Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My dear Fr. Bill

I haven't been able to post lately because I have been visiting with my dear friend and spiritual director of over 25 years, Fr. William C. Smith out of town for the last couple of days. Fr. Bill had extensive surgery to remove a cancerous tumor several months ago and has not fully recovered his strength. He is 86 years old. Prior to his surgery he had been leading a very active life for someone of his age - saying Mass every morning - hearing Confessions for hours on end even though he is retired, taking continuous phone calls from people calling for his prayers, frequenting the area abortion clinics in a few different locations to peacefully picket and pray the Rosary, as well as sidewalk counsel whenever possible (this is something I did with him for many years), and writing continuous pro-life Letters to the Editor.

When my children and I were leaving him yesterday (because he needed rest), Fr.Bill gave us continuous blessings even though he barely had strength to lift his right hand. He also gave my son, Joseph (who is going away to college in a couple of days) a huge blessing the prior day.

My beloved friend, Fr. Bill died peacefully last night at 11:50 PM on the feast of Saint Augustine. Please say a prayer for his soul, although I'm sure he went straight up! And please also for his very large family. He will be missed by so many friends and family members. I know that Fr. Bill's prayers are even more powerful now. Please excuse me for the next few days while I tend to the needs of his friends, family and attend the services.

God bless you all!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marveling about how God works...

I often marvel about how God works. He really has everything under control--most times, unbeknownst to us. Every so often He makes us aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit and how He may be working through us to inspire others.

I'm thinking about Clara right now, a woman I "happened" to sit near while waiting to be seated for lunch at a restaurant. Recently when I was out doing "back to school shopping" with the kids, we decided to have lunch out together. We were told that there would be about a fifteen minute wait for a table. My kids decided to go next door to the pet store to look at the puppies since we had to wait. I sat down in the waiting area next to a mother who had her month old baby near her in his baby seat, also waiting to be seated. I admired her little baby and we got to chatting. It's amazing what kinds of conversations can transpire between total strangers, especially with women. My kids sometimes give me a funny look when they see me carrying on a lengthy conversation, seemingly out of the blue with someone I had never met before in my life. But, it happens, quite often I'll admit.

During our conversation, Clara told me how she had had three Cesarean sections and that her doctor told her that only three Cesareans are allowed. I told her that I had five Cesareans. She was very surprised that having five cesareans was a possibility. We talked about welcoming life - she expressed her opposition to abortion and explained that her doctor told her that if she conceived "too late" in life that she should abort the baby since it would have defects. It's really very sad that we live in a society where human life is not valued.

After sharing notes on motherhood, we were called to our tables and we parted with joy in our hearts knowing that we had come together not by the coincidence of happening to sit beside each other, but because God in His goodness had it all under control. I was very happy knowing that I had the opportunity to share with Clara the fact that I brought five children into the world through Cesarean sections and lived to tell the story! Not that I shouldn't have survived, but because I chose to welcome life, despite all of the negativity and cautionary warnings (because the medical profession is afraid of a lawsuit over the extremely unlikely chance that a uterus would rupture) to not do so. Clara would like more children. She most likely will be able to have more and is now open to that possibility.

God is so very good and has everything under control. We have to be open to His whispers to our hearts and souls. I believe that it's up to all of us to offer ourselves first thing in the morning - every morning and ask Jesus to use us at all times. We throw ourselves into His arms offering our lives to Him, we give Him all of our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings and ask that He perfect them to be used for His glory. We ask our Blessed Mother to guide us and protect us, while bringing us closer to Her Son.

Thank you, Lord for Your love and Your blessings! Jesus, I trust in You!


A couple of encouraging updates...

Remember Bryant? Bryant is the eighteen year old boy who fell about 300 feet down a cliff while hiking with two of his buddies. Bryant was airlifted to Yale New Haven hospital and was in critical condition in the Intensive Care unit for some time since he had so many broken bones and brain contusions. I asked all of you for prayers and we all stormed Heaven for help for Bryant. By the grace of God and help from so many prayers, Bryant amazingly has been recovering. God is so good! I am so happy to tell you that Bryant is now home from the hospital and still recovering. He continues to be in a body cast and could still use more prayers, please. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and concern!

Remember I also asked prayers for an 86 year old neighbor of mine, Clare who fell by her car and ended up breaking her nose, cheek bone, two shoulders as well as other problems? She also had to be airlifted to Yale New Haven Hospital's Trauma Center. She had to have two separate surgeries to repair her shoulders. The good news is that Clare has now been moved to a Rehabilitation Center. Please continue to pray for her for her continued recovery.

Thank you so much for your prayers and concern.

God bless!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friends on Friday - "Children are a Blessing"

This is an article from Catholic Online by Sarah Reinhard

Every once in a while, though I really do believe this statement, I need to be reminded of just what it means. This morning as I was driving along, I switched on the radio and a song reminded me and made me think of so many ways in which my life is better because of my daughter. It reminded me that she was a gift, not a given.

In my role as “unnamed parish secretary,” I often speak with women in all walks of life. Some of them are young mothers, and they bemoan the noisiness, rowdiness, and general childishness of their children at Mass. These women feel keenly the weight of their child’s cry in the silence of the consecration and any look they get, whether intended to be sympathetic or scathing, is a blow to their egos.

