“The Gatchina Palace” egg by the House of Fabergé. Photo Credit: Walters Art Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0.

What’s small, white, oval, and has a miniature replica of the Russian Gatchina Palace inside? You’re not mistaken if you initially thought of an egg. Of course, the Gatchina Palace Fabergé Egg isn’t your average grade A large white egg that you would buy in a carton at the supermarket. Fabergé Eggs are anything but average. They are, in a word, sublime.

The egg in question was made by Mikhail Perkhin in 1901 for Tsar Nicholas II, who gave it to his mother, the dowager empress Marie Fedorovna, as an Easter present. Mikhail Perkhin was a workmaster in the House of Fabergé, the jewelry firm started by Gustav Fabergé, a German jeweler who settled in St. Petersburg. It was Gustav’s son, Peter Carl Fabergé, who was the initial creator of the highly celebrated Fabergé Eggs.

Defining the Sublime

According to Sir Edmund Burke, “the sublime is the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling.” In his book Return to Order, John Horvat II defines the sublime as: “those things of transcendent excellence that cause souls to be overawed by their magnificence.” These are moments when panoramas, works of art, architecture or even excellent cuisine provoke a jaw-dropping and enthusiastic “Wow!” to escape from our lips. A Fabergé Egg provokes the same reaction.

The detail of the Gatchina Palace egg is stunning. At a mere three inches tall, the cannons, windows, trees and flag of the palace are clearly distinguishable. The exterior of the egg is skillfully crafted of gold, enamel, silver-gilt, diamonds, rock crystal, and seed pearls. These precious materials are individually treasured, but using them together to create a single object makes them priceless. However, what makes the Fabergé Egg so valuable is not the monetary price of the materials, but the skill and mastery of craftsmanship used to create it.

The Sublime: A Fruit of Christian Civilization

Why make something so precious in the form of an egg? The answer is simple: this is a fruit of Christian civilization. Civilization works precisely in this manner. It takes that which is ordinary and makes it extraordinary. Civilization uplifts and elevates even the most common and practical aspects of life. In the Middle Ages, Christian civilization flourished throughout Europe, and gave rise to the establishment of universities, the construction of grandiose cathedrals and the end of slavery. It goes to show that, because of Christian civilization, even a form as plain as an egg can be made into a treasure worthy of a king.

History of the Fabergé Eggs

The custom of gifting an enameled Easter egg to the dowager empress Marie Fedorovna was started by her husband Tsar Alexander III in 1885. Although the reason why Alexander III started giving the jeweled eggs to his wife at Easter is unclear, it is a fitting present in relation to an ancient Easter tradition. Early Christians celebrated Easter by giving presents of colored eggs to one another. The symbolism was threefold. Eggs dyed red represented the blood Our Lord had shed. It was also part of the Lenten fast to abstain from eating eggs. Lastly, when the egg shell was cracked open and left empty, it symbolized the empty tomb following Jesus’ resurrection. This custom continued through history and became a widely practiced tradition in Russia and Europe. The Fabergé Egg could be called the culmination of the Easter egg tradition. It is the apotheosis of the Easter egg.

The first commission Peter Carl Fabergé received was for the Hen Egg. Like a Russian nesting doll, it contained a spherical gold yolk that enclosed a jeweled hen, which in turn opened upon a minute diamond replica of the imperial crown from which a small ruby pendant hung. The empress was so enamored by the egg that Tsar Alexander bestowed the title “goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown” on Peter Fabergé, and from thenceforth commissioned him to make a new egg every year. Tsar Alexander entrusted the design of future eggs to Fabergé, so long as each one was unique and contained a surprise. After Alexander III’s death, his son, Tsar Nicholas II, continued the custom by presenting an egg to both his mother, the dowager empress Marie Fedorovna, and his wife Alexandra Fedorovna.

by Evan Olwell

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Cussing is like a virus.  It has spread virtually everywhere:  TV, movies, music, books, and daily conversation. Like every bad habit, it’s hard to stop.  So here are eight compelling reasons to kick the bad habit and STOP cussing.

1. Real Men Don’t Cuss

Real men know that vulgarity doesn’t breed character and virtue.  So they don’t cuss.

In fact, George Washington issued the following order in 1776:

“The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing (a vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it.”

2. Cussing Degrades Us

Foul language, cussing, and cursing is vulgar, indecent and irreverent.  The constant use of foul language drags us down and undermines mutual respect. For example, if a teacher uses foul language in the classroom, he shows an appalling lack of respect for his students, no self-control, and utter irreverence for his position as teacher.

