As I mentioned earlier, this afternoon we made a couple crafts and had a (tea-less) Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Altagracia, inspired by yet another one of Alice's amazing Liturgical Teas. This one is is based on the Novena prayer to Our Lady of Altagracia, which was translated by Helen from the original Spanish!
~ Our Mother's Hand's ~
Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. Look at us here, prostrate in your presence, desiring to offer you this novena as a testimony of our love for you and in thanksgiving for the innumerable favors that we have received from your hands.
For this activity, the children made:
"Our Mother's Hands" Stained Glass Windows
"Our Mother's Hands" Stained Glass Windows
~ The Love of our Hearts ~
You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.
For this activity, the children all created "love notes" to our dear Mother Mary. I gave them each a large red heart shaped doily (I picked up a pack of 16 from the Dollar Store), a smaller white heart cut out of copy paper, and a pile of stickers.
~ Three Graces Tea Menu ~
1. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, all pure and Immaculate from your Conception! We beseech you to bless us, your children, with the grace to love the purity you practiced and to preserve the innocence of our children. Hail Mary…
2. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, admirable model of Christian mothers and wives in the humble house of Nazareth, we beseech you to bless our homes, making them flourish in the holiness of matrimony. Hail Mary…
3. Oh sweetest Mother of Altagracia, you received into your arms the Holy Infant who died for us on the Cross, we give you all of our sufferings, so that at the hour of our death we may die with the name of Jesus on our lips and in our hearts, and fly to heaven with the help of your maternal arms. Hail Mary …
"The Novena specifies the three graces we request from Our Lady, and the menu offerings of the tea reflect them in a simple way."
1. Love of Purity ~ White ranch dip represents purity and will go well with the vegetables in the next menu offering. This reminds us of the perfect purity of the Holy Family.
2. Home Blessing ~ This next offering reminds us of the humble home of the Holy Family in Nazareth, and we ask for a shower of blessings upon our homes, making them flourish in the holiness of matrimony. Since Our Lady of Altagracia is patroness of the Dominican Republic, Alice suggests "we remember "Home Blessings" with produce that grows in this, her chosen homeland: snap peas or pea pods. When you break open the side of the pod, the peas inside look like a family in their house. "
3. Maternal Arms ~ In the last supplication we ask for the grace of flying to Heaven with the help of Our Lady's maternal arms. For this offering Alice suggests serving small twisted pretzels. She says, "The original German pretzels were meant to represent arms crossed in prayer, but I think they would make a wonderful maternal embrace for these purposes"
I also served a bowl of White (Our Lady's Purity) Pretzels (Maternal Arms).
~ Treats for Our Lady of Altagracia ~
For a delicious dessert in honor of Our Lady of Altagracia, Alice suggests serving caramelized bananas over coffee ice cream since the chief exports of the Dominican Republic are coffee, sugar and bananas.
Directions: To carmelize the bananas, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the bananas in half and sprinkle with butter and brown sugar. Bake about 7 minutes or so. If this is too difficult, use plain ripe bananas over coffee ice cream--or even vanilla ice cream with bananas and a drizzle of coffee syrup.
The next treat I made was a crown of stars for the "beautiful lady with golden skin and a crown of stars." ~ excerpt from A Gift of Gracias: The Legend of Altagracia I placed our little hand painted Our Lady of Altagracia doll in the center.
Our Lady of Altagracia's Chocolate Stars
Our Lady of Altagracia Orange Smoothies
You can find the recipe from this delicious drink at Catholic Cuisine.
Holy Virgin of Altagracia!
From your hands and your maternal heart we receive each day the sustenance that you give to us from Our Father in heaven. You are our defense in danger, our indispensable help in our necessities and our hope in the sacrifices required of the Christian life. Through your Immaculate Heart we desire to pay tribute to God with a hymn of thanksgiving for all the benefits you have distributed. We promise you, Oh Mother, gratitude and fidelity. You will always reign in our homes and in our town, where all venerate you as Our Lady and Mother, you who make all virtues increase and thrive. We are honored to be called your children. We hope to finish our lives serving God and you until we reach the highest grace possible, the grace you will help us to attain, the great gift of heaven itself. Amen.