Monday, September 13, 2010

Review of The Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey


Drawing from the deep tradition of the Catholic faith, Lisa Hendey coaches Catholic moms in how to care for themselves—heart, mind, body, and soul—so that they can better love and care for their families, their neighbors, and their Church.
With warmth and wisdom, Hendey creates an environment where Catholic moms can reflect peacefully upon often-competitive topics like parenting style, types of schooling, and working outside the home. By sharing her own story, Hendey inspires readers to better balance their own needs with the demands of family life and faith commitment.

Lisa shares stories from her personal life as a wife and mother, as well as stories contributed by Catholic moms and families from around the country. Each chapter of The Handbook for Catholic Moms contains relevant scripture passages, Church doctrine, and quotes from the lives of the saints. Noted Catholics such as Danielle Bean, Father James Martin, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle and Phil Lenahan contribute their expertise and wisdom to make this a tremendous resource for Catholic mothers. "Mom's Homework" reflections at the conclusion of every chapter help the reader apply the book's principles to her real world challenges as a Catholic Mom.


This is not a parenting guide, despite the title. Reading Lisa Hendey's Handbook for Catholic Moms is like having lunch with a group of Catholic friends who share their personal stories, well-thought wisdom and practical tips for living as a Catholic woman who is a mother. In her 22 chapters, she covers everything from keeping physical health to creating a home where the Catholic faith is present and vibrant in our home.

I have to admit, parts of it intimidated me. Sometimes I felt like the shortfalls she shares were at the level of my aspirations, but as she says several times, each home is different; each family is different, and God calls us to do our best. The information in her book provides not a blueprint of the perfect Catholic family, but a road map to help Catholic moms find direction to improve themselves as moms, as women and as Catholics.

I read this on the airplane in about two hours, and frankly, that's not the way I recommend doing it. Rather, I suggest treating it like a study, taking a chapter at a time, reading, considering and executing some of her tips. I think it would make a great guide for a Catholic mom's group. Regardless of how you read it, if you're a Catholic and a mom, you'll find a lot of great information and inspiration in Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey.

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