Posted by: Julie Filby | November 17, 2011

Win “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms”

Win A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, donated by author Lisa Hendey, by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post about one of your favorite saints—or “like” Mother’s Musing on Facebook and leave a comment there. The winner will be randomly selected from entries on Nov. 27 (the first Sunday of Advent)! I look forward to reading about your favorite saints!

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More than 10 years ago, Lisa Hendey started the website CatholicMom.com to build community among Catholic moms, at a time when she herself was seeking support in the vocation of motherhood. The site continues to serve as a source of community and encouragement for mothers today. In her latest book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, Hendey shares how we moms are also supported by our holy friends in heaven.

“A Books of Saints” is divided into chapters by saint. Each chapter begins with a brief bio; I stress “brief” because there are so many resources where one can learn about a saint’s life—what’s unique here is that Hendey’s narrative goes on to explain how the life and example of that saint specifically relates to the ups and downs of motherhood.

She also shares traditions, wisdom, Scripture, prayers and activities associated with each saint [more detail in the Q&A below].

I appreciate how “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms” is helping me become better acquainted with these holy friends, and count on their intercession: when I’m doing something like cleaning the house (St. Zita, patron of homemakers); writing an article at work (St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists); or trying to figure out how to keep the peace (St. Elizabeth of Portugal, patron of peace). It’s good to know they’ve got my back!

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Hendey about her new book.

JF: This is not just another book of saint bios to sit dusty on a shelf: How will it serve as an active tool in a Catholic mom’s prayer arsenal?

Lisa Hendey

LH: Thanks for your support Julie! “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms” is intended to be used as a daily or weekly prayer companion for busy women. It features 52 chapters, each of which highlights a saintly companion (or two, in the case of a few married couples). In each chapter, I share a brief biography, my personal reflections on their impact upon my life, a quote, and traditions associated with the saint, like: “Why do we bury St. Joseph upside down to sell our homes?”

Additionally, each chapter has seven days of Scripture readings and prayers, activities for a mom in relation to that saint, family activities to bring the saint to life for children, a family prayer, and discussion/journaling questions to prompt reflection.

It’s designed to help women recapture a bit of personal prayer time in the midst of their busy days, to pray through the intercession of and learn from the examples of these amazing men and women. The book is indexed in several ways, so if readers would like to use it in conjunction with the liturgical calendar or search for a particular patronage, that’s possible too. I hope it’s the type of book that will remain in my friends’ devotional stack of books for years to come.

JF: What would you say to a mom who might not feel “saintly” on a regular basis? How do saints help us in our vocation?

LH: Too often, we moms may think because we’re not able to spend hours in the adoration chapel or devote an hour a day to prayer and Bible study, we’re not “saintly” enough. It’s true that many women—myself at the top of the list—could and should devote ourselves to a more disciplined prayer life. But in many ways, our work in our homes is our prayer—through our vocation, the love we give, and service we deliver to our loved ones, we give our best to God. I love the words of Blessed Mother Teresa: “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”

I’d encourage moms who desire greater sanctity in their vocations to emulate the examples of St. Zita of Lucca (a domestic servant), St. Martha of Bethany (known for serving Jesus in her home) or St. Margaret Clitherow (a businesswoman beloved by her customers). Each of these ladies did her best to make her work a prayer. So many saints show us our path to sainthood can play out in the confines of our own home or community. By coming to know about their lives and challenges, by following their examples, and by praying through their intercession, we can grow in grace and faith.

 JF: Every person has many patron saints who intercede on their behalf: Who are some of the saints interceding specifically for moms? Who are some of the more unusual or unexpected patron saints that might appeal to today’s mothers?

LH: I must always begin with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother. In so many ages and places, she’s been present to the faithful and is a constant intercessor, drawing us into an ever deepening relationship with her son Jesus Christ.

St. Gerard Majella and St. Monica are also well-known as patron saints for mothers. Many turn to them for parental intercession for mothering issues from pregnancy and childbirth, to dealing with difficult young adult children.