But someone might object:  “A few foul words won’t hurt anyone, right?”  Wrong.  As author Paul Bourget said: “One must live as one thinks, under pain of sooner or later ending up thinking as one has lived.”  In other words, if we use dirty language, we open the door to dirty thoughts and dirty behavior.

3. Cussing Harms Civilization

The art of conversation is one of the most important traits of civilization.  Elevated conversation sets true civilization apart from barbarism.  When each word is used in its proper context, human relations are cultivated and elevated.  There’s nothing more uplifting than good conversation.

Cussing, however, wreaks havoc on good conversation. It drags human relations into the mud of banality and vulgarity.  It’s brutalizing and barbaric.

St. Francis de Sales teaches us how to handle a foul-mouth: “Show that you are displeased by turning away, or by whatever other method your discretion may indicate.”

4.  Cussing Desensitizes Us

The more we hear foul words the more we become desensitized to them.  When movies first introduced cuss words, most people didn’t like it.  But over a period of time, that resistance slowly diminished.  Rejection for cussing was worn down and before long the sense of right and wrong was numbed.

Whenever we fail to explicitly reject something that is wrong, we implicitly tend to accept it.  Consequently, the unacceptable becomes acceptable.  And the bar of decency falls lower and lower.

5.  Cussing Broadcasts Bad Example

For good or for ill the example we give in our speech is noticed and imitated.  The words we use cause an impact on our peers.  Our example is educational.  The words we use educate.  We are constantly imitating or being imitated.  That interplay of influence holds even more sway over children.

Hollywood pop-stars produce a steady stream of verbal garbage that aims to glamorize and normalize foul language.  If we want to lift American culture out of the mud, a good place to begin is to stop cussing.

6.  Cussing Spreads Verbal and Mental Poverty

With upwards of 200,000 words, the English language is incredibly rich.  All sorts of descriptive and interesting words are at our disposal to help us craft ideas full of meaning and purpose.

But our vocabulary is degrading.  Even in the halls of higher learning, college students frequently use the same cuss word to describe joy, rage, surprise, and approval and disapproval.  As a result, speech is rendered meaningless.  And the mind — which is the most noble aspect of man — is impoverished.

As the Irish proverb goes: “Profanity is ignorance made audible.”

7.  Cussing is Connatural with Sin

Man’s unruly passions welcome cussing.  When ungodly men are confronted or challenged, they frequently resort to the same response:  cussing and vulgar insults.

TFP Student Action volunteers see this so often on college campuses.  When pro-homosexual activists see our banners that proclaim “God’s Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman,” the response is invariably the same:  They cuss.

Cussing is the language of the movements that promote sin.

8.  Cussing Is Not Pleasing to God

Sacred Scripture clearly addresses the profanity problem.

“But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

In Proverbs, we read:

“The mouth of the just shall bring forth wisdom: the tongue of the perverse shall perish. The lips of the just consider what is acceptable: and the mouth of the wicked uttereth perverse things” (Proverbs 10:31-32).

Ecclesiasticus adds:

“Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have perished by their own tongue” (Eccles. 28:22).

Do you want to help others kick the cussing habit? Then share this article.

God bless you.

 

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First published as 8 Reasons to Stop Cussing on TFPStudentAction.org

In our polarized nation, no other word causes so much confusion as freedom. Everyone claims to fight for freedom. Each side in the political debate claims the other is an enemy of freedom.

And yet, it seems we have less and less freedom. We have lost the meaning of the word. When no one knows what freedom is, it becomes whatever we want it to be. Each side understands it in a different sense and thus plays by different rules. The resulting chaos is tearing our nation apart.

Making Distinctions About Freedom

In his excellent book, The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols, the Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko defines two classical types of freedom. These distinctions do much to explain our present plight both on the right and the left.

One category is negative and the other positive. The two are not necessarily contradictory and are generally complementary. However, when distorted and misunderstood, the two can cause conflicts like those we now see.

The Perils of Negative Freedom

The first type is negative freedom. When thinking of freedom, most people think of negative freedom. It means the absence of coercion. By this freedom, no one stops us from doing what we want as long as we do not hurt others by our actions.

This is a legitimate freedom that involves the unrestrained exercise of the will. We enjoy this freedom because the human soul does not function well under coercion. We need space where we can act uninhibited.

