Saturday, March 29, 2014

Catholic Mom's Cafe: Prayer is a surge of the heart!

Catholic Mom's Cafe: Prayer is a surge of the heart!: Hello! "Prayer is a surge of the heart!" according to Saint Therese of Lisieux. Recently I was teaching my second grade ...

Review: "The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers, and Devotions"

"I converted to Catholicism many years ago but I have always felt a bit like an outsider when it comes to understanding how Mary cares for us and intercedes for us - so this book caught my eye because I was curious about the miraculous medal and I knew very little about it. I like how the book was divided into two main parts - essentially the story of how the MM came about and the second half included encouraging stories. The author related a lot of her own experiences handing out the medals and that was one of the more interesting things about the book I thought - how her efforts have touched the lives of others and I found that very inspiring. The book concludes with some prayers and devotions in case you aren't familiar with them (which I was not). Someone else commented that it does a good job of explaining the difference between superstition and faith and I agree - it really helped me to "get it" when it comes to why many (especially Catholics) feel a special connection to Mary.

I found this book so interesting that I read it in two days and it is one I would go back and read again. She writes with a clarity and sincerity that isn't overly sentimental but refreshing and inspiring and makes you think. If you are on the fence about this book - I'd say buy it. It would be great if she did a follow-up book with more stories - I'd buy that one too!" [as seen on Amazon]

Available here:

God bless you and keep you!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A review in the National Catholic Register

Here's a review of my book Bringing Lent Home with Saint Therese of Lisieux from the National Catholic Register:

Go on Thérèse’s Lenten Retreat

Book review of Bringing Lent Home With St. Thérèse of Lisieux

 Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 8:55 AM Comment
Feel free to order here:
Bringing Lent Home With St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Prayers, Reflections and Activities for Families
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Ave Maria Press, 2013
96 pages, $2.95
To order:

During Lent, Catholic parents have the valuable opportunity to catechize their children about the true meaning of this beautiful liturgical season and offer their children — and themselves — opportunities to grow in holiness.
In Bringing Lent Home With St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Prayers, Reflections and Activities for Families, popular author and EWTN host Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle leads families on a retreat, using St. Thérèse of Lisieux as a spiritual guide to anchor domestic churches in prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lenten season.
The wisdom of St. Thérèse guides families through each day of Lent — all the way through to Easter Sunday. Each day’s devotional reading offers a quote from the Little Flower and a brief excerpt from her life, as well as fasting and almsgiving suggestions, points to ponder and a simple yet poignant prayer.
The parent reflections in the book are particularly moving. Here is one example:
"The Blessed Mother has much to teach us. She remained with her Son, Jesus, to the bitter end and witnessed every drop of blood he shed on our behalf. While in his agony on the cross, Jesus gave his Mother Mary to all of us to be our Mother.
While Mary won’t always perform miracles for us as she did with St. Thérèse the day she was cured of her illness, Mary will work miracles in our hearts and will indeed bring us closer to her Son. We need to ask her to guide us."
Calling to mind important Catholic truth and saintly wisdom, this booklet offers both spiritual depth and practicality of format. The saint’s spirituality is shared in an easy-to-understand manner, even for children. The short devotions are perfect for busy families’ schedules, and the suggested activities for fasting and almsgiving are creative and doable.
As a doctor of the Church whose spiritual doctrine consists of the "Little Way," St. Thérèse is an excellent spiritual guide and model of holiness for both children and adults, especially for Lent.
This booklet is a beautiful spiritual companion for your family this Lent — and Lenten seasons to come.
Jean M. Heimann blogs at

Read more:

God bless you and yours!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My recent chat with Teresa Tomeo on Catholic Connection

I was chatting with Teresa Tomeo this morning on her wonderful show, "Catholic Connection." We discussed a family's Lenten journey and Saint Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa, and St. Teresa of Avila. Here's a link so you can listen in case you missed it:

God bless you and keep you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us."

~From The Breastplate of Saint Patrick

God bless you and yours!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Soda Bread!

