Donna-Marie, your friendship with Mother Teresa’s has undoubtedly affected your work; one need not look farther than the foreword for Prayerfully Expecting: A nine month novena for mothers-to-be or Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship for evidence. How exactly did your friendship with the Mother Teresa begin, and is it possible to pass along any wisdom she has given you that has held particular affect?
By the grace of God, my friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa began. I recount all of the details in my book: Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship.
I traveled with my family to Washington DC to visit Father John A. Hardon S. J., a renowned theologian and author who happened to also be my spiritual director. We had a wonderful meeting and he then encouraged us to visit the Missionary of Charity sisters and the sick and dying they cared for at the convent in DC. Well, Mother Teresa happened to be visiting the country at the time and was at the convent! The rest is history, as they say. Again, it’s all in my book, the whole story. Suffice it to say that Fr. Hardon was responsible for me meeting Mother Teresa.
Is it possible to pass on any wisdom from her that has affected me? That would include everything she’s done or said or written to me. That could take quite some time! But very briefly, Mother Teresa was a woman of deep prayer and radical love. She lived to satiate the thirst of Jesus on the Cross. She lived the gospel of Matthew 24: 31-46, that whatever we do to others, we do to Jesus. She took this quite literally as we should too, as Christians.
Re-focusing a bit on Prayerfully Expecting, the book undertakes a unique perspective and finds an impressive balance between a religious and secular world. How did you come up with the idea of drawing a parallel between pregnancy and a novena?
During a very complicated pregnancy with my daughter Mary-Catherine, I was required to be on complete bed-rest to preserve the life of my unborn baby. It was during that blessed time that the inspiration came to me to write about a pregnancy as a novena of living prayer to God. It all came to me as a powerful inspiration as I prayed and stayed put to save my baby’s life. It was many years later that the book was published and I was very blessed to receive Blessed Mother Teresa’s foreword which graces the beginning of my book.
In A Catholic Woman’s Book of Prayers, you write about all the ‘mixed messages’ women face today that may ‘distract’ them from fully realizing God’s divine love. Besides prayers, what would you suggest as one pro-active step women can take to better connect with their spirituality?
To offer our days to God first thing in the morning and then all throughout the day, raise our hearts to Him in prayer, asking for His help and guidance. Turning to our Blessed Mother, through praying the Rosary and even in short aspirations to her, asking for help and guidance to aid us on our journey as a Catholic woman will help a great deal.
Taking time to pause and ponder throughout our busy days will help us to be mindful of our sacred responsibilities. Turning away from the culture and all of the negativity and evil it offers through television, the Internet, and advertizing can help us focus on the Sacred rather than the secular. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded Christians for support, as well as choosing reading and media material that will help nurture us as Catholic women can help to keep us inspired. It’s also wonderful when possible, to gather together with other Catholic women in study groups to learn more about and share the Faith.
In 2008 you were chosen as one of 250 to be a delegate for the Women’s International Congress in Rome. When you began on this journey as an author/speaker/etc, did you ever
anticipate this much success or notoriety? What does it mean to you to reach such milestones?
I don’t look at any of it as “success.” I consider it all as blessings – blessings that are meant to be shared with others. I was very honored to be chosen by the Holy See for the participation at the international congress for women and I certainly counted my blessings, all the while knowing that it was also a huge responsibility. I tried to be a “sponge” while there so I could take it all in and bring it back to share.
Congratulations on the success of your show, “Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms”! What inspired you to transition into television, and what is the main objective you hope the show achieves?
Thank you very much for your words of congratulations. “Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms” was born because I really felt there should be a series for Catholic moms filled with inspiration and tips to aid them through their everyday joys and challenges as they trudge their way through their “domestic church,” working out their salvation. I think that hearing a friendly and encouraging voice from one who has been there in the trenches of motherhood is many times all a weary mother may need to help in her own faith journey.
When I proposed the idea of the show to Doug Keck and Peter Gagnon at EWTN, they were very open and supportive. They knew me and my work as a Catholic author and that I was on several EWTN shows already. I am very thankful to them for the opportunity.
Through inspiration and prayer, I created the series, and along with EWTN, I am able to bring it to Catholic and Christian women all over the world. It turns out that not only Catholic and Christian women watch my show, I have heard from an inmate who wrote to me who watches
my series and told me that he’s inspired to learn more about Catholicism because of the show. God is so good! We need to use the media for good to help counteract the bad by bringing the Truth to others.
And finally, what is next for Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle?
God is in control so whatever He wants is what I want! Currently, I am writing a new book for Catholic moms, which discusses the joys and challenges of raising children in our world today. It will also go over the really tough issues affecting families too. It should be released next fall. In addition, I may be doing some more TV segments on EWTN, more radio possibly, and of course, more books! I also do many events and give many retreats all over. Check my appearance calendar on my website: www.donnacooperoboyle.com
Thank you for your interview. May God bless you and yours!