Some women have older children, early to late teens, and they have a different set of concerns altogether. Though their children are quiet during Mass, how can they keep it interesting, exciting, relevant? How do they protect their children from falling away? ( continued here)

The radio segment link is now fixed

I'm sorry for the technical difficulties...the link to my radio segment with Teresa Tomeo is now fixed.

If you would like to listen to the latest installment of my "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio (EWTN and Sirius radio) you may click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Marriage Meme

Thanks Carey for tagging me for this Marriage Meme. What's a Meme? you ask. Well, someone tags you to participate in answering questions about a particular subject...this one is about'll see...

Where did you meet your husband?

We met through some friends.

What was the first thing you said to your husband?

"I do!" Well, that's if the question was meant literally. If it was meant as the first thing I said to him when I met him, it was probably, "Hi!"

Where was the first kiss? first date?

Our first date was on a Sunday afternoon at 2:30 PM and went until about 11:00PM! We had such a good time getting to know one another. Our first kiss was on our first date! He "stole" it from came as a surprise!

Did you have a long or short courtship/engagement?

It was a long courtship. I think it's best to take your time. It was about four years.

Where did you get engaged?

In the exact spot that we met! Isn't that romantic?

Where did you get married?

At St. Mary's Church in Ridgefield, CT. It was so meaningful to me to go back to the Church that I made all of my other Sacraments at. It was truly beautiful!

How did the reception go?

Beautifully...I'll never forget though, that as we stepped outside the Church on that very hot and humid summer day, all of a sudden a rain drop came down as the photographer took some group shots in front of the Church. Then another and another rain drop. Everyone realized that they better take cover because the sky was getting black. We all got in the cars and limos to head for the reception. Shortly afterwards the sky opened up and we were driving in the worst thunder storm that I ever saw in my entire life! My son, Joseph had mentioned to me on the steps of the Church when the first rain drops came, "Don't worry, Mom, rain is supposed to be good luck." After seeing that storm and that amount of torrential downpour, I guess we were "destined" for an awful lot of good luck!!

The reception was very pretty--pink peony flowers on all of the white table clothed tables looking out over Lake Waramaug at the Hopkin's Inn in New Preston, CT. Everyone had a great time.

How was the honeymoon?

Very nice, although the weather in Mexico was very humid and I wasn't ready for that kind of heat and humidity. The food and accommodations were very nice. Of course, the company was fantastic!

I tag: Sarah, Karen, and Heidi.
Let me know when you've joined in so I can visit.

Latest installment of "Mom's Corner"

If you would like to listen to the latest installment of my "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio (EWTN and Sirius radio) you may click here. Teresa and I discussed my newest book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be which bears a foreword from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. We also talked about how I met Mother Teresa. (I just realized that part of this segment is missing...thanks for telling me Sarah! I will fix it very soon.)

There is also a cover story in Canticle magazine (Women of Grace, EWTN) in September's issue about my friendship with Mother Teresa, entitled, "Blessed Teresa and Me: Remembering the Mother of All the Poor" You may access Canticle magazine or subscribe by clicking the "Women of Grace" button in my sidebar.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Announcing the winner in newest book contest!

The winner in my book contest is Susan. Susan will receive a signed copy of my book, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home

I received so many great entries and it was difficult to pick the winner, but this one tugged on my heart...

I am nominating my dear friend and sister-in-law Susan, who has embraced motherhood, with all its trials and tribulations, and has been an example and an inspiration to me as I have set off along the journey myself. Watching Susan bury her last baby, and knowing that it was the second son she buried, and then witnessing her strength and renewed faith after the experience, has been a source of strength and faith for me.

This entry came from Sarah Reinhard from Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. Please dear Sarah, send me the address to send the book to.

Thanks everyone for your entries. Please try again at another book contest!

God bless!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Dignity of Women

As you all may remember, I mentioned a few days ago that the Pontifical Council for the Laity has asked the lay faithful to reflect on the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women written by Pope John Paul II August 15, 1988. next year marks the twentieth year anniversary. It is indeed an exciting time for women in the third millennium!

I have put a "Dignity of Women" button in my sidebar which links to the brand new "Dignity of Women" website which has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those interested in ways to reflect on this timely anniversary will point to the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, relevant books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while continually integrating suggestions, additions, as well as a bulletin board of events to access over the coming year. Feel free to ask for the code to put the button on your own websites and blogs to spread the word.

Feel free to leave a comment about how you think you might like to reflect on this Apostolic Letter. Will you read the Letter? Arrange a study group in your parish? Plan a Day of Refection in your diocese? Feel free to ask questions here as well.

God bless you!

