PETE: You now have released 3 titles in your Bringing Lent Home series. The first focused on Mother Teresa, the second St. Therese of Lisiuex and now St. John Paul II. What was your inspiration behind creating these wonderful volumes for family Lenten reflection?
DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE: Thanks for asking, Pete. Being a mother of five, I realize the importance of teaching our children the tenants of the faith. Christian parents, are, after all, the first and foremost educators. It’s our duty to pass on the faith to our children and our grandchildren too.
Families are the vital cell of society. We know all too well that the family is under attack in our modern world. If the family crumbles, so does society. We absolutely have to nurture and nourish the family which will also help our society.
Lent is a wonderful and really a perfect time in which to reflect, pray more intensely, and grow in holiness. To answer your question, I wanted to provide a straightforward inspiring Lenten manual for Catholic families to follow so they can grow together during the holy season. I wanted to place everything right at their fingertips: Church teaching about Lent, suggestions for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and much encouragement. Families need this.
PETE: Can you tell us how and why you chose each of these saints for the focus of each book?
DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE: Sure, Blessed Mother Teresa is very beloved to me. I knew personally her for about ten years and was deeply impacted by her. I continually pass on the lessons I learned from her. I know that so many people (even non-Christians) love Mother Teresa. Both Ave Maria Press and I thought that it would be a very good idea to start the series with Mother Teresa as our Lenten guide.
Saint Therese is also a beloved saint. In fact, Blessed Mother Teresa loved Saint Therese and chose her name to be her religious name. Since the French version of the name was already taken, Mother Teresa chose the Spanish version. She said she was more like the saint of the “Little Way” than Saint Teresa of Avila, the “big Teresa.” Ave Maria Press and I felt Saint Therese would be a great saint and Lenten guide to be second in the series.
Saint John Paul II is very beloved as well to so many. He seemed to fit very naturally into the line up of our Lenten teachers.
PETE: The ultimate question…….will there be more offerings in this series?
DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE: Yes! In fact, the fourth in the series is already written and will go off to the printer very soon. I am not at liberty to disclose who this mystery Lenten teacher will be. I am sorry to keep you in suspense but I think you and others will appreciate this teacher.
PETE: With these books and your various series on EWTN you focus a lot on the domestic church. You seem to have adopted the mission of the family as your own. Can you tell us why the domestic church is so important to you and how your work helps families?
DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE: Thank you for asking, Pete. As I briefly stated earlier, the family is so important and needs to be protected. The family is bombarded by all kinds of crazy mixed messages from our darkened culture. Because God put me in a large family growing up (eight children) and in a fairly large family of my own (five on earth and three in heaven), I have been very involved with family matters all my life. I am also a catechist at my parish and have been teaching faith formation for more than twenty five years.
Kids are so important to me and I understand the need to inspire and teach them to seek holiness—to let them know that the real destination to this life is heaven. All of us absolutely need to aim consistently for heaven. Kids can get very distracted by the allurements of the world. And, the distractions and temptations have certainly been getting worse, in my humble opinion. Therefore, we need to do all in our power to continue providing the Catholic tools that will point kids and families to the straight and narrow path that leads to heaven.
PETE: Time for my signature ending question. This is a blog about books. What books are currently in your bookshelf to read?
DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE: I should give you a photo instead of telling you, so that you can see the extent of them! My book shelves are totally crammed full of books and I have growing stacks and piles of books all over my office which I will endorse and review. I couldn’t possibly single any of them out, with the exception of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I refer to often, and the Bible on my desk.
Thank you for the interview!
Other titles by Donna-Marie:
Angels for Kids