While St. Patrick is one of the most well-known figures of modern folklore and festivals, ironically he is less known for his touching and beloved role in Irish faith and literature.
Among the writings attributed to him is the beautiful prayer The Deer’s Cry, also known as the Shield of St. Patrick, or the Breastplate of St. Patrick. This prayer was written as an invocation of protection to shield St. Patrick and his monks from enemies lying in wait in the Irish forests.
Having gathered his followers around him, St. Patrick was leading them past the hostile forces at Loegaire, Ireland, where the son of King Niall laid ambushes. Patrick’s enemies did not want him to bring the Christian faith to Tara.
In the morning before Patrick and the monks proceeded, they gathered and prayed a long and musical prayer of protection, including the words:
I arise today, through the strength of Heaven: Light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendor of Fire, speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea, stability of Earth, firmness of Rock…
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me…
Christ to protect me today, against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.
With such a powerful prayer, tradition says Patrick’s enemies were completely fooled. In the forest, as they waited to attack the missionaries, his enemies saw only wild deer (St. Patrick and his monks) and one fawn (St. Benen), following along behind, carrying books. They let them pass.
Today this lovely prayer of the deer is used to light and bless the Easter fires, as St. Patrick did when he arrived at Tara. It is still used as a shield against devils, poison, envy, and sudden death.
Pregnancy and maternity quiz: test your knowledge
This Mother’s Day, test your knowledge about pregnancy and motherhood with this quick and easy quiz.
True or false
1. A baby’s sex is determined as soon the egg is fertilized.
2. Smoking increases the risk of having a miscarriage.
3. The chance of having identical twins is greater if there are already twins in the family.
4. The fetus’s heartbeats at the same rate as the mother’s.
5. Breastfeeding helps prevent breast cancer.
6. Which of these sports should be avoided during pregnancy?
a) Horseback riding and scuba diving
b) Judo and mountaineering
c) Tennis and hot yoga
d) All the above
7. What hormone causes the uterus to contract during childbirth?
d) Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
8. At how many weeks is a baby considered full term?
Fill in the blank
9. It’s recommended that pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive take __________ as a supplement to prevent deformities such as spina bifida.
10. __________ is the medical term for a woman in labor.
11. The __________ allows air and food to be exchanged between the mother and fetus.
12. The __________ connects the mother to the child during pregnancy.
How did you do?
3. False (this is only true for fraternal twins)
4. False (it beats about twice as fast)
9. Folic acid
12. Umbilical cord
How to support nurses on the front line of the pandemic
May is Nurses Month, an annual event that sets out to honor the contributions of America’s nurses. These essential workers are invaluable members of their communities, offering help to patients and their families, and playing a key role in delivering healthcare services. That’s why this year’s theme is Nurses Make a Difference.
In light of the pandemic, supporting nurses is more important than ever. Over the last year, these workers have risked their own safety to help those who need care. Here are some ways you can offer your encouragement.
1. Give them a shoutout
Publicly give your thanks to nurses on social media using the hashtag #Support-HealthcareHeroes. Recognition can go a long way in making the nurses you know feel valued.
2. Offer them a meal
Order takeout for the nurses you know, and see if you can have it delivered to the hospital or clinic where they work.
3. Help with childcare
If you know a nurse who has children, consider offering to lend a hand while they’re at work or when they need a break.
4. Drop off groceries
It can be hard for nurses to find time to pick up the essentials. Reach out to a nurse you know, and see if you can help by bringing them the supplies they need.
5. Make a donation
There are numerous campaigns dedicated to raising funds for nurses. Consider making a donation to the American Nurses Foundation, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses or a local nursing school.
Nurses working on the front line of the pandemic deserve to be reminded that they’re valued. This year for Nurses Month, consider reaching out and showing your appreciation.
3 special ways to celebrate Mother’s Day
Do you want to pull out all the stops for Mother’s Day this year? Whether your mom lives nearby or far away, here are a few ways to celebrate the occasion.
