Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saint Rita

Saint Rita reminds us that there is no such thing as hopelessness. When you feel you can't cope, she wants you to know this is a temporary state, and it will pass. It's hard to find strength sometimes, and asking for help to get through a rough time is a good idea. 

Rita had a difficult time, which is why she is the patroness of desperate people, lonely people, and women in bad marriages. She was sent off at age 12 to be married (to a rough man who was the equivalent of a gangster in that era. He bragged about his infidelities to her and beat and raped her.) She bore him two sons. After two decades of abuse at her husband's hands, some other criminals tortured him to death and brought his mutilated body to her doorstep. She had her sons, which meant the world to her, but they became ill and died, and  then she was alone. She decided to become a nun, something she had thought about a lot over the years. She was considered totally unacceptable, but she kept appearing in the cloisters, no matter what type of security was in place -- she would just appear in the middle of the other nuns.  She was eventually admitted, and given the the task of watering and guarding a dry twig stuck in the ground. 

While praying one day a thorn pierced her forehead and the wound would never completely heal. She lived with it for more than a dozen years. The thorn appeared to shoot out of the crown of thorns on a statue of Jesus, but when the other nuns rushed to examine it, it was a real thorn, not anything from the statue of Jesus. They examined the statue as well. (they had all seen a ray of light and what appeared to be a thorn flying into Rita's forehead.) 

Rita's  dry twig transformed in minutes one day into a healthy blooming rose bush, convincing the other nuns that there was   ... something about Rita ... after all. Rita never saw her life as hopeless, even when she lost her beloved sons, or lived without friends, respect or love. 

Rita watches over persons born on May 22nd and women who have heavy menstrual cycles as a result of stress, a bad marriage, or tumors. In modern day Italy, many women are still very devoted to Saint Rita. 
A prayer to Saint Rita:
Saint Rita, help me free my heart from burdens and sorrow, give me the strength to get through hardships and restore peace to my tormented spirit.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When The Last Teacher Dies...

What a gravestone! This teacher figured once she was gone, school as we know it would cease to exist. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Theme Day - Steps after Death

According to the New York Life website these are the steps that one should take after a loved one dies:
  1. Contact a funeral director. Following the death of a loved one, families usually rely upon a funeral director for guidance. A director can help make arrangements for funeral services and burials. He or she also can provide multiple certified copies of the death certificate (you'll need them for credit card companies, mortgage lenders, etc.).
  2. Locate important papers. Aside from any insurance policies, remember to think about safe-deposit boxes, business agreements, bankbooks, and securities certificates; real estate deeds; wills; recent copies of income tax return forms, W-2 forms and other records of earning; Social Security number; marriage and birth certificates; military discharge papers, Veterans Administration claim number; automobile registration; and installment payment books.
  3. Call the deceased's lawyer to help with the will, if there is one. When a loved one dies, you should seek legal advice on such matters as re-recording property deeds and the disposition of stocks, bonds, and savings. Also, the disbursement of the insured's business and estate assets, and the drawing up of a will for the widow or widower, will require immediate attention.
  4. Contact your tax attorney and financial advisor for help with taxes. You may need to pay estate taxes, gift taxes, as well as income taxes for the previous year of the deceased's life. You have nine months after the decedent's death to pay federal estate taxes, if the gross estate exceeds $1 million in 2003 or $1.5 million in 2004.
  5. Visit a trust officer. An important resource for survivors, a trust officer is an expert financial advisor who deals in investments, estate settlements, and household finances.
  6. Notify the post office of the death. Also, go through the deceased's mail and cancel subscriptions, phone and utility services, advises This link will open an external site in a new browser.
  7. Gather unpaid bills. Many installment loans, service contracts, and credit card accounts are covered by credit life insurance, which pays off the account balance in the event of the death of a customer. If the bills are not covered, consult your financial advisor about whether to pay them, as the debt may lower the total taxable estate.
  8. Make changes to, or cancel, ownership registrations, advises CNNMoney. This link will open an external site in a new browser. These registrations include cars, securities, real estate, bank accounts, credit cards, banking accounts, safe-deposit box, and homeowner, health and/or life insurance policies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pet Cemeteries

Home burial of pets is illegal in some places, so a cemetery or cremation may be the only options for people who do not want to dispose of their pet in a dumpster or landfill.

This is Sea Breeze Pet Cemetery in California, where they have flat plaques instead of headstones. They also have mausoleums for larger pets (Horses, elephants, what have you.)

Hartsdale NY: Over 70,000 pets rest in peace in one of the oldest pet cemeteries in the nation. 
Traditional standing headstones are available.