Tag Archives: Mass

On The Night Before Christmas

By: Clare

Yeah, I know, more Christmas posts. But this one’s just informative. Okay, so I won’t  be giving you any vital information that could be used to launch a rocket, or telling you the secret to preventing old age (although my Dad probably could, and it would inevitably involve fermented beets and pounds and pounds of garlic). You might find it semi-entertaining, though, if you’re into drama.

Take a look at this picture.

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You may have thought, “Wow, that’s a big Christmas tree”, or “Wow, it looks like Colleen has no arms”, but really I’d say when I look at this picture I see three very tall girls, with very long hair, who look pretty put-together and happy.

Put-together? Maybe.

Happy? Now.

But this is the after shot.You see, for the Slattery girls, Christmas Eve Mass is a yearly tradition that we look forward to because it means dressing up and posing for pictures. This is more Kate’s forte than anyone else’s but we try to follow in the footsteps of our oldest sister. But no matter what, whether all four of us are together on Christmas Eve or not, we can never, ever get through the preparation for Mass without some minor (sometimes…often…major) drama moments. There have been a multitude of them throughout the years, and there are always tears. At this point I would like to take a moment to clarify which one of us is usually crying. That answer would not include me. It’s split pretty evenly, really. Mary and I just yell. Kate and Colleen are really good at bringing the tears. And I mean really good.

So, if you’re wondering what a before-Christmas-Mass picture looks like, here’s about how each of us would look…

Kate

cryinggirl

Mary

exclamation

Colleen

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And me..

ug

And this is about how we look all together, just add in a dress or two, one mirror, and five makeup cases..

before

But, Christmas is a beautiful time of the year, and I’m actually pretty endeared to the whole process of Christmas Eve Mass preparation, because you get some quality entertainment, and some great memories.

Despite sisters attempting to strangle each other..

strangle

It all turns out beautifully…

all4

I hope you and yours had a very blessed, and beautiful Christmas yourselves!

silly

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Fumes Have Risen!

by Mary

Though I am known to have a fearless attitude in many circumstances, I have taken on a new phobia: Candles at the Easter Vigil. In the days of old, they have amused me with their drippy wax that is such fun to mold while the church is a glow from soft joyful lighting of the little white sticks.
 
When Colleen was a young girl, her hair caught on fire from the candle of Clare, who was at the time just a four year old baby of the family. I can’t remember the incident too clearly, but the accident has remained a family joke of sorts every Easter.
 
Before going to the vigil the other night, I took a curling iron to my long hair and manipulated it into a mass of spiraled subservience with the help of an old can of hairspray left over from Kate’s wedding that was nearly two years ago.
 
At church I slid into the back pew next to my little brother James, and started preparing for the special mass. Somewhere along the line, I whispered to James “just don’t light my hair on fire”, and drifted into thoughts that had nothing to do with sarcastic joking.
 
Did I ever come out of this time of personal reflection, when my hair had an inch long orange blaze leaping to life compliments of James! With my hand I batted at it in terror. Thankfully, I managed to smolder the ignited section, but unfortunately, the smell of burnt hair permeated the air. Unsure of what to do next, I started finger raking charred hair out of my curls that were saturated in alcohol due to the spray. My first reaction was to cry, but I hate crying in front of people, so hysterical laughter started bubbling out of me into the silence of the congregation.
 
I ended up pushing my way out of the pew, past my brother Robert and our family friend Ben. My exit plan was to get to the bathroom. The four inch designer stilettos that I picked up at a thrift store the other month when on a shopping spree for an African Orphanage Shoe Drive, made a noisy calamity on the tiled floor as I bolted.
 
In the basement of the church I washed  the black soot from my hands and contemplated going to the choir to hide next to my mother upwind from the smell of the fried hair. Later I was informed by Colleen that plan wouldn’t be of merit, for the smoke made it’s way there too.
 
After some internal debating, I decided to take my old seat, because, after all, everybody already knew that it was my dead hair fuming up the church. The rest of mass was thankfully uneventful, save James loudly bursting out “I am an idiot”, and the dramatized coughing of a man one pew up.
 
This particular parishioner is known to rarely frequent mass. His wife and kids come without him, and his loyalty seems to be more extended to attending parish softball games.
 
My guilty conscience imagined him making future excuses to not come to church by saying ” Can’t do it honey, it’s an awful nauseating environment, my lungs just can’t hack it, the headache that I got last time round from that Slattery girl was the heap of burning hair was somethin bad…”
 
My mortification made me want to apologize to the entire group of people gathered at the Jewel On The Ridge Parish. Save James of course. I guess I will just have to rise above the occasion. Next Easter Vigil I am sure to shy away from
(a) Candles
(b) Using a crazy amount of hairspray on my hair
(c) LITTLE BROTHERS WITH CANDLES
I will make a point to take in the sweet aroma of easter lilies, incense and oils.
 
Alleluia! He has risen!
 
Until next time,
mary

Sunday Sugar Doughnuts

by Mary and Colleen

This Sunday morning, two bakers set out to saturate the kitchen at Sweet Ridge Farm in sugar and butter.  Due to a lack of sugar intake on typical weekdays in Lent, and a huge family gathering and meal after mass, Sunday is the day to bake! Later we run several miles to work off the sugar and catch up on the weekly happenings.

Mary decided on doughnuts for her Sunday contribution, and Colleen settled for the unbeatable allure of chocolate chip banana bread (loved by all Slattery boys). What did these stylish bakers wear?

Mary sported a daring apron, created in a dual effort of Mom’s sewing power and Mary’s design and cussword creativity.

And Colleen went with her favorite apron, a donation from her musical aunt. Mary does not like said apron. Colleen has no shame, and will probably be taking it with her to college.

Mary got the doughnuts frying in no time at all.

Main ingredient? We live in Wisconsin, duh! Butter!! Not just any butter- this is a bucket of pure ghee from Organic Valley.

As per Slattery tradition, Colleen shook the newly fried doughnuts in paper bags filled with powdered sugar and a cinnamon sugar mixture. (This part is always the most fun)


The doughnuts were a great success.

Of course, one can’t go to mass looking like an apron clad pajama princess! Let me assure you, we  know how to clean up.

Here is the recipe for our Lenten Sunday sugar doughnut feast.

Sunday Sugar Doughnuts

2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

in a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup raw milk
1/4 cup organic valley melted butter

Gently fold together wet and dry ingredients. If you are not too impatient, chill for two hours. (We are always too impatient and have never actually done this, but we hear it is helpful.) Drop spoonfuls into a cast iron pan full of heated butter (or cooking oil if you are not from Wisconsin and don’t have a bucket of butter handy) and fry over medium heat. When bottom is nicely browned, flip and fry remaining side. Shake with powdered sugar in a brown bag from the food co-op.

A Transfiguration of Sorts

Colleen

It was a blustery and cold morning, not unusual for early spring in Wisconsin. The rain fell fast and hard, aided by a strong wind upon the ridge-top, and the skies were an iron gray, creating a dark and drear atmosphere. So much rain and so much wind must have been the main factor behind the sudden power outage. At one moment I was looking up the price of airline tickets to Oklahoma and the next poof! A blank screen. I was not disturbed. Everything I really needed was in working order, namely the trusty wood stove that kicked out its comforting heat steadily.

The only problem this did present was across the road. Of course, today being Sunday, the family would be heading out to mass at the dusky, rose-red brick Catholic church right across the road from our home. I was interested to observe a mass sans electricity.

When I walked into the front doors of church, the romantic in me was immediately pleased. Candles were being lit, adorning the altar mainly and casting a mellow glow over the smooth caramel walls. I walked up the two flights stairs to the choir loft to perform my job. I’m then one and only organist for St. Peter’s Parish The power outage had made it impossible for me to play the electric organ we have, so I was relegated to the piano for the morning. This made me very happy because I am a pianist and refuse to play the organ properly on a normal Sunday. The foot pedals are always turned off, and I’ve never attempted to try to learn how to use any of the controls but on, off, loud, and soft. The old people in the parish adore me for playing the organ (I guess you were right, Mom), and I smile and nod and pretend I like it just as much as they.

I played the piano by candle light, spilling weakly over my music, and enjoyed the special air the darkness outside, counteracted by amber candle glow inside, created. The gospel was on the Transfiguration of Jesus today, and I thought it especially relevant. We were given our own transfiguration of the church today.

Darkness and light, the battle ever rages, even within the church. But, the light always triumphs: the electricity flicked on without fanfare in the middle of the Sanctus.