As for the second part of your question, one new, and perhaps surprise, intercessor I discovered was St. Thomas More, a 16th-century statesman and martyr, patron of step-parents and adoptive children. A brilliant legal mind and the Lord Chancellor to King Henry XVIII, he prioritized family prayer and the religious education of his children. He welcomed a martyr’s death rather than compromise on his belief in the primacy of the Church. His example reminds me that sometimes the greatest lessons I teach my children about living a life of faith are taught with my actions, not my words.

I encourage readers to get to know the many and varied saints I share in the book and to develop their own spiritual friendships and connections with these amazing men and women.

JF: Can you suggest ways a Catholic mom can bring the saints alive with her children, and in her family life?

LH: In each chapter, I share examples of simple things that moms can do to bring the saints alive for their children. I’m not a crafty person, so these don’t include pipe cleaners or construction paper! I think the best way to bring their examples to life is to help our children to faithfully serve others. For example, in my chapter on Saints Anne and Joachim, I recommend families commemorate the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary by doing something special for their own grandparents. This might include taking a family outing with them, baking them cookies or writing them a letter, or simply remembering deceased relatives in a special, loving way. Activities that both educate the children about the saints, and tie their spirituality to our current lives are poignant ways to keep their charisms alive. Of course, one of the best ways to share these heroes with our families is to come to better know and love them ourselves.

JF: How can people get their hands on this book?

LH: It’s available at many local Catholic retailers, or can be purchased online at Amazon.

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Win A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul, donated by Lisa, by leaving a comment below about one of your favorite saints—or “like” Mother’s Musing on Facebook and leave a comment there.

The winner will be randomly selected from all entries on Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent!
I look forward to reading about your favorite saints!

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Responses

  1. Thank you Julie! I am so glad to be a subscriber of Mother’s Musings! I am looking forward to your next Musing!

  2. Will have to watch for that movie on EWTN to learn more about St. Teresa of Avila. Thanks for sharing, Gabriela!

  3. Definitely, thank you, Mo! Have you read “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”? I found it very helpful, for both practical and spiritual life.

  4. Thank you, Sylvia! I’m not sure until be actually become mothers that we realize how much courage and faith it takes. Thank you, St. Rita for your example.

  5. Wow Teresa, I can imagine being in the presence of Blessed Mother Teresa would be VERY powerful! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Gina, your children could have NO better example to follow than you: their warm, caring, generous, enthusiastic, faith-filled mother!!

  7. In the space of four years I “lost” my 3 children to adulthood. I was a stay at home mom for 20 years and my life revolved around taking care of them and my husband. I created a second home for all of us at our parish church. I was involved in their schools and worked hard at being a genuinely Catholic family in a secular world. Then, they asked to leave. All three of them at the age of 17 wanted to finish high school school away from home, each for their own reason. One by one, my husband and I let them go. By allowing them to leave we consciously gave them the freedom to exercise their individual free will. We were confident. We knew they had a strong foundation and value system that would help them be the Catholic leaders we raised them to be. They had ‘proven’ this to us. I wasn’t prepared when some of their choices did not follow foundational teachings of the Church. It was heartbreaking.

    Now, I have lots of time to reflect on the past 20 years. I am grateful to God for the blessing of motherhood and ability to have nurtured children within a happy marriage and good Catholic home. In hindsight, I see where I needed more help, where I fell short. I struggle with the temptation of pride – beating myself up for misusing something I never really had -control of my children’s choices. All I ever really had was prayer, an example and opportunities to teach truth. My role was never to control but to guide. St. Monica has taught me this: pray, pray, pray, and pray, unceasingly…lead by example and, from time to time, use the teachable moments God gives even with adult children.

  8. It’s so hard to pick just one saint. I look to many different saints, depending on my need at the time. Right now, I’ve been praying a novena to our most holy Apostle, St. Jude. I feel his intercession is very special and powerful.

  9. Being a Lawyer and mother, I am inspired by St. Thomas More. Also, St. Patrick has been special in our lives – and is the namesake of our son. The story of St. Monica is also beautiful. I was fortunate enough to attend a speech by Blessed Mother Teresa when I was in high school. Just her presence in the room brought many of the audience to tears. It was a truly moving experience. I guess I have a hard time choosing a favorite! I would love to read this book.

  10. My favorite saint (at the moment) is St Rita. My mom gave me a book about her while I was back visiting her in Ireland. What struck me most about St Rita was that she prayed that her sons would die rather than take revenge for their fathers death. As a mom I can’t imagine what courage and faith that must have taken. Her prayers were answered and she went on to enter a convent which had always been her desire.

