A Tea in Honor of Our Lady of Altagracia


This afternoon my family enjoyed 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


~ 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 ~


Supplications

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
Melt and mold Yellow Chocolate according to directions using a star chocolate mold

Our Lady of Altagracia Orange Smoothies
You can find the recipe from this delicious drink in the archives.


Final Prayer 

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.
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