Monday, March 31, 2008

A Time of Hopeful Rebirth

(Check out my article at Catholic Exchange here.)

What is it about the hope of warm breezes and sunshine right around the corner promising to warm our winter-chilled bones and to pop up an array of colorful delicate spring flowers from the once-frozen earth that motivates us to delve into cleaning and organizing projects? It's a feeling akin to the "nesting" instinct that surfaces for an expectant mother before the birth of her baby. One senses the urgency of doing and then experiences the satisfaction that a cleaned out pantry, an organized closet, or a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen walls brings along with it. It's just the right time for it — spring brings it forth from us. It's no wonder that I am in that organizing and cleaning frame of mind. I think I've been bit by a spring cleaning bug!

Spring is similarly a time for fresh new hope that warms our souls because of the Easter Resurrection. We've trodden the path of our penitential Lenten journeys and now we have been blessed with our Savior's promise of new life for us after He selflessly and lovingly shed His Blood. "Jesus, who himself died on the Cross, brought something totally different: an encounter with the Lord of all lords, an encounter with the living God and thus an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within" (Pope Benedict, XVI, Spe Salvi).

Along with the miracle of the Resurrection and the gift of new hope, we experience the bright rays of.. (Continued here.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday!

Jesus to Sr. Faustina

"On one occasion, I heard these words: 'My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.
'[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.

'From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy.'"

Excerpted from Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Prayer request from Jim at "Real Life Rosary"

"On Tuesday [during Holy Week] my wife went to the doctor for a check up on our baby who is due in May. She called me from the office in tears. The baby had an enlarged stomach and was smaller than she should be. The doctor was sending her to a specialist for further testing.

I met her at the specialist's office in the hospital and we watched as the technician spent over an hour snapping pictures with the ultrasound. In the end we were told that the baby has a condition called - Duodenal Atresia. Simply put, this is where the tube between the stomach and the intestine is not formed correctly. However, it is also sometimes associated with Down's Syndrome - 1 out of 3 children who have this also have Down's Syndrome. Everything else looks normal though and we are thankful for that.

So, we are facing some trying times in the next couple of months with the birth, surgery, etc. We would surely appreciate your prayers for Nicole, myself, and baby Catherine Therese (I knew you'd be excited Sarah!!). Please pray for the intercession of Saint Catherine of Sweden who is the patron against abortions and miscarriages and who is said, according to Butler's, to have had a stomach problem that kept her from receiving the Eucharist. Please also pray for the help of Saint Therese of Lisieux that she might drop roses on our little Therese."

This is from Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering: "Will you join me in this novena to St. Therese, the Little Flower, beginning tomorrow? Will you pray with me about this beautiful family, as they battle worry and fear in the midst of what should be a time of joyful preparation? Will you storm Heaven with me for little Catherine Therese and her family?"

Please pray for this family. I will be adding their intentions to my Mercy Novena and will ask our dear Lord, Jesus and his Blessed Mother Mary to help them. I will also invoke all of the Angels and Saints to intercede and help.

Thank you and God bless you!


Friday, March 21, 2008

First day of the Mercy Novena

Divine Mercy Novena
Novena: March 21 - 29
Divine Mercy Sunday falls on March 30

From the Mercy shrine:

"This is a very special time for us here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy as we prepare for our annual celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.

In the Diary of St. Faustina, Jesus asked that the Feast of Divine Mercy, known today as Divine Mercy Sunday, be preceded by a Novena to The Divine Mercy. A Novena is nine days of prayer in preparation for a feast. In the case of the Novena to The Divine Mercy, we pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy each day for a specific intention..." (Continued here)

To start the novena:

Novena to The Divine Mercy
"I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death." (Diary, 1209)

"Today bring to Me...

First Day: all mankind, especially all sinners
Second Day: the souls of priests and religious
Third Day: all devout and faithful souls
Fourth Day: those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Me
Fifth Day: the souls of those who have separated themselves from My church
Sixth Day: the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children
Seventh Day: the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy
Eighth Day: the souls who are detained in Purgatory
Ninth Day: souls who have become lukewarm

...and immerse them in the abyss
of My mercy."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Discussing Holy Week on "Catholic Connection"

Earlier this week I discussed Holy Week and a few other Catholic things with my friend and radio host, Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" on Ave Maria Radio (EWTN). Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and pull your chair up to the computer because if you didn't get a chance to tune in, here's another opportunity by clicking here!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Holy Triduum

I can't believe that the Sacred Triduum is upon us! The three most sacred days in our Church year! I pray that your Holy Week is going well and that grace abounds for you. More here tomorrow about Holy Thursday.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The First day of Holy Week

Here we are - the first day of Holy Week. Can you believe it? This Lenten season seems to have flown by. We have a lot going on this week and the richness of graces and blessings available to us which I will talk about in upcoming posts throughout the week.

Lent began for me in an extraordinary way this year. On Ash Wednesday I was in Rome and received my ashes sprinkled on top of my head at St. Peter's! That was a first for me. I was there for the International congress for women on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem. It all still seems like a dream to have been there participating in the history-making event. I'll be discussing that quite a bit coming up in my talks and events as well as on the air with Teresa Tomeo in our segment on "Catholic Connection."

For now, back to Holy Week. Yesterday's Palm Sunday sends us forth into Holy Week. Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly as palms were dropped on the roadway before Him to hail Him as King. At the end of the Mass on Palm Sunday, we were recalling Jesus' Crucifixion, passion, and death. We continue this reflection and journey throughout this amazing week.

It may be interesting to note that it was in the fourth century that Holy Week originated as part of the ritual of bringing new members into the community.

A few thoughts to ponder as we begin this week...Don't be discouraged. Perhaps you feel that you have not been true to your commitments and resolutions along your Lenten journey. Our Lord knows - He knows your heart. He knows that you may have wanted to be before Him on your knees at the Blessed Sacrament, at Mass more often, and at the Stations of the Cross, however you were called in other directions - caring for elderly or sick relatives, sick children, lonely neighbors, and various needs surrounding you, perhaps that required your undivided attention - CHARITY comes first and you have served our Lord in the others that you have helped, loved and cared for.

And even for those of us who did not come through with their Lenten resolutions due to our own choices - there is still time - we are beginning a Holy Week Journey we have before us a whole week in which to embrace the Cross and our Lord's will in our lives - whatever it may be.

It may not be easy. The splinters from the Cross that we may experience this week may be in the form of disappointment, heart ache, sickness, pain and suffering, or perhaps in being ridiculed or misunderstood - these all are thorns that we feel in our sides and seem to be splinters from the Cross - all are forms of penance when we offer it to our Lord. Perhaps we will experience other forms as well, that are not so small. We can offer it all to the Lord who gives us life --to Him who gives His life for us. Our Lord will bless it all and will work the miracles in human hearts. Let's embark upon this Holy Week with sincere hearts striving to do our Lord's will by responding in love to all that comes to us.

So we have time - we ask our Lord to open our hearts to Him in an extraordinary way this week! Let's experience the fullness of this week. We have Confession, the Sacraments, the community of faith. Even if our Lenten journey thus far seems lacking - we have this week to redouble our efforts and prayers and to truly ask our Lord to give us the grace to embrace it all - whatever comes our way.

Let's also pray that we can be like Veronica who wiped Jesus' face when He was walking through Calvary. Who can we console, care for, or help this week? Let's ask for the graces to be courageous like Veronica was, pushing through the angry crowd to reach Jesus so that she could console Him. Let's ask for the grace to be strong, to go against the flow, to be a contradiction, to be LOVE!

I will post a link soon to my segment on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio with Teresa Tomeo this morning in which we discussed Holy Week, Lent and good Catholic stuff. :)

God bless your Holy Week!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tune in Monday morning to "Mom's Corner!"

Hi, Everyone,

Tomorrow morning (Monday) as we begin Holy Week, please take a few moments to tune in to my "Mom's Corner" segment with Teresa Tomeo. At about 9:10 AM Eastern Standard Time, Teresa Tomeo, host of "Catholic Connection" and I will be discussing Holy Week, Lent, as well as our recent Vatican trip to the International Women's Congress in celebration of twenty years after Pope John Paul II penned Mulieris Dignitatem.

I hope you can tune in at Ave Maria Radio. Just go here and then click the "listen live" button and be ready about 9:00 AM. Of course, you may also tune in earlier at 8:00 to hear Teresa during other segments. Our segment will be hopefully informative and sprinkled with some good humor! :) Feel free to call in to the show if you have an opportunity. The phone number will be announced on the show.

I hope you'll join Teresa Tomeo and me tomorrow morning to learn more about this celebration and perhaps how you may fit in to it all by tuning in to "Catholic Connection" at Ave Maria Radio and perhaps call in to the show or comment here to this post with any questions or comments.

"Talk" to you tomorrow morning!

Have a BLESSED Palm Sunday!

Happy Palm Sunday!

"So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt (Jn 12:13-15)!"

Today we commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem for the completion of the Paschal Mystery. In the old calendar before Vatican II, the Church celebrated Passion Sunday two Sundays before Easter, and then Palm Sunday was the beginning of Holy Week. The Church has combined the two to reinforce the solemnity of Holy Week.

The Palm Sunday procession is formed of Christians who, in the "fullness of faith," make their own the gesture of the Jews and endow it with its full significance. Following the Jews' example we proclaim Christ as a Victor... Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. But by our faith we know, as they did not, all that His triumph stands for. He is the Messiah, the Son of David and the Son of God. He is the sign of contradiction, acclaimed by some and reviled by others. Sent into this world to wrest us from sin and the power of Satan, He underwent His Passion, the punishment for our sins, but issues forth triumphant from the tomb, the victor over death, making our peace with God and taking us with Him into the kingdom of His Father in heaven." (from Catholic Culture)

Collect: Almighty God, we pray you bless these branches and make them holy. Today we joyfully acclaim Jesus our Messiah and King. May we reach one day the happiness of the new and everlasting Jerusalem by faithfully following him who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Only a couple more days to vote!

I will bring to your attention once again that it is time to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs and you only have a couple of days to do it! There are many categories and blogs to choose from. I hope that you'll take the time to vote for some blogs that you have been enjoying.

I will repeat my recent information.

I was pleasantly very surprised to find out that two of my blogs were nominated in three categories.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, I am not expecting to win anything. There are many fabulous Catholic blogs out there deserving awards. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


Mom Stories

Hello Moms,

Do you have an inspiring story that you would like to share here at "Embracing Motherhood?" It can be about your own vocation of motherhood, about your mother, your grandmother, or your godmother. It can even be about a friend who is a mother and inspires you or others to strive for holiness. Feel free to send me a paragraph or more to DMCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com. I will feature the personal stories here at "Embracing Motherhood." I will also put them all into a contest to win a copy of one of my books!

Don't be shy!

God bless!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Catholic Spotlight today!

You can hear my interview with Chris Cash today at Catholic Spotlight. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and pull your chair up to the computer. Chris and I talk about my visit to the Vatican, Mulieris Dignitatem, and Pope John Paul II, as well as my books and my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book coming out in about a week! When you're ready click here!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My interview with Heidi Hess Saxton

Interview with Heidi Hess Saxton
Behold Your Mother:
Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert

(Bezalel Books)

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Heidi Hess Saxton about her newest book, Behold Your Mother. Many of you may know Heidi through her many blogs and as Editor of Canticle magazine. I am delighted to have a copy of Heidi’s book, hot off the press! It’s a beautiful book, colored in Blessed Mother Mary blue and even bears an endorsement from me on the back cover. My endorsement reads, “In Behold Your Mother, Heidi Hess Saxton invites us to tug on Mother Mary’s apron strings to get her attention. Through personal and scripturally based reflections, Heidi offers us a glimpse of our Blessed Mother’s eminence but also her humanness to alleviate our fears of approaching her.”

I think Heidi has crafted a beautiful reflective book about our Blessed Mother that is suitable for both those who may be just getting acquainted with Mother Mary and those who may already feel close to her heart.

Before our interview, here are the words from the inside back cover of Heidi’s book:

"Heidi Hess Saxton converted to the Catholic faith in 1994, after spending thirty years actively participating in a variety of Christian traditions. Having pursued graduate studies (MA.Theo.) at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, Heidi lives with her husband and family in southern Michigan. She is editor of Canticle magazine, and adoptive parent columnist at and

Would you like to read more of Heidi’s work, or invite her to speak at your parish or women’s retreat? Contact her via e-mail at, or go to

"Behold Your Mother" for more Mary stories, quotes, images, and reflections from all over cyberspace.

“Mommy Monsters Inc” for “perpetually challenged” parents, especially adoptive and foster parents.

“Silent Canticle” for Catholic writers, especially those who want an inside look at “Canticle” magazine.

“Streams of Mercy” for converts and those who want to know more about God and the Catholic Church."

Heidi begins her Introduction with words from Pope John Paul the Great: “It is certain that just as Mary, the first among the redeemed, was especially close to the Cross of her Son, so she also had a privileged experience of the Risen One.” (Pope John Paul II, A Year With Mary)

Now for our interview:

Donna: Heidi, it’s very exciting that you are releasing your second book, titled, Behold Your Mother just in time for Easter! Would you please tell us a little bit about your book?

Heidi: Behold Your Mother is a kind of love song to Mary, our spiritual mother by adoption. The first section tells the story of I came to know Mary, first as a convert to the Catholic faith, and again as an adoptive mother. The second part consists of forty-eight reflections based on the titles of Mary and the images of her we find in the Scriptures. It’s just a little book – only about 70 pages. But it’s just the thing for someone who wants to understand why Catholics are “wild about Mary.”

Donna: I agree, I think it’s a perfect book to learn more about our Blessed Mother through a nice balance of Scripture, personal stories, reflection and prayer. Would you please tell us about your experience and journey writing this book and why you decided to write about the Blessed Mother?

Heidi: Many Christians – including new Catholic converts – have difficulty understanding or accepting why Catholics honor Mary. They think of her as a woman who “just happened” to be the one God used to bring His Son into the world. She turns up every year in the Christmas crèche, and gets put away with the wise men and shepherds. I was like that, even in the years immediately following my entrance into the Church. But over time, as I took a closer look at what the Church teaches about Mary, I found myself being drawn to her. And when I turned to her, even a little bit, she responded as only a mother can. This book is the result of those years of studying and pondering.

Donna: I like your description about how some people; even Christians view Mary and your analogy with the Christmas crèche. Do you plan to speak or write about the Blessed Mother after the publication of your book?

Heidi: Lord willing, I’d like that. One of my favorite talks to give is the “Seven Words of Mary in Scripture,” and how those seven “words” can lead us to cultivate a deeper prayer life. The reason for this is simple: true devotion to Mary always leads us closer to Jesus and His Father. She never keeps it for herself.

Cheryl Dickow and I are talking about putting together an online study group based on this book. Anyone who would be interested in participating in such a study can contact me at hsaxton(at)christianword(dot)com.

Donna: That is so true that Mary only leads us closer to Jesus and His Father and never holds our honor of her to herself. I know you touched on this a bit already, however I wonder if you think that there are Catholics who may not feel inclined or may even be leery about getting close to the Blessed Mother? If so, why might that be?

Heidi: I’ve met Christians who don’t feel Mary is a necessary part of their spiritual walk simply because they’ve always gone directly to God with their requests (although they see no harm in asking for a friend’s prayer support from time to time). Many such Christians confuse prayer with worship, when the essential character of worship involves sacrifice. (Perhaps consequently, those with the greatest difficulty with Mary tend to be those who struggle to believe in the Real Presence.)

Another group that resists Mary’s maternal efforts is those who are so enamored with the “Queen of Heaven” that they forget she was also Jesus’ human mother. She is not divine by nature (though she is full of the divine life because of Jesus). For that reason, I’ve tried to capture some of the more maternal, human moments in Mary’s life, to remind people of the ordinary life of this extraordinary woman.

Donna: Yes, and I think you do that well in this book and that is why I wrote what I did in my endorsement about Mary’s apron strings and her human side. Do you feel that your book, Behold Your Mother will help the average Catholic to learn more about Mary, possibly even help them to feel more inclined to beseech her?

