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We Have A Winner…

The winner of a nice new copy of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms is Cristina!

Cristina’s comment here at Pastoral Postings tells us that she recently returned to the Church and is in RCIA; she has two sons, ages 7 and 4 and is busy enjoying Lisa Hendey’s book, A Handbook for Catholic Moms.

Congratulations Cristina and thanks to all who read and commented!

Thank You One and All!

We had so many people come by the blog yesterday to check out all the posts about A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms! I will be pulling together a means of selecting winners (translation: I am putting names on pieces of paper, dropping them into a bag and waiting for my co-worker to come in to draw two out!) and they will be announced later on all 3 blogs. I will also reach out to the winners by email.

Thanks again, keep reading – the blog and as many books as you can – and God bless one and all!

A special thanks to Lisa Hendey and Ave Maria Press for what they did to make this big day possible.

A blessed All Souls Day to you all!

Book Review – A Book of Saints For Catholic Moms by Lisa M. Hendey

Like any good Catholic kid growing up in the 60’s, I had favorite saints, those holy people who brought me comfort and fed my curiosity and imagination. How I loved the Blessed Virgin Mary! Then there was Saint Anthony, who stood there in his plaster glory, with all the old ladies standing around the base of his statue, touching his foot, deep in prayer. I knew he would help me find things if I lost them. Saint Therese – oh, I thought she was the greatest; mostly because I liked the look of her habit and that she had those roses! Over the years I drifted far from church, but never far from my love of the entire company of saints.

That is why I love to read any book about the communio sanctorum, or communion of saints. How can one not be inspired by these people who were human, ordinary, and yet quite extraordinary as they lived lives of challenge, grace and hope in Christ?

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, a new book by Lisa M. Hendey, from Ave Maria Press, is a great resource for not only learning about the saints, but also for finding ways to nurture your spirit and the spirit of your family and friends. While this book is aimed at Catholic mothers, I can see it put to use in many wonderful ways.

Hendey lovingly presents us with “52 companions for (y)our heart, mind, body and soul,” in a format that is pointed to weekly use. We learn about saints that are well known by all, such as The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Bernadette. Personally, I was delighted to find others that I love… St. Mary MacKillop and St. Andre Bessette to name two of them. However, there are lesser-known saints as well, and not only the canonized, reminding us of the essential truth that we are all invited to be saints.

Each chapter is organized around basic information about the saint, and their story, along with sub-headings for lessons, traditions and wisdom from that person. I loved the “This Week with Scripture” element, which draws one into daily Scriptural prayer. Hendey offers suggestions for activities, prayer for families, and the prompting to ponder some questions as each chapter draws to a close.

The format is easy to read, as well easy to use in a practical manner, all done in a way that will feed one’s spirit. The author’s writing style is comfortable and welcoming, inviting anyone who picks up this book to stick around for the journey.

Is this a book for Catholic moms? Yes! Is this a book that can be read by others? Absolutely! I can easily see it put into use as part of small faith sharing groups, prayer circles or as an element of intergenerational catechesis.

Not Catholic? I know many people who have curiosity about the saints. While there is no shortage of books about them, I would unabashedly recommend this volume to anyone who wanted to learn more, and prayerfully enter into relationship with people we pray through, not to, on our journey with Christ. Not a mom? Not a problem! You can take this book as a prayerful companion along the way, exploring ways to walk and pray with the saints.

Typically I get ahead of myself and I find myself doing so now, getting a glimpse of the sadness that I will feel in one year, as my use of this book will draw to a close! Once again, the saints remind however, that I must stay in the moment that I have. And I think I see this book becoming one that I will return to over and over again. I hope that you will take this walk with me, with Lisa M. Hendey and most of all, with the saints themselves, as we go along our way.

(Remember – leave a comment before midnight on 11/1/11 and you might win a copy of your own!)

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms – An Excerpt

When offered the chance to present you with a short excerpt from A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa M. Hendey, I began to panic… How could I set aside just a little of this fine book? Well, prayer brought the answer, thank you Holy Spirit!

It occurred to me, someone who thinks of herself not as Catholic mom, but as Catholic step-mom, that the lessons from St. Thomas More on “finding blessings in a blended family,” in chapter 25 spoke directly to me.  Even if you don’t live in a blended family, I’m guessing that you know someone who does.  Here is but a brief example of what you will find in this excellent book.  (And don’t forget to leave a comment, you may win a copy of this fine book!)

LESSONS FROM THOMAS
Thomas More is perhaps best known for his role as a statesman, an
apologist, and an important figure in English political history. But
when I turn to him in conversation, it’s most frequently for his expertise
as a loving parent. As a daddy’s girl and the eldest in my family,
it’s easy for me to relate to the affectionate relationship Thomas cherished
with his oldest daughter, Margaret. Like my own father—who
calls each of us his favorite when the others aren’t around—More had
enough love to go around and showered it abundantly on his children.
Politics, writing, and the law aside, family life was something
Thomas More treasured. He believed passionately in the faith formation
of his children, encouraging them to read aloud from scriptures at
the family dinner table and modeling a disciplined prayer life. He was
also a firm champion of classical schooling and saw that all of his children,
including his daughters, received a formal education.

When tragedy hit the More home with the death of Thomas’s first
wife, Jane, he was relatively quick to wed Alice Middleton. He recognized
the importance of a mother for his four young children and welcomed
Alice and her own daughter, also named Alice, into the home.
More would also raise the orphaned Margaret “Mercy” Giggs as a foster
daughter following the death of her mother, a midwife.
With more Catholics than ever living in blended families, we can
look to the home of Thomas More for inspiration in meeting the challenges
that stepparents, adoptive parents, and foster parents face. My
good friend Heidi Hess Saxton, an adoptive mom, an author, and
founder of the Extraordinary Moms Network, once described the
distinctive example Thomas offers for parents facing special obstacles
and blessings.

Foster and adoptive parents need to be especially flexible
and open to changes to “the plan.” And yet, like
Saint Thomas, we also need to be prepared to stand
for truth, and to guard against the negative influences
of society. As foster parents, we are often called upon
to mitigate the negative effects of our children’s early
experiences. Loving discipline, combined with large
doses of patience (of which I am naturally in short supply,
but God provides!), will help to ensure that however
rocky their beginnings, our children will blossom
to become who God originally created them to be.
SOMETHING TO PONDER
Are you raising your children to follow their consciences when making
life decisions? When faced with choices in your own life, do you
pray prior to acting?

An image of St. Thomas More with his family.

(This excerpt is presented courtesy of Lisa Hendey and Ave Maria Press; all rights reserved.)

An Interview with Lisa Hendey

Today we welcome Lisa M. Hendey – Wife, Mom, Writer, Webmaster, Podcaster, who is making a stop here on her Blog Tour 2011, as she promotes her latest book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

As I have been saying all along, this is a great book and you don’t even need to be Catholic or a mom to enjoy it. (My review will be published at 1 pm today, stay tuned.)

In this post, visit with Lisa as she answers some questions that I put forth to her… Our original plan was for 5 questions, Lisa graciously answered that 6th question I threw in, what a good sport! Thanks for joining us today!

1. What is a day in the life of a Catholic-mom-author-blogger-and media queen like these days?

Hi Fran and thanks for the warm welcome to your blogs! I don’t know about that “media queen” part but life is full, happy and busy these days. I’m still committed to my primary vocation as wife and mom and still always working at having a fruitful spiritual life, so those are truly my two biggest priorities. My days start early, since we’re out here in California and many of my contacts are back East, with prayer and quiet time. My one son who’s still at home is in high school, so getting him settled off to school before is a “break” on the days when my “work day” has begun before the sun rises. As a blogger and the editor of CatholicMom.com, I spend a great deal of time writing and editing but truthfully seeing our columnists’ wonderful contributions to the site is a daily dose of encouragement for me. These days, I am also spending a good bit of time with radio opportunities (I’m a regular contributor on EWTN’s The Son Rise Morning Show and a guest on a few other shows) and speaking. I’ve been blessed to have the chance to travel and to speak all over the country in the past few years. This opportunity to go out and meet the people who have read my work online or my books is a real joy. Blogging and writing can be very solitary pursuits, so speaking feeds the “extrovert” part of my personality and it’s really just very fun to have the chance to pray with and be inspired by so many wonderful people I meet on the road. At home, I’m surrounded by three musicians (my husband and two sons), so our home is filled with “sound” all the time. Another little known hobby of mine is playing mahjong with a group of my best friends a few times per month. It’s a wonderful life!

2. What prompted you to write your latest book about the saints?

I have had a deep love of and connection with the saints for many years, instilled by my parents and fostered by a family priest who enjoyed preaching and sharing the stories of the lives of the saints both in Church and around our family dinner table. When my wonderful publisher, Ave Maria Press, and my editor Eileen Ponder and I began thinking about a good follow up to my first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms, a book on the lives of the saints felt like a wonderful choice. In The Handbook for Catholic Moms, I urged mothers to care for themselves “heart, mind, body and soul” so that they could better care for their families, our Church and the world around them. In A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, we’ve offered over fifty spiritual companions who point us to heaven by their lives and their examples of virtuous living, often under very challenging circumstances. By learning about their lives, following their role model, and praying through their intercession, we ourselves have the opportunity to grow closer to Christ.

3. Who is your favorite saint and why?

This question is always a challenge for me, since I have so many saintly “friendships”. I turn to many of the intercessors mentioned in the book on a regular basis for their guidance and intercession. To mention a few, I’d include St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Josephine Bakhita, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Andre Bessette and my personal patroness, St. Therese of Lisieux. I continually find inspiration in the life and writing of the Little Flower — for me, she shows that even a housewife can respond to the missionary call to be Christ to others and to share our love for him in all we do, even in the little, insignificant tasks that fill my day. There is a reason that this Doctor of the Church is a heroine to so many, and I learn something new from her work every time I pray through her intercession.

4. What about other favorite saints, the non-canonized variety – a Catholic role model, living or deceased?

I’m blessed to be surrounded by saints! I’d point to my own parents, Pat and Anne, who show me daily what the path to heaven and the vocation to marriage and family life should look like. I also pray frequently for the soul of (and through the intercession of) my childhood pastor, Msgr. Michael Collins. Father Collins (he hated being called Monsignor!) really brought the faith to life for me. He lived into his nineties and was still ministering every day to folks in his seaside community in Seal Beach, California on a daily basis. I miss Father Collins every day, but know that he continues to shine a light for so many of us who found Christ and had their faith strengthened through his preaching and example. I wish everyone could count a holy, Irish priest as a dear friend!

5. What are you most grateful for?

This is a difficult question — so many blessings abound in my life! I’m most grateful for the gift of my faith and for the blessing of the Eucharist, which strengthens me when I am weak and shores up my many shortcomings to do the work (both in my home and in the world) that God is calling me to do.

6. Bonus question if you will indulge us– how did your blog-tour VW bus Arnold get his name?

Arnold, our 1974 VW bus, was a gift that Greg and I gave each other for a wedding anniversary a few years back. He’s named for his original owner, a mechanic named Arnold who had recently died when his son sold us the bus. Arnold, the owner, lovingly cared for the bus for so many years and it was in great shape when we bought it. We drive Arnold the bus to mass every Sunday and people smile as soon as they see “him”! It’s funny that owning a VW bus brings you into contact with folks all the time — everyone has a “bus story”. Whenever we are out in Arnold, we have very fun conversations with folks in parking lots who love to recount their adventures involving busses! So Arnold is the perfect traveling companion for a journey that involves telling the stories of the saints in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

All Saints Day Lisa Hendey Blog Tour 2011 Schedule and Contest News

Blessings on All Saints Day! Welcome to the Blog Tour 2011 for Lisa Hendey, Catholic Mom and author of the newly released, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms! Lisa has graciously agreed to steer her trust Volkswagon bus, Arnold towards all three blogs that I oversee here on this great feast day and we welcome her.

Here is the tour schedule for the day:

  • 7 AM – Learn more about the force behind this “Catholic Mom” and author in a short interview
  • 11 AM – Read A Short Excerpt from A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms
  • 1 pm  – Read my review of this book

You can enjoy these posts all day and for time to come. Please read, share and spread the word!

Do you want to win a copy of the book? Two copies will be given away. In order to win, please leave a comment on any of the posts related to the book that are published today. You may do so any time before midnight tonight, November 1, 2011 and your name will be automatically entered into a drawing. Winners names will be published tomorrow, November 2, 2011. You can comment as often as you like on these posts, but your name will only go in once. Good luck!

Thank you Lisa and thank you readers! (Do I hear Arnold rolling up the road, with Lisa at the wheel? I think I do…)

(This post and all others will appear at Pastoral Postings, The Parish Blog of St. Edward the Confessor, and There Will Be Bread. )

The Saints Came Marching In… Snow and all! Plus book giveaway notice and Blog Tour Update for Lisa Hendey!

Thank you to one and all who braved the sleety snow of October (of October?!) to attend our Amazing God evening, Meeting the Saints, presented by yours truly. I am personally very grateful for all the attendance and support shown by this community. Your parish secretary tries to use her gifts of over-talkiness and for good in this way and I figure if my over-talky is about God, may all things be in order, thanks be to God! Or as my Jesuit priest friends say, AMDG!

The talk was a lot of fun to prepare and I dived head first into many great books that I am blessed to own or have access too. I drew heavily on two books written by Fr. James Martin, SJ – read more about him at one of the two Jesuit links from the prior paragraph – My Life With the Saints and his most recent work, Between Heaven and Mirth.  I highly recommend both volumes and hope to have a review of the latter published very soon!

Let me stop and offer a little color commentary, if we can take a minute for a story about My Life with the Saints.I  have purchased many copies of this book. They either get given as gifts or loaned out and never come back. Which is basically fine with me! It is like grace received and shared!

In any case, the other Jesuit mentioned in the links from the first paragraph is Paul Campbell, SJ. Fr. Paul is the Publisher at Loyola Press and a beloved online friend. Paul was going to be in Syracuse this summer and told me that he wanted to meet for lunch; I explained that there was no way that I could get to Syracuse or even halfway there… It was the day of our IC Parish Picnic, so I did not have the time.  No worries offered Paul, with all of his Irishy, Jesuity exuberance – I will come to you. And he did just that, drove all the way to Clifton Park to meet me for an early Sunday brunch. He came bearing a bag o’ books from Loyola Press, God bless him, and one of those books was another (thank you Jesus) copy of My Life With The Saints, which I was going to get another copy of anyway. Imagine my joy to find it. When I opened it to do some research for my talk, I realized that not only did I have a new copy, but I had one autographed by James Martin! God is very good.

In any case, I was grateful to have both volumes at my disposal for my research and recommendation. And thanks again for a fun evening, snow and all, with a very lively and inquisitive crowd!

A third book came my way late in the week and I wish I had had my hands on it earlier, but I did not. This fine book is called, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey, Catholic author, new media queen and the force behind the Catholic Mom website! (I am a Catholic step-mom, does that count?!) This book is wonderful and Catholic mom or not, a great resource about saints along with some fine catechesis and activity.

Sound good? Well great – then I invite you to try to win a free copy, generously given to us for giveaway by the publisher, Ave Maria Press. How can you win? I will collect the names of everyone who leaves a comment on Pastoral Postings from midnight until 11:59pm on November 1, 2011 and draw a winner. This is an excellent book. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, which is All Saints Day, which is also the day that the “blog tour” for A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms will be here. Please learn a little  more about Lisa Hendey and her new book, come back and visit. And leave a comment, or two or three! You’ve got to be in it to win it!

In any event, those who came also got treated to a lovely prayer card. If you are ever in the market for holy cards or medals or other religious items, I cannot recommend Catholic Prayer Cards enough! They have an amazing selection, great prices and honestly – some of the nicest prayer cards that I have ever seen. You will find amazing and interesting saints, beautifully done and quite affordable. I discovered them in a “felix culpa” or happy accident recently and I am so delighted that I am connected with them. Please take a look – from household to parish to catechetical use, there is something for everyone on that site! (And delivery is super fast!) I hope that it is OK that I post some of their images so that you can get a sense of their work. (Sorry I am not that great at WordPress, so photo layout is questionable at best!)

Parting Question: Who is your favorite saint?

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