Interview with Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

Author, television host, blogger, speaker, mother:  Meet Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, and find out what keeps her driven to accomplish so very much.

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:

Thank you for your interview. May God bless you and yours!

New US Stamp to Feature Mother Teresa

“Following the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa on August 26, the United States Postal Service is honoring her with a new 44 cent stamp. It was issued in a special ceremony today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Postmaster General John Potter dedicated the stamp Sunday along with other officials from both the postal service and the Catholic Church, including the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Auxiliary Bishop of Washington Barry Knestout, Monsignor Walter Rossi of the national shrine, and Sister Leticia, MC, provincial superior of the Missionaries of Charity.

During the ceremony, Potter explained that it is important for the government agency to “focus attention on subjects our country regards with respect and affection, and that is certainly true of Mother Teresa, who believed so deeply in the innate worth and dignity of humankind and worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor, sick, orphaned and dying.”

The postmaster added that he is “very proud” for the U.S. to be “honoring Mother Teresa with such a lasting memorial.” Collectible first-day postmark editions of the new stamp will be available directly through the U.S. Postal Service.

Mother Teresa died in 1997, and was beatified by the Church as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” in 2003. Born in Albania, she founded the Missionaries of Charity in India in the late 1940s, where she resolved to work among the “poorest of the poor” for the rest of her life. The Missionaries of Charity have continued her mission among the sick and destitute in India, and now serve those in extreme need in countries throughout the world.

Blessed Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was made an honorary citizen of the U.S. in 1996, as an acknowledgment of her remarkable and persistent efforts to relieve the suffering of the very poor.

Although she was appreciative of these honors, and spoke highly of many values expressed in America’s founding documents,  Mother Teresa also directed blunt criticism toward the materialism and “spiritual poverty” of Western countries, conditions which she believed led to a particular and systematic neglect of the unborn and the elderly.

Prior to receiving her honorary American citizenship, she  summed up her message to America in her letter to the Supreme Court:

“I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to faithfulness to what you once taught the world. Your nation was founded on the proposition—very old as a moral precept, but startling and innovative as a political insight—that human life is a gift of immeasurable worth, and that it deserves, always and everywhere, to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

Mother Teresa also addressed a public letter to the Supreme Court on the subject of abortion, which she described as an “infinitely tragic and destructive departure” the American vision of human rights.

Today the work of the Missionaries of Charity in the U.S. have focused particularly on outreach to those suffering from AIDS, and mothers who are facing challenging pregnancies.” – “New US Stamp Honors Mother Teresa, Admirer and Critic of American Society”, Catholic News Agency

I found this posting about Mother Teresa on Catholic News Agency earlier today. The postmaster general and the rest of the postal service has released a new stamp dedicated to Mother Teresa. The stamp is a 44 cent make and is being released to the recent celebration of Mother Teresa’s 100 birthday. It is good to see people are recognizing the great Catholic life of the this almost certain saint.

Mother Teresa Helped Cardinal Comastri Remain a Priest

“The Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica remembered at Mass on Thursday how a promise he made to Mother Teresa 40 years ago preserved his vocation. She taught him that without prayer, charity cannot exist.

Cardinal Comastri presided over the Eucharistic celebration at Rome’s San Lorenzo in Damaso Church, which had a very welcoming feel with the presence of more than 100 Missionaries of Charity sisters, over 20 concelebrating priests, local government leaders and a very diverse collection of faithful.

Church-goers were pleasantly surprised by the presence of newly-arrived prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who also concelebrated and read a message from the Pope at the beginning of Mass.

In a homily which emphasized that love is the foundation of our existence, Cardinal Comastri remembered a personal encounter he had with the Missionaries of Charity’s founder when he was just a young priest.

His first contact with Mother Teresa came when he mailed her a letter just after he was ordained a priest. Her “unexpected” response was especially striking, he recalled, because it was written on “very poor paper, in a very poor envelope.”

At a later date, Cardinal Comastri sought her out when she was visiting Rome to thank her for the answer. When he found her, she asked him a question that left him “a little embarrassed.”

“How many hours do you pray a day?” she asked.

In 1969-70, he recalled, the Church was in a time of “dispute,” so thinking that it was “near heroism, then-Father Comastri explained to her that he said daily Mass in addition to praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary.”

To this, she responded flatly, “That’s not enough.”

“Love cannot be lived minimally,” she said, and then asked him to promise to do half an hour of adoration every day.

“I promised,” said Cardinal Comastri, “and today I can say that this saved my priesthood.”” – “Cardinal Comastri Recounts How Mother Teresa Saved His Priesthood”, Catholic News Agency

This story from Catholic News Agency was awesome to read about. I always knew about bigger things that Mother Teresa did for the Church and for other people, but this was a truly touching story to hear about as it is quite personal to Cardinal Comastri. It is great that Cardinal Comastri is sharing this story with everybody now. Mother Teresa was a truly exceptional person and would should all take a minute to say a quick prayer to her today because yesterday would have been her 100th birthday.

