Some of the perks of being a Catholic blogger all these years have been the friends I’ve acquired and the lessons learned from them. Stamina, fortitude, and grace, are the gifts of these friends during my short career as a writer of which I am forever changed. One of these new friends is Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, she has blessed me with several opportunities as a book reviewer to read a few of her many books: The Heart of Motherhood, Catholic Saints Prayer Book, and Prayerfully Expecting. All three are wonderfully written with heart, soul, and love for the reader. Now with Mrs. O’Boyle’s newest offering, A Catholic Woman’s Book of Prayers, we are yet again blessed with her wisdom as mother and devout Catholic. Besides the precious messages and insights Donna-Marie shares in these books, I like the size of this and the Catholic Saints Prayer book, its purse size as I like to. Easy to carry with me when I am running errands, working, or just getting the many responsibilities of being a mom accomplished during the day.
A Catholic Woman’s Book of Prayer is small but packs a punch in prayers, meditations, and insightful reflections on the different aspects of being a Catholic woman in today’s crazy. Just 80 pages and eight chapters, this book is an easy read without being daunting in our busy schedules. Some of my favorite messages in the book are the prayers, here’s one for example:
Help me to discover my gifts, Lord
Dear Lord, open my eyes to discover my gifts as a woman.
Open my heart to feel your loving embrace of me as your daughter affirming my dignity in your eyes.
Open my arms wide so they will stretch outward to others, loving and serving them with your love, Lord.
Help me to never lose sight of who I am and who You created me to be.
Thank you for the glorious gift of being a woman!
Both married and single women have the gift and responsibility of being a motherly influence to others in their paths and Donna-Marie points that out to us. We have many gifts that possibly we are not aware of until the opportunity presents itself. Donna-Marie shares some of her experience as a mother of five throughout the pages and prayers match some of the lamentations we may share with her as she discusses “Leaving the Nest”. Here our author/mom discloses a secret about our children as they leave, “Don’t worry, they’ll be back!” She shares how times are and can be for us moms with their children on the brink of leaving. Cherish them in our midst and cherish their growth and independence and then cherish their return as adults with wonderful memories then and now.
Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me the beautiful blessing to raise children and help to mold their conscience. Please give me the grace, strength, and peace to release them when the time is right. Please surround them with angels and protect them from the snares of the devil, so that they will remain on the road that leads to life!
She quotes Archbishop Fulton Sheen, as he reminds us:
There are not two kinds of answers to prayer, but three: One is “Yes.” Another is “No.” The third is “Wait.”
Sigh, I’ve been given the third answer WAY too many times and at times, I think it may be the only answer I receive. Prayer and patience and having our blessed Mother Mary as our example are highly encouraged here.
Dear Mary, please help me in my role as a woman who mothers others. Please pray for me to have the strength to never shirk my duties and grant me an extra dose of love to reach out with compassion to all in my care. When I’m tired, please allow me to rest my head against your sweet heart, dear Mary, safe within the folds of your mantle!
Our feminine genius is unmistakable and Pope John Paul II appreciated this element of being woman in his Angelus Address in July 1995, “In fact, woman has a genius all her own, which is vitally essential to both society and the Church.” Oh yea! We are gifted with a sense of sensitivity and strength like no other and Jesus was aware of this in His ministry. Mary Magdalene was the first to meet the risen Christ and Pope Paul II spoke of this: “This event, in a sense, crowns all that has been said previously about Christ entrusting divine truths to women as well as men.”
Donna-Marie believes in the feminine genius and gives us hope and encouragement that empowers woman that we are the culture changers our world needs more than ever today. She concludes that we must work hard to build a culture of Life. Prayer will be the help and aid for us as Donna-Marie leads us in prayer:
Dear Lord, grant me the wisdom and grace to understand my God-given gifts, my “feminine genius” so that I may use all that I have for your greater glory. Amen!
Thank you once again, Donna-Marie for your wisdom, your work is a true blessing to us all. I encourage all Catholic women to look for your books as a compliment in their journey as women, mothers, and mighty culture changers.
This review was made possible compliments of Our Sunday Visitor.
(© 2011 Ebeth Weidner)