Born of Wonder
Born of Wonder Sound Escape
Finding Our Rhythm in the Liturgical Year with Kristin Haakenson
15
0:00
-55:57

Finding Our Rhythm in the Liturgical Year with Kristin Haakenson

a joyful discovery of story, tradition, art, and faith
15
Cross-post from Born of Wonder
It was a real delight to get to chat about the liturgical calendar with ever-lovely Katie Marquette on her Born of Wonder podcast! -

Before I became Catholic, I was completely enamored with the saints. I don’t particularly know why, other than they seemed so compelling, so radical, so extreme, and I’ve always been drawn to people who ‘went all the way’ when it came to their convictions. Disagree with them or not, they believed something, and they lived it out. That was, and is, endlessly appealing to me.

There were stories of levitations and mystical visions and stigmata. There were stories of cold stone churches brought back to life by the fiery love of a roving visionary, preaching repentance, promising hope. There were wandering saints lost in the wild, saints debating with pagan heroes (St. Patrick and Oisin!). There were holy friendships and bitter fights, imprisonments, beheadings, fiery martyrdoms. I was enthralled.

Then there was St. Catherine of Siena, an Italian laywoman and Third Order Dominican (known at the time as ‘the mantellates’). She personally helped heal the Church from schism, negotiated peace with the Florentine Republic, wrote hundreds of important letters, and left behind a monument of mystical writing, The Dialogue. I wrote my senior thesis on St. Catherine of Siena and her radical asceticism and came to have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for her.

As I finally shut my laptop, my final draft complete, I noted the date. April 29th. I can still remember the shivers that went down my spine.

St. Catherine’s death day.

I had, without intending to, completed my thesis on her feast day.

Saint Catherine of Siena', Lombard artist, 17th century

This wouldn’t be the first time I would have fortuitous encounters with saints or liturgical seasons. This entire project, Born of Wonder, has its roots in a specific trip to a Cathedral on September 3rd, St. Gregory the Great’s feast day (St Gregory who said, ‘we make idols of our concepts, but wisdom is born of wonder’).

I picked my confirmation saint, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, on her feast day (again, unknowingly), and it turned out she was also my confirmation sponsor’s confirmation saint (I only later learned!).

There was the time I left confession needing some kind of sign and then saw Lenten roses blooming for the first time underneath the statue of Mary, on the first day of Lent.

I could go on. Coincidences, maybe. But to me, they have become part of a pattern of life that has become infused with meaning and purpose, a participation in not only the daily realities of my own moment in time, but in a heavenly and eternal reality that exists in the rhythms of feast days and liturgical seasons. This engagement with the sacramental imagination has rooted me in tradition and ritual and continuity, things we need so badly in our disconnected, rootless modern age.

The liturgical year is still overwhelming to me. It doesn’t come naturally at all. I grew up with the barebones of Christian awareness, Christmas and Easter, the classic and most common variety. Candlemas and Nativities and the Annunciation and Advent and even ‘Ordinary Time’… Foreign concepts to me. So practicing my faith, in a largely secular environment, can often feel like I’m an awkward tourist stumbling through the few phrases I learned on Duolingo. How does this go again?

But over time, I’ve grown more comfortable in embracing liturgical traditions as they make sense to me. That means gathering flowers, bursting sprigs of Siberian buegloss, and crowning Mary on May 1st every Spring.

(It also means letting the toddler help me crown the dog as well.)

If you ever hear snoring on the podcast… Blame Bruce.

It means that when my daughter became enamored with a framed painting of St. George killing the dragon, we ‘celebrated’ his feast day by getting her an icon and lighting beeswax candles from the honey harvest festival (hitherto to be known as “the St. George candles”).1

Liturgical living can be simple. It can be complex. But it must be lived. It cannot be a history project or a reenactment. And for it to be real, it has to be celebrated and understood in some sort of community.

And here to help us make sense of all this - and inspire us to live a rooted, embodied, seasonal, in-tune, life - is

, the writer and artist behind the sacred-seasonal liturgical living missive . Kristin is a beautiful writer, rooted in story and history, and she beautifully weaves the rhythms of the agrarian year with the rhythms of the Church. She makes connections I had never thought of (stay tuned for our discussion on the nativities of Christ and St. John the Baptist!) and brings a genuine joy to the liturgical year that makes the discovery of feast days and ancient traditions seem not overwhelming, but exciting, - delightful! A treasure trove to be enjoyed.

Some of Kristin’s beautiful art for St. Mark’s Feast Day (why the frog? Check out the newsletter to learn more!)

On the podcast, Kristin and I discuss how to feel rooted, both in place and in faith, in a modern age opposed to both. We also discuss how to find community, make the liturgical year a living reality, and how to celebrate with presence and tradition no matter whether you’re in an urban or agricultural setting.

I’m so thrilled Kristin took the time to chat with me and I hope you tune in. There is so much wisdom here - and of course, check out her beautiful writing and art. I hope this conversation gives you a lot to think about and also helps us appreciate the rich tradition of story, art, ritual, and celebration that we have in the Christian faith.

Cheers x

Katie

If you’d prefer to listen to this podcast elsewhere, just look up Born of Wonder on iTunes, Spotify, Podbean, wherever you download your podcasts!

Thank you for reading Born of Wonder. This post is public so feel free to share it.

Share

I’m co-leading a trip to Ireland in October 2024 with

! The closer we get to the trip happening, the more excited and delighted I am thinking about the magical experience we’re going to have. I think Christy and I both were on exactly the same page when it came to the sort of pace we wanted - plenty of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, balanced out with plenty of time to chat, relax, and enjoy one another’s company. Most of all I’m so excited that we get to just let the professional guides from Select do all the work. I’m sure I speak for all parents, well just for everyone generally, when I say it is absolutely luxurious to think of just being able to show up and have everything, from transportation to hotels to itinerary, ready to go! You just get to enjoy.

If we’re thinking of traditions of yore, a pilgrimage is the true reencounter with the Christian faith. Wander the saint-scattered hills of this ancient and storied country with a group of fellow travelers ready to explore and delight in the world. We have a great crew already signed up, from a variety of different backgrounds, and I hope you’ll consider joining us.2

Here’s some of the highlights:

The famous Kilbeggan Whisky Distillery

The Marian Shrine at Knock

Hiking to the top of Croagh Patrick, St. Patrick’s Holy Mountain where he fasted for 40 days and nights

A traditional sheep-herding demonstration with the Joyce Country Sheepdogs

Afternoon tea at Ashford Castle

Traditional live music in the heart of the countryside

The Rock of Cashel, the home of kings and queens for over 900 years

Holy Cross Abbey

The famously stunning monastery founded by St. Kevin at Glendalough

The Cliffs of Moher

Irish coffee making demonstration

St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College to see the Book of Kells

A Literary Pub Tour through Dublin

The Guinness Factory

Download the brochure / Commonly asked questions / Sign up!

1

Funny true story - we don’t play tag, we play “St George killing the dragon” - her invention!

2

Ireland aside - Did you catch

’s latest newsletter about her trip to England? I’m totally having her plan my next trip to the U.K.

Born of Wonder
Born of Wonder Sound Escape
Seasonally and liturgically relevant poetry, song, music, and immersive audio nature-scapes. Put on your headphones and get lost for a little while.
Listen on
Substack App
RSS Feed
Appears in episode
Katie Marquette
Kristin Haakenson