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Mom's Corner" tomorrow on Teresa Tomeo's show

I will be on my "Mom's Corner" segment tomorrow on Teresa Tomeo's show on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio. Tune in at 9:15 AM EASTERN time right here from your computer! We will be discussing Mom things, of course! We will also discuss my latest book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be and a bit about the very new Vatican initiative for the laity! It's exciting stuff! I hope you will tune in. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Update on Clare

Clare is my elderly neighbor woman (86) whom I asked for prayers for the other day. She took a very bad fall and was rushed to the ER a couple of nights ago. The following morning I was about to set out to the hospital to see her, but found out that she had been airlifted to a trauma center a another hospital a couple of hours after she went into the ER. The poor dear has two broken arms (she tried to break her fall with her arms), a broken nose, broken cheek bone, a very injured eye and more. Please continue to pray for Clare who really needs prayers at this time. I very much appreciate your concern and prayers. God bless you!

Dear Fr. Jack

Through tears, hugs and prayers, St. Francis Xavier parishioners bid their farewells last August to Father Jack, not only their priest, but one who had become a very dear friend, as he prepared to ship out to Iraq. Franciscan Father Jack (John) W. Hoak served as parochial vicar at that parish for several years.

He now serves as a U.S. Navy chaplain stationed near Baghdad. Offered an assignment in upstate New York, he chose instead to volunteer to serve in Iraq with his brothers and sisters who are fighting to ensure a country free of terrorism. But Father Jack never left the hearts or the feelings of St. Francis parishioners.

"Dear Father Jack" emails and letters began shortly after he left. But, at times, the communications left many of his former parishioners with an uneasy feeling about his safety. (Read my entite article on Catholic Exchange.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Radio segment describing the Vatican initiative for women

Here is the radio segment of this morning's conversation between Teresa Tomeo and Genevieve Kineke during the "Catholic Connection" show on Ave Marie Radio. In it they discuss the Vatican initiative - the Pontifical Council for the Laity asking us to meditate upon the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem and the worldwide celebration to be held all throughout next year around the globe.

On the Dignity and Vocation of Women

I am overjoyed to be able to offer this to all of you on this marvelous Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary! Please read the following through and pray about how you can help to spread this message in your own areas on the dignity and vocation of women, spoken of so beautifully by our late Pope John the Great. Take a look at the website which is in the process of being built, and use it as a resource. Please take time to read the Apostolic Letter so that you will become more familiar with the riches and wisdom it holds for us. This is a mighty celebration that will resound throughout the entire world all throughout 2008, the twentieth year anniversary of this amazing Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem!

+ Dear Friends in Christ:

It is our great joy to learn that the Pontifical Council for the Laity is encouraging the faithful worldwide to observe the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem in the coming year. This Apostolic Letter (signed August 15th, 1988) was written by John Paul II to encourage women in their vocations, to highlight the essential feminine genius that they provide to the world, and to restore spiritual and physical motherhood to a culture that was quickly losing sight of the very meaning of nuptial love.

The Catholics of North America have been asked in particular to consider the document in light of one overarching theme: The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society. To that effect, a website has been created in order to provide a comprehensive resource for those looking for ways to reflect on this timely anniversary. will point to books, speakers, study guides, and other initiatives that will bring the beauty of this document to as many people as possible, while constantly integrating suggestions, additions, and a bulletin board of events for women to access over the coming year.

Your help would be greatly appreciated in spreading the word, contacting the appropriate persons at the parish and diocesan level to alert them to this anniversary, fostering the publication of articles on the topic for various periodicals, encouraging local women to gather and discuss the theme in various settings, and to pray for the message in Mulieris Dignitatem to be studied and lived. This is also a marvelous opportunity to reach out to women of good will in other denominations and faiths, inviting them to prayerfully consider its themes and to see if common ground could be found. We invite qualified speakers to submit a request, and thereby add their names to the site. Similarly, relevant books and organizations are welcome to provide their links.

The timeliness of this observance cannot be overestimated. With debates raging over the nature of marriage, the sanctity of human life, the needs of children, and how the gifts of women are best promoted, what better way to form ourselves than by returning to the foundational questions of who women are and why the divine plan hinges on their cooperation.

Kindly help us share this good news with as many as you can and please pray with us for a fruitful observance. Any questions, suggestions, or submissions of resources should be sent to gskineke [at] May Our Lady, in whose fidelity the entire world rejoices, bless this coming year and all our efforts to understand the richness of the feminine vocation.

Here is an article from Catholic Exchange today about this Vatican initiative for women written by Genevieve Kineke.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Please pray for Clare!

I'm asking you all to please pray for my neighbor, Clare. She is 86 years old and just took a very bad fall. My husband and I decided to go for a short walk down the road since we have both worked non stop today on this beautiful day and wanted to at least to stretch our legs for a few minutes before the sun went down. When we began to walk we saw the ambulance up the road in front of Clare's house. I ran up ahead to see if I could talk to her before she was put on the ambulance. I was able to be by her side and hold her hand and talk to her while she was attended to. She is severely traumatized physically and emotionally. She was being strapped to the board when I got there and I don't want to tell you how bad she looked. The poor thing. She is severely hurt.

I stroked her one arm carefully not to interfere with the three medics surrounding her and I touched her other hand with my other hand in which she gently wrapped her fingers around and held my hand as I talked to her. I told her that it was going to be okay and that I love her and I will be praying for her. I told her that God was with her and I blessed her forehead with the sign of the Cross as I asked God to take care of her. She was very thankful for the prayers. I have no idea if she is a praying woman and I have never before told her that I loved her. I don't know her well. I just wanted her to know that she is loved by someone and there is someone who is praying. It would be so wonderful if you could all please pray for Clare. She is a sweet woman and is right now in the Emergency Room.

She is very broken up and in critical condition. As she was put in the ambulance, I again told her that it was going to be okay and that I would be praying for her. Another neighbor of mine, Rene, who found her on the ground and was there at the scene is going to go over to the hospital to help if he can. Clare has no family around. Please say a prayer for her.

Thank you for "listening" and for caring.

God bless you!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Please dear Lord, have mercy upon us all!

An article follows that will make you sick. I'm truly sorry...

Boston, Aug 13, 2007 / 11:01 am (CNA).- Abortion providers in Massachusetts are making doubly sure that they don’t let unborn children accidentally live if they botch an abortion.

In a startling article in the Boston Globe entitled, 'Shots assist in aborting fetuses' it explains how "In response to the Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, many abortion providers in Boston and around the country have adopted a defensive tactic. To avoid any chance of partially delivering a live fetus, they are injecting fetuses with lethal drugs before procedures."

The article continued by saying, "In Boston, three major Harvard-affiliated hospitals -- Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women's, and Beth Israel Deaconess -- have responded to the ban by making the injections the new standard operating procedure for abortions beginning at around 20 weeks' gestation, said Dr. Michael F. Greene, director of obstetrics at Mass. General." Continued here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Show of Affection

Awww Mom, I'm not leaving for vacation... I'm just going to the store. I'll be back in an hour." And the door slams shut as your teen-ager leaves. You were unsuccessful in giving him a good-bye kiss. There's no need to give up trying, however. Our children really need our love and physical affection, but perhaps not always in the particular way that we may think. Our younger ones may be too busy playing for a hug or kiss and our pre-teens and teen-agers may pull away at times.

Yet, no one is too old for a hug or a kiss. Haven't psychologists told us that just for emotional survival alone, we need at least four hugs a day?

I believe it all starts in the womb — with the warm amniotic fluid caressing a baby's skin, cushioning him while his mother rocks him gently with her every move. A baby is accustomed to comfort and affection right from the very start.

We emerge into this world wanting to be comforted after a strenuous birth process. The world outside the womb is completely different than our first warm, dark, safe environment. A baby may cry because of hunger, uncomfortable temperatures or a need for a diaper change, but also because of loneliness and a need for physical contact. Sometimes, just a simple touch or caress — a hand on your baby's back, will soothe a fussy baby. At other times, he will need to be picked up, rocked, cuddled or walked to comfort him and stop his crying.

Babies cannot be spoiled by love. When a baby cries for comfort and physical contact and is left in his crib, he will learn to be distrustful about this new world. Each time your baby's cravings for affection are fulfilled, you have helped to establish his sense of confidence and trust. Continued here at Catholic Exchange.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy flowers!

Aren't they beautiful? My daughter gave them to me today! No particular reason...she just knows how much I love sunflowers! Isn't she sweet?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Interview with Irish journalist, Lorcan Mac Mathuna

Some time ago, I received an email from an Irish gentleman, Lorcan Mac Mathuna who had read an article that I had written for Lay Witness magazine that was on the Internet. He asked if he could interview me for a story he wanted to do in the Irish Family Press, a weekly Irish national newspaper. We arranged a time to talk and Lorcan called me from Ireland. We had a very nice talk and chatted for about an hour. Lorcan told me that he would send the article to me when it was published.

A few weeks later, a large brown envelope arrived in the mail. I opened it and saw the Irish newspaper for the first time. It was attractively laid out, and oh, did I mention that my face was on the front page? That was a surprise. I then thumbed through the newspaper with my husband who had just come home and was leaning over my shoulder. I started laughing when I reached the centerfold (I think I was in shock)! I hadn't imagined that the story was going to be so huge! On the centerfold of the paper along with the story was a very big photo of me and another of Mother Teresa holding my son, Joseph as a baby about eighteen years ago. Lorcan did a very nice job with the story and I humbly offer it to you below...

A Nine-Month Novena
Interview with Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle by Lorcan Mac Mathuna - a newspaper article from Irish Family Press

An enforced rest turned out to be a very rewarding period in Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s life.

It was 1991, and she was pregnant with her fifth child. When she experienced severe complications after just ten weeks, she was instructed to take to bed for complete rest for the sake of her child. It was her second difficult pregnancy and she had had three miscarriages previously (in fact her doctor was pretty certain that this latest pregnancy would end in a miscarriage also), so it was a frightening and anxious time for her. Donna was always a devout Catholic. She believes that a prayerful life for a mother can be as simple as offering each day to God and being a good example to her children as is her duty -- but being confined to her bed left her in the situation where she could devote all her time to meditation and prayer.

Complete bed rest was what the doctor ordered and she followed that instruction carefully. Lying on her bed for the next seven months, she started to compose her thoughts. One of the things that occurred to her was that the nine months of pregnancy is similar to a novena and she started to write down her thoughts and prayers as the time passed. This made the material for her latest book, Prayerfully Expecting -- a nine-month novena for mothers-to-be, but she also wrote the material for two more books on motherhood. Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers (2005), and The Heart of Motherhood (2006), which became number one on the Catholic bestsellers lists after they were published.

With the latest book just coming out she is a very busy woman right now. But she took some time out to talk to the Irish Family Press recently and spoke about the inspiration behind her writings, which she explained happened with God’s will in a most unexpected

Lorcan: You have two Irish names you know. Have you ever been to Ireland?

Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle: Yes, my brother married an Irish girl and I’ve been there three times. I really love it there and I hope to go back again soon.

L: When and why did you write your first book -- what got you to start writing?

D: I always loved writing. Even as a teenager, I used to write down reflections and things so as I grew up I wrote about things I was passionate about --pro-life issues and things. But raising a family kept me busy and I was devoted to their care. I never thought I’d be an author one day, I wasn’t looking at that. I was raising my children in a Catholic household and teaching them well. But certain things I felt very strongly about; and people in my church would come to me for advice and sort of bounce things off me and I would do it in my quiet way. But during my pregnancy with Mary-Catherine I had to have complete bed-rest. I had a hemorrhaged uterus after ten weeks of pregnancy and I also had a heart condition that came on due to the pregnancy so I had to have complete bed-rest to preserve the life of the baby.

So I’d be at home on my bed conducting the household from that position. In retrospect I feel God gave me this as an opportunity to write because I would never have had the opportunity to write if I had a normal pregnancy and was running around looking after my children as I normally would.

I felt very inspired to write about motherhood and how I passionately feel about motherhood as vocation and not just ‘issues, demands and diapers’ that other people might look down upon, or feel are mundane and not so important. I always believe that all the little tasks are so, so important. Even though they might seem small to other people, they are huge in God’s eyes. God puts the mother in the heart of the home and the little loving tasks that come into every mother’s life are really significant in His eyes.

L: The first book you wrote is just coming out now but you had two other books printed already, when did you write the first two books you had published?

D: I felt very inspired to write about motherhood and I wrote three books during my pregnancy. The first one that came to me…I just felt a need for me to write my thoughts that would help an expectant mother to transform her pregnancy into a nine-month novena. I thought, ‘A pregnancy is really a living novena to “God’, so that was what I started writing about.

L: How did you do your writing?

D: It was all on paper. Later on I got a lap-top but during my pregnancy I collected a box full of my thoughts on manuscripts. They remained like that for a long time and I carried them place to place with me.

L: Did you continue writing after Mary-Catherine was born?

D: I didn’t really have the time. I had five kids and one of them was a little baby so I couldn’t do much. I did contact one publisher, Our Sunday Visitor, who were very interested in Prayerfully Expecting and encouraged me to publish, but they only did smaller books. Then life took over and I had to put it aside. Later on they asked me if I could write a prayer book for expectant mothers and I had a lot of material that I wrote during that pregnancy so I developed it into small book which came out in 2005. As soon as it came out it went onto the Catholic books bestsellers’ list. That surprised me because I had no thoughts of that whatsoever, I was just trying to get that inspiration out there for moms and do my part to help encourage and give moms a pat on the back, because in our society we are barraged with all these mixed messages on what a woman should strive for.

L: So was that the satisfaction you got from writing? That you were going to get your thoughts on your experience as a mother on paper to help inspire other mothers?

D: Yes, that’s why I did it. I just wanted to share what I knew in my heart with other mothers because we live in a difficult world where it’s not easy to be proud of the title mother. It used to be held in high esteem but these days we are pushed outside of the home to do other things and we are told by society not to feel satisfied with what we do inside the home. The family is a vital unit of society and if mothers are all working and putting their children in day-care they {their children} will be raised by other people’s values. I knew I had to share my experiences and thoughts to help other mothers because I know a lot of women are confused about their roles and their work is valued by the size of their paycheque. Some women are struggling with the fact that they don’t feel important enough and others are troubled with the fact that they need more money to survive. I try to encourage people to live with a little less and make some sacrifices and be there for those really important first years of their child’s life. I don’t mean to be judgmental of women who have to earn a wage but I want to give encouragement to women not to feel they have to go out and work because society is telling them that that is more valuable than minding their own children. So I try to encourage and praise moms and give them good information. I sprinkle my books with lots of good quotes from the saints, the church, and Mother Teresa.

L: Tell me about how you met Mother Teresa.

D: Almost twenty years ago I was invited to go down to Washington by my spiritual director, Fr. John Hardon. When I was there he told me about a Missionaries of Charity convent in the town that had a house for the dying called the Gift of Peace House. I always encouraged my kids to visit the sick so we went to visit the patients there.

The sisters were very welcoming and we were struck by how much joy they had. That’s how Mother Teresa trained them to let their light shine and let their joy in the Lord attract souls to their Christianity.

We were attracted by that and they invited us back the next day to attend Mass there. The next day we went to Mass and I brought my children with me. It was a very small, very humble chapel where you’d take your shoes off at the door. It was dark and empty except for the altar. The Missionaries of Charity live as the poor themselves because they want to understand the plight of the poor. Mother Teresa didn’t feel they should have fans or carpets or chairs in their chapel. There is an altar, a crucifix, and written on the wall: ‘I Thirst’.