Heidi: I’ve met people who have told me that the first edition of this book, in which I tell the story about Mary sending someone to sit with me in church three weeks in a row, inspired them to try it (with amazing results!). I hope this will be true for many people.

God loves all His children equally, and knows what each of us need to reach the next step in our spiritual journey. For many of us, that involves a bit of nurturing, something that comes to women naturally. And so, it is no wonder that Jesus gave His mother to us, to help us along. Fortunately, the fact of Mary’s maternity has nothing to do with our response. Whether or not we are ready to receive her ministrations, she stands ready and full of love, just waiting for that first moment of turning toward her.

Donna: That’s a beautiful explanation, Heidi. Was there any point in writing the book when you had to be especially careful that the creative process did not cause you to contradict Marian dogma?

Heidi: I can think of one time, when someone questioned whether it is proper to suggest that Mary had a natural labor and delivery. While we must absolutely assent to those aspects of Marian dogma that have been declared by the Church, including her Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity, there remain some issues connected with the Holy Family that have were debated by the Church Fathers, but have not been declared dogmatically.

One example would be whether Joseph was a widow or a virgin; while many apologists today explain the Scriptural references to Jesus' brothers and sisters by asserting that Joseph had children from a previous marriage, St. Jerome believed that Joseph, too, was a virgin all his life. St. Jerome wrote: "...I claim still more, that Joseph himself on account of Mary was a virgin, so that from a virgin wedlock a virgin son was born. For if as a holy man he does not come under the imputation of fornication, and it is nowhere written that he had another wife, but was the guardian of Mary whom he was supposed to have to wife rather than her husband, the conclusion is that he who was thought worthy to be called father of the Lord, remained a virgin" (Jerome, The Perpetual Virginity of Mary Against Helvedius, 21 (A.D. 383).

I believe the question of how Jesus was brought into the world without violating Mary's perpetual virginity falls in the same category. That she remained a virgin cannot be questioned; how God accomplished this is a mystery. Some of the early Church Fathers believed she could not have experienced these things because she was without original sin, and so they concluded that she would not have fallen under Eve's curse ("In pain will you bring forth children...").

However, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was like us in every way except sin. God, who planted the Word in Mary’s womb miraculously, could have delivered the Infant Christ into the world just as miraculously, without damaging His mother’s hymen. Mary could have endured the natural bodily processes of labor and still remained virginal for the simple reason that God willed it so.

To me, Mary’s virginity and her suffering are really flip sides of the same “coin” of obedience. She was not spared other pain in connection with her motherhood – including having to watch her own son die a criminal’s death. A few hours of labor seem like a trifling thing by comparison … and a natural delivery would have been one more way that the Incarnate Christ was truly “one of us.”

Donna: That is really interesting. Thank you for that detailed explanation. Would you also please tell us a little bit about the process of writing this book?

Heidi: I was asked to write this little book by Jim Manney, now editorial director at Loyola Press. He knew that as a Catholic convert I would handle the subject differently than a cradle Catholic. First, I mined the Scriptures for anything about Mary, and then I scouted around for honorific titles that have been bestowed upon her over the centuries. Finally, I began to meditate on each of the Scripture passages, trying to place myself in the scene. From there the book practically wrote itself.

When the book went out of print, I was disappointed. But then I became a mother myself, and suddenly gained new insight into what it means to be a part of God’s “adopted family” (or, as we call it, his “forever family”). My early experiences of motherhood provided a new dimension to my own relationship with Mary. And as I began to journal about it, I realize that this was the other half of the book … the half that didn’t make it into the original edition. The most important part!

So, when I discovered that Cheryl and I would be speaking at the same women’s conference in April, we sat down and decided that this would be a good time to bring out the book, with the new material and title. I see it as God’s hand orchestrating the circumstances … It’s exciting to see the little book take off.

Donna: That’s really wonderful that when the first door closed (after your book went out of print) the next door opened wide in perhaps an even more perfect manner, because you could then include that whole new dimension and all of the elements that became so alive for you after you became a mother. Heidi, would you mind telling us a little bit about your background and your family life?

Heidi: I was raised in a Christian home, by two parents who believed God answers prayers. I was taught to talk to God every day, and expect that He would both hear me and answer me. Early on, I understood that God loves me and wants me to love Him, too.

Unfortunately, I also became extremely proud of my “relationship with God,” which led me to conclude that I didn’t need anyone else to help me grow. Because He is the best Father, God does not allow His children to remain for long in this condition. Instead, He orchestrated circumstances to bring me off my spiritual high horse. I had to become a child again, ready to receive from God anything He wanted to give me. One of the most important ways He did this was by leading me into the Church.

As I went through RCIA and learned about the “communion of the saints,” I found it an interesting piece of information, but not personally relevant. After all, I felt that I had an “inside track” with God. I had no need for rosaries or for Mary. Or so I thought. Finally, God brought me to a place when I was absolutely alone – across the country from all my friends and family – to make me see that I needed my spiritual family as well. As I allowed myself to get close to Mary, I realized what a gift I had been given. This realization hit me in a new and fresh way after I became a mother, by adoption, to two beautiful children. It was then that Mary’s motherhood to me “clicked.”

Donna: Our Lord, the Divine Physician knows exactly what we need and when we need it, doesn’t He? These really profound experiences oftentimes occur when we are a bit vulnerable and in a position where we must depend only on Him and not our friends or family, I find. Heidi, are there any experiences that you may want to share that may have been responsible in nudging you to write this book?

