Rorate Caeli

Guidance for young parents: how to raise a big, holy Catholic family (ongoing series)

After posting a video of a Catholic family with 15 children -- that boasted eight religious vocations -- we asked our readers (see here) to write into us and share their stories on what it's like to raise a big family, and what they did or are still doing to make their family holy, happy and peaceful. Here is one of those stories.

Please consider sending your story to Rorate (see here for very flexible instructions) to post in this on-going series to help inspire young Catholic couples to forgo the abuses of Natural Family Planning (NFP) and simply go fourth and multiply with faith and confidence in a loving and all-knowing God.

To view all of these stories, click the "The joy of big families" tag at the end of this post. For those who have sent in stories, we will post soon:

Written by anonymous:

We have 8 children, 5 boys and 3 girls, who range in age from 16 down to 1.  The last two pregnancies were very hard on my wife and she feels overwhelmed most of the time.  We homeschool them (5-6 of them this year) but we've turned to a few online classes to help with the older ones.

Their behavior is average at home (we think), but we always get compliments on their behavior when we are out and about.

We aren't good about doing family projects like gardening or farming or some awesome business, but partly that's because I help with quite a bit of the education of the older ones.

There's only so many hours in the day ...

I'm not always the best example to them, but I try to be a good dad. Sometimes they get scolded harshly when they shouldn't, but I apologize afterwards if I've been wrong.

They aren't theologians or spelling bee winners or going to college at 14, but I think they know their faith and what's right and wrong.  I hope they will choose the right when they are adults.  We don't take great trips to historical sights as a part of their education, but we do take a week for Catholic Familyland every summer.  We go to the Traditional Latin Mass in Lansing every week and we all like it a lot, but even after the doughnuts-bribe, some of them don't like the 45min drive each way.

It's a lot of work and at times it seems unbearable.  It's not ever easy and it's rarely "fun" by the world's standards.  But we can take joy in the fact that we are doing our best to discern God's will for our lives and are pouring ourselves out like a libation to do His will. What greater joy can there be? 

I figure that at my judgement He won't ask me where we went on vacation or how many got their PhD's, but He will be talking to me about their eternal destinations...  So with that as our focus we will keep going until we get to that judgement.