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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry
Today’s guest(s): Lisa Hendey, Editor of CatholicMom.com and bestselling author
Today’s topics: Author Lisa Hendey and resources for Catholic moms
Summary of today’s show: Catholic moms, this show is for you. Scot welcomes Lisa Hendey, founder of CatholicMom.com and author of two books, “A Handbook for Catholic Moms” and “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms”, which are great resources for mothers of all ages who are looking to connect with other Catholic moms, for resources for forming their kids in the faith, and for ways to spiritually nourish and refresh themselves.
1st segment: Scot said many listeners of The Good Catholic Life are Catholic moms. Today’s show is for you. Our guest is Lisa Hendey who founded for CatholicMom.com and has authored several books intended for Catholic moms. He said he also began to appreciate what his own wife, a Catholic mom, does in her role in their family.
Scot welcomed Lisa to the show. He asked her how she got involved in online evangelization. Back in 1999, her kid’s Catholic school was looking for a volunteer webmaster and she volunteered. She’s since become the parish webmaster. After a little experience, she decided to start CatholicMom.com. She was looking for support from other Catholic moms, since her husband had not yet become Catholic, she was struggling to lead her family in faith.
Scot said Lisa has said it took a while for her to become comfortable with being a Catholic mom after having had a career outside the home. Lisa said it’s been amazing to see the ministry of CatholicMom.com grow up. She gives and receives from that community and the website has gone beyond her own dreams of what it could be. It’s no w a team effort with over 120 volunteer contributors and members of the community come from all over the world.
Scot said he was impressed by the site’s Sunday Gospel activities. As a dad, he’s struggled with what to do for his kids during the Mass and he’s found the Magnifikids publications to be helpful. He said CatholicMom.com also provides some free resources as well. Every week they use the Liturgy of the Word to create free activities related to that, all as downloadable pages. They even have resources for religious education and catechists. Lisa said about half of the people using the resources are homeschoolers and half are catechists in parishes using them instead of traditional religious education curricula, even from as far away as South American and Africa.
Another popular part of the site is the blogs where they have writers all the ay from new moms, pregnant moms, all the way to grandmothers. They also have a few dads and deacons as well. They cover topics all the way from adoption to just regular parenting. There also many more sections with fun activities, music, and more. Lisa’s hope is that it’s a magazine format. Woman can come to discover new music or find a good movie. They also get prayer request through the prayer line on a daily basis.
Scot asked if Lisa can quantify the growth of CatholicMom.com. She remembers when the site first started that seeing the number of hits go up by 100 was a big deal. Now they get visitors from all 50 states and 160 countries. It’s a successful site for a one-person operation run out of her home.
Lisa said she is shocked and humbled at the growth and reach of the site and the plans they have for the future, especially as someone who started without skills and training in this area. Scot said it’s a lesson for all of us that sometimes God wants to lead us in a different direction in our life. Scot recalls how fruitful it was when he responded to a bulletin announcement after college to teach 7th grade parish religious education.
Scot noted Lisa’s husband, Greg, wasn’t Catholic but they met at Notre Dame. Lisa said he’s always been supportive of her faith, but being exposed to his search has been an opportunity for her to ask questions about her faith herself and to understand what she wanted their domestic church to look like. Lisa said she never wanted Greg to convert just to make her happy, but to do it only for the right reasons. She’s always hearing from men and women who are in situations where there is sort of dynamic. She advises them to never stop praying for their spouse and even if they never enter into full communion with the Church, never to judge them or stop loving them. St. Monica is a great example of being faithful that God had a plan for their life.
2nd segment: Scot said he likes practical books that go to some level of depth but synthesize so many topics into a format that you can enjoy in one book. Handbook for Catholic Moms breaks down the information into 4 area: heart, mind, body and soul. He said the book talks about how Catholic woman can become “soul sisters” with other Catholic women. Lisa said it’s part of the larger theme encouraging women to care for themselves. Many women give and give, but don’t take the time they should to care for themselves spiritually. Women are wired in a special way to enjoy companionship with one another. Her spiritual nourishment comes from girlfriends she can get together with in person as well as true friendships she has developed online. Having friends to talk with and pray with when things come up in life.