Heidi: Yes … I write about it at length in Behold Your Mother. My initial tentative efforts to get to know Mary were amply rewarded. A series of events, culminating in the experiences I had with my own children, helped me to understand the adopted love that God has for us, and how that love was demonstrated in a special way when Jesus gave us His loving mother to intercede for us.

The relationship that we build with Mary does not detract from our relationship with God, any more than the relationship my children build with me detracts from their relationship with God. God knows we are not strong creatures, and that we need a lot of help to get us where He wants us to go. So He provides for us these human relationships so that we have the support we need to stay “on track” all the way to heaven.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches,” Our Lord told us. “If you remain in me, and I remain in you, then you shall bear much fruit.” In this life and the next one, we are all one family in Christ … the communion of the saints connects all three branches of the Church (militant, suffering, and triumphant). If we remain close to Jesus, we will continue to bear spiritual fruit in our own lives … and stay connected to our brothers and sisters in faith in this life as well as the next. God is pleased when we stay close to our spiritual family, for in this way we reflect the divine nature, which is a communion of love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Donna: That is indeed a very meaningful Scripture passage. Could you share with us your favorite Scripture passage if you have one?

Heidi: My favorite Scripture passage is Psalms 107:23-30

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works of the deep.
For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men,
and were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.

I love this passage for many reasons, but especially because I think it's such a beautiful metaphor for the human condition. Only when circumstances
are such that we reach the end of ourselves, stumbling and staggering in utter futility, do we think to cry out to God, who hears and delivers us.

Maybe I love it so much simply because it paints a fairly accurate picture of my own life. (If you read my article in the Lent issue of canticle magazine, you know what I mean.)

For this reason, "Mary, Star of the Sea" resonates with me. She takes pity on her staggering, swaggering, whiney children, and tugs on the sleeve of her Son
saying, "There! Can't you see? DO something!"

And he does. He always does. He draws us to the haven our hearts crave ... he drives us to himself.

Donna: I love your explanation and description of Mother Mary prodding her Son on to help us whiny children! On a personal note, may I ask how your family feels about the fact that you are an author?

Heidi: My children are still young enough that they are happy to see their names in print, and don’t get embarrassed if I talk about them. They like to hear the stories I wrote about over and over, because it is part of their family history. My husband Craig, the world’s most supportive husband, is happy to see me using my gift.

With extended family, the reaction can be a little more complex. No one else in our families are practicing Catholics, and it is difficult to share with them as freely as I can with those who are genuinely eager to hear what I have to say. But I was tickled when my Baptist sister told me that she stayed up all night to read it! “I think I’m beginning to understand why you love Mary so much,” she said to me. “I’m not there yet, but I get it why you are.” That was the greatest compliment I’ve received to date.

Donna: Wow! That’s great! I’m sure that Mother Mary will accomplish the rest in time. Heidi, is there something you’d like to add that I have forgotten to ask you?

Heidi: It’s important to remember that asking the saints – even Mary – to pray for a particular situation isn’t like sticking a quarter in the gumball machine. It isn’t magic, manipulating cosmic forces to do our own bidding. When we ask the saints to pray for us, we are asking them to walk with us as we follow the path God has chosen for us. Sometimes that means you get your miracle. Other times you simply get the strength to endure.

Having said that, God is incredibly generous with His children. He can handle our honest questions, and responds to the heart that is open to receiving from His hand anything He wishes to give. When we ask Mary to pray for us, we must be willing to trust that the answer that comes – even if the answer is “no” or “not yet” – is the answer that best fulfills God’s will for us here and now. Our human experience is one long lesson in trust and faith, and of letting go of things that are keeping us from the perfection God wants to work in us. That means we must continually be ready to offer our “Yes” to God … just as Mary did when the angel appeared to her two thousand years ago.

Donna: Heidi, thank you very much for doing this interview with me at a time when I am sure you are so very busy! I pray that Behold Your Mother may help inspire countless people to come closer to the Blessed Mother who will in turn bring them closer to her Son, Jesus!

You may purchase an autographed copy of “Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert” through Heidi’s website: Heidi's website. Heidi tells us that all copies ordered prior to 3/15 will receive free shipping (if ordered in the continental U.S.). For non-US customers, she asks to please order through

"Just" a Mom!

Someone sent me this beautiful reflection on motherhood!

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office,
was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is, " explained the recorder,
"do you have a job or are you just a ...?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.

"I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,'housewife' covers it,"

said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself

in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
"Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest,
"just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers

and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more

distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."


What a glorious career!

Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make grandmothers
"Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"
And great grandmothers
"Executive Senior Research Associates?"
I think so!!!
I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants."

Didn't you just love that?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Time to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs!

Now that I have my nifty little Catholic Blog Awards image, I will bring to your attention once again that it is time to vote for your favorite Catholic blogs and there are many categories and blogs to choose from. I am not here asking you for your votes - seriously. Well, actually I am asking for votes - for somebody - anybody - whomever you want to vote for. Just vote!

I will repeat my information from the other day.

I was pleasantly very surprised to find out that two of my blogs were nominated in three categories.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, it doesn't matter if I win anything. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


"For All of Humanity," my article in Lay Witness magazine

For All of Humanity
A Report from the International Congress on Mulieris Dignitatem
held in Rome, February 7–9, 2008

by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Pilgrimaging to the Eternal City were 260 delegates comprising mostly women and a few men from all corners of the world. They represented 46 countries and five continents called together by the Pontifical Council for the Laity to partake in the International Congress marking the twentieth anniversary of the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem.