Host an event your mom will never forget by choosing a theme. You could make the celebration a beach party, a Victorian ball, a Mexican fiesta, a casino night soirée, or a Great Gatsby-style bash. Consider your mom’s tastes and get creative. Think about the decorations, costumes, music, and other details so everyone can truly immerse themselves in the chosen universe.
Celebrate your mom by doing something together that you know she enjoys. It could be a walk in the forest, a visit to a museum, a day at the spa, a hot air balloon ride, or a wine tasting at a local vineyard. If Mom preferred to stay home, consider playing board games or having a movie marathon with all of her favorite snacks. Give her a unique experience, and she’s sure to be pleased by your thoughtfulness.
If you can’t get together with your mom in person, organize a video call that shows her how much you care. You could read her a letter or poem you wrote for the occasion, share a festive meal together despite the distance or play an assortment of games to brighten up her day.
So, what kind of celebration will you put together for Mother’s Day?
Flowers for the mothers in your life
Giving flowers on Mother’s Day is a time-honored tradition. If you’re looking to show your mom, your grandmother or the mother of your children that you care, here are some suggestions.
Fresh bouquets are sure to please the ladies in your life. Offer them bundles of cut roses, gerberas, tulips, camellias, carnations, irises, lilies or birds of paradise. Select blooms in their favorite colors or fragrances, or let your florist make a custom arrangement.
Flowers for the garden
If the mother you’re celebrating has a green thumb, consider giving her a new plant for her garden. Pretty perennials like primroses and peonies or flowering shrubs like rhododendrons and lilacs are all good choices. Assess the landscaping of the yard to help you make the right choice. Alternatively, ask a professional at your local nursery for suggestions.
Flowering potted plants
There are many types of flowering plants that make great Mother’s Day gifts. You could get an African violet or orchid for her home, or a hanging basket or rose bush for her yard. Just be sure the person receiving your gift is interested in keeping the plant alive. When in doubt, look for easy-to-care-for plants like peace lilies and Christmas cacti.
Regardless of what type of flowers you buy for Mother’s Day, remember to include a card. The best part about your gift is sure to be that it came from you.
4 Mother’s Day gifts to help Mom relax
Mother’s Day is May 9th
Would you like to help your mom relax and unwind this Mother’s Day? If so, here are a few gift ideas that may be a good fit.
1. An overnight stay at a hotel
There’s nothing like a change of scenery, even a brief one, to take the edge off the daily grind. Depending on her tastes, opt for something sleek and polished in town or quaint and charming off the beaten track. With room service and onsite amenities, Mom will be able to indulge in a little pampering.
2. A home-delivered meal
Help your mom take a break from cooking by serving her a meal she doesn’t have to make. Order a dish she loves from her favorite restaurant or buy the ingredients to prepare it yourself. Either way, she’s sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.
3. A basket of bath products
Give your mother an excuse to bask in the bath by offering her an assortment of goods. Put together a basket filled with a bubble bath, a sponge, scented candles, a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, and other treats for a relaxing experience.
4. A spa treatment and massage
This guaranteed anti-stress remedy is the perfect way to help Mom unwind. If you’re not sure which types of massages and treatments she would enjoy, opt for a gift card from a place that offers a variety of services.
From scented oil diffusers and adult coloring books to foot massagers and facial steamers, there are many other gifts that can help your mom relax. Look for these and other products and services in your region.
April 30 is National Arbor Day
Beautify your world: Plant a tree
Founded by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day is a secular day of observance to encourage individuals and groups to plant trees.
Trees are an energy-saving home improvement. They can be as important to energy conservation as insulation or weather-tight windows and doors. They save energy by cooling with shade in the summer and by providing a windbreak in winter. Three strategically placed shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30 percent.
Deciduous trees shed their leaves during the winter. They provide shade and block heat during hotter months. By dropping their leaves in the fall, they admit sunlight in the colder months. Place these trees on the south and west sides of buildings. Shade hard surfaces, such as driveways, to minimize heat load.
Evergreens retain their leaves or needles throughout the year. As windbreaks, they can help conserve a significant amount of energy that would otherwise go toward home heating. Place them on the north side of your home. Evergreens also provide shade in the summer.