Catholic Mom Book Spotlight

Speak, Lord, I Am Listening, Second Edition
by Christine Haapala
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Suffering Servant Scriptorium; 2nd edition (May 2004)

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LH: Christine, congratulations to you and Gus Muller on the publication of the wonderful second edition of
Speak, Lord, I Am Listening and thank you for participating in this Catholic Mom Book Spotlight. Could you please share some information about yourself and your family, and how your faith journey has led you to write and publish books for Catholic adults and children?

I am a cradle Catholic, wife of Ken, mother of 3 girls, and grandmother of 1 girl. About 15 years ago, I heard a sermon on "Training your children in the Lord" and felt compelled to teach CCD. I taught a year program to 10th graders on the Bible and integrated each class with the praying of one decade of the Rosary -- at the end of the year I asked the question - Is there a connection between the 150 Hail Marys and 150 Psalms - there is - tradition says that the laity who could not read and did not have time to pray the Psalms like the monks of the Abbeys - would replace counting the Psalms with counting Pater Nosters or Ave Marias - in any event, I wrote a Scriptural Rosary based on the 150 Psalms - in order. As I was looking for a publisher to publish this first Scriptural Rosary - I continued to write Scriptural Rosaries - and by the time I found a publisher I had completed 7 Scriptural Rosaries. In 1996, Christendom Press published my first book called From Genesis to Revelation: Seven Scriptural Rosaries. But I continued to teach, and I continued to write...

LH: Please share with our readers about your book
Speak, Lord, I Am Listening and its intended message.

In the Jubilee Year, I founded Suffering Servant Scriptorium and
Speak, Lord, I Am Listening was our second book and was published in June, 2001. Since the Rosary was revised by Pope John Paul II, in October, 2002, by adding the new Luminous Mysteries, Speak, Lord, I Am Listening is now available in 2nd Edition and was released in May, 2004. The message of the book is to bring the Rosary alive through Sacred Word and Pictures - we can sometimes get lost/distracted in the vocal prayer/mantra of the Hail Marys; by combining the mantra with Sacred Scripture we enter into a conversation with God. He speaks to us, We listen and respond in the words Jesus taught us - Our Father and the Angelic Salutation - the Hail Mary.

LH: Who is your target audience for this book?

Certainly, our target audience is children - particularly, First Communion Age - usually 2nd-3rd graders. But our audience is surprising us - adults use the book, a home school mom who purchased the 1st edition of the book, said she just had to get the 2nd edition of the book because her 12 year old son uses it every day -- the pictures and Sacred Scripture provide ample repeat visits to the book - ample time to discuss and pray the Rosary in the classroom or family groups.

LH: This wonderful revised Second Edition includes the Luminous Mysteries - what other enhancements have you included in the new edition?

We have included several pages of Frequently Asked Questions. We have also included a 4-page Study Guide which provides a table like format for all 20 mysteries, telling you the "who, what, where" of the mysteries. Also, thought provoking questions are provided to allow you to enter into a discussion on the mystery of the Rosary - following prayer.

LH: Illustrator Gus Muller's work is such a beautiful accompaniment to your Scriptural Rosary prayer book. Could you please share with us a little bit more information about Gus and his contribution to
Speak, Lord, I Am Listening?

The watercolors of this book are clearly inspired. Gus' deep spirituality shows in his ability to capture the essence of the mysteries - from veiling Mary in the habit of Blessed Mother Teresa, to providing a sense of the energy of the mystery of Ascension and Descent of the Holy Spirit, to capturing the beauty of Mary as Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe. In a picture book, the words and pictures are collaborative, they cannot stand alone, they support each other in bringing the Rosary alive.

LH: Christine, this book and many others are published by your wonderful organization, Suffering Servant Scriptorium. Please tell our readers about the mission of Suffering Servant and your aspirations for the future.

Our mission is to produce quality Catholic prayer books and Prayer Recordings. We wish to promote devotion, especially to the Most Holy Rosary, by bringing this beautiful prayer alive through the use of Sacred Scripture and quality artwork - all of our books are richly illustrated and span 5 centuries and include artists such as Durer, Dore, and Carolsfeld. We have two modern artists, Parson, and, of course, the watercolorist, Gus Muller.

LH: Christine, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview! Are there any closing thoughts you'd wish to share with our readers?

As we were working on this book, for both Gus and myself, we realized that this may be the only Rosary book your child may ever read - we wanted to make the book the best that it could possibly be - so that your child/our children will never/ever forget the beauty and prayers of the Rosary - "Train your children in the LORD, so when they grow older they will not depart."

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