Mulieris Dignitatem (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”), presented by Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1988, is the first apostolic letter totally dedicated to women. The Pontifical Council for the Laity saw a need to... (Continued here.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tune in on Friday!

On Friday at 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time I will be chatting with Gus Lloyd on his show "Seize the Day" on Sirius Radio 159. I understand you can resister for a free three day trial of Sirius Radio and can find out the details by going to the website. If you sign up now, you'll be able to tune in to our conversation! :)

Catholic Spotlight

Have you heard of Chris Cash, the host of Catholic Spotlight? I hope so! He's really such a gracious host and also a Catholic husband and father. I had the great pleasure of speaking with him recently about some Catholic things. You know, family issues, kids, our faith and all of that good stuff. I am sincerely happy that I made a connection with Chris. Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom.Com and Catholic Moments Podcast had recommended that Chris have me on his Catholic Spotlight show. Check out his website and listen to the interviews with some of the dynamic Catholics he has had on his show.

I believe my segment will be aired next Monday, March 10th and you can listen from your computer. I'll keep you posted on that. I had a conversation with Chris about my experience at the International Vatican congress that I just attended as well as news of my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book. coming out in a couple of weeks. We also discussed issues pertaining to women, Catholic families and some other interesting things.

I also just realized that Chris is the Director of E-Commerce at the Catholic Company! You can see that I have added some very attractive ads on my blogs for the Catholic Company in my right hand column. Check them out - First Holy Communions, Confirmations, and Easter are all coming - to name a few occasions!

I hope you'll join us on our segment coming up. :)

God bless you!

Canticle magazine

Hooray! My issue of Canticle has arrived!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goodness Gracious! Catholic Blog Awards!

Goodness gracious! I am pleasantly surprised to find out today that two of my blogs have been nominated in three categories for the Catholic Blog Awards! Thank you whomever nominated me. :) I happened to go over to Sarah's place at "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering" earlier today to check on the Catholic Carnival and I found her post about the Catholic Blog Awards. I am new to all of this blogging, (I started last year) however, I've seen all of the hubbub about the awards last year.

I thought I would get around to nominate some amazing Catholic blogs this year but I didn't realize that it was that time because I have been so busy lately. I just returned from Rome - the International Congress at the Vatican, I am recovering from a car accident, AND my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book is being released in a couple of weeks! There have been so many media interviews to do and articles to write...Needless to say, there just are not enough hours in the day and I missed the nominating part. I'll be sure to do that next year, God willing. :) For this year, I will indeed be voting. It will be tough since there are incredible Catholic blogs out there.

If you dear reader, feel inclined to vote, go over and take a look! You will need to register (if you aren't already) which takes all of 60 seconds or so. Then the fun begins as you scroll through the categories and recognize some awesome Catholic blogs.

My Embracing Motherhood blog was nominated in two categories. 1) "Most Spiritual Catholic Blog" and 2) "Best New Catholic Blog." My Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration was nominated for "Best Individual Catholic Blog."

Thank you again for the nominations and to those who may feel inclined to vote for my blogs. :) But truly, it doesn't matter if I win anything. I am just happy to have been nominated. :)

God bless!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Interview with author, Mary DeTurris Poust!

Interview with author, Mary DeTurris Poust
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism


I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Mary DeTurris Poust about her new book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Catholic Catechism to be released in only a couple of days!

First, from the inside back cover of Mary’s book:

"Mary DeTurris Poust is an award-winning columnist, journalist, and author whose work has appeared in both Catholic and secular magazines and newspapers across the country for more than two decades. She is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic news weekly, and the author of Parenting a Grieving Child: Helping Children Find Faith, Hope, and Healing After the Loss of a Loved One (Loyola Press, 2002). Her column Life Lines, which focuses on parenting and family life from a faith perspective, appears monthly in Catholic New York and other regional and national newspapers and frequently in the Times Union of Albany, N.Y.
Mary is the former managing editor of Manhattan-based Catholic New York and the former associate editor of The Catholic Spirit in Austin, Texas. She has also worked for the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., and the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. In addition, she writes behind the scenes for a number of religious communities and organizations.
A graduate of Pace University, Mary has been honored by the Catholic Press Association numerous times for her news writing, feature writing, investigative reporting, and for her column.
Mary, her husband, Dennis, and their three children live in upstate New York."

Donna: Mary, it’s very exciting that you are releasing your second book, titled, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism in just two days! Would you please tell us a little bit about the book

Mary: I guess the first thing people need to know is that this book is completely faithful to the full Catechism of the Catholic Church and, in fact, can and should be used as a study guide. It certainly can be read on its own as a stand-alone book, but it would be especially effective to have the full catechism on hand when you read my book. Except for an introductory section that explains the history of catechisms and how they should be used, my book shadows the structure of the full catechism so that people can use the two side-by-side. Where the catechism is almost 1,000 pages and is written in theological language, mine clocks in at 336 pages and is written in popular language with lots of definitions and explanations along the way.

Donna: To write about the Catechism of the Catholic Church seems like it would be an overwhelming experience to say the very least. Would you please tell us about your experience and journey writing this book and perhaps even why you decided to write about the Catechism?

Mary: When I first accepted this project, I was a little intimidated. I had never read the catechism cover to cover; I had used it only as a reference tool. My publisher gave me only three months to write the entire manuscript, so that made it all the more challenging. Still, it turned out to be not only a wonderful professional experience but an amazing spiritual experience for me. I found myself hearing the prayers of the Mass as if for the first time. Everything sounded new because I was spending so much time reading and reflecting on these beliefs that I had been professing my whole life. It is my hope that my readers will experience some of that as well. I think we can get so used to our faith that we often take elements of it for granted. When you have to sit with these teachings and put them into context and really think about them in a different way, it can have a profound impact, at least it did for me.