Scot said when Lisa moved to Fresno, she didn’t know many people so she looked to get involved in various organizations. She moved there with just her oldest son while her husband stayed behind in LA to wrap up affairs. She called the library and other community organizations to find something to do that would get her out of the house and get an opportunity to interact with others. She also looked for service opportunities where you’re sure to interact with others who have some of the same values.
In the book, Lisa talks about trying to find a vibrant parish with a great Catholic environment where the liturgies are beautiful and the parish is welcoming. She said at first she was waiting for a sense of community to happen to her, but she realized she needed to make it happen by going to the parish and getting involved in a ministry. Scot said the more we give, the more we get. So many of our parishes are not all we hope for, but it will get better if parishioners step forward to fill the gaps. Talk to the pastor or parish staff and offer to start a ministry or join one. Often they’re yearning for people to offer to help.
Scot said he liked the chapter on time management for moms, which begins with offering first fruits to God at the beginning of the day and making the rest of the day go better from that. Lisa said the times she’s least organized and doesn’t take the time to pray makes her days worse, not better. So she needs to take time for God when she’s the busiest. Moms look at the work they do for their families and need to be good stewards of the time God has given.
Lisa said a standing prayer ritual in her house was to do morning prayer in the car on the way to school. They set the tone for the day and remember intentions for friends and family ask for intercession of guardian angels. Taking that routine of prayer and pausing for formal times during the day is an opportunity to be in conversation with God who loves us so much.
Scot said he loved her idea to ask children during morning prayer if there’s anything they would like the parent to pray for during the day. Lisa said she’s found that when you ask this particular question you hear all kinds of things that they won’t share if you just ask them how their day is going.
Lisa has been gratified at the response to the book. She loves hearing from women who’ve read the book and tell her that it has encouraged and helped them.
3rd segment: Now talking about “A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms”. Scot read a quote from Fr. James Martin, SJ about the book: “Every time a Catholic mother asks me what author she should read, I have a ready answer: Lisa Hendey. Her latest book is one that every mother (and father, son, and daughter too) will find accessible, inviting, and above all, useful.”
Scot asked how Lisa settled on 52 of the thousands of saints to profile. She said it was difficult but they wanted to have one for each week for moms to meditate on. One of the saints is St. Katharine Drexel and Lisa wrote about how she fostered a spirit of tolerance. Lisa said she tried to carry over the same fourfold scheme from the previous book and St. Katharine was a “heart” saint. She was a pioneer in fostering the spirit of tolerance in an age when racial diversity was not as broadly accepted.
Each chapter has biographical info and some lessons from their life that correspond with the theme of the chapter and a little bit of wisdom from the saint. Then each day of the week there is a daily Scripture passage and brief reflection. Throughout the 52 weeks, it covers all of the Catholic virtues. Lisa said the book is indexed in different ways to read it different ways, front to back; by the liturgical year; by the patronage of the saint; and so on. She said she also included some practical activities for the family.
Another saint is St. Zita of Luca on the topic of diligence to domestic tasks. She lived in the 13th century in Italy and was a domestic servant to a wealthy family. Even in her busy life, she found time to help others. It reminds moms that they don’t have to be missionaries in Africa to do good in the world and that through diligence and frugality they can be good stewards of resources and allow the family to give back to others. Doing daily tasks with diligence and as an act of love can make them into holy acts, not just a chore.
Another saint is St. Josephine Bakhita, who died in Darfur, Sudan in 1949. She was enslaved as a young girl and eventually ended up with a family in Venice, Italy. She was sent to school with the Daughters of Charity and entered the order. She is the patron of the victims of human trafficking. For Lisa, she’s also a patron in her own life of the difficult things that enslave her, those things to which she find physical or emotional addiction. So many people who deal with addiction find an enlightenment in their life like St. Josephine’s.
Scot said there also male saints in the book. St. Andre Bessette is recently canonized. He came from a poor family and was orphaned young. He was the porter at a monastery in Montreal, St. Joseph’s Oratory, because he was deemed to illiterate to be a priest. He’s credited with many miraculous healings there. Scot said praying through this book for a year can help us teach our kids that heroes are not athletes and actors, but these holy men and women of God.