Below is a blog post from the past:

Getting ready for Saint Patrick's day tomorrow, my son, Joseph and I made some Irish soda bread tonight. I'm telling you, it was delicious! It really tasted too good for a Lenten Friday. We used my friend, Mary Maguire's old time recipe (and adapted it a little). We doubled this recipe to make two loaves; one for tonight (just to make sure it tasted good!) and one for tomorrow!

Here is the recipe:

3 cups flour (I use whole wheat flour, sometimes unbleached white, and sometimes spelt and gluten free flours)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional, but I lOVE them!)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup sugar (I usually substitute honey or agave nectar, and sometimes I combine them)
1 egg
1 cup raisins (I use a mix of golden and black raisins)

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and caraway seeds in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly; stir in raisins and sugar. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to mixture; stir until dough clings together. On lightly floured surface, knead gently and shape into ball. Grease and flour cake pan lightly; pat to fit pan. Brush top with beaten egg and cut a deep cross in top of bread with sharp knife. Bake in about 350 degrees oven for about an hour or until a cake pick, inserted in center, comes out clean. Place on wire rack and brush top with butter.

We substituted soy butter for the butter (but some years we use real butter) and we shaped our loaves into rounds and baked them on cookie sheets rather than in cake pans, both ways work well. We didn't put an egg wash on top this time. Sometimes I use half whole wheat flour and half unbleached white flour to make the bread a bit more nutritious. [Edited today: Lately I have been baking it with gluten free flours or a mix of spelt flour.]

Also, I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't usually have buttermilk on hand, so instead, I use regular milk with a couple of tablespoons of Apple Cider vinegar mixed in to curdle it. Don't worry, this is safe and some recipes give this option.

Every time we make Irish soda bread we ask ourselves why we only make this bread at St. Patrick's day. It tastes so delicious we should make it more often!

I hope you get a chance to make some Irish Soda bread. :)

God bless you and yours!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A surge of the heart!

St. Therese of Lisieux has said that prayer "is a surge of the heart." 

Specifically, she said, "For me prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look towards Heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."

Sometimes, I think we make prayer too complicated. Certainly, our desire for prayer comes from a good place in our hearts. But, I believe that God does not want us to be setting ourselves up for failure by scheduling an unrealistic prayer schedule (even during Lent). Yes, God wants us to pray.

But, possibly it might be in a way we are not planning.

After I sent out the newsletter yesterday a woman wrote to tell me to say that she was relieved to read in my message that we shouldn't be overly regimented in our prayer life. I was referring to being patient with our little ones in the family when gathering for prayer.

This woman had recently learned many new prayers and told me in her email, "...Just so you know, I was just discovering all these wonderful prayers and novenas, and wanted to do it all. But quickly realized it's not about quantity, but quality." I admire this woman's beautiful desire to "do it all." But, she also learned a valuable lesson.

This reminds me of what St. Therese had said about wanting to embrace the whole package of what God called her to. She said, "You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all." Saint Therese accepted God's will in her life. Even though she thought she would be a missionary and travel to the five continents to evangelize Therese needed to be content with what God had planned for her--to stay in the convent and to pray for the world from there.

Our lives are very busy and we need to surely carve out the time for prayer and then try to stick to it. God is awaiting our conversations with Him. But, we also need to be patient and loving with the ones God puts in our midst (and ourselves).

For instance, we might have scheduled an early prayer time before the kids get up and suddenly a child bursts into the room with an immediate need. We, in a sense, excuse ourself from the prayer with our Creator to minister to the one our Lord helped us create--an active prayer! God does not want us to neglect our duties toward others whose care we are responsible for.

We need to strike a balance with our contemplative prayer and our active prayer life. Set aside time for prayer each day and trust God with how it will unfold in your life. If it doesn't go as planned, don't give up--try again! Graces are indeed flowing through your prayers no matter how "successful" they may feel or seem to be. All prayers are valuable. Keep them going!

I hope you can find a quiet few minutes today to lift your heart up in a loving conversation with God. Close your eyes and speak to Jesus. Tell Him that you love Him. He's there waiting for you...

God bless you and yours!