|Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, speaker and author.|
July 17, 2009. New Milford, CT. Raising five children would
make for a full “job” for any mother. But that
is just the beginning for Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, whose special
calling is to share her wisdom with other women –
as one mother to another.
Her resume of experience would make
even the most seasoned workaholic’s head spin. In addition to
being a wife and mother, she is an award winning
journalist and internationally known bestselling author with 8 books, two
of which were published by the Legion´s publishing house, Circle
Press. She has received apostolic blessings from Pope John Paul
II and Pope Benedict XVI, as well as commendations from
various bishops and cardinals. She was also blessed with a
personal friendship with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
Donna-Marie is featured on
regular national Catholic radio segments called "Mom´s Corner" through “Catholic
Connection” with radio host Teresa Tomeo. She also has been
profiled on several Catholic radio programs and television programs, and
she travels the country to speak about prayer, motherhood, family
and women’s issues.
The following is an interview Donna Marie
granted for our Regnum Christi web site.
Q- You have a
multi-faceted ministry (speaking, books, blogs, a radio show) aimed at
a specific audience: mothers. When did you first feel called
to help other mothers live out their vocation to the
Just before my first book was ready to be released,
a priest asked me if I would speak at his
parish at a Day of Recollection. As he was asking
me, it was as if a light went off and
I suddenly knew that this is what I would be
doing. I had never planned on it, but God had
His plan. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta had continually encouraged me
to keep writing to help mothers, women, and families.
ministry to these groups seemed to have been born with
the publishing of my first book, Catholic Prayer Book for
Mothers. It was a great surprise to me that the
book, when it was released, went immediately to the Catholic
bestsellers list. I then started speaking to various parishes and
dioceses as I was invited to do so, and also
did book signings. Even at the secular bookstores, I saw
God at work within the conversations of the people and
in the requests I received for prayers.
Q- You have
written 8 books so far, and many of them have
received honors and awards, including an apostolic blessing by Pope
John Paul II. How did you first realize that you
could share your experiences and insights specifically through writing?
6 published books and 2 more to be released this
year. My book about Mother Teresa published through Circle
Press may be called, "Mother Teresa and Me: A Ten
Year Friendship" will be released in late August or early
September. My book, "The Heart of Catholicism" published by Alpha/Penguin
will be released late this year or very early next
|At a book-signing event at Barnes & Noble.|
To answer your question about when I might have realized
my ability to share insights through writing, it occurred to
me early in life, I believe. I remember my fourth
grade teacher holding up a little book that I had
created and boasting about it to the class. I was
embarrassed that he singled me out to commend me on
my writing and illustration, but perhaps that is when it
started. As I grew, I wrote in a journal as
a teen and expressed myself through words and art. Later
I would speak on life issues, in favor of life,
of course. I wrote a lot of Op-ed pieces, and
then started to write articles for newspapers and magazines.
books have been endorsed by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who
also wrote the foreword to Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena
for Mothers to Be. Can you tell us more about
how you developed a personal friendship with her?
deeply honored and blessed to have known Blessed Teresa the
way I did. In the foreword, the things she wrote
are meant for everyone, not just me. And I feel
the blessings that our dear Lord has bestowed upon me
are for everyone.
I knew Blessed Teresa for about ten
|Mother Teresa holds Joseph Cooper O'Boyle, her son.|
years. I met with her on more than a dozen
occasions and spoke with her on the phone and received
22 letters from her. She prayed me through two precarious
pregnancies and lots more. I recount our friendship in my
book about her, which is due to be released in
Q- What was it like to meet her?
It was amazing!
She radiated peace and love.
Q- What is the single
most powerful lesson that you have learned from Blessed Teresa
Well, I´d say there are at least
three that are terribly important. One is that love begins
at home. Secondly, we don´t have to run off to
Calcutta to take care of the poor because they are
in our midst. They may not be hungry for a
piece of bread, but they are hungry for love. Thirdly,
one person´s "Yes" to God - yours or mine -
can truly help to transform the world!
Q- You were
invited to participate in the Holy See’s International Congress, “Woman
and Man: The ‘Humanum in Its Entirety’” in February of
2008. What was your role there?
My role at this
International Congress was to absorb all that I could from
the presenters, the people there, from the whole experience. Then
I was to bring it back to the States to
encourage others to read and study the Apostolic Letter, Mulieris
Dignitatem, and to set up retreats, studies, workshops and more
to raise awareness of the wealth of richness of this
|A calling at the service of women and of the Church.|
and other documents of the Church. I personally give a
lot of talks and write articles on Mulieris Dignitatem.
What were your most important insights or resolutions after the
Out of this Congress came my two books: Grace Cafe:
Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering and The Domestic Church
Room by Room: A Mother´s Study Guide (both published by
Circle Press). Women are using these books to join
in group studies and share their faith about their role
as a woman and as a wife and mother.
do you most hope to offer women through your writings?
hope to offer women encouragement, hope, and love. I wish
to impress upon them that they are not alone on
this journey through life. Sometimes it may be lonely when
we are with those who don´t understand our faith or
are difficult in various ways, but we need to reach
out to one another because we are all on this
journey together. I have witnessed many women brought to tears
when they realize that our Church loves them, that our
Church reveres women and recognizes our struggles through the ages
and that she commends women for being heroes to their
families. I like to offer that hope, encouragement, love, and
peace to women.
Q- What would you say are the three
most important characteristics of the ideal mother?
an interesting question. I´d say that the ideal mother must
first be full of love; be dedicated and faithful to
the care of her family; and be willing to sacrifice
for the betterment of the family.
Q- Many mothers today feel
like they are expected to be a “Supermom” who has
it all together all the time. But everyone has struggles
and crosses. What’s your recipe for tough times?
My recipe for
|The original Supermom.|
tough times would be to focus on the virtue of
hope, to never give up, to turn immediately to prayer
for help from above, and to offer every bit of
the suffering and difficulty to God so that He can
transform it into grace. We should not ever waste our
sufferings or squander them. These can all be used for
good. I talk about this a lot in my writings
and I have a good deal about this in my
book about Mother Teresa. By God´s grace, we can begin
to see everything that happens to us and around us
as an opportunity for grace. Patient endurance and prayer are
You can contact Donna-Marie to schedule, talks, retreats,
and events at her website www.donnacooperoboyle.com or through her
Donna-Marie authors several blogs, all of
which can be accessed through her web site. Her book list, also available through her web site, includes:
• Catholic Prayer Book
for Mothers (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company)
• The Heart of
Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home (The Crossroad Publishing
• Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be (the
Crossroad Publishing Company)
• Catholic Saints Prayer Book (Our Sunday Visitor
• The Domestic Church: Room by Room, a mother’s
study guide (Circle Press)
• Grace Café: Serving up Recipes
for Faithful Mothering, (Circle Press)
• Mother Teresa and Me: A
Ten Year Friendship (Circle Press)
• The Heart of Catholicism (Alpha/Penguin)