So it begins.

Yesterday, the UPS driver dropped a large, heavy box at my doorstep. I saw him drive up, and watched as he slid the box onto my front porch. I watched him drive away, still standing in my kitchen, motionless. I knew what was inside the box.

I took a deep breath, went to the porch, lugged the box inside and thumped it down on the bench in my dining room. I took another deep breath, slit the packing tape and opened the box.

This was my first look at my new book, Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace, just published by Servant Books.

I’ve experienced nervous anticipation about the release of all my books, but this one has been different. The writing and publication of Forgiving Mother is riskier than anything I’ve ever written before. Part memoir and part devotional, this book delves into an area of my heart that I’d kept under lock and key for most of my life. It explores the woundedness of having been raised without maternal love and the pathway to healing and peace.

It’s required a goodly amount of digging through memories, examining circumstances, and weighing consequences in deciding what to share and what not to share. I needed to share just enough so that folks could see that I really know what I’m talking about and so that they could see a part of themselves in me. But, I didn’t want to share so much that I shocked the reader or disgraced my mother. An intricate balance, to be sure.

None of this could have been done without much prayer and fasting and certainly not without the tender love and guidance of our Blessed Mother Mary. She was, is, and always will be the instrument of healing and peace for anyone who suffers woundedness regardless of its cause. There is no heart as motherly, devoted or constant as Mary’s, and no one who is in a better position to implore the grace and healing of the Ultimate Healer – her Son, Jesus Christ.

I wouldn’t be here today, doing what I do if it weren’t for Mother Mary. She has led me down the path of forgiveness, healing, and peace and filled my life with love and grace. I want that for others, and that’s why I was convicted that I had to listen to the adamant urgings of my siblings and finally write the book. It took years of nudging on their part to get me to follow the promptings that had been jostling my heart all along. As I told the acquisitions editor when I first proposed Forgiving Mother to Servant, “I was born to write this book.”

So it begins.

“There are two keys to attaining [forgiveness, healing, and peace]: trust in God and love of Mary. The heavenly Father in his divine wisdom knows what is best for you, even when you feel as though all is lost. You have not suffered for naught – there is a reason, and good will come of it. The Holy Spirit nourishes your soul and inspires you so that you can be strong and courageous in the toughest of situations. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate healer; he will mend your wounds and restore you to health and vibrancy. Mother Mary will nurture and protect you. In her tender, loving way, she will accompany you each step of the way. She is, and wants to be in every way possible, truly your mother. What your natural mother did not give you, Mary has in store for you and is anxious to fill the void that has been left in you. She hears – has heard and will hear – your cries of distress, and she anxiously waits to answer them.”

Tough as it was to allow myself to become so vulnerable, I knew I had to so that others could discover the same path that Mary had shown me. I’ve asked my shepherd, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, to give his blessing to every person who will read Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace. He kindly agreed. I’ll be praying for you as well. Whether it’s your mom or anyone else in your life who has hurt or harmed you, Mary is there for you and she’ll see to it that you find your place in her heart.

So it begins: Forgiveness, healing, and peace.

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