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Surprise! Jesus wasn’t a formula baby

It’s a rare moment when the Vatican can reaffirm the Incarnation and at the same time appease earth mothers everywhere, but Church officials pulled off that amazing feat recently when they declared that artistic images of Mary nursing the infant Jesus should be “rehabilitated.” It seems the images, which were quite common back in the day, were banned around the 16th or 17th century when breasts became taboo and were seen as either medical or erotic but, as is always confounding — at least to me, not for the natural, God-given purposes for which they were created. The painting above, “Nursing Madonna” by the Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Solari, is one of the shocking depictions in question. Aren’t we humans too funny?

Of course Mary nursed Jesus. Back before the medical community convinced the world — at least the industrialized world —  that a man-made made powder full of artificial ingredients with names too long to pronounce was better than the absolutely perfect nutritional make-up of mother’s milk, everyone nursed. Can you imagine Mary, during the flight to Egypt, trying to find a Wal-Mart so she could pick up a case of Similac? Read more

An interview with Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

I recently had the opportunity to interview Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, author of the newly released Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration From Your Favorite Saints (Our Sunday Visitor). So grab a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy a conversation with this award-winning writer.

First a little background:

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a Catholic wife and mother of five children, is an internationally known best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Donna-Marie knew Blessed Mother Teresa for nearly a decade, during which time they both kept in correspondence and met in various locations. Blessed Teresa wrote Donna-Marie 22 letters and wrote the foreword to Donna-Marie’s book, “Prayerfully Expecting,” as well as quotes for her other books.

Donna-Marie was invited by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome to be one of 250 delegates worldwide to attend an International Women’s Congress in Rome recently.

She has a regular national radio segment called, “Mom’s Corner” at “Catholic Connection” with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio (EWTN). In addition to her books, Donna-Marie’s writing can be found in many Catholic magazines, newspapers, and on the Internet in her many columns, as well as on her Web site and blogs.

Donna, your newest book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book, was just released. Can you tell me about this book and how it came to be?

My book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration From Your Favorite Saints, is a compilation of 32 saints; complete with biographies, patronages, quotes and prayers beseeching the saints’ assistance. It’s a sturdy hard-covered book that is a great size (approx. 4 ¼ in. by 6 ¼ in.) to tuck in the briefcase, diaper bag, purse, or set on the night stand or coffee table. It’s about 80 pages long and is adorned with some beautiful art work, which enhances the text. I think this book is suitable for anyone, young and old alike. Confirmation students may find it to be helpful when they are trying to discern a saint’s name.

I approached the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company, asking if they would like me to write a saints’ book in the size and format of my other book that was published with them, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers. I thought that a saints’ book would be a nice addition to complement their book series. Our Sunday Visitor liked the idea and asked me to write it.

What makes this saint book different from other saint books?

I think one difference is in the size. It’s a compact take-along book, which I think makes it easily accessible.  Additionally, all of the prayers are original except the St. Michael prayer, which was certainly perfect enough already (written by Pope Leo XIII)!

Was it difficult to narrow this book down to 32 saints when there are so many wonderful saints to choose from?

Yes, it was difficult in one sense to narrow down the saints to choose that would fit into this book. I originally had chosen 34 saints and two had to be cut out for size. However, I prayed as I laid out the Table of Contents and chose the saints that would “speak” from the pages. I hope that I may have the opportunity to write Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5! And maybe more! There are so many incredible saints for us to beseech. I love them all and turn to many of them for assistance.

Which are your favorite saints’ stories?

I have many favorites! I love the story of St. Catherine Laboure because I have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Miraculous medal. Of course, we know that the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and asked that she have a medal struck and gave her every detail in which to accomplish it. After some time of investigating and discerning, the Church had the medals made under the name of the “Immaculate Conception” medal. So many miracles began to occur immediately that the medal took on the name of the “Miraculous medal.” Read more

Some weekend wisdom

Chiara woke up from her nap too early and too cranky today. When I arrived at her bed, she clung to me and asked if I would sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. That seemed easy enough. As I started heading downstairs with her, she yelled, “No, in your room,” which seemed kind of odd until I figured out that she wanted me to take the guitar out of my closet and play, something I almost never do anymore.

I was half tempted to tell her that I needed to work and would play the guitar later, but decided that I could squeeze in a couple of songs. I tuned up the guitar and sang her special requests, and then she said, “Now you sing one of your songs by yourself.” And so back and forth we went, a song for Chiara, a song for me. I haven’t sung for me in so long I almost didn’t remember what to sing. As we sat there on the bed, an icy rain clicking against the windows, I suddenly felt a wave of peace settle over me. It was as if Chiara knew exactly what we both needed at exactly the right moment. Read more