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12 Days of Christmas, Southwell & Dolls

Merry Christmas 2023

Dear TIA,

Today I made a Christmas Day pilgrimage to The Conquistadora [Our Lady of Bethlehem] Carmel Mission Basilica.

A first visit to this museum. Many thoughts...

I remembered your intentions. However: the nitch was not fully accessible. The Queen of Heaven and Earth is no longer alone....

Please see attached photo....

     A Merry Valid Licit Christmas to all at TIA!


Our Lady statue in a niche


Twelve Days of Christmas


I was talking to someone last week about the meanings of the song 12 days of Christmas.

Here is the info.


“The 12 Days of Christmas” is also a Christmas carol in which the singer talks about all the gifts they received from their “true love” during the 12 days of Christmas. You are all familiar with the Christmas song, I think. To most it’s a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.

It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else.

Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disemboweled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso.

The song’s gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person.

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so...”

The other symbols mean the following:

1. Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus Christ, Son of God
2. Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3. French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4. Calling Birds = The Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5. Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament
6. Geese A-laying = The six days of creation
7. Swans A-swimming = The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost or the Seven sacraments
8. Maids A-milking = The eight beatitudes
9. Ladies Dancing = The nine Fruits of the Holy Ghosted
10. Lords A-leaping = The Ten Commandments
11. Pipers Piping = The eleven faithful apostles
12. Drummers Drumming = The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed


Poem by Robert Southwell


Many people do not know that this illustrious English martyr, killed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, was also a poet. He was 33 years of age and had undergone severe torture ten times, and he said at his trial he would rather have endured ten executions. Finally he was executed – by hanging, drawing and quartering - for the treason of administering the Sacraments in England.

Many believe he had an influence on his contemporaries Thomas Nashe, Thomas Lodge and William Shakespeare.

Here is one of his beautiful Christmas poems.
A Child My Choice

Robert Southwell Martyr poet

Let folly praise what fancy loves, I praise and love that Child
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand no deed defiled.

I praise Him most, I love Him best, all praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live, and cannot live amiss.

Love’s sweetest mark, laud’s highest theme, man’s most desired light,
To love Him life, to leave Him death, to live in Him delight.

He mine by gift, I His by debt, thus each to other due;
First friend He was, best friend He is, all times will try Him true.

Though young, yet wise; though small, yet strong; though man, yet God He is:
As wise, He knows; as strong, He can; as God, He loves to bless.

His knowledge rules, His strength defends, His love doth cherish all;
His birth our joy, His life our light, His death our end of thrall.

Alas! He weeps, He sighs, He pants, yet do His angels sing;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs, doth bud a joyful spring.

Almighty Babe, whose tender arms can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life, direct me when I die!


How to Prepare a Good Marriage

Dear TIA,

Re: Decent & Modest Toys

Ave Maria Purissima!

Traditional Catholic parents should begin to prepare their daughters for motherhood and marriage, from an early age. Every girl likes to play with dolls. Mothers, make sure your little one’s dolls are modest and not explicit. Little girls will play for hours with dolls and this encourages the mothering instinct in them. In their play. They may be teachers or strict mothers, and, of course, their dolls will always misbehave and need to be disciplined. Little girls will always discipline their dolls the way they are disciplined themselves.

As your daughter gets older, include her in minding the current little one. Helping to change diapers, pushing the pram, supervising the little one in his play pen. There are many practical ways your little girl can help you. As she gets more involved, the mothering skills and instincts grow. Soon she will be at an age to mind her little brother or sister, always under mother’s supervision of course. At Holy Mass, she might hold the infant and allow her mother time to pray earnestly or to receive Holy Communion. Give her the responsibility to ensure the little one is quiet and respectful.

In days gone by, a girl in pre- adolescence would begin to prepare her “bottom drawer." This was a type of dowry, clothes, cutlery, crockery she would bring when she married. Anything she thought would be useful in setting up her new home-to-be, would be collected and put away safely. This was a beautiful custom and parents should return to it with their daughters.

A girl who has spent a great deal of time under the tutelage of her mother will by now, be skilled in cooking, hygiene, cleaning and making a home pretty and attractive. She will also have developed those important female skills of sewing, embroidery and knitting. She is now ready to think of marriage and good Catholic parents will keep an eye open for eligible young men, from their traditional Catholic church.

I believe a girl should marry young, depending on the laws of where she resides. A young girl will have more children, and give birth easier with a much lower risk to the baby. Babies and children are the fulfillment of every girl. Forget the feminist propaganda. This has always been true and still is.

The young man introduced to the girl should be at least five years older and up to ten years of a gap is permissible in my view. With such a gap in age, the young man will find it easier to be the head of the home and the younger girl will find it easier to obey and submit. If the parents have prepared their daughter properly and the young man has been reared to lead and take responsibility, the marriage will be a good one, as the two will have the necessary strength to live the life of sacrifice which a true marriage demands.

     Yours faithfully,

     C.P., Ireland

Posted December 28, 2023


Blason de Charlemagne
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