  11. I admire blessed Chiara Luce Badano (1971-1990), who was a teenage Italian girl. She was beatified last year.

    http://focolare.org/En/sif/2000/20000323e_b.html

  12. One of my favorite saints is St. Cecilia. She is a martyr and the patroness of all singers and musicians.

  13. St. Therese of Lisieux , the little Child of Jesus. She has shown us the “Little Way” to be with Jesus!

  14. Though I take special courage from reading about all the saints, I have a special devotion to St. Monica. Each day I call on her to intercede for my two sons in bringing them closer to Christ. Since leaving home for college, neither attend Mass regularly. At one time, it seemed as though one of our sons may have had a calling to the priesthood. Now my prayer is simply to make them both “Godly” men, and know that everything else will fall into God’s divine plan for them after that.

  15. St. Gianna Beretta Molla…she was pregnant with her daughter while my mom was pregnant with me. Her example of living life to the fullest and living for God and for others always inspires me.

  16. I have a few favorite saints, of course, but lately I feel very drawn to St. Martha. I think Our Lord is trying to teach me through her example how to be close to Him but also get a better handle on the more “practical” things in my life – like better meals for my family, being better organized around the house, making our home a welcoming place for guests.

  17. One of my favorite Saints is St. Teresa of Avila. I have been reading more about her comments on “Contemplative Prayer” through Fr. Dubay’s book “FIRE WITHIN”. Then I saw the movie on her life on EWTN. She was a women of tremendous character who once she experienced the profound personal love of Christ after have been in the convent for over 20 years, began to work hard for the reformation of the Carmelite religious order. There is much to learn from this great Doctor of the church. What attracts me to her is that she is was very practical, never compromising the truth, yet very loving and caring of her sisters.

  18. Ha, thanks Terri, I’m sure Matt feels the same way about me and my relationship with St. Zita! Alexandra, beautiful story on St. Helen! Thank you for sharing, it IS powerful to be in the presence of the True Cross. Did you happen to read the recent DCR series on relics (http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/7033)? Thank you, Deacon Tom, it’s clear Lisa truly writes from the heart!

  19. Like Julie and others, I have my favorties — but reading Lisa Hendey’s book is both a ‘mid-term review’ and a faith-boost and refresher. For example — read Lisa’s treatment of Lourdes and the visionary. Lisa’s been to Lourdes twice and she adds magnetism to the telling of a seemingly familiar story. We’re hoping to do an interview with Lisa on our Catholic Vitamins podcast. Blessings Julie. Thanks. dt

  20. My favorites change frequently, but currently I am so touched by Saint Helen (or Elena). Elena, is derived from the greek word for sun or light and she was the mother of the Emperor Constantine. When her son came to rule the roman empire, Christians were finally allowed to worship openly and gather without fear of imprisonment. She was the driving force in selecting sites, procuring, and building churches throughout Rome and Constantinople. She was a strong female leader, organizer, delegator, a woman who cares for the people around her.

    She wasn’t baptized until her early 60’s. Although she had always been “sympathetic” towards Christians, she didn’t experience her conversion until later in life and even as old as 80 did she make a trip to the Holy Land! She was a woman who was always searching for The Truth, and although it took time, she discovered it and gave her heart over to Christ. She demonstrated patience, strength, humility, charity and hard work, and accepted His timing – what a woman!

    She is the one credited with discovering the 3 crosses (that of Jesus, the repentant thief, and the arrogant thief) and identifying which was the True Cross (Jesus’s cross). She found the nails used to crucify Jesus and the placard declaring him “King of the Jews”. What a grace filled plan God had laid out for her life and such an amazing part of history. I like to remember that like Saint Helen, God made us at this specific time in history for something so special to work within his plan for humanity. I love that at St. Thomas More we have a relic of the True Cross. And when I gaze upon the relic of the True Cross, it is now a neat reminder of the promise that we were also made for a wonderful purpose, just like Saint Helen!

  21. Nice interview. I think I also need to get aquainted with St. Elizabeth of Portugal…I could use a little more peace. I think Brad would say I might need some help from St. Zita. :)


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