As you journey through life, you long to create a loving, faith-filled, comfortable Catholic home for your family–a place of faith, hope, and love. With each step, you struggle to balance your physical efforts with the spiritual growth of your soul. You know you need to balance Martha’s choice and Mary’s choice, the sister in the kitchen and the sister at the feet of Jesus.
I struggled with this during the years of raising children too. And I still do! There was always work to be done, yet I craved a little quiet prayer time. And things kept tipping more one way than the other. I wanted to teach our children the beauty and truth of the Catholic Faith while caring for their needs, keeping our household running smoothly, inspiring them to lifelong learning, and also making happy memories together. There were so many things I didn’t know how to do or wasn’t very good at–flipping a pancake, managing a kitchen, making actual meals and not just baking. I couldn’t serve cookies for dinner! I kept trying to learn and improve, but dinner happens every single night! If I could have just taken a cooking class…but, learning through living is what was required.
Trying to follow God’s will and make the right choices for our family often lead my husband and me to choose the narrow path. Sometimes it was hard to be different, to make sacrifices, to wonder if we were making progress with our Catholic faith and family.
Then it was already time for the kids to go to college. When they would come home for a weekend, they could hardly wait for dinnertime and a home-cooked meal, such as it was. Our sons told a story of taking turns going to Mass one Sunday at school because one brother forgot his dress shirt and the other forgot his good belt. So they shared, wearing each other’s stuff, and going to alternate Masses that day. On another weekend visit, our daughter curled up contentedly on the sofa and declared, “This house is my refuge.” She sighed deeply, and I smiled. These are a mother’s quiet joys.
Now, they’re growing and raising Catholic families of their own. There are moments when the joyful blessings from God wash over you and reassure you that all of the effort and sacrifices are worth it.
What Is a Mother’s Work in Creating a Catholic Home?
As a Catholic mother, you will need faith, hope, and love as you strive to create home. Your mission is to guide the souls entrusted to your care back to our Heavenly home. At Quiet Joys you’ll find encouragement–to grow in faith in order to gently guide your children in their faith, to encourage lifelong learning, to learn to keep a household running smoothly, and to make happy memories with your family.
Can a Catholic mom be just like everyone else?
Not really. You are going to have to put thought into everything you do, ask questions, consider the paths before you, and make hard choices. You will strive to choose God’s will in the smallest of things. Your children will be learning from you. They’ll notice it all.
It sounds too hard.
It is too hard. It’s your mission to lead the souls of your children back to Heaven. You will be fighting a battle against the culture, and it will bring you to the foot of the Cross. When you lose a skirmish, you’ll keep “fighting the good fight.” You will need God to supply His divine love when your human love reaches its limits. And He does do that.
So, you can do this, but not alone–you need God’s Divine Providence to see it through. It will be the single most important thing you ever do in your life. Put your whole heart and soul into it…because it’s enough to live and die for.
I can’t do it if I wasn’t raised this way.
You can. Jesus meets us where we are and walks beside us. God can handle our questions, so if you have doubts or struggle with any teachings of the Church, tell God all about it in prayer. Then humbly leave it to Him, while you keep the faith. Three or four months later you may be amazed at how He has transformed your understanding.
How to Get Started with Creating Your Catholic Home –What You Need
Basic faith needs:
- Where in your home will you pray? Would you like to create a home altar or a prayer corner perhaps? Or use a room for reading and music and prayer?
- Crucifix – You’ll want one for your prayer space. Eventually, it would be nice to have one for each bedroom.
- Bible – Look for a good Catholic version such as Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition (RSV-CE), New American Bible St Joseph Edition, or the Douay Rheims which is an old-fashioned classic.
- Holy water bottle
- Holy water – You can find this at your parish church, usually in a metal container with a spigot. Bring your own holy water bottle to fill and take home.
- Catholic books – You can build a small library of Catholic books over time. You might like to start with The Imitation of Christ or My Daily Bread as well as a booklet of Catholic prayers.
- Catechism – It’s good to have a copy of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- St Joseph Baltimore catechism (there are several levels) – This is a classic. You’ve never seen anything like it! For starters, check out St Joseph Baltimore Catechism No 1. This is written for children, but it provides a clear and concise overview of Catholic teaching.
- Lives of the Saints books – Vol I and Vol II
- Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary prints for your home.
- A Rosary
Children’s needs for faith:
- Hands-on items – Children’s rosary, Shining Light saints figures or similar, children’s nativity set
- Books – Lift the Flap Bible, My Picture Missal, Lift the Flap Nativity Story, Noah’s Ark (Lift the Flap), Our Guardian Angels: St Joseph Carry Me Along Board Book, Our Blessed Mother: St Joseph Carry Me Along Board Book
- A Mass bag – Small sized for little ones
- Your example – They learn so much by watching you. Those lessons are “caught, not taught.”
- Your time – All the moments you spend with them, all the sacrifices you make of your own wishes
- Your love – They see Jesus in you.
Basic household needs:
Since keeping your household systems running smoothly is an important part of family life, here’s a tip. In addition to the normal household items that you likely already have, I recommend one other thing–a magical three-bag laundry sorter on a frame. If you can find one that has three different colored bags, that is ideal. You could also make this work with three different colored baskets. Kids love to put their clothes into the right bag or basket which completely eliminates the task of sorting for you! You can use this sorter with this laundry system to make your weekly laundry routine go more smoothly.
