Image credit: Ignatius Press, used with permission Image credit: Ignatius Press, used with permission

I've lovingly called Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle a mentor and friend for over a decade. Her work has inspired, edified and blessed me in countless ways over those years. And while I've known for some time that Donna-Marie faced personal challenges along her spiritual journey, nothing could have hinted at the level of hardship she retells in her new memoir The Kiss of Jesus.

Why was I so surprised when I read this book? The reason comes from the love and peace that Donna-Marie exudes. When reading of her hardships over the course of so many years, one might imagine that a "victim" mentality or a bitter worldview would be the result of such suffering. But the truth of the matter is that Donna-Marie has found a key to peace and joy in her life: her faith in and love for Jesus Christ. Her ability to convey this life-changing love is what's at the heart of  The Kiss of Jesus and it's also what you feel when you meet this lovely author, speaker and television host in "real life".  This is also what takes this book from being simply a "tell all" story and turns it into a major gift for anyone who has faced challenges and hardships along life's path.

Today, I'm pleased to share my conversation with Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle. I urge you to check out this beautiful book for yourself and to consider it as a gift for friends or loved ones who may be facing their own trials.

Q: Congratulations on your beautiful new memoir Donna-Marie. You have blessed us with so many books over the years. Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to our readers.

Thank you very much, Lisa. I am a Catholic wife and mother of five children (and three in heaven). I live in Connecticut and love the outdoors and God’s beautiful Creation. I enjoy sharing my faith in hopes to inspire others within my everