Thursday, September 6, 2007

Review in Irish newspaper, "Irish Family Press" on "The Heart of Motherhood"

The Heart of Motherhood Review for the Irish Family Press, Ireland

By Ann-Marie Madden

I got hold of a book two weeks ago, written by our new columnist, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, and sat down to review and see what I could learn from Donna’s experience. I thought I’d try and hit two birds with one stone and share my impressions with you- a sort of review if you will. I was delighted with this opportunity because I never give myself the chance to read – and now I had the perfect reason! The book is entitled ‘The Heart of Motherhood’ and as I devoured the book I found it to be not only a beautiful read but I was also able to apply much of its content to my everyday life.

The chapters of the book were wonderfully written to more or less reach a mother’s heart. Important lessons were written so that a mother can try and receive as many blessings and grace possible for her to endure all that the role of being a mother can entail. But just as important as the lessons are the opportunities for a mother to achieve grace and blessing for her family as well. At first some of the ideals that the author proposes seem a little quaint, but by the time Donna-Marie explains her reasons and backs them with quotes from Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, various heavy hitting saints and the Catechism of the Catholic Church one kind of has to step up to the plate and see the beautiful insight given for all of us readers. For instance, love in a family is obviously necessary but part of the love that Donna-Marie is focusing on is love in sacrifice. She writes, ‘Suffering and pain are assured realities of our lives on earth. We cannot run or hide from them. As mothers, we are sometimes asked by God to suffer quietly for Him. Little sacrifices, heartaches, or pain patiently carried can become redemptive. When offered up to God, these sufferings ultimately will be used as a means to our salvation and our family’s salvation.’ What I truly appreciate in this example from the book is that there is a true lesson for me on what to do with real day situations. Sometimes difficult moments and hardships that I bear as a mother can actually be used for my betterment and can have a redemptive quality if I bear it accordingly with patience and love.

Donna-Marie was fortunate enough to meet Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and was able to keep in contact with her for ten years. And in this time they had “heart-to-hearts” conversations which the author shares with us through out the book. Regarding that quote on suffering above, she adds: ‘We can recall Blessed Teresa’s words saying that if we “really love one another properly there must be sacrifice”. All of the graces we need to carry on will be provided just for the asking. Let’s not forget to ask.’

I believe this book has much to offer mothers for Donna-Marie herself has five children and it can be seen that much of her writing are from her own spiritual journey of mothering, raising a family, and ensuring that her home is a safe haven for her family unit to be nurtured and rejuvenated. But most importantly, I love the way Donna-Marie holds, proves, and assures, that despite the pressures and values of a modern materialistic world motherhood is God given and should be restored to its proper dignity.

More information about Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle can be found on

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