However, we cannot have a society where total or absolute negative freedom rules. To live together in peace, we must give up some negative freedom by accepting restrictions. There must be rules to keep things peaceful.

However, modernity, especially individualism and liberalism, holds absolute negative freedom as an ideal. And that is where things start to go wrong. Many people come to think that freedom only means a regime of no limitations or restrictions, regardless of the consequences.

Negative freedom works well when we live lives of virtue. In a society of vice where people want bad things without restraint, it can be disastrous.

The Positive Value of Ordered Liberty

The second type of freedom is positive freedom, which Prof. Legutko defines as “a set of qualities and conditions needed to achieve important aims.”

Positive freedom assumes the development of character, talents and virtues that allow us to overcome obstacles so that we might be free to pursue higher goals. Thus, we might deny ourselves the negative freedom of excessive drinking so as to possess the positive freedom of driving without danger.

This definition was what people in ancient, medieval and pre-modern societies understood as freedom. They believed that individuals who did only what they wanted were not free but enslaved to their passions. To be truly free, people must suppress bad habits and addictions. They must pursue important goals with virtues, efforts and qualities that freed them from the slavery of gratification. They could thus find order, the common good and sanctification.

Thus, positive freedom had a stabilizing effect upon society and led to what the Founders often referred to as ordered liberty.

The Destruction of Freedom

With the destructive sexual revolution of the sixties, absolute negative freedom became the dominant paradigm adopted by both right and left. Those on the right falsely believe they can use absolute negative freedom to reach the ordered liberty always sought by conservatives. Meanwhile, the left is willing to bulldoze over everything to impose a regime of absolute negative freedom without taboos and moral restrictions.

Today, nobody talks about positive freedom that builds character and allows progress. Such a concept is portrayed as something hateful that restricts freedom and inhibits individuals. Everyone talks about negative freedom, even as it enslaves those who follow vice and addiction.

As a result, a confused notion of freedom leaves us with a polarized and fragmented society in which everything is allowed in the name of a concept that we can no longer define or classify.

Wrong Notions of Positive and Negative Freedom

Indeed, the confusion increases as each side now adopts wrong notions of positive and negative freedom as part of the strategy to dominate the other.

Conservatives are at a disadvantage. Because only negative freedom is discussed, conservatives ardently defend it as the only freedom needed, even while it destroys the excellent goal of ordered liberty. They need to think in terms of positive freedom.

Liberals reveal their real face. They now defend a pseudo-positive freedom, which they claim allows them to suppress conservative rights to reach their destructive goal of absolute negative freedom to do everything.

Returning Freedom to its Proper Place

A true solution to the problem requires returning each freedom to its proper place.

There is nothing wrong with negative freedom as long as we desire things that are good and virtuous. Then, there is no need for limitation or restraint.

However, absolute negative freedom must be opposed since it easily turns people into slaves of their passions. It can easily give rise to the tyranny that comes from the hatred of legitimate restraints.

Above all, we need a return to positive freedom. Then we might develop our talents, abilities and virtues to overcome the vices and defects that keep us from reaching our full potential.

The interplay of positive and negative freedom allows society to function harmoniously and with the least coercion.

The Moral Problem

Freedom is only a means, not an end. It only works when people have a sense of right and wrong. It has meaning when we follow the first and most basic principle of the natural law written on the hearts of all: do good and avoid evil. Freedom involves moral acts and therefore presupposes natural law and Divine assistance. If we ignore this aspect, we will be delivered to our obsessions and manias.

As Edmund Burke noted: “Men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

by John Horvat II

Presenting the Errors of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution

March 8, 2021

On February 27, 2021, over 40 supporters and friends of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) gathered at the TFP-Louisiana headquarters in Lafayette for a presentation by TFP-Louisiana President Thomas Drake. The topic was “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution.  Mr. Drake’s purpose was to explain that “without the Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution, the Sexual Revolution of the […]

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In a Stumbling World, Lessons from Faith and History Inspire Great Hopes

February 9, 2021

7:00 AM. The drums are rolling the reveille. The smell of brewing coffee is floating through the cabin. A quick glance outside, and a heavy mist conceals the river. So begins another spectacular day of the 2020 TFP Call to Chivalry Fall Camp. 7:50 AM. Cabin and room inspection is over and now it’s time […]

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Pro-Life Caravans Take Over Downtown Austin