Donna: That’s wonderful! Do you plan to speak or write about the Catechism and its implications on Catholics after the publication of your book?

Mary: Yes, I will be writing about the book for Our Sunday Visitor, and I will be posting daily doses of catechism on my own blog every day. Beyond that, I will speak and write on this subject as opportunities come up. I think it’s so important to remind people that the catechism is not something reserved for bishops or priests or those working for the Church. I’m hoping my book will make the beauty of the larger catechism more accessible to everyday Catholics as well as non-Catholics who simply want to better understand the Catholic faith.

Donna: I hope that you do post about it on at least a semi-regular basis. I think people will be interested and I agree that it’s important to help the average Catholic understand that the Catechism is not reserved for the clergy but is for all of us. What part or parts of the Catechism do you feel most Catholics may have trouble understanding? In reading your book, do you think they will be more able to understand?

Mary: I think a lot of people hear catechism and think of rules and regulations; they don’t realize that so much of the catechism focuses on spiritual teachings and prayers. For me the most beautiful part of the catechism is its focus on basic Catholic beliefs, specifically the things outlined in the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds. I wrote seven chapters on the creeds alone. Line by line, I go through these prayers and break down what we’re professing to believe. I hope that my book will do for others what writing this book did for me: Bring those professions of faith alive in new ways. I also hope people will come away with a much deeper understanding of where our teachings come from, that they don’t exist in a vacuum and weren’t created out of nothing. They all grow out of Scripture and Tradition, and it’s incredibly beautiful to watch that unfold.

Donna: That sounds incredible, I loved how you expressed the way this all came alive for you and your hopes for others who read your book. Do you feel that your book, The Complete Idiots Guide to the Catholic Catechism will help the average Catholic in their understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Church teachings?

Mary: I absolutely think this book can help Catholics, future Catholics, even non-Catholics who want to try to understand what Catholics believe. That’s not because I’ve come up with anything new and inventive. I simply took what the Church has taught for thousands of years and rewrote it in an easier-to-understand, popular style -- with some elements of humor thrown in when appropriate. In addition to following all the basics of the catechism, I’ve added in some extra “sidebars” to deal with definitions of difficult terms, explanations of especially confusing teachings, and myths that need to be debunked. It was actually really fun to write.

Donna: I personally can’t wait to get my hands on this book! The added sidebars sound interesting and a great way to enhance the book. Will your book bear a Nihil Obstat or an Imprimatur?

Mary: Yes, the book has both. The imprimatur was given by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. It was very important to me to get an imprimatur on this book because of the subject matter. I want people to know that they can trust that this popular translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is completely true to Church teaching.

That was also why it was so important to have a theological advisor on this book. Every page I wrote was sent to Msgr. David Fulton, a brilliant theologian and professor at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He would send back reams of notes, comments and suggestions, which I then incorporated into my manuscript.

Donna: That’s great that you had his help and support. Still, I imagine that taking on such a task as you have in explaining the Catholic Catechism must have been a bit daunting. Was this your experience? Please tell us a little bit about the process.

Mary: In one sense it was daunting, and in another it was easier than I expected because the full catechism is so well structured. Once I got into a groove, I was moving through sections pretty quickly. I took it in chunks: For example, I would read the section on the creeds and then write. Read the section on the sacraments and write, and so on with the sections on the commandments and prayer.

On top of that, the fact that I felt like I was moving deeper into my own faith experience with every page made it much more bearable than if I had been writing about something that didn’t mean that much to me. I feel I was meant to write this book. Not because I was the only writer who could do it – obviously that’s not the case – but because I needed to write this book. In the “Dear Reader” letter at the start of the book, I wrote that I needed to become “an eager explorer in the familiar territory of my own faith.” That made what could have been an overwhelming professional venture into a profound spiritual mission.

Donna: Thank you for explaining your process and experience of going deeper in your own faith experience. Mary, would you please tell us a little bit about your background and your family life?

Mary: I was raised a Catholic and was very active in the Church as a child and teen-ager. My mother had a tremendous influence on my faith. Through her I came to see Church and faith as something intricately intertwined with the rest of my life. When I graduated from college, I took an internship at Catholic New York, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York. From there I went to the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., and then back to Catholic New York as a reporter. After a brief stint in Austin, Texas, that included the beginnings of my free-lance career in the Catholic press, I returned to Catholic New York as managing editor. I’m still writing for Catholic New York; they publish my monthly column, Life Lines, which focuses on family life and how we live out our faith in the world.

My first book, Parenting a Grieving Child: Helping Children Find Faith, Hope and Healing After the Loss of a Loved One, was published by Loyola Press in 2002. Currently I am a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor and a contributor to various other Catholic and secular publications. In addition, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes writing for religious congregations. I also just recently jumped into the world of blogging, which is a daily adventure.

Donna:What actually inspired you to write this book?

Mary: Actually, I had no intention of writing this book. In fact, I didn’t really think I was going to write a second book at all. But, as I say now, this book found me. When the job came up, I sat with it and prayed on it and really tried to decide if this was something I wanted to write about. Having written one book before this, I’m of the mind that you’d better really believe in your subject if you’re going to spend that many days and nights wrapped up in it. I knew this was something I believed in on the most profound level, so I figured I’d step off the ledge and God would take care of the rest.

Donna: I’m so glad you did decide to “step off the ledge” and let God take care of the rest and I am sure that the readers of your new book will feel the same way. On a personal note, may I ask how your family feels about the fact that you are an author?

Mary: My family is very supportive; my dad and step-mom and brother and aunts are coming from hours away for my book release party, which is beyond the call of duty, I think. My husband is a tremendous support because he’s the one who bears the burden when I decide to write a book, especially in a three-month time frame. There were lots of weekends and nights when I was completely absent and he was running the show. I couldn’t have done it without him.

My children think it’s cool that I write books and articles and columns, but not nearly as cool as if I was writing Magic Tree House books. It used to be that whenever they saw a column of mine in a paper with my photo on it, they’d say, “Mom’s famous.” Finally they realized that the columns weren’t exactly translating into fame. Now I think they’ve finally realize that this is not just my job, this is my life. I cannot separate the writer in me from the rest of my life, any more than I could separate out the Catholic part of me. The fact that I’ve managed to combine these two key elements of my personality is just a mind-boggling blessing to me.

Donna: Is there something you’d like to add that I have forgotten to ask you?

Mary: I think I’ve said more than enough. :)

Donna: Well, you certainly did not say “More than enough.” I enjoyed every minute of our interview and I am sure that our visitors will, as well. I think you had better rest up your signing hand to get ready to autograph all of those books!

Thank you very much Mary for your time to answer so many questions when you are getting ready to launch your new book. May God bless you and everyone who reads your book and bring them ever deeper into the fullness of the faith!


You may purchase this book at Mary's website: Mary De Turris Poust.Com or Amazon.Com by clicking on her book in my right column in "My Media Library"

Visit Mary's website at Mary DeTurris Poust.Com
Visit Mary's daily blog at Mary's blog

updated link to Vatican radio interview

I have updated the link in my post in the right column about my interview on Vatican radio with Joan Lewis, EWTN's news bureau chief. Check it out by clicking on the post in the right hand column.

Sorry, but I just found out that this link might take you to another interview even though it has my name listed. I have sent an email to EWTN to ask for the link and will update this as soon as I have the information.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pope Benedict praises the dignity of women

Pope Benedict praises the dignity of women

Vatican City, Feb 12, 2008 / 11:48 am (CNA).- On Saturday morning Pope Benedict XVI received participants in an international congress on the theme: “Woman and man, the ‘humanum’ in its entirety.” During his reflections, the Holy Father called on Christians to promote “a culture that grants women, in law and in everyday life, the dignity that is theirs by right.”

The congress, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, takes place in the twentieth anniversary year of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter on the dignity and vocation of women, “Mulieris Dignitatem.”

Speaking to the participants, Pope Benedict said that the relationship between men and women is a question central to contemporary culture. The Pope noted the various documents the Church has dedicated to the topic, including “Mulieris Dignitatem,” Pope John Paul II’s 1995 “Letter to Women” and a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document titled “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World.”

Man and woman’s equal dignity, their unity, and their reciprocal and complementary vocations, the Pope said, rest on their being created in the image and likeness of God, “Who 'created them male and female' avoiding indistinct uniformity and flat and impoverished equality, as well as massive and confrontational difference.” (Article continued here)

FAITH news in Republican American newspaper

Trip helps fuel O'Boyle's desire to help

Trip helps fuel O’Boyle’s desire to help

Donna Cooper O’Boyle’s recent trip to Rome charged her eager­ness to help foster Catholic women.

The New Milford author re­cently served as a delegate at The Pontifical Council for the Laity’s International Congress, “Women and man, the hu­manum in its entirety.” The meeting marked the 20th an­niversary of Mulieris Digni­tatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, which was written by Pope John Paul II. His publication can be found online at www.dignityof­

O’Boyle was one of 260 peo­ple from 46 countries and five continents invited to the con­gress.

“The amazing part for me was that people from all cor­ners of the Earth were there to discuss the apostolate letter written by Pope John Paul II 20 years ago. We (the U.S. del­egates) really bonded over there,” she said. “I had a good time. It was joy sprinkled in with intense workshops.”

O’Boyle got back from Rome on Feb. 12 and said she’s still digesting all that she learned while at the congress.

“So much was presented to us, I have three notebooks filled with notes,” she said.

The three-day congress ad­dressed the advancement of women, cultural trends, women’s responsibilities in church and society, women’s dignity, family, technology and several other related topics.

She said women have been exploited by United States con­sumerism and technology, not­ing that it’s not the exterior that matters, but, rather, a woman’s intellect, heart and spirit.

“I believe women have real­ly been sold out,” she said.

O’Boyle said women have al­ways been equal to men, but have been taught to feel inferi­or to men.

“We have complimentary roles... We are equal,” she said. “We just have our own unique gifts.”

She has studied Mulieris Dignitatem thoroughly and said the congress affirmed and motivated her to continue with what she’s been doing through the books and articles she’s published — to bring Pope John Paul II’s message of restoration and hope to women in homes and parishes around the world.

“There’s work to be done,” she said. “It’s going to be a busy 2008 and beyond.”

While at the Vatican, O’Boyle said she especially connected with Broadcast Journalist Teresa Tomeo of Michigan. She said they felt called to host retreats together for Catholic women. She said that Tomeo will focus on cul­ture issues and O’Boyle will fo­cus on family and motherhood.

O’Boyle also plans on speak­ing and writing about women’s issues.

Her most recent book, “The Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration from your Favorite Saints” will be released in March.

You can learn more about O’Boyle and read her blogs at