I was concentrating on keeping the children organized when I noticed Mother Teresa was in the room with us. I had my three children, Justin, Chaldea and Jessica, with me and I had to bring the baby, Jessica, out a few times because she was a little fussy. After Mass we went out and as Chaldea was genuflecting, Mother Teresa gave her a big squeeze hug. Later on when we were standing around, Mother Teresa came out and stopped in front of me and said ‘Is this the baby who was singing at Mass?’

So that started our conversation and she asked me to pray for her and the poor. A while later I wrote her a letter and after a couple of weeks she sent me the first of twenty-two letters she would send me over the next decade.

L: When did she do the foreword to your book?

D: October 26, l991

L: That was a long time before last weekend’s print!

D: Yes, during that pregnancy I shared everything with her and I sent her the manuscripts and she wrote back encouraging me. Her spiritual director actually went over my manuscript and she gave me lots of words of encouragement.

L: How can our reader’s get your books?

D: They can get them on:
Or through my website:

I have been asked by Lorcan to participate in the parenting column at Irish Family Press, so I will be contributing articles for the paper monthly! So, if you are visiting Ireland, you may see my articles in this really great Catholic family publication. :)

Therapy for my sanity!

In addition to my usually hectic pace, I am also working on two very HUGE projects at the moment and have been confined to the house and the computer because of it and due to an injured low back, as well. The weather has been oppressive lately and just today the humidity is letting up a bit. When I was speaking to my husband on the phone, he suggested I step outside because the weather was much more pleasant and he knows how much I enjoy the outdoors. So, while on the portable phone, I chatted with my husband while I walked around the yard looking at nature for a few moments drinking in its peace. Then, I discovered a hummingbird on the butterfly bush so in the house I dashed (as dashingly as I could with a bad back!) to get my camera!

I love hummingbirds and was delighted that this one didn't seem to mind me being near at all!

This nice hummingbird allowed me to take quite a few pictures!

I was just inches from it! Usually they fly away quickly. I have at least twenty more shots of this little guy!

Of course I had to also snap a few butterfly photos!

I just wish my dog, Sweetpea would stop lying in my garden!

Okay, back to my projects. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Words to ponder...

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Turn pregnancy into a beautiful novena" review of "Prayerfully Expecting"

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister
Turn pregnancy into a beautiful novena

Recently, a beautiful book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers to Be, caught my attention and admiration.

I had never before equated the months of pregnancy with the qualities of a novena. However, the author, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, did this very well.

Now, Catholic women can be gently directed—prayerfully and joyfully—in special ways that enhance the mothering experience long before their babies are born.

This writer previously authored The Heart of Motherhood and The Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, which I also recommend to women.

However, her newest book concentrates on a time when—in previous decades—most pregnant women concentrated more on material preparations so as to be ready for the newborn. Baby showers often helped with this but, in my experiences, that did not happen.

When I realized that I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was elated but surprised because Paul and I had only been married for three months. In five years, I gave birth to three daughters. I have deeply cherished each of them from the moment I realized that I was pregnant.

Cooper O’Boyle writes that her reflective prayer journal for mothers-to-be can “become a distinctive interlude of contemplation as you delight in your baby’s movements and life within you, and prepare for his or her arrival.

“By giving yourself the time to rest, reflect and pray while you are carrying your precious child,” she explains, “you will most certainly provide a sense of peace and tranquility for both you and your baby while being open to the many graces that our Heavenly Father has prepared for you!”

The author wrote the book while on complete bed rest because of serious complications during a pregnancy with her fifth child. She had four active children at the time and knows what a busy mother’s life is like.

“The tasks we do as mothers,” she writes, “are the acts of love that keep our families together in intimate communion and at peace … these loving acts as a means of sanctifying our families.”

Before her death, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta wrote to Cooper O’Boyle.

“Your books on young mothers and expectant mothers are much needed,” Mother Teresa wrote. “Yes, you may use some of the things I said on motherhood and family … .” And the author does.

About Prayerfully Expecting, Mother Teresa wrote, “I pray that it does much good.”

This book is written by a woman who, by the way, also received an apostolic blessing from Pope John Paul II shortly after the beatification of Blessed Teresa.

The author also shares some of the pope’s words about the sanctity of life, including his statement, “Human life is sacred—from its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God.”

The book is published by Crossroad Publishing Company. The author’s Web site is

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) † See her review here.
Thank you very much, Shirley!

On fire with love for Jesus!

I recently had a conversation in emails with Sally Robb about the holy Mass. We were sharing our thoughts about how people might be more attracted to the Mass. The subject came up because of a friend of Sally's who wondered if more people would go to Church if the Liturgy was more interesting. Both Sally and I agreed that the Liturgy should never be changed. The Liturgy shouldn't be changed, but hearts need a change.

I told Sally that I feel priests should speak more from the pulpit about the holiness of the sacrifice of the Mass and I also feel that if people sincerely prayed to come closer to our Lord and to more fully understand the Mass, they would be coming more frequently, desiring to be close to the Lord whenever they could. Sally shared her sentiments with me which I feel are very beautiful, so I asked her permission to share them with you.

She said, "The first step is for the priests to nurture in themselves a deep love of the Eucharist through study (it always helps to read moving accounts of the saints' devotion to the Beloved in the Blessed Sacrament), adoration, and frequent reception of Him, both in the Eucharist, and in Reconciliation (since the encounter with the Living Truth always brings a word of 'merciful conviction', and our response needs to be to flee into His arms in the sweet darkness of the confessional). Then, when their own hearts are filled with Him, when their "eyes are seared by holiness, and their heads are on fire with prayer," they won't be able to stop themselves from speaking of their Beloved in every moment.

"Their love for Him in the Eucharist will set the hearts around them on fire with love....since the fire of love always throws out sparks, and sets the dry "tinder" of longing ablaze in other people's hearts. This is my prayer for priests.....that their own dry, longing hearts catch fire, and set fire to the hearts around them. That doesn't require any change in the liturgy....only a change of "committees" are needed, only the "openness" of the priest, a movement of the Holy Spirit, and the prayers of the faithful to help open the door to grace moving in their lives."

Sally's inspiring words should compel all of us to be sure that the fire of love for Jesus is burning within our own hearts so that the sparks will fly all around us catching those dry "tinders of longing" in the people around us - our families, our coworkers, and our friends. We will then be a true light to others; leading the way to Heaven.

I am reminded of my dear friend, Mother Teresa's words to me, "Keep the joy of loving Jesus ever burning in your heart and share this joy with others."

If you'd like some more inspiration from Sally, listen to her reflections at her "Thread of Grace" on Catholic Radio International (a fairly new radio station) here.

Special Offer and Book Give Away!

Just wanted you to know that I am having a special offer on my books that you can check out here.

I am also going to run another book give away contest! This time it will be for my book, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home! To enter the contest, simply enter a deserving mother (yourself included) by giving me a reason why she (or you) should win this book! It should be between twenty five and fifty words. No points taken off for spelling or grammar mistakes! :) The winning entry will be published here at "Embracing Motherhood." So what are you waiting for? Don't be shy. Send your emails to DMCooperOboyle(at)aol(dot)com. Please put the words, "Book Contest" in the subject line. You may enter up to three times and it can be the same person all three times. But you must be creative and give three different reasons if you choose to enter the same person three times.

I'll look forward to reading your entries which are due by Wednesday, August 15 (by midnight EASTERN time), The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The winner will be announced on the following Wednesday, The Queenship of Mary. Good luck!

God bless!

Monday, August 6, 2007

All you Moms and GrandMoms with little ones...

Please check out this site to find out more about the Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall

"Fisher-Price, in cooperation with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is voluntarily recalling a limited number of Nickelodeon and Sesame Street painted toys produced by one specific contract manufacturer during a narrow timeframe.The recalled products were sold in retail stores nationwide since May 1, 2007. Paint on affected products contains lead in excess of permissible levels."

Lead is toxic if ingested and can cause adverse health effects.

A limited date range of the following products are affected by this announcement: To see product list, click here.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

"Light of Life," an amazing Pro-Life story

In a recent article, Mary Kochan from Catholic Exchange says:

"I have never believed that abortion was anything other than a violation of God's command against murder. Even though I grew up in a pseudo-Christian cult (Jehovah's Witnesses) I recognized that, and so, when I finally became a Protestant Christian, there was little to change in my understanding on that subject. But when I became Catholic, it was another story. Before I was "against abortion" but in becoming Catholic, I became truly pro-life.

The were two main ways that being pro-life as a Catholic differed from being "against abortion" as a Protestant: comprehending that artificial birth control perverted marriage and having the Blessed Virgin to contemplate.

As I was undergoing my conversion to the Catholic faith, Mary's maternal interest in me personally became apparent to me, and the historic images of her in art and iconography became quite interesting to me. One sees through the ages that Catholic artists have drawn their Blessed Mother close to them and close to their times with art. Unique among all images of Mary is the icon of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, painted by no human hand, but also unusual in depicting Mary as pregnant. Contemplating these representations of the Blessed Virgin in an age that has declared war upon its own unborn, it occurred to me that an image not merely depicting Mary as pregnant, but instead also showing the Divine Christ Child in her womb would be particularly fitting for our day. This impression was very strong upon me, but I am not an artist.

Nellie Edwards is an artist. When I saw her painting, "Light of Life," the very strong impression that I felt years ago was renewed and fulfilled. Here was what I had pondered in my heart a decade earlier, only strikingly more beautiful: Our Lord, fully God and fully man — fully God and fully unborn infant — is cradled in the womb of the Blessed Mother. The story of how this marvelous and startling portrait of Our Lady came to be interested me greatly, so I was eager to learn about it from the artist herself..."

What follows is an interview between Mary Kochan and the artist Nellie Edwards. It is certainly worth reading and will make your day. Please click here for the article on Catholic Exchange.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Praying For Bryant

You have been asking for updates and I think this may be a good way to communicate them to you. Click on this "Praying For Bryant" button to be updated about Bryant, the 18 year old boy (my son's friend) who was critically injured in a hiking accident. Please feel free to post this button on your own blogs (I will send you the code when you ask for it through an email to me: DMCooperOboyle(at) aol (dot) com) to spread the word for more prayers. I really believe that it is all of the prayers that have helped Bryant recover in the way that he is progressing. I may add a Pay Pal button soon, in case anyone would like to contribute a little something to help with this boy's medical care and rehabilitation. Remember, his Dad died last year and things aren't easy for them. Thanks for caring and thanks for praying.

God bless you all!

Review: "Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena For Mothers-To-Be"

Changing the Way You'll Experience Your Pregnancy, August 2, 2007
By S. Reinhard

"You have been blessed with the privilege of conceiving a child, whose heart beats within you. Cradled inside you, your unborn child will be nourished and kept warm in your womb for the next nine months. What an incredible miracle!" With these words, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle planted a seedling of hope in my heart with this, my second pregnancy, and nurtured it over the course of months. She didn't spoil the fun of what I would find in this nine-month journey - because not only am I not a rookie at it, but I am also not finished with it - but she did reframe it for me in a way that I never would have thought of - she turned me back to God with this, the incredible miracle of life within me. She changed my paradigm from one of self-focus to one of heavenly focus, and taking the nine months of my pregnancy and transforming them into a novena, a series of prayers, has made my bond with my baby and my Savior completely different.

Pregnancy is naturally a time of reflection. How can it not be, as your body changes and there is movement within you? However, for me, it never occurred to me to do more than just the usual prayers during this very sacred time, until, that is, the brown paper package containing Prayerfully Expecting arrived at my door.

Within its covers, I have found hope...not just for a healthy baby or a great pregnancy, but hope for the world. As I have journeyed through the months of this book during my pregnancy, I have reflected on the examples of those great women before me, especially Jesus' own mother, who have taken this excursion down the path of pregnancy into motherhood. I have also had the opportunity to write about my experience, to memorialize what it means to be pregnant this time and in the set of circumstances I'm wearing now.

Within the nine-month novena of this book, I'm finding the joy of praying and reflecting slowly. So often, I find myself hurrying through my prayers to get them done; I catch myself checking them off the list of things I have to do; I multi-task until I can do no more. This book is keeping me honest. The pleasure of opening its pages and finding out what the month holds - in terms of my baby's development and for my own spiritual growth - is enough to make me sit down, pause, and truly thank God for the miracle within me.

While pregnancy is a time of joy and thanksgiving, so often it is also a time of sacrifice and suffering. I know many mothers who have lost babies at various stages of their pregnancies, and I know plenty (myself included!) who spend the nine months fighting worries of one kind or another. I also know mothers who have great physical hardship as a result of bringing a baby into the world - from nine-month nausea and vomiting to the frustration of bed rest and limited mobility to the sickening worry that comes from finding out there is - or might be - something wrong with the little one inside. The powerlessness that accompanies pregnancy is something hidden from the balloons and singing of the showers, something that is so often borne alone. But I am finding, this time around, that having my nose inserted in Prayerfully Expecting is keeping me from focusing on the negative aspects of my "condition" when they crop up, and it's keeping my eyes trained where they're supposed to be anyway - heavenward.

I can't help but feel, as I continue to read Prayerfully Expecting, that I'm not alone. I knew that before, though. Of course I did. It just didn't seem as obvious. Donna-Marie has made this a journey I'm taking with Mary, an adventure I'm undergoing with Mother Teresa's blessing, and an opportunity that's full of scriptural wisdom and advice. With this book, she has given expectant mothers a new approach to their vocation right from the start, without any strings or preconceptions.


Thank you very much, Sarah for your review on Amazon!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hundreds gather to pray in the aftermath of tragedy

Many gather to pray in Minneapolis after the huge tragedy. Archbishop Nienstedt who presided over a prayer service said, "In the face of this seemingly senseless tragedy, words fail to capture all that our hearts wish to say," he added. "That is why we gather here today, to speak not with human words, but to allow God to speak in his own words."

"The bridge collapse," Archbishop Nienstedt said, points to "our finiteness and our limitedness as human beings." Read the article here.

Catholic Mom Book Selections for August

Lisa Hendey has posted her Catholic Mom book selections for August. She is also having a book contest. Go take a look and enter!

Prayers for Minneapolis

Let's remember in prayer all those whose lives were touched by the tragic collapse of the bridge over I-35 in Minneapolis. See news story here. Visit Heidi over at Streams of Mercy for a prayer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My view from down here...

Look who's looking at me. My trusty companion, Chop Chop nestled up there on the top of a pillow on the loveseat. It was funny to look over and see his eyes peering down on me. :) He's keeping me company while I lie flat on my back due to a low back injury. My camera happened to be near me on the hassock so I couldn't resist snapping these shots of him. Now, if I could only figure a way to send him out to the kitchen to get me something to eat...hmmm...

Where is our joy?

"God is joy, joy is prayer. Joy is a sign of generosity. when you are full of joy, you move faster and you want to go about doing good to everyone. Joy is a sign of union with God - of God's presence."--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta