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
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?