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Father Walter Schu recommends Grace Café: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering by Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle.
BY Father Walter Schu, LC
Café is an aptly titled book. How does one discover grace — that
sublime reality so distant from most people’s vocabulary today and, sadly, so
often absent from their lives?
Within these pages, seasoned author
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle makes that elusive encounter with grace seem as
casual and natural as a mid-morning rendezvous with an old friend at the local
Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said,
“Beauty will save the world.” If that is true, then Grace
Café — addressed specifically to mothers — could bring many mothers
one step closer to salvation.
Even, and especially, in the midst
of the daily trials of raising a family, such as being confronted with a
steadily growing mountain of unfolded clothes, the beauty of motherhood alights
from the page to capture hearts.
In response to the culture’s
exalting of careerism for women, O’Boyle ponders the value of being a mother,
the transcendent mission it entails. She says:
“Women have been put through the
mill, so to speak. However, as Christian mothers, we can consider the fact that
nothing can be more meaningful than to be part of the creation of a human
being, to be able to nurture it within our bodies, and then raise our child within
a loving home — preparing him or her for eternal life. In my opinion, nothing
compares — nothing!”
The simple prose reveals a mother’s
warm heart, as O’Boyle offers hints on how to carve out time for prayer and
savor the grace of the present moment in a family where the young ones always
seem to grow up just a bit too quickly.
Interspersed with personal anecdotes
are succinct quotes from the wisdom of holy men and women — especially Pope
John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, whom the author was friends with.
All mothers know that their vocation
entails its share of difficult moments, and O’Boyle tackles this aspect of
motherhood head-on in the chapter “Discovering Grace Within Suffering.”
She reflects, “This whole concept of
giving and hurting may seem absurd, especially in today’s culture. Why should
we feel uncomfortable — God forbid — or selfless, when we can
avoid it? It’s because the love in our motherly heart calls us to it; it
beckons us to give of ourselves unreservedly. Real love demands blood, sweat
She sums things up with these
encouraging words from St. Ignatius of Loyola: “If God causes you to suffer
much, it is a sign that he has great designs for you, and that he certainly
intends to make you a saint.”
One slight disappointment may be the
final chapter on evangelizing the household and the world. It contains several
long Gospel passages, which perhaps could have been reduced to allow a more
in-depth look at how the family stands at the very center of the New Evangelization.
All mothers who seek to glimpse with
renewed spiritual vision the priceless value of their calling, all those who
long to encounter grace amid the joys and trials, the dirty dishes and daily
crises of family life will discover in O’Boyle’s book a grace-filled companion
along the path to becoming a saint.
Legionary Father Walter Schu is the author
The Splendor of