January 30, 2021

San Antonio, Texas On January 23, 2021, volunteers with Tradition, Family, Property- Texas (TFP-TX), visited the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the “Stella Maris” pro-life caravan passing through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. This caravan was done despite cancellations of pro-life events in Dallas, Little Rock and Austin. It was a cool morning […]

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Amidst Great Uncertainty, the TFP Pro-Life Caravan Keeps Calm and Carries on

January 28, 2021

After fortifying themselves with Holy Communion at Sunday Mass, members of the Tradition, Family, Property (TFP)-Texas pro-life caravan went to the nearby McCain Mall in North Little Rock to hold a public rosary rally. The January 16 event was in reparation for the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The original plan called for […]

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TFP Caravan Resists Abortion Amid Troubled Seas

January 26, 2021

January traditionally marks a month-long flurry of pro-life activity across the nation. For this reason, Tradition, Family and Property—Texas launched a pro-life winter caravan of young volunteers on January 15. Our objective was to defend the unborn in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. This year is different from all others. The “new normal” caused by government […]

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Is Marxism a Road to Paradise?

January 12, 2021

As part of a series of commentaries on Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira’s book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, the Lafayette center of TFP-Louisiana sponsored a lively illustrated talk December 11th, 2020. After a quick review of the previous talk titled Liberalism, Socialism and Original Sin, Mr. Thomas Drake proceeded into the subject of The Apogee and […]

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When Christ Was Born Of Mary, A Christmas Carol Greeting

December 24, 2020

Amidst the darkness of our troubled days, There shines from a grotto in Bethlehem luminous rays. There the Christ Child awaits us in the manger, To infuse ours souls with serenity and courage to face the danger. Well looked after by good Saint Joseph and Blessed Mother Mary, With infinite goodness and tenderness, He comforts […]

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Vile Exhibit Displays Unborn Babies at Houston Museum of Natural Science

December 2, 2020

Read with Caution: Graphic Content The Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting an exhibit that features over 100+ “sliced-and-diced cadavers, cadaver parts and dissected human organs”. According to the HMNS website, “BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life, a new special exhibition, delivers a breathtaking encounter with the inner workings of the human body […]

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An Urgent Appeal to Resist the Betrayal and Ruin of the West, Flower of Christian Civilization

November 4, 2020

The triple crisis of COVID-19, civil unrest, and economic disaster is now shaking the West’s spiritual and material foundations and the world. This is no ordinary crisis since it questions our time-worn certainties, changes our daily lives, and restricts Church freedom. In the face of this crisis, many are stunned and wonder what went wrong. […]

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Catholic Call to Chivalry Weekend Turns Heads in Coleman, Texas

October 14, 2020

​On the warm afternoon of October 9, 2020, under a vast Texas sky, vans and cars arrived at the Saint John Berchmans Ranch in Coleman, Texas. The vehicles were full of Catholic young men from Louisiana and Texas, eager to participate in a Call to Chivalry weekend, organized and run by Tradition, Family, Property – […]

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College Station Catholics Rally in Support of Police

September 22, 2020

On September 21, 2020, Members of TFP-Texas joined students from Texas A&M University at a large intersection in College Station, Texas for a peaceful Rosary Rally in support of the police. The event was organized by a Catholic Cadet of the University in parallel to the “St. Michael, Protect the Police Rosary Rallies” organized across […]

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Communion on the Tongue: Corona-hysteria’s Tragic Victim

September 15, 2020

The panic surrounding the Chinese virus is claiming an impressive list of victims. These include social relations, the ability to receive standard medical treatment and the world economy. All these have suffered greatly due to ill-conceived restrictions put into place because of hysteria over the spread of CoVid-19. However, none is as tragic or harmful […]

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The Issue is Never the Issue: A Communist Revolution in America

September 7, 2020

​ The horrible choking death on May 25 of black American George Floyd by white former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin caused universal outrage across the American political spectrum. Conservatives no less than liberals called for Chauvin to be charged with murder. The Hennepin County, Minnesota attorney is charging Chauvin—who kept Floyd in a chokehold on […]

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A Medal, a Vision, a Conversion – The Story of Claude Newman

September 1, 2020

By A. F. Philips Newman was a twenty-year-old African-American who, in 1943, awaited execution in a prison in Mississippi. His crime was that of ambushing and shooting a man named Sid Cook, his beloved grandmother’s abusive second husband. One day, noticing a medal hanging around the neck of a fellow prisoner, Claude asked the young […]

