Tag Archives: mother

Redemption Through Suffering: A Review of ‘Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy’

“Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance: through its crystal the world should see God.”–St. Gianna Molla

Reading Level:

Grade 11+

Review and Comments:

I’ve always been fascinated by the lives of the saints.  Their ability to see God through suffering, their bravery in evangelization, their relationship to Jesus and His mother, and their willingness to face death and persecution for Him are awe=inspiring.  As a cradle Catholic, I have read many of their stories and wished to be closer to them and learn more about them.  They have been the celebrities I have looked up to, and though my favorite saint has changed with my season of life, I have found that often I feel as though their stories are unrealistic in this day and age.  I can’t see myself being like them and I feel that their virtue is unattainable.

It is for this reason I enjoy reading about more modern people who may not be saints (yet) but nevertheless they have lived holy and virtuous lives.  A few years ago I read about Immaculee Ilibagiza and her suffering through the Rwandan genocide.  Her joy and faith  amidst terrible suffering have been a beautiful witness of God’s forgiveness and love for those involved.  She became someone I aspired to be for a long time, but her suffering was extreme, and often times I could not fully relate.  (You can read more about her here.)  

My newest role model is Chiara Corbella Petrillo. I saw Chiara’s story make the rounds in the Catholic blogosphere a year or so ago.  I read a bit about her and thought it was a sad story, but moved on as people do when they read something online.  Then her book popped up as a recommendation for me.  I couldn’t put it down. Continue reading Redemption Through Suffering: A Review of ‘Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy’

A Beautiful Adventure: A Review of ‘An Unexpected Role’

“The most beautiful and stirring adventure that can happen to you is the personal meeting with Jesus, who is the only one who gives meaning to our lives.”–St. John Paul II

Reading Level

Grades 7-12

Review and Comments

Sixteen-year old-Josie has left her family to spend the summer with her Aunt Lily after some embarrassment and bullying at her high school.  Since, in her mind, her mother has caused the bullying, Josie is happy to get away.

Josie loves the small island where her aunt lives and she is able to quickly make friends with people while there including an incredibly handsome and exotic guy  named Niko. Unfortunately, someone from her high school is also there, Ryan McNaulty.  She is afraid he is there to continue the bullying begun by his friends at school, and is shocked to find that he wants to be her friend. Continue reading A Beautiful Adventure: A Review of ‘An Unexpected Role’

God’s Plan For You: A Review of ’10 Ultimate Truths Girl’s Should Know’

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena

Interest Level

 Ages 12-18 [Pre-teens and Teens]

Review and Comments

This book was written for young pre-teen and teen aged girls, but it is also an excellent resource for mothers.  The teen years can be difficult because of peers, society, and just the normal self-discovery of growing up.  Kari Kampakis discusses ten truths that a girl should understand so that “when she discovers God’s purpose, she can live her best life possible.”

Each of the ten chapters covers a specific truth such as: popularity, reputation, perseverance, patience, image, and God’s plan.  The chapters begin with a very good lesson that sets the tone for further explanation and discussion. Then there are every day examples that illustrate the difficulties girls face. The challenges range from: mean girls, insecurities, choices, peer pressure, positive vs negative attention, to self image. But there is also joy in being a girl and these truths pierce the darkness of those challenging times. Continue reading God’s Plan For You: A Review of ’10 Ultimate Truths Girl’s Should Know’

15 Books for Moms this Mother’s Day

Being a mother is hard.  The list of things that need to be taken care of is endless.  The concern for our children is constantly on our minds and our love for them consumes every bit of us.  So, I know what you are thinking when you see this list.  WHO HAS TIME TO READ?!

The books I’ve collected for this list are practical for moms, short daily readings, resource books, small reflections, and calls to action in our homes.  Even the busiest moms can take a few minutes each day with some of these books.  We have been entrusted with such an important vocation. Let these books bring you closer to Jesus, his mother, and help lead our children to Him as we grow.

God Bless You, Mothers!

(You can click on the pictures to for the affiliate link.)

Prayer Books and Devotionals 

The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections is a wonderful prayer book for daily reflection.  Each day provides a short reflection and prayer.  It ends with something to reflect on or provides one simple act for moms to try to complete during the day.  The lovely thing about this book is that each reflection speaks to the vocation of motherhood and I often find much comfort in similar feelings and situations shared in the book.

