Family Faith Snapshots: Rachel Bulman
“God is present in all things. Help your children find Him every moment of every day.”
Who are you?
I’m a Catholic wife, mom, and lover of souls! My husband and I enjoy speaking when we can (together and individually) and we have a website that is under construction –thebulmans.com and rachelbulman.com. Theology is close to our hearts and we love speaking about femininity/masculinity, parenthood, the goodness of humanity and more.
Tell me a little about your family.
My husband’s name is Jason. We have been married for nine years and three months. We have four children – Gabriel (7), Jeremiah (5), Gemma (3), and Abigail (10 months).
Do you have any special prayer spaces in your home?
There’s a small air-conditioned room off of our garage that was the previous owner’s office. After two years in the house, I had the room renovated into a prayer room for Jason’s father’s day gift. It is in the process of being painted with murals on the right and left walls, for Joseph and Mary, respectively. Our vision is to have the walls covered with lilies and roses [also for Joseph and Mary], winding around toward the crucifix [and becoming gold in color] to show the divinity offered to us through Christ. The space has also been set up [so that] priests have a space in our home for Mass and prayer. There is a kneeler, a couple of chairs, a crucifix and a relic [in the room]. We are incredibly blessed to have that space.
Jason uses this room the most – usually in the morning or late at night – and he aims for at least 30 minutes [of private prayer here] each day. I use the room when I can. [I try to] sneak in reading, contemplation, and prayers between kid naps, in the carpool line, right before bed, or in the morning, wherever I can.
In addition to the prayer room, we have our sunroom, which is also where we meet with a group of friends on a weekly basis (primarily young adults). The room is filled with religious art, a space for music (I sing and play the piano and my husband sings and plays the guitar), and our library. It also looks out onto our backyard and I love it because it—like our prayer room–reminds us of the three transcendentals of beauty, truth and goodness.
Our entire house is sacred to us and we make it a point to tell our children that no part of our lives is our own, especially our home and all that is in it. We have people over all the time and when the kids go to bed, they sometimes ask, “Are people coming over to talk about Jesus?” We want every inch of our home to remind people of the goodness of God, the goodness that is within them, and that they are loved deeply and passionately by God who seeks them constantly. We want anyone who enters to feel at home. The prayer spaces make this invitation more evident.
What are your family's prayer habits on an average day?
We are aspirants in the permanent diaconate and share in the Liturgy of the Hours, specifically Morning and Night Prayer together. Evening prayer is usually done individually.
For our children, we pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and the antiphon for the Night Prayer canticle every night. When we can get them settled early enough, we pray the rosary together. I remember hearing about people doing this with their children prior to having children of my own, and I thought they were nuts! I remember thinking, “There’s no way that children, especially toddlers, will sit through a rosary.” I was so WRONG! Our children love it. Sure – we have swinging rosaries and frequent reminders of which bead we are actually on but they love it. I can’t tell you how many times they ask us to get to bed so we can all pray the rosary together. It’s a reminder to me that our hearts desire prayer, since their pure hearts can grasp those desires so much quicker than our distracted, “matured” hearts.
How do your children inspire you to grow in faith?
There’s a lot to say here! There’s nothing that calls you into altruism like the call to parent! They challenge me daily and invite me to be ever ready to share Truth. Our two daughters are still very young, but being with them reminds me of the desires of my heart for freedom, for leisure, and for communion. The boys are older so their examples of inspiration are more concrete. Jeremiah shows me how much we need to be known and acknowledged and loved. We jokingly call him our weeping prophet because if he is not acknowledged right away, a tantrum usually ensues. But we do our best to ensure him that he is important and that he needs to be heard. It inspires me to do this with everyone!
Our eldest, Gabriel, is our philosopher. One of the most profound moments with Gabriel came a few months after he had turned 5. Since he was 4 years old, he has wanted to be a priest. He would tell me at Mass that he could feel that “God was calling him” to be a priest. We talk a lot about vocations, and have spoken about the duties of each call, and had spent the day talking about priests and their awesome lives. Gabriel and I were standing in line to get some pizza. I casually asked him, “Buddy, priests get to do a lot of cool things. If God calls you to be a priest, what do you think will be your favorite thing to do?” After a few seconds, he turned around and said in his little boy voice, “Mommy, if I get to be a priest, I think my favorite thing will be getting to hold Jesus.” No explanation needed. I may have sobbed like a child in a pizza place.
Is there a particular book or resource that has been especially helpful in your effort to raise a holy family or have a faith-filled home?
Lumen Gentium, Love and Responsibility, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Mulieris Dignitatem, Redemptoris Custos, Life and Holiness, and The Discernment of Spirits.
Do you have a written or unwritten mission for your family? What is it?
Be a gift. Each person is a gift and we ourselves can be a gift to others.
What are some of the most important faith lessons you wish to impart to your children?
The Rosary and basic Catholic prayers are started very early. We teach our faith to the kids through real life examples, such as discerning true desires in times of conflict, through movies, and by witnessing through our daily lives and our ministries.
If we had to pick our top three lessons:
- They are made in the image and likeness of God and are innately good.
- The ultimate Good seeks them and desires them deeply and passionately.
- As Pope St. John Paul II says it best, “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
Can you share a word of wisdom that has been particularly beneficial to you in your Catholic family life?
God is present in all things. Help your children find Him every moment of every day.