Congratulations to our dear friend and CatholicMom.com contributor Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle on her soon to be released book Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship. While I have yet to see the final version of this particular book, I've read every single one of Donna-Marie's other books at least twice and recommended them countless times to good friends and fellow moms. I have no doubt that this book, based upon Donna-Marie's true life relationship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, will be an absolute treasure. I recently heard Donna-Marie interviewed about her relationship with Mother Teresa and about the experience of writing this book. Since that interview, I've been so anxious to read the book in its entirety. What a perfect gift to give yourself or a special friend during this Advent season!
Here's some information to "wet your whistle":
Mother Teresa and Me: Ten Years of Friendship
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Published by Circle Press Soft cover, 5.5 x 8.25, 192 pages $14.95
Release date: December 7, 2009
A brush with fame blossomed into something far more spiritual, much longer lasting – infinitely more beautiful…
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle will never forget the first time she laid eyes on Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Hunched, frail, shorter than one of Donna’s own children, the aging servant of the poorest of the poor cut an unassuming figure awaiting the start of Mass with her Missionary of Charity sisters. They would speak briefly after the liturgy – Mother Teresa wanted to meet the mother of such reverent and grace-filled children – and then spend the next ten years intermittently sharing hopes, dreams, and prayers through the mail and in face-to-face conversations.
With Mother Teresa and Me, Donna-Marie invites you to step inside her deeply personal experiences with one of the greatest souls of modern times. Take her up on the offer and don’t be surprised if you, too, find your heart blessed and your soul inspired by the diminutive nun who left an enormous impression on Donna-Marie – and on the whole world.
From the Introduction:
"In these pages I share my personal encounter and friendship with a humble woman who, by God’s grace, transformed countless hearts all over the world. My hope is that this testimony will speak to your heart. I believe the blessings bestowed upon me through the holiness of Mother Teresa must be shared with those who did not have the good fortune to know her personally.
While this book focuses on the life and spirit of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, it also speaks of other saints in our midst–inspiring people I have met along the way throughout my spiritual journey…"
Excerpt: "Mother Teresa taught her sisters to "beg the Lord" for an extreme love of the poor. She trained them to begin their day trying to see Jesus through the Eucharist in holy Mass. She explained to them that they are Jesus to others and they are to seek him in the people they serve.
Throughout each day the Missionaries of Charity connect with Jesus in two profoundly physical ways: first, under the appearance of consecrated bread and wine and, second, under the appearance of the devastated bodies of the poorest of the poor. She tells the sisters to do everything "with Jesus, for Jesus, and toward Jesus" so that their lives become a prayer.
That is certainly what happened to Mother Teresa herself. Looking back on her early days with the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa said that, had she not picked up that first dying woman on the street, she may not have picked up the fifty thousand more. She always said, ‘Jesus comes to meet us. To welcome him, let us go to meet him…’"
Excerpt: "What could possibly top a personal encounter with such holiness as I saw in Mother Teresa that day in D.C.? Nothing.
Or so I thought.
We traveled back to the reality of everyday home life in Connecticut. On the trip back, I was feeling much more contemplative than when we set out. The sense of grace at work was almost overwhelming.
I took out pen and paper and began to record a few thoughts. One notion that kept recurring was:
"Why not try to communicate further with Mother Teresa?" This desire prodded me throughout the seven-hour ride home.
Again, my initial reaction to the thought was negative. I didn’t want to take any time from her vital work. After some serious soul-searching, I decided to call the mother superior of the convent we’d visited. It couldn’t hurt to ask her advice on what I should do next…"
"Part biography of Blessed Teresa, part memoir of a friendship, Mother Teresa and Me offers encouragement, nourishment, and inspiration to people in all walks of life as we encounter, in Blessed Teresa’s words, "Calcutta all over the world." Drawing on the life and faith of Blessed Teresa, as well as on a personal friendship with her, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle shares miracles large and small. She paints a picture of a world in which each of us – however distant the goal may seem – can become a saint."
Karen Edmisten, author and blogger http://karenedmisten.blogspot.com
"Here, at last, is a look at Mother Teresa, not as she stood in the midst of her amazing life, but as she influenced someone we all could know, someone who could live right down the street from you or me. Donna-Marie captures the impact of a friendship few of us can fathom and makes it seem normal, achievable, and in accomplishing that, she makes sainthood not only a nice theory but a goal we want to pursue. In this treasury, we have two women’s hearts touching, across miles and vocations, and in the glimpse of their friendship, we see a part of ourselves, and we are inspired."
Sarah Reinhard, http://snoringscholar.blogspot.com
"Through careful discernment, Donna Marie has kept the story of her friendship with Mother Teresa close to her heart for the last several decades. By sharing it with us now, Donna offers us a gift that she and this modern-day saint began creating years ago; a gift that gently but urgently challenges us to give back by recognizing the streets of Calcutta in our own backyards. Oh, that we might take up this challenge and, thereby, change the world!"
Roxane Beauclair Salonen, award-winning children’s author; http://roxanesalonen.blogspot.com
"Mother Teresa’s words to Donna-Marie seem like words to us all. Rather than feeling like we are on the outside looking in, the warmth of the friendship between these two women wraps us all in wisdom, holiness, and love. Most of all, Mother’s Teresa’s messages to Donna encourage us to desire the holiness which she stated is not a luxury for a few but rather everyone’s duty."
Patti Maguire Armstrong, Catholic speaker and author www.raisingcatholickids.com
"Donna-Marie has composed a loving distillation of Blessed Teresa’s thought based upon a decade of correspondence and visits with the saint of the ghettos. It is A Tale of Two Mothers, of how a chance meeting of the small, dynamic Albanian nun with a young American housewife became a conduit of grace for many. One comes away convinced that the greatest power under heaven is not wealth or political influence but the loving spirit of a mother, for spiritual motherhood is especially efficacious in bringing a healing touch into the many and intangible Calcuttas of the modern world."
Elena Maria Vidal, author of Trianon http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com
For more information about Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle or to contact her to speak to your group or organization, visit her website at www.donnacooperoboyle.com.
About the Author
Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Visit Lisa's author page on Amazon.com.