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Three Reasons Why Catholics Cannot Support the BLM Revolution

August 24, 2020

​An editorial in The New York Times by Elizabeth Bruenig titled “Racism Makes a Liar of God” presents a sentimental yet stinging indictment of Catholics who reject the present anti-racist activism. She cannot understand why these generally conservative Catholics cannot bring themselves to pronounce the three explosive words: Black Lives Matter. The editorial calls upon […]

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Rosary Rallies Support the Police in Houston, Texas

August 17, 2020

On Saturday August 8, members and friends of TFP-Texas held public rosary rallies at two locations in downtown Houston to support local police. ​Our Police put their lives on the line every day for our protection and the protection of our loved ones. They do this out of love of the principles of law and […]

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Fostering Manly Virtue at the TFP-Texas Sword Demo

August 17, 2020

On Saturday July 25, TFP-Texas hosted a Call to Chivalry Sword Demonstration just north of Houston at it’s regional center in Humble, Texas. Participants enjoyed an afternoon of camaraderie centered around the history and techniques of knightly martial arts. A highlight for participants was the “jug cutting” test. Following the activities outside, the young men […]

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Texans Join DC Rally to Restore America

August 7, 2020

On July 21, 2020, nine young Tradition, Family and Property Texas volunteers traveled to Washington D.C. to join a rosary rally for the nation at the U.S. Capitol Building. The event was part of the American TFP’s nationwide campaign to return the nation to order. The American TFP is in the process of holding Rosary […]

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Taking the Pulse on How the Public Sees the Police

August 7, 2020

​Too often, the media portrays all police as monsters persecuting minorities. They also give the impression that everyone, especially black people, are anti-police. To answer the question of what people really think, 19 volunteers and friends of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP)-Louisiana took to the streets of Lafayette with pro-police signs and the rosary on July […]

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Taking a Stand Against the Sexual Revolution

August 6, 2020

​On July 17-18, 2020, members of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP)-Louisiana united with activists from around the country in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Ruth Institute’s Third Annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution brought together a diverse crowd for both online and in-person presentations. Participants overcame the restrictions making travel more difficult to make the […]

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Order and Chaos Clash in Denver

July 27, 2020

We woke up shivering on the morning of June 19, 2020. The cold had come upon us unexpectedly that night. Upon rising, we scrambled out of our sleeping bags and took down our tents. After a quick breakfast, we left our campsite just outside of Denver, Colorado and headed for the State Capitol Building. This […]

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Storming Heaven with Prayer in Phoenix, Arizona

July 27, 2020

After three days of driving on the hot and dusty road, our fourteen-member group of volunteers reached Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, on June 20. This was the second capital we would be visiting as part of a nationwide campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP).  Several “caravans” […]

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Mother of Mercy Caravan visits The Sunflower State

July 13, 2020

On June 18, 2020, the Mother of Mercy Restore America Caravan visited Topeka, Kansas, as one of many stops on our nationwide tour to all fifty state capitals. Young volunteers with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) are holding rosary rallies for America’s return to order. In front of the […]

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Returning to Oklahoma City for Our Lady

July 13, 2020

​On June 17, members of TFP-Louisiana and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) assembled on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. They were holding a rosary rally as part of the TFP’s Restore America Campaign. Young TFP volunteers are traveling to all 50 state capitals, […]

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TFP Caravan Spreads “Return to Order” Message Throughout the Lone Star State

July 10, 2020

Upon arrival to the “City of the Holy Angel” or San Angelo, Texas, the caravan of volunteers set up a campaign at a strategically busy junction. Support from the local populace was impressive. “That’s the most honks I’ve ever heard,” observed David, a native of Dallas, Texas.​​ This TFP-Texas caravan is part of the Restore […]

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A Clash of Two Caravans in Austin, Texas

July 10, 2020

It was sunny and pleasant as we assembled in front of the capitol building in Austin, Texas, with signs, banners, and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Some twenty-five local friends and supporters of TFP-Texas and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) joined in the recitation of the […]

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Nationwide Prayer Tour Sweeps Through Baton Rouge

June 16, 2020

On June 13, volunteers of Tradition, Family and Property—Louisiana (TFP) prayed the rosary in front of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. This was the last stop of the first leg of the Mother of Mercy Caravan. TFP volunteers have been traveling the country, hoping to pray the rosary at each state capital for […]

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