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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:

My husband and I are blessed to be the mother and father of (so far) nine children. Three girls and six boys! Our oldest, is 15. They stair step down to our youngest who is 11 months. God is in control of how many children to bless us with. We do not presume to know better than God who makes no mistakes and knows what is best for us.

I have always marveled at how God has provided for us. We have had and continue to have times where it seems we might not get through. It is in these desperate times that God shows Himself to us all the more and reminds us that He will not abandon those that are faithful to His will.

Sadly, large families are not normal by today's standards and our way of getting by is far from average. People have asked me how we can afford or how can we handle all those kids? I have the answer to those questions;  If we lived like the average, American family, we couldn't. If we didn't trust in God, then it would be impossible.

This however does not mean that we can sit back on our haunches and wait for God to deliver us every need on a silver platter. God helps thous that help themselves. So,we have to work hard for all that we have. The struggle to survive in this selfish world is hard on single income families. It is not impossible though. We just do things differently. My husband works hard to earn every penny and I strive to spend as little as possible. We buy used and fix old.  Thrift stores and rummage sales are not only fun, (I love them) Someone with a good eye can make money selling the things people practically give away. If we can't buy something outright then we don't really need it. If we need it and can't afford it, (our 15 passenger van) with patience and time, it all works out. 

Things that seem essential, are sometimes taken from us and this causes us to reevaluate what is important. (Electricity or phone or internet service...)

There are ways of surviving in this world of ours. I am blessed to have a husband who is not afraid to think outside the box. He has a firm grasp and understanding of the political system that holds Americans (who think they are free) prisoners. We are learning how to become free by removing ourselves from the bondage of a seemingly free US citizenship.

An understanding of Truth and traditional Catholic faith is the most important thing we can give ourselves and our children. Everything else is secondary. We live right next door to a NO church. but we feel the most important thing we can give our children is the most reverent mass possible. This we have found is the traditional Latin mass that we travel to, a one hour drive, every Sunday. The enrichment we receive from this and the graces are priceless.

The Mass and the sacraments are the strong bricks that build our family and give us strength. The Rosary is the mortar that holds us together. We say the rosary together as a family everyday. My husband and I have just started a novena to St. Joseph and Also St. Monica. We have our struggles with discipline and respect at times with our older children. Relying on the saints and their powerful intersession is a comfort. They know our struggles as they were their own. Relying on the saints to ease the burdens of our crosses is an invaluable asset.

There is peace in doing Gods will. Allowing God to decide the number of children we are blessed with, is a joy to us. God knows best and makes no mistakes. Every one of our children is meant to be here and has a special purpose in this world. It is our joy to except this great commission and raise the children we are blessed with, for God and His greater glory.