The Original Mother’s Manual  was a gift to me from my mother and she received it from her mother-in-law.  It is by far my favorite prayer book.  There is a prayer for everything in here.  Prayers for marriage, childbirth, nursing, child’s companions, child’s studies, and sick children just to name a few.  Each prayer is beautiful and offers me comfort each time I open it.  It is my constant companion. Continue reading 15 Books for Moms this Mother’s Day

God With Us: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Christmas’

“The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock on the heart of every person with singular intensity this Christmas.” – St. John Paul II

Reading Level: 2.7 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

Interest Level: PreK – 2

Review and Comments:

“Where does Christmas come from?” Little Cub asks her mother.  Mama Bear could answer her question easily, but Mama wants her child to understand deep in her heart exactly what Christmas really means.  She wants to transport Little Cub to the first Christmas so she explains the scene in Bethlehem and the true meaning of the gift of Jesus.  Then Mama takes her out into the world to find God in the most unusual places.  Little Cub learns that God is the Light of the World. He is powerful and mighty.  And God is so generous He gave Jesus to all of us – “the best present of all.”  Little Cub thanks her Mama for “showing her God” and prepares for Christmas with a spirit filled with joy. Continue reading God With Us: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Christmas’

So Wonderfully You Made Me: A Review of ‘Miraculous Me’

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13-16

Interest Level

2-7 years

Review and Comments

Miraculous Me is a story told from the perspective of an unborn child who knows it is cherished even in its mother’s womb.  The child describes itself as “a hidden miracle, a gift from above, and a treasure.”  The child listens to its parents’ musings about their baby’s future. What will their child be like?  What will their child like to do?  The message the parents want their child to know is that he or she is precious, and God will guide the way throughout his or her life.  They know for sure their child will have a beautiful life. Now they wait patiently for the joyous day of their child’s birth when they will see the infinite love of God in the gift of their child. Continue reading So Wonderfully You Made Me: A Review of ‘Miraculous Me’

A Gift From the Creator: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Two’

“The joy of children makes their parents’ hearts throb and reopens the future.” – Pope Francis

Interest Level:  PreK – K

Reading Level:

Grade 2  [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

2.8         [AR reading level]

Review and Comments:

The joyful anticipation of the birth of a new baby is always exciting for a family.  For Little Cub, the soon-to-be big sister, there are also a lot of questions about her new brother or sister. Mama and Papa lovingly answer all her questions and teach her about God’s plan for families.  When they say, “God gave us two,” it expresses to Little Cub that she and the new baby are beautiful and individual creations of God.  They are precious gifts to Mama and Papa.  They also explain all the wonderful things she will experience as a big sister.  The reader sees time pass when Little Cub finds it harder and harder to sit on her mother’s lap because there is less room.  Finally, the day of the birth arrives and Little Cub is very excited to learn she has a brother and a sister.  She proclaims, “God actually ‘gave us three!’” Continue reading A Gift From the Creator: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Two’

He Advanced in Wisdom and Age: A Review of ‘When Jesus Was a Little Boy’

“The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”– Luke 2:40

Interest Level: 2-6

Review and Comments:
When Jesus Was a Little Boy is a story that describes what Jesus might have done as a child. Each page shows Jesus actively participating in chores around the house, learning lessons, taking care of animals, and always doing his best. There are also examples of Jesus being a true and loving friend while interacting with other children. All of these activities are perfect examples of “little acts of holiness” as St. Therese of Lisieux called them, which children can imitate to become more like Jesus. This story shows how the holy family, the model for all families, exemplifies how to love and respect others. Continue reading He Advanced in Wisdom and Age: A Review of ‘When Jesus Was a Little Boy’

Simple Love for Him: A Review of ‘Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina’

“I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first—by deed, the second—by word, the third—by prayer.  In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is unquestionable proof of love for Me.” –Diary of St. Faustina (742)

Review and Thoughts

Once again I’ve uncovered a book that is perfect for the Year of Mercy.  Don’t worry!  If you’ve forgotten all about the Year of Mercy, now is your chance to be reinvigorated!  This book is beautiful, simple, and one of my most favorite ‘mommy books’ I’ve read. Continue reading Simple Love for Him: A Review of ‘Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina’

The Games In Which We Compete: A Review of ‘The Crossover’ and ‘Booked’

“Continue, dear young men, to give the best of yourselves in sports competitions, always remembering that the competitive spirit of the sportsman, though so noble in itself, must not be an end in itself, but must be subordinated to the far more noble requirements of the spirit. Therefore, while I repeat to you: be good sportsmen, I also say to you: be good citizens in family and social life, and, even more, be good Christians, who are able to give a superior meaning to life, in such a way as to be able to put into practice what the Apostle Paul said about athletes to Christians of his time: ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it … They (athletes) do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable’” (l Cor 9:24-25).—Saint Pope John Paul II from his address to the Bologna Soccer Team, December 9, 1978

The Crossover

Interest Level:

5-9

Grade Level Equivalent:

5-6

Review and Thoughts

Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover would’ve made my basketball-lovin’ heart oh so happy back when I was in middle school.  Alexander uses poetry to write so passionately about the sport and brings in a close family to add to the drama of the novel. Continue reading The Games In Which We Compete: A Review of ‘The Crossover’ and ‘Booked’