There is a wonderful new book that I have been enjoying reading called A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul by author Lisa M. Hendey. I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Catholic New Media Conference in Kansas City last month. Lisa has had a tremendous impact with Catholic Media through her website called CatholicMom.com, her first book called The Handbook for Catholic Moms, and her podcast called Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey. She was recognized by The Vatican for her work and was invited to the first Bloggers Convention in Rome this past year.
Don’t let the title fool you as this book is not only for “moms,” but can be read and appreciated by anyone who wants to know more about the saints and be inspired by their stories and wisdom. My favorite on-line resource for the Saints at SQPN now lists 7,274 saints, and if I had to chose only 52 saints I would have chosen the same 52 beloved saints that Lisa chose for her book. I love the format of this book, as each of the 52 chapters offers a weekly saint with brief history, lessons from the saint, traditions & wisdom, daily readings, and saint-inspired activities for mom, children, and family. Lisa has also made a beautiful video to promote her book which follows:
Lisa has been touring America by vehicle and by internet to promote her new book and was very excited she agreed to be on my blog.
I was blessed to have Lisa on as a guest blogger to answer five questions that were posed to her about the making of this great book and resource:
1) Because I have an interest in Franciscan Spirituality, wondering if you would have any more inspiring words about St.Francis,St. Clare, or St. Anthony?
John, all three of the saints you mention are included in the book and are among my favorites! Here are a few of the thoughts I share about them in A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms:
St. Francis of Assisi — As a product of Catholic schools, I had a deep connection with St. Francis since I was taught by both Poor Clare and Franciscan sisters in elementary school. During his time, St. Francis sought both a radical transformation of his personal life and a “rebuilding” of the Church as well. In contemporary times, he is both a role model for me personally in trying to perfect my own spiritual life, and also a reminder to me that each of us has a place in the ongoing transformation of our Church and her place in our world.
St. Clare of Assisi — In the book, I dwell on the fact that for me St. Clare is a role model of embracing our own simple paths to sainthood. Clare successfully left behind a wealthy lifestyle in favor of a cloistered existence, giving her all for her faith. She reminds me to try to strip away all that is not central to my ultimate goal: a life in heaven forever and the salvation of my family. Additionally, as a mom I pray quite frequently for her intercession in helping our family to make good entertainment choices, since we know her as the patron saint of television!
St. Anthony of Padua — My own parish is named after this amazing man and I’ve endeavored to follow his precepts in my own life. We know he was a gifted preacher, and yet he himself said, “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.” As a writer, blogger and speaker, I deal quite a lot with words, but St. Anthony reminds me to be ever cognizant of the fact that the entirety of my life (not simply my speaking or writing) proclaims what I believe.
2) Do you have a favorite saint, and why?
My personal patroness is St. Therese of Lisieux. The more I read her work and learn about her life, the more deeply I connect with her “Little Way” and see that my own path to sainthood does not necessarily need to involve extraordinary activities, but rather a commitment to doing the simple tasks that fill my life with the greatest love possible. But honestly, if you ask me who my “favorite” saint is, the answer will likely vary depending upon what is happening that day in my own personal life and in the lives of my husband and sons. I keep up a steady flow of conversation with the whole communion of saints regularly and have several of them on personal intercessory “speed dial”!
3) What saint should mothers look to when facing the challenges of motherhood? and why?
There are so many terrific saints for parents — both mothers and fathers. I would encourage modern moms to learn more about the life of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. A physician, a mother and a pro-life champion, Gianna gave her life for that of her unborn child — but in her day to day walk through life she was also a great role model for busy, working moms and teaches us a great deal about balancing a busy life with a deep spirituality.
For dads, I always recommend a devotion to St. Joseph, for the obvious reasons, but I have also learned to love St. Thomas More, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and Blessed Lois Martin.
4) What is your favorite writing/book of the saints?
My “go to” book on the lives of the saints is a simple book my mother gave to my father back in 1975. It’s an illustrated Lives of the Saints book that I use daily in my personal prayer life. As for writings by the saints, I of course love St. Therese’s “Story of a Soul”. I am also very moved by Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. I must also say that “My Life with the Saints” by Fr. James Martin (one of my favorite authors) has had a dramatic impact upon my life in recent years. Fr. Jim helped me to see in a more clear way my own personal intercessory relationship with the saints. His book has a permanent place on my “favorites” bookshelf!
5) Who would you look to in modern times as a model for motherhood?
I mentioned St. Gianna Beretta Molla above and I think she is one of the best role models and intercessors for modern moms. But the ultimate intercessor in my life and a true champion for modern moms in today’s world is the Blessed Virgin Mary. In so many ways while she lived and since her assumption to heaven, she has sought to draw us into a closer relationship with her son Jesus Christ. As a mother of sons, I so often turn to Mary in prayer for my “men” and for the grace to follow her perfect role model. She is a champion for all of us in a time when we greatly need conversion in our families, our Church and our world. For me, she will always be the best “role model” for a vocation to motherhood.
Thanks Lisa for answering my questions, and for being such a bright light and role model for everyone in the Catholic Faith. I urge you to get this book, it is a great resource that will probably not leave your nightstand. Also take a look at her many works in Catholic New Media in the links below.
You have a chance to WIN your own copy of Lisa’s new book. I will have a random drawing on Thanksgiving Day for all the people who have submitted a comment in this blog. I will e-mail the winner to request a mailing address.
LINKS TO LISA HENDEY’S WORK:
CatholicMom.com (website founded by Lisa with many contributors)
Catholic Moments with Lisa Hendey (podcast)
LisaHendey.com (Lisa’s own website)
SQPN’s Catholic Weekend Podcast (great interview in this podcast with Lisa Hendey)