian Religious Order as a application and an expression of their fourth vow which is "the willingness to give our lives to those in danger of losing their faith". As a foundation, we care deeply about families and individuals in crisis. We are willing to give our time, our care, and most importantly our prayers to those who have been affected by divorce and separation.
What Makes Us Different and Sets Us Apart from Other Organizations?
There are many wonderful organizations helping families who are in crisis and affected by divorce. What sets us apart from other non-profits is that we offer prayerful individual accompaniment to those who contact us looking for someone to talk to, to pray with, and to help to find the right resources and information for the given situation.
We make ourselves available to those in need and will respond quickly to those who contact us. We understand that during times of crisis, a listening ear and accompaniment is critical. We will do our best help our clients find the kind of help they need by pointing them in the right direction.
Although we focus our ministry on families in crisis, most of our clients are those who have been affected by divorce.
We offer a free on-line meeting the first Tuesday of each month from 8 - 9 p.m. EST for individuals and families affected by divorce and separation. The last Thursday of each month from 8 - 9 p.m. EST we offer an on-line meeting for adult children of divorce. (Must be 18 years of age or older to attend.) Both groups offer: prayer, reflection, guidance by Church teachings, and attendance by a Mercedarian friar and the director. Our goal is to help those going through challenging times and to pray together. This is what sets us apart that our mission is simply to accompany with the guidance of the Magisterium of our faith. We also offer many helpful resources on our website for family issues and concerns.
Please Let Us Know How We Can Help
Now that you know what we offer, please contact us if you have any questions or would like to send us a prayer request. We also offer free individual phone meetings with a Mercedarian friar in addition to our support meetings. In 2020, we will be offering retreats, so contact us for more information. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a great deal of helpful resources on our website at nonnatus.org so check it out!
God bless you, and please stay in touch with us. We would love to hear from you.
Are you or someone you know an adult child of divorced parents? Divorce can cause numerous wounds to all involved. Sometimes others try minimize the damage caused by divorce by saying things like, “Children are resilient. They’ll be ok.” But the truth is, as I’ve learned from first-hand experience, is that divorce ALWAYS hurts. No one escapes unharmed.