How can we show mercy to others?

Unexpected_Discovery2I recently briefly discussed the Works of Mercy on my continuing series “Mother Teresa and Mercy” on the Son Rise Morning Show. Sometimes, I think that parents and grandparents believe they must carry out huge endeavors to accomplish a Work of Mercy. But I think not.

I do wholeheartedly admit that many times while the Work of Mercy we want to do might not be so “ginormous,” we often must put a lot (or maybe a HUGE amount) of effort into our Work of Mercy. That is because in a family we are dealing with delicate or very personal matters of the heart that can sometimes involve pain or heart ache. On a lesser level, the situations can involve the butting of heads, of egos, and even stubborn grudges.

Showing mercy, offering forgiveness, and bearing wrongs patiently can be really tough to do in the family, but they are essential to our true happiness and our growth in holiness.

Take a listen here when you have about 10 minutes. Slide the marker to the “17:50” mark to hear just my segment (at the end of the show) or listen to the whole thing. I hope that you will enjoy my discussion with the lovely Anna Mitchell!

 

The heroic role of the mother

“You lifted my spirits, pointing out how motherhood is a ‘sublime calling,'” she told me.

A very beautiful part of my ministry to mothers, families, and women is that I often feel blessed when hearing from someone who expresses her heartfelt thanks for my work. It causes me to stop right then to give glory to God, thanking Him for using His little servant and working in that person’s heart.

I recently received a beautiful email from a young expectant homeschooling mother of five children. I asked her permission to share part of it.

Here it is:

I must tell you how much your books and talks have affected my life.  I am not even sure how I discovered you. I think it was an Amazon search years ago for Catholic motherhood.  The first book that I’ve read by you was Embracing Motherhood, which made me feel elevated in my status as a mom.  You lifted my spirits, pointing out how motherhood is a “sublime” calling. For years, I just wanted my mom and mother-in-law to come beside me and lift me up and praise the work I was doing, but the reality is that they grew-up in a very feminist generation and seem to be blind to the validity of this work.  So, your writings filled that need for validation for me.

Next, I started listening to Everyday Blessings For Catholic Moms on my Kindle as I went around cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. The kids always knew when I was folding clothes bc the theme music would blare out 🙂  Then, I read The Domestic Church, and one of my favorite passages in that book (which I double highlighted) was when you said that “Blessed (soon to be saint 🙂 Teresa’s advice was to not be ashamed of humble work which is a huge part of mothering: an extraordinary vocation in which little saints are raised inside the hidden confines of the homelife amid the nitty-gritty, humble work of the mother in the home.”   That one statement helps to bring me back to a place of peace when I am tempted to grumble and get discouraged with the nitty-gritty of it all.

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She continued…

I cannot express to you what a miracle it is that a girl like me (raised in a non-church going home with a mom who thinks I have lost my mind to be open to this many children…and consequently, she has not offered any support or help) is on the path that I am on. I owe it to the great influences of women like you!  You have come into my home and spoken words of faith and encouragement. Your words have given me strength when I’ve been tempted to agree with my naysayers that I am nuts for doing this.  Your work renews my sense of purpose and inspires me to go on when every bone in my exhausted body says,  “Just quit; put them in public school; and, put your feet up with a latte.”  😊
Next, my goals are to order the Miraculous Medal book, the Mother Teresa Friendship book and the Children’s book on Angels. I will read them all.  Please don’t ever stop writing!!!!!  Keep the nourishment coming!  Your books are my spiritual direction.  They are my friends.
My dear Reader, I want you to know that your loving words and actions mean more than you might ever know. The culture does not make it easy for the heroic mothers who are trying their best to raise Christian children. They are constantly bombarded by the crazy mixed messages of the culture and are not often encouraged in their beautiful sacrificial role of serving their family. Protecting their family from the influences of the evil in society and working hard to teach, care, and most of all, love their children can be tiring.
That mother you see who seems to have it all together, might actually be deeply hurting inside because she craves some motherly affirmation–some kind of shot in the arm to keep her going. You can be the one to help her to know that she is so treasured by God and extremely important to her family in a sometimes thankless job, humbly working through the nitty gritty details of life in the family.
Please go out of your way, and perhaps even push a bit beyond your comfort zone to encourage the many mothers in the trenches raising their little saints to heaven. They need our kind and loving words of encouragement and affirmation. Please help that frazzled or worn out Mom in the grocery store or on the plane–wherever the encounter unfolds and the need arrises. Let her know that her work and sacrifice are SO very important. After all, God has entrusted her with the human being!
I am absolutely sure that you will find countless opportunities–even just in your daily life as you encounter mothers and grandmothers–to help uplift them in their sublime vocation of motherhood – that beautiful vocation of LOVE.

My radio chat with Teresa Tomeo this morning

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I had a meaningful radio conversation this morning with my dear friend and radio personality Teresa Tomeo. We chatted about Lent, Works of Mercy, family prayer, my newest Lenten book Bringing Lent Home With Pope Francis, and much more.

In case you didn’t get a chance to tune in, you can listen at your leisure right here.

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It’s not too late. You can get all four of my Lenten books for only $11.00 right here.

What?! Is cleaning a toilet miraculous?

A Simple Grace recently interviewed me about the faith, love and prayer. They have used a couple of my responses in their new magazine. The piece is titled, “Author of ‘Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis’ shares her secret for discovering everyday miracles.”I believe that the full interview is in the hard copy of the magazine.

You can see my response about love, prayer and cleaning a toilet here!

Enjoy!

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New cover for my memoir: The Kiss of Jesus

There’s a new cover for my memoir: The Kiss of Jesus. It’s pretty similar to the earlier cover except that the designer “turned up the contrast” on certain parts to make it more striking and tweaked some things. What do you think?

Here’s the first version:

 

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Here is the final version:

 

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There’s a NEW dust jacket!

There’s a brand new dust jacket for my upcoming memoir: THE KISS OF JESUS! Click on the image below to enlarge it for easier viewing.

New description of the book on the dust jacket:

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic author, a radio and television host, and an inspirational speaker known and admired from coast to coast. Yet with all of her public exposure, she has revealed very little about her personal history, that is, until now. When she discovered that sharing her struggles gives encouragement to others, she was persuaded to write this story of her life.

Growing up in a Polish-American Catholic family, Donna-Marie was blessed with hard-working parents who provided a stable home for their eight children. At times her childhood was golden and carefree, but other times it was tarnished by pain that she felt was best left unspoken as she sought God for help and strength.

After she left home after high school, her path took some harrowing turns. A Vietnam veteran fiancé snapped and held her against her will. She suffered pregnancy loss, serious illness, divorce, and single motherhood. Perhaps her greatest trial was an epic custody battle in which she needed to defend both her reputation as a mother and the safety of her five children.

Yet through all the dark valleys, Donna-Marie kept the fire of her faith burning. Helping her to see the beauty of the crosses in her life, and to rely on the presence and the providence of God, were saintly souls who became her friends and mentors. One of these was Blessed Mother Teresa, who was her confidant and spiritual mother for ten years.

 

Pre-order your autographed copy (on sale!) here.

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What do you think?

The Sacredness and Hidden Blessings in Christian Marriage

weddingJune is a time of bountiful “I do’s.” I was a June bride, therefore I will be celebrating my wedding anniversary in the coming days with my husband Dave. When asked to write a piece for Magnificat magazine under the category of “She Pondered These Things In Her Heart” and knowing it would be about marriage and family, I decided to convey something very real–not just a warm and fuzzy kind of love story.

I wanted to be honest in my article, brutally honest. Real love doesn’t translate to bliss or “warm and fuzzy.” Sure we enjoy those moments, but indeed marriage overall requires our work. And, love hurts sometimes. Mother Teresa often professed that real love requires sacrifice and often hurts. As well,  we can’t rely on our feelings to forge ahead in our marriages. We choose to love–to give–to surrender our hearts.

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I titled my piece, “Unexpected Discovery” because I think that is what discovery often is–unexpected. We can discover something we never realized about ourselves or about our spouse as we go through the daily grind–the nitty gritty details of life where we are supposed to be working out our salvation. We can also decide to work on getting rid of a vice as well as work towards cultivating a particular virtue once we open our hearts to discovery and God’s amazing grace.

In my piece for Magnificat which is in the June 2015 issue, I recalled a sort of funny, but what started out as a bit of a frustrating experience with my dear husband. The challenge that was presented in writing it (especially for me because I love to tell stories–long stories!) was to say it in a very limited number of words (and spaces!) because an exact amount of space is calculated and permitted in which to express the message so that it will fit on to the small Magnificat page. But, no more than that–not even one additional word or space.

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Hopefully my message about sacrificial and sacramental love in marriage and family comes through. Hopefully I have expressed it in the little story I have shared. One woman who read the piece told me that she is going to put the page in a pretty photo frame and gift it to her daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law who are about to be married.

I think that is a beautiful and creative gift!

 

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May God bless all marriages everywhere in which spouses bound in their sacramental covenant are actually actively helping one another to get to heaven through thick and thin, in good times and bad, and throughout every single detail they share every ordinary day!

May I ask? Have you discovered something very unexpected while navigating the vocation of marriage with your spouse? Will you seek to discover a hidden blessing waiting to be unearthed? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

 

My recent visit on EWTN’s JOURNEY HOME

I was recently blessed to visit with Marcus Grodi of EWTN’s “Journey Home” show. It will re-air at 1:00 PM EST on Friday, May 22nd.

You can also see it on You tube right here. I hope that you enjoy it. I am hearing from people from all over the world who have told me that they have been impacted by the show. All glory to God!

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My upcoming memoir: THE KISS OF JESUS: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross (which I mention on the Journey Home show) will reveal even more twists and turns in my life. I hope you get a chance to read it. I have it for sale at a discount on my website here.

God bless you and keep you!

Donna-Marie

 

 

 

Hosting a radio show in Holy Week

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I recently hosted a radio show and had as my guest Fr. Frank Pavone! We chatted about Holy Week, challenges and graces, as well as the tenth anniversary of the passing of Terri Schiavo who very sadly was starved and dehydrated to death.

Fr. Frank was a wonderful guest and I thoroughly enjoyed his visit. I know you will too.

You can listen to our visit here:

 

I hope that you enjoy it. Visit Fr. Frank’s “Priests For Life” blog here.

The Cross in Our Lives


There are so many reasons that Christ’s Cross should be on our minds as a Christian, especially because we are navigating the season of Lent—that beautiful and prayerful time of year. Holy Mother Church prods us to become more mindful of Jesus’ Passion and Death on the Cross—His unselfish holy sacrifice so that we might have Eternal Life…

I recently wrote about the Cross using a couple of very beautiful stories about the Cross in the lives of two friends. You can read it here.

Chatting about “The Kiss of Jesus” with Mark Shea

I recently had the honor and blessing of being a guest on Mark Shea’s radio show: “Catholic and Enjoying It!”

We discussed a number of Catholic things and focused a lot on my upcoming memoir which is due to be released in August: The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross.

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You can learn more about The Kiss of Jesus here and you can also sign up for updates.

You can listen in to our visit right here. Perhaps you’d better pour a beverage for yourself and pull up a chair. This is a long one.

Enjoy!

 

Here’s the dusk jacket text with a few of the endorsements:

When Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle was growing up, she had no thought of one day becoming a popular author and television host. She was fully immersed in her life as the seventh of eight children in a Catholic family. Sometimes that life was carefree and fun, spending time with relatives dancing the festive Polkas at family weddings, and enjoying picnics in her back yard. Other times, life for Donna-Marie was very dark and tarnished with struggles and pain. Struggles that she felt were perhaps best left a secret.

Donna-Marie retreated to the beauty of nature, thanking God for its splendors, pondering and meditating. She plunged her heart and soul into a deeper meaning of life as she tried to navigate the ups and downs in a large struggling family. She turned to God for help especially as she became increasingly misunderstood by her family and her peers.

Life took some bizarre turns, and Donna-Marie was forced to deal with a crazed man who managed to take away her freedom and hold her hostage. Eventually escaping the nightmare of her prison, Donna-Marie married and began raising her family, believing she had finally found her true vocation. But she couldn’t seem to get out from under the shadow of the Cross. She lost three babies to miscarriage, struggled with her husband’s serious drinking problem and was later abandoned by him just before she gave birth to her third living child.

Raising her family alone, she was subjected to abusive neighbors, appalling living conditions, and did her best to overcome the obstacles, hanging onto hope for better days.

Her knight in shining armor finally came on the scene. Or, was he? Another unexpected adventure unfolded causing Donna-Marie to be thrust into a more affluent yet controlled life. “Prince Charming” had charmed his way into Donna-Marie’s life. But under the veneer of his charm was a dark side.

Survival mode eventually took over as Donna-Marie had to fight for her life and for her children’s safety. Thankfully, a saint or two had crossed paths with Donna-Marie—one was Blessed Mother Teresa who would become her spiritual mother.

The Kiss of Jesus is an inspiring true story told by the woman who lived it. It is a story of struggle, suffering, and ultimately of faith, hope, and profound love.

“I have no doubt that this extraordinary true story can and will bring hope to those who are suffering or have suffered and are struggling to make sense of it all.”
– Dan Burke,
 Executive Director, National Catholic Register

“In Donna-Marie’s beatific smile and warm eyes, we glimpse her earnings from a life fraught with poverty, denied friendships, betrayal, abandonment, and real violence, yet filtered through a most unexpected, and arduous, ‘vocation to love’. The Kiss of Jesus is a courageous, sometimes stunningly personal memoir.”
– Elizabeth Scalia
, Author, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

“The Kiss of Jesus is no ordinary spiritual autobiography.  It is a gripping account of spiritual adventure and an emotional roller coaster telling of God’s faithfulness in times of terror, abuse, and profound encounters with grace and holiness.”
– Mark P. Shea
, Author, By What Authority: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition

The Kiss of Jesus runs the full gamut of virtue and vice, flesh and spirit, demonic and holy. Donna-Marie’s extraordinary life bears witness and hope to us all that ‘nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ ”
– Jim Pinto
, Co-Host of EWTN,@ Home with Jim and Joy

Tomorrow on EWTN’s Bookmark!

ANGELS FOR KIDS AND MY CONFIRMATION BOOK

Sun. 03/22/2015, 9:30 AM; (and maybe 11:30 PM too)

Mon. 03/23/2015, 5 AM; Mon. 03/23/2015, 5:30 PM;

Sat. 03/28/2015, 5:30 PM

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From EWTN’s website:

Author Donna Marie Cooper-O’Boyle teaches children about the purpose and existence of God’s messengers in “Angels for Kids;” helps youths prepare to receive the Holy Spirit’s gifts in “My Confirmation Book.” Hosted by Doug Keck.

Buy both on SALE here. Both books for $30.00 (a $2.00 savings)!

Giving the “best of my heart.”

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In his March 11 general audience, Pope Francis recalled the encouraging holy words from his grandmother.

“I still treasure the words my grandmother wrote to me on the day of my ordination. I carry them with me to this day inside my breviary,” he told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The text reads, “May these my grandchildren, to whom I have given the best of my heart, have a long and happy life, but if on some painful day, sickness or the loss of a loved one fills you with grief, remember that a sigh before the Tabernacle, where the greatest and most august martyr resides, and a gaze at Mary at the foot of the Cross, can make a drop of balm fall on the deepest and most painful wounds.”

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Donna-Marie with her beloved grandmother and two of her five brothers

I am very grateful for the love and guidance of my own grandmother who was indeed a holy role model to me. I speak about her in many of my books. Hopefully, some time soon I will write more about the role of grandmothers in the lives of their grandchildren. And, that’s not because I am about to become a grandmother soon!

But, for now, I want to at least bring attention to Pope Francis’ grandmother’s poignant words. May all Christian parents and grandparents reflect on this beautiful sentiment and ask themselves, “Am I giving the “best of my heart” and setting a holy example for my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews with my words and actions?

[You can see an article here.]

Saint Joseph Novena Day Two

Today is the second day of a nine day novena to the illustrious Saint Joseph which will end on his feast day, March 19th. As Foster Father of the Holy Family he certainly knows a thing or two about family life and takes an interest in our families. Don’t hesitate to call upon him. Saint Teresa of Avila said he never failed her.

'Childhood of Christ', c1620. Artist: Gerrit van Honthorst

[“Childhood of Christ,” c1620. Artist: Gerrit van Honthorst]

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

“No mere conversion story”

An endorsement from Al Kresta for my upcoming memoir, The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross.

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“The things we carry with us, the stories that make us who we are usually remain hidden from the watching world. Until now, that has been true of Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle who, for years, I’ve known as a writer of rare luminous simplicity and maternal sensitivity whose spirituality bears the mark of her encounters with Mother Teresa. But I was unprepared for the shocking assaults, penetrating injuries, wounds of betrayal, shame of poverty and neglect that alternately enraged and grieved me as I read her memoir. These dark episodes form a devilish veil that can only be pierced by the sword of Christ’s severe mercy. This is no mere conversion story. The power of His grace far exceeds God’s momentary acceptance of a sinner. Here grace is an active, personal force molding, shaping, nurturing, and transforming her. Transformed for love and service. She is led into moving evangelistic encounters with family, strangers and neighbors. So please, don’t deprive yourself of the tough, relentless grace that fills this book. Take up and read. Share in the dispensation of grace Donna-Marie has received and you will learn love and peace in the midst of tribulation.”

~Al Kresta, President, CEO Ave Maria Communications Host, Kresta in the Afternoon

You can pre-order The Kiss of Jesus here.

Saint Joseph Novena Day One

I absolutely love Saint Joseph. Today begins a nine day novena to this illustrious saint which will end on his feast day, March 19th. As Foster Father of the Holy Family he certainly knows a thing or two about family life and takes an interest in our families. Don’t hesitate to call upon him. Saint Teresa of Avila said he never failed her.

'Childhood of Christ', c1620. Artist: Gerrit van Honthorst

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

Teaching kids how to give alms

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How can we teach our kids to want to give when they might be more interested in receiving?

I recently chatted about teaching our kids how to give alms with Matt Swaim on the Son Rise Morning Show. You can listen in to our latest segment about Mother Teresa and Mothers right here.

New Lenten Sale!

ALL four of these books for $14.00! Three Lenten books and one hard cover Catholic Saints Prayer Book for inspiration this Lenten season.

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Here is what the publisher says about them:

The Bringing Lent Home series gives families with young children a no-hassle resource for daily Lenten reflection and observance. Author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN television host and bestselling Catholic author, presents a beloved saint in each booklet and offers the witness and wisdom of their lives to show families how better to pray, fast, and care for the poor during Lent. Bringing Lent Home booklets can be used during any of the three lectionary cycles and are designed for families with children younger than thirteen.

 

From the Introduction:

“What can the saints of yesterday offer us today? Transcending history, they offer us timeless wisdom and inspiration, while bringing us closer to God. Sanctity surpasses time and is forever with near us.

The saints’ exemplary examples of holiness give us unparalleled help and sustain our hope, especially during trying times. Just as our association with fellow Christians helps us come closer to Jesus, so our communion with the saints in heaven helps join us to Jesus, but more perfectly…”

 

You can order your autographed copies here. All FOUR for $14.00! Each order is sent with a blessed Miraculous Medal.

Tips and encouragement for your family Lenten journey

One mom I know is doing this for Lent. Each day, drawing from the tips, advice, and encouragement in my new book Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II, she makes her family’s fasting, prayer, and almsgiving more tangible by writing it down for them to see. It’s a great reminder to all.

I’ve suggested this in my book and I am tickled to see it carried out by Katie.

11001928_10204592717150349_1660276647255228005_nand this:

 

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Katie’s daughter Lillian helped by writing the prayer.

What ways can you be mindful of the holy season of Lent in your family? It’s not too late to initiate some ideas and put them into place. We are just beginning on our journey.

In case you’d like to listen in, here’s my visit with Teresa Tomeo on Catholic Connection chatting about families and Lent.

Please feel free to share your ideas for your Lenten journey in the comments below. I’d love to hear them! 🙂