Middle Eastern Television to Air Series on Mother Teresa

“Télé Lumière and Noursat, the only Catholic television and satellite network broadcast from the Middle East, has announced it will air a series of celebrations to honor Blessed Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. A highlight of its coverage will be the installation of a nearly 10-foot-tall statue of the woman devoted to charity.

The statue will be erected in Sed El Bouchrieh, a city in the Fanar region of Lebanon, where the first Missionaries of Charity convent was established. Since 1979, Mother Teresa’s religious order has had a center in Fanar and another in Becharre.

In 1982 Mother Teresa visited Lebanon and transferred to safety about 50 orphans and disabled people who had been trapped by Israeli bombing.

The Fanar center hosts orphans or children rejected by their families because of their handicaps. It also hosts abandoned women who have no children to care for them.

The statue to be installed is close to 10 feet in height and stands on a on a 6.5-foot high platform. It shows Mother Teresa with a “comforting tender smile” and a “bright healing look,” Télé Lumière and Noursat reports.

Its creator is artist George Aoun, while Armenian engineer Sarkis Ohanian coated the work with bronze.” – “Middle East Broadcaster Plans Special Coverage to Honor Mother Teresa’s Birthday”, Catholic News Agency

This story from Catholic News Agency was great to hear about. I would never expect any Middle Eastern station to air anything about Mother Teresa, but I have been proven wrong! It appears as though the Middle East is okay with Mother Teresa, as well as the Peace Bridge on the Niagra River. However, the Empire State Building remains opposed to celebrating the great woman’s life. I am glad to see nearly everybody in the world realizes what a great woman Mother Teresa was.

Niagara River Will Honor Mother Teresa

This post on EWTN made me very happy to see somebody will be honoring Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. After the whole Empire State Building ordeal where the owners refused to light the tower in honor of Mother Teresa, it is nice to see somebody who has any sort of respect for great people. Of course, the 60th Anniversary of Communist China was enough for the Empire State Building to be lit red, but not blue for Mother Teresa. Go figure that one out, right? Niagara River will look beautiful lit in blue and white, and I certainly hope to see pictures of this event.

“In honor of the 100th birthday of Bl. Mother Teresa, on Aug. 26 the Peace Bridge spanning the Niagara River will be illuminated with blue and white, the colors of the Missionaries of Charity. The lighting of the bridge, which connects Buffalo and Fort Erie, will be a “beautiful tribute” to the missionary, a local bishop said.

Bishop of Buffalo Edward U. Kmiec and Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick, administrator of the Canadian Diocese of St. Catharines, jointly requested the action from the Peace Bridge Authority.

“Blessed Mother Teresa was truly a child of the light whose life was a shining example of Christ our Light reaching out to people everywhere promoting love and peace in our world,” commented Msgr. Kirkpatrick. “The lighting of this bridge which spans two dioceses and two countries, symbolizes her light reaching out across the great chasm to all people.”

Bishop Kmiec said the action is a “beautiful tribute” to Mother Teresa.

“Her missionary spirit lives on through the countless lives she touched, and I am grateful that this unique structure will pay tribute to her on this special occasion,” the bishop commented. “This is symbolic in that Blessed Mother Teresa’s light continues to shine around the world.”

Mother Teresa’s service to the poor in India won worldwide admiration. The sisters of her order, the Missionaries of Charity, serve in Canada, the U.S. and around the world in homes for the dying, in orphanages and in hospitals.

At present the Vatican is considering Mother Teresa’s cause for sainthood.” – “Peace Bridge on Niagra River to Honor Mother Teresa’s Birthday in Lights”, EWTN

Chicago Churches to Honor Mother Teresa

“Mother Teresa’s relics, including strands of hair, drops of blood and a rosary, are expected to visit Chicago this weekend in honor of the 100th anniversary of the nun’s birth.

The Missionaries of Charity, an order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa in 1950, hastily organized a tour of the items across the Midwest after the relics finished a similar trip along the East Coast.

The showcased objects, also including a tattered pair of sandals and a crucifix, “will bring Mother’s presence very much to life,” said one of the sisters. “She was a special gift from God for our time.”” – “Mother Teresa’s Relics Headed for Chicago This Weekend”, Chicago Catholic News

This post on Chicago Catholic News was awesome to see. I’m happy some people are interested in celebrating this amazing woman’s life and what she did. The Empire State Building, of course, refused to use its lights to honor her after honoring Communist China not too long ago, but that’s another story. Mother Teresa was a great woman and it will be quite a treat for the people of Chicago to be able to see some of personal belongings and life items. The relics will be on display at Saint Procopius, Saint John Cantius, and a convent that was opened by Mother Teresa herself in the city. If you live in the Chicago area, I would certainly suggest going to see these great pieces of history.