I'm re-publishing my Q&A with Lisa Hendey this month since I usually try to focus on a book throughout the month I review it. You can read my review of Lisa's new book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, in my Post column here.
Longtime readers of The Catholic Post Book Group will remember that the second book I reviewed for the Catholic Post was Lisa's first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa was also my first author interview, and author interviews have become among my favorite aspects of writing about books. I really enjoyed my visit with Lisa, a friend to moms everywhere. I hope you enjoy it.
A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms is such a great companion and natural “sort-of sequel” to The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Did you know you wanted to write it when The Handbook for Catholic Moms released?
Thank you for your kindness and welcome Nancy. Honestly, I must give a great deal of the credit for the concept of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms to my amazing editor at Ave Maria Press, Eileen Ponder. Only a few weeks after The Handbook for Catholic Moms was released in February 2010, Eileen proposed several ideas for future projects, including the concept of a book devoted to exploring the lives of the saints. Because the Handbook was so fresh on my mind, and because I so enjoyed exploring the themes of that project so much, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms became a natural extension of the work that had begun with my first book.
I appreciate how handsomely the book is designed and “feels.” I especially loved the illustrations/icons for “heart, mind, body and soul,” (such a great theme in The Handbook for Catholic Moms) and how you assign a different one to each saint. Tell me more about how you connected those two themes.
I, too, love the design for the book and want to give a great deal of credit to designer Katherine Robinson Coleman of Ave Maria Press, who gave such a beautiful “face” to the ideas I wanted to convey in this book. The “heart, mind, body and soul” themes were explored in my first book The Handbook for Catholic Moms. In that book, I encouraged moms to care for themselves in these aspects of their lives so that they would be better equipped to serve their families, our Church and the world around us.
I’ve long had a devotion to the lives of the saints, turning to them as spiritual companions, role models and intercessors. Early in the planning for this project, I decided that I wanted to revisit the four themes, choosing saints in each of those areas and writing about their lives, but also about how the saints exemplified sanctity and excellence in these areas.
There are 52 great saints, some well-known, others not so much. How did you select the range of saints?
Choosing the 52 saints was one of the most fun, but also the most challenging aspects of the project. I knew immediately that some saints would be included because their importance to mothers and their “fit” for the topics being explored made them immediately come to mind. But I also had a wonderful time pondering my “picks” and reveling in research at our local university library. The formula of 52 saints and four “themes” (heart, mind, body and soul) meant coming up with 13 saints in each of those categories. Honestly, many of the saints I selected could have been introduced in several ways, but conceiving of them in this way and watching the project grow and take flesh really brought them to life in this writer’s heart of mine.
Do you have a favorite saint among the less well-known saints?
I have several! I must admit a tremendously soft spot in my heart for Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux who is one of my personal patrons. It makes sense to me that they would have had a tremendous impact upon her and I’ve fallen in love with Blessed Zelie through reading her personal correspondence. I also have a strong devotion to St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a modern working mother, a physician and a valiant pro-life champion. Finally as an Indiana born daughter of two Hoosier parents educated by the Sisters of Providence, I absolutely love and frequently pray through the intercession of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin who has taught me a great deal about trusting in God’s providence in my life.
You’re such a busy writer and new media specialist. What’s your next project?
Busy, but very blessed! I have several “next projects” in the work, including an Advent book for Catholic families, several new concepts for CatholicMom.com, an active speaking schedule for the Spring and some “secret projects” that will be unveiled soon.
Is there anything else you would like to add or wish I would have asked?
Nancy, I thank you for your amazing support and I truly encourage your readers to pick up A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and to share it with their friends and loved ones. The book is designed to be of support for moms, but also to be used with the entire family. It includes daily scriptures and prayers, activities for a mother to enjoy with her children, and a family prayer to be recited together. The saints – these holy men and women – lived their lives in the same challenging circumstances we often face today. It’s such a treasure of our faith that we can turn to them for support and encouragement, in intercessory prayer. I hope families will find a renewed relationship with the communion of saints through this book – both the formally canonized saints, and those we have each known and loved in our own lives. I pray the book will be a blessing to moms in their vocation.