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.