In Review: A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa M. Hende

reviewed by Jessica Rinaudo

As a mother of four children, I often find myself caught up in the chaos of every day life. So many times I’m quick to throw up my hands in frustration, feeling like it’s impossible to accomplish anything. It’s an isolating feeling, and it’s easy to feel like I’m the only one facing these daily struggles, or that I’m a bad mom for feeling that way.

But in Lisa Hendey’s A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, she reminds us that we aren’t doing this alone because Christ is with us every step of the way and that these are struggles moms everywhere face. To help us not only endure, but find joy in these moments of life, she’s penned 52 chapters – one for each week of the year – focusing on a different “saintly friend” and how their struggles and companionship can help us in our own lives.

Each chapter takes the time to help us get familiar with the saint. Hendey shares their life story and their legacy: including popular devotions associated with the particular saint, their words, and lessons she herself has gleaned. There are suggestions for activities and projects separately for mom and then another for the family together. There are scriptures, prayers and reflection questions, all geared to help you bring the saints and your faith more fully into your everyday life.
In the introduction, Hendey offers two ways of reading her book: chronologically, chapter by chapter, each week of the year; or you can browse for the saint that you need in that moment in time. Each saint and their feast day is listed in the back index to help you navigate the book more easily.

This book is chocked full of wisdom and understanding. Hendey tackles everything from the struggle to accomplish domestic tasks to finding grace in our challenges and struggles. Hendey shows us how St. Damien can grant us patience for our sick family members who need us, while St. Isidore can help guide us through the struggles of living in a tech-driven world.

One chapter that stood out to me in particular was that of St. Rose Venerini, whose life didn’t go as she had planned, but still took her situation and not only lived a good life, but improved the lives of those around her. Heney emphasizes the important lesson of  “blooming where you’re planted” instead of focusing on the “what ifs” of our lives.

“Ultimately, Rose’s teaching vocation blossomed through her relationships with women,” said Hendey. “I often find myself turning to my own informal female societies for support just as my mother did. Interestingly, online communities now supplement my own local friendships as I connect with fellow Catholic moms around the world on a daily basis. The common denominator in these friendships – whether physical proximity or online – is a mutual love and a commitment to communal prayer. In our relationships with each other, we live out our commitment to the larger Body of Christ just as Rose did with her friends in Viterbo.”

Through this book I also learned about saints who I was not familiar with, like St. Zita of Lucca, and the much more recent Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano, who died at the age of 19 from osteosarcoma in 1990.
A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms is a great companion for any Catholic mother – whether she needs more faith direction in her life, or she just wants to learn more about saints and how their lives parallel our own.

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms is available to purchase from Ave Maria Press and Amazon.com.
It is available to borrow from the Slattery Library inside the Catholic Center in Shreveport.

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