Mother's Little Helper

A MOTHER'S RULE OF LIFE: HOW TO BRING ORDER TO YOUR HOME AND PEACE TO YOUR SOUL

by Holly Pierlot

Sophia, 2004 224 pages, $14.95 To order: (800) 888-9344 or sophiainstitute.com

Running a home and caring for a family can be a messy, disorganized business. Like many mothers, I've tried various “home organization” schemes over the years in an effort to balance my priorities and make more efficient use of my time. Many of these programs have worked for a little while. Eventually, though, I've rejected each as ill-suited for my family's lifestyle.

I didn't need to look any further than the back cover of Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul to figure out that this book would be different. Pierlot is a Catholic homeschooling mother of five. Now here was a woman I could take seriously.

Pierlot's approach to household and family organization is distinctly Catholic. Her Mother's Rule is similar to the Rules that govern many religious communities; it seeks to recognize the various duties of a mother's vocation and then create a detailed, comprehensive schedule of daily activities so that all obligations are met and days flow smoothly.

The Mother's Rule is organized into five “P's” that Pierlot considers the most basic priorities of the married vocation: prayer, person, partner, parent and provider. She devotes a chapter to each of these priorities, drawing on personal experiences in these areas and discussing how she went about translating each of them into her daily schedule of activities.

While using her own family as an example, Pierlot stresses the importance of setting one's own priorities and designing personalized schedules according to one's unique responsibilities and their family's particular needs. She also discusses some of her own struggles since beginning the “Rule” and offers constructive suggestions of ways to handle them.

In describing the processes she went through in establishing her rule, Pierlot shares many details of her own spiritual history and personal struggles. Some readers might even be a bit uncomfortable with her intimate descriptions of her experiences with “spiritual warfare” and need for “deliverance.” It worked for me.

“It was only when I reached the point of getting bored, after my Rule was established, that I was free enough to open my mind and my heart to God; to be internally attentive to him and to be conscious of doing all for the love of him,” she writes. “It was then that I experienced his profound presence, which, in turn, inspired a new love for my family. So a Mother's Rule leads to recollection: that deep calm and quiet of the interior life of our souls. Freed from outside concerns, we become more peaceful, more in touch with our inner nature, and we discover our hearts.”

Pierlot has written a practical book that is a useful resource for any Catholic mother who struggles to maintain spiritual health and an active prayer life while still meeting her obligations to husband, children, friends, work, home and herself. In other words, A Mother's Rule of Life is beneficial reading for any Catholic mother.

Danielle Bean writes from Belknap, New Hampshire.

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