Tips for Success in Creating your Catholic Home
You need to go to Mass. You need to go regularly on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation at the least. This is one of the Precepts of the Church. Attend weekday masses whenever you can.
You need good Catholic friends, both on earth (find one, one will do!) and in Heaven (lots of Saints to be your friends, why not have lots of Heavenly friends?!)
Forget the popularity contest. It doesn’t matter and nobody wins anyway. There is a real danger of being led astray.
Prayer – Begin in a small, simple way. Just begin.
The Sacraments – An integral part of our faith is receiving the Holy Eucharist, and going to Confession to be reconciled with God.
Eucharistic Adoration – Pay visits as you can to the Blessed Sacrament. This will transform your faith in sublime ways.
Go to the Blessed Mother – Mary is the fully human person who showed us how to love Him best. She loves you too.
Go to St Joseph – He is the protector of Jesus and Mary, the pillar of families.
The communion of saints – They are our cloud of witnesses.
Pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory – They rely on our prayers and will also pray for you
Commitment – Work diligently.
Refreshment – Recreation together as a family is important too
Establish good habits, smooth routines–it becomes easier, especially with thoughtful planning.
Common Questions about Creating a Catholic Home
How will I find time to pray?
At first, do your best to keep up with short morning and evening prayers. You can pray the Morning Offering to start your day and an Act of Contrition at bedtime. After that, see if you can add in 10 minutes of quiet prayer time during the day or evening. In addition to the bible, two useful prayer books for this are The Imitation of Christ published by the Catholic Book Publishing Company and My Daily Bread published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. However, if you have small children, praying short prayers throughout your day may work best because you can pray while you work. These can be just one sentence long, such as “Jesus, I trust in You.”
How do I grow in my faith?
If you begin with prayer, God will draw you nearer to Himself. This may happen slowly over time or you may be surprised. St Therese the Little Flower says in The Story of a Soul, “Draw me, we will run,” which is from Song of Songs 1:4. You can also take steps to learn more about your faith–finding Catholic books, Catholic websites you can trust, or listening to Catholic radio or podcasts.
How do I share my faith with my family?
As you learn and pray more, this will happen naturally in your home. Young children will catch on to what you do and will want to join you. You can learn more about the Liturgical Year too and begin to celebrate its seasons in your family. You can make a home altar or prayer corner. Additionally, you can begin to build a Catholic bookshelf both for your children and yourself.
How do I keep up with household tasks…and know when to stop?
As you establish the essential routines that will keep your home running smoothly, you will find what works for you and what doesn’t. Then, you can choose carefully the projects you’d like to add. If your children are young, spending your time with them is a beautiful thing that you do. So, even though household tasks are ever-present, it is good to mark a stopping point each day. That way you also make time to relax and refresh with your family.
Honestly, I am not very good at marking a stopping point, but here is a little story. When I knew my Grandma T, she often sewed late into the night. She was a widow from the age of 38. Her example of working diligently for one’s family made an impression on her 40 grandchildren. Nevertheless, I was surprised when my mom told me that when Grandpa was alive, Grandma used to close her sewing machine up every night at five o’clock. After dinner they would sit on the back patio and enjoy a cold beer, watching their 9 children play in the yard. It’s nice to think of them enjoying the time they had together! I’m so glad she knew when to close up that sewing machine. I’m astonished about the beer!
How do I enrich my children’s days?
Even very young children need and appreciate your guidance throughout the day. In their lives, you are the maker of the schedule. So you’ll want to help them play, learn, and rest each day. You create their environment, setting it up with appropriate books and toys, helping them balance their days.
How do I enrich myself? Find inspiration?
Prayer is a great beginning! Additionally, you can appreciate the beauty around you through music and art, books, and movies. It can help to find something you love learning about whether that is learning to cook and trying new recipes or enjoying your favorite exercise whenever you can or working on an enriching hobby. Ultimately, this can benefit those around you because it helps you give to others too. One caveat though–when you have a newborn or several young children you are in a special time. There may only be time for prayer, caring for your children, and getting whatever sleep you can–and that is enough.
How do I begin making happy memories with my family?
Learning to live the Liturgical Year with your family is a great place to start! The rhythm of its seasons offers times of preparation, times of celebration and joy, and times for reflection. This includes special events and the beautiful everyday. You may be planning a Baptism or a First Communion, or simply enjoying the rhythm of ordinary time. There are many great ways to bring these seasons into your home–having an Advent wreath, celebrating St Nicholas Day, celebrating the sacraments. As you pray, work, and relax together as a family–planning your favorite things to do and sharing with and serving one another–you’ll be creating those happy memories.
The Last Three Things You Need to Know about Creating a Catholic Home
This is work in which you rely on God and the outcome remains hidden for years–it is a work of faith.
This is work requiring you to march onward in hope each day.
This is love.
Don’t be afraid!
Well, I hope I didn’t scare you! Don’t be afraid.
Won’t you please share your dreams for your family, or perhaps your biggest struggle today in the comments below? You are welcome to join the list for updates and encouragement on your journey. Thank you for being here!