New online Catholic support available for breastfeeding moms

line break icon


Andrea Solario | Public Domain

Cerith Gardiner – published on 02/28/21

A group of highly qualified moms are sharing their advice and spiritual support for nursing moms.

Being a new mom is tricky at the best of times. However, with COVID-19, many mothers are left feeling alone as they traverse the exciting — but daunting — first few months of motherhood. With regular support groups generally unavailable at the moment, moms are not getting the advice and friendship they desperately need.

Thankfully, help is at hand!

Two experienced mothers, Lexy Backstrom and Christelle Hagen, have set up a virtual Catholic Nursing Mother’s monthly support group, with the aim of helping moms through the challenges and joys of breastfeeding. Discussions will cover birth choices and how they affect breastfeeding, as well as offering moms the opportunity for fellowship and to ask those all-important questions.

Hagen, a mom of seven, has extensive training in the maternal-child health field. While currently a certified birth doula and perinatal loss doula, she has also trained in breastfeeding counseling. She will be using her vital skills acquired over the years with Backstrom, a mom of three who is a certified breastfeeding advocate, enabling her to volunteer her time as a mom-to-mom counselor.

What is particularly inviting about this support group is that it doesn’t just offer practical advice. The moms involved are putting their hearts and souls into helping others, while also serving God. “I have found that the experience of breastfeeding is closely related to the concepts of the theology of the body, in that God wrote a ‘language’ into our bodies that guides us,” Backstrom shared with Aleteia.

Hagen’s experiences as a mom with a son born with serious birth trauma, and delivering a daughter 10 weeks early, have helped her appreciate that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Yet she wants to bring together her experiences and qualifications with her Catholic faith for a beautiful reason:

“As committed Catholic parents striving to live our faith, and be open to life, in a culture that perhaps cannot understand our convictions, we need to support each other in this great and sometimes very difficult vocation of motherhood, including, when possible, breastfeeding. I believe that being a loving sister in Christ means I need to help my sister in this manner of living out her vocation as a mother, using the skills and knowledge that God has given me,” Hagen told Aleteia.

Backstrom also wants to help moms see how breastfeeding is God’s way of guiding them through early motherhood and beyond:

“Even when breastfeeding is ‘easy,’ it’s still a huge commitment, and fully engaging in that can allow God to form us in ways we never knew existed. Throughout the phases of my children’s development, I recall occasions of sleepless nights when nursing my child for comfort or to get back to sleep was such a challenge but a clear opportunity for me to give myself over to God’s plan for my life in that moment.”

The two moms will be collaborating with Gina Peterson, a mom of five who, as an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) since 2007, has a wealth of experience to offer. And as the executive director of the Catholic Nursing Mothers League since 2009, she’ll be able to offer spiritual support while helping to explain the benefits of ecological breastfeeding.

The online meetings will start March 1 with a morning and evening session offered once a month. If you’d like to join this caring group of professionally trained, supportive, and experienced breastfeeding mothers, go to their website here and sign up for their free sessions.

5 Theological truths to see in the Transfigured Christ

line break icon


Titan | Public Domain

Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP – published on 02/28/21

Wipe away your tears this Sunday, cast out all sleep from your eyes.

Atheophany is a revelation of God to man, when God makes himself plainly known. As examples, we might think of Moses’ discovery of the burning bush or Paul’s encounter with God on the road to Damascus. The Transfiguration is one such event, when the disciples see the glory of the Lord.

But what did they see? St. Thomas Aquinas suggests that in the Transfiguration, Christ allows his disciples to glimpse his glorified body; this is a glimpse of the radiant appearance of Christ after our Lord suffered his passion. 

But why? Here’s where Aquinas offers something really rich. He says, 

Our Lord, after foretelling His Passion to His disciples, had exhorted them to follow the path of His sufferings (Matthew 16:21-24). Now in order that anyone go straight along a road, he must have some knowledge of the end: thus an archer will not shoot the arrow straight unless he first see the target.

Christ was transfigured, meaning, the brilliance of his soul shone forth from inside of him, allowing his disciples to see the radiance of his charity. Such is the state of the heavenly host: brilliant and splendid. For the disciples it was a revelation, a vision of the good things to come.

But what do we see as we contemplate this mystery? What should our hearts and minds fix upon as we turn this mystery over? For there was not just the glory of the Lord, a foretaste of heaven, but Moses and Elijah appeared there speaking with Christ.

Mysteries to see in the vision

Aquinas suggests we are being allowed to see the following great theological truths in this vision.


Moses and Elijah appear speaking with Christ to confirm the apostles’ faith.

Just as Christ confirms his teaching by working miracles, so the appearance of these holy saints demonstrates the truth of Jesus’ teaching. Some have said that Christ is Moses or Elijah, but this could not be, since they have appeared speaking with him.


Christ reveals that he fulfills the law and the prophets.

Christ has come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). Jesus is the last great paschal lamb of Israel. He is the one who has come to save his people from their sins. Standing in conversation with the holy prophets of Israel, Christ shows us that he is at odds neither with the law given by Moses nor the holiness preached by Elijah.


Christ teaches he is judge of the living and the dead.

Each Sunday as we recite the Creed, we profess our belief that Christ is the judge of all. Elijah, having been assumed into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11), here represents the living. Moses, having died (Deut. 34:5), represents the dead. It is Christ who stands between them, the lord of creation, who holds the keys to life and death.


Christ gives reassurance to the apostles.

Not only does our Lord confirm the apostles’ faith, but he affirms them, encouraging their fidelity. Moses and Elijah followed God’s will at great cost. Their lives are examples of sacrifice, and yet their presence alongside Christ reveals the rewards God has planned for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9).


In holding conversation with Moses and Elijah, Christ upholds two great virtues of the Gospel.

In Moses, we see meekness. He veils his face before God, and insists that Aaron be his spokesman, not believing himself up to the task. Elijah shows us zeal for the Lord. At the raising of the son of the widow of Zarephath and at the contest with the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18) we see Elijah confident and zealous for the Lord. Elijah worked many miracles by his prayer, inspiring great faithfulness to the God of Israel.

Do we see these mysteries as we gaze on Christ?

Do we see these mysteries as we gaze on Christ? Perhaps our eyes are tired from straining. Perhaps we have not opened them to try to see. Perhaps we are not reliant on the graces of the sacraments to strengthen our vision. Wipe away your tears this Sunday, cast out all sleep from your eyes. Christ is calling to you this Lent; he invites you to see him more clearly.

The mystery of the Transfiguration is the glimpse of things to come: a vision of future glory in the face of present struggle and suffering. As we continue our Lenten journeys, cling to the vision of the glorified Christ, the promise of refulgent life to come.

Trump beats out 17 others in Washington Times-CPAC straw poll

President Trump is the early leader among conservatives for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, according to The Washington Times/CPAC poll released Sunday — but even if he’s not at the top of the ticket, conservatives said the Trump agenda must be continued.

Read More >

Trump beats out 17 others in Washington Times-CPAC straw poll

President Trump is the early leader among conservatives for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, according to The Washington Times/CPAC poll released Sunday — but even if he’s not at the top of the ticket, conservatives said the Trump agenda must be continued.

Read More >

Trump tears into Biden, GOP critics in first post-presidency speech


Just In…


Trump tears into Biden, GOP critics in first post-presidency speech

Former President Trump lashed into President Biden and his own Republican critics on Sunday during his first major address since leaving office, as he looks to leave a permanent stamp on the GOP amid speculation he will run again in 2024.

“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go,” Trump told a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla. 

In a speech that lasted well over an hour, Trump tore into Biden’s fledgling presidency by hitting him over topics ranging from immigration to the pandemic to trade to transgender rights. He labeled Biden’s administration as “anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science.” 

The address in particular mirrored Trump’s first speech as a presidential candidate in 2015 in its heavy emphasis on immigration and the border.

“They may be killers, they may be rapists, they may be drug smugglers, you take them and you release them into our country,” he said, referring to undocumented migrants. 

Trump also took aim at Biden’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, taking credit for the vaccine distribution in the U.S. 

“I handed the new administration a modern-day medical miracle,” he said referring to the vaccine. 

“I pushed the FDA like they have never been pushed before,” he continued. “They have never been pushed like I pushed them. I didn’t like them at all, but once we got it done, I said ‘I now love you very much.’”

Trump also hit on hot-button conservative issues, including moves to allow transgender females to participate in female sports. 

“What coach wants to recruit a young woman if her record could be easily broken by someone who was born a man?” he said. “I think it’s crazy. We must protect the integrity of women’s spots.”

Trump used the opportunity to continue to falsely say multiple times that he won the 2020 presidential election, while calling for implementing further voting restrictions. At one point, his comments on the 2020 election elicited chants of “you won” from the crowd. 

The address comes amid a deepening rift in the Republican Party. The former president, who was lavished with praise and adoration during the four-day event in Orlando, looks to tighten his grip on a party that has seen its internal divisions spill out into plain view after the events of Jan. 6, which saw a pro-Trump mob storm the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Trump used his speech at CPAC to publicly target his GOP critics, name-checking Republicans who supported his impeachment, including Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah). 

He took particular aim at House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), who said earlier this week that Trump should not be in a position to lead the party. 

“And the warmonger, the person who loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney,” Trump said. “Hopefully they’ll get rid of her with the next election. Get rid of ‘em all.”

“If Republicans do not stick together, the RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party,’” he added. 

Prior to his speech, Trump won the CPAC straw poll that found 55 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him in a hypothetical 2024 GOP primary. 

The former president also ruled out starting a new party, saying there was no reason to split GOP votes. “We will be united and strong like never before,” Trump said. 

The event in Orlando underscored just how strong Trump’s influence remains in the GOP as the party looks to regain majorities in the House and Senate in 2022.

“Trumpism means strong borders,” Trump said. “It means law enforcement. It means very strong protection for the Second Amendment.”

“It means support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years,” he continued. 

And Trump did not rule out running again in 2024. He repeatedly teased the possibility throughout his speech, drawing loud cheers cheers from the crowd. 

“We will first take back the House and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who that will be?” he said at the end of his address, to a boisterous ovation. 

Trump wins CPAC straw poll with 55 percent


Just In…

Former President Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll on Sunday, with 55 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him in a hypothetical 2024 primary.

In the straw poll that demonstrated Trump’s hold on the GOP, 21 percent said they’d vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and 4 percent said they’d go with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R).


Almost 7 in 10 of the poll’s participants said they would like to see Trump run for president in 2024, compared with 15 percent who said they would not and 17 percent who said they were unsure. 

Ninety-five percent said they want the Republican Party to continue with Trump’s agenda and policies, with 3 percent saying the GOP should change direction and 2 percent saying they were uncertain. 

The CPAC straw poll also asked respondents who they would support for president in a theoretical race if Trump was not a candidate. The results showed DeSantis with a wide lead at 43 percent support.

In that race, Noem came behind the Florida governor at 11 percent, followed by Donald Trump Jr. at 8 percent and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) both at 7 percent.

“So again you see how important to everybody here — the grassroots, the base of the conservative movement, the base of the Republican Party — it is either President Trump or a Trump candidate,” pollster Jim McLaughlin, who announced the poll’s results at CPAC, said.

The poll ended up recording a 97 percent approval rating for Trump’s job performance, including 87 percent who strongly approved.

McLaughlin declared the outcome of the poll just before the former president’s anticipated speech at CPAC.

The speech is his first major appearance since he was replaced as president and comes as Trump aims to hold on to his leadership role in the GOP following his second impeachment after the Capitol riot.

Despite public fractures in the party over the past few weeks, Republicans sought to show the GOP united during CPAC.

Updated at 4:30 p.m.