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:

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.


Jacob said...

I'd be interested in learning more about how Catholic families are going off the grid, aside from homeschooling. Excellent report.

Anonymous said...

By going exclusively to the TLM! :)

Erin Pascal said...

Thank you for sharing this! It was a good read and I learned a lot. God makes no mistakes indeed and I also believe that every child that He blesses to every family has a special purpose in this world. I agree with you on that. May God bless you!

Liam Ronan said...

Proverbs 31:10-31

Dear anonymous, this passage from the Old Testament, to my mind, is reminiscent of your wonderful family:

"A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates."

michael said...

michael said...

Thanks for posting this. I am from a
large family and my children are blessed with many uncles, aunts, and cousins.

rosesinwinter said...

Someone in one of these stories said that "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I have said this before. I used to say it to people who expressed to me their shock at the number of children I have or their thinking that they could never do what I do.

I don't think that's so true anymore though. It's not that God knows what we can handle and then blesses us accordingly. It's that God gives us what we CAN"T handle by ourselves.That is; we can't handle anything without God. So these seemingly impossible tasks and the raising of our children in this very materialistic American culture. Isn't possible without God. He gives us obstacles so that we learn to lean on Him and trust Him all the more and rely on Him.

The things that are seen as obstacles or hardships in our lives may or may not be the result of having a lot of children. Maybe what ultimately brings us closer to God is the hardship of infertility. Everyone is given different crosses in life whether we are blessed with many children or no children, we are all on the same road filled with happiness and hardships that hopefully bring us closer to the One because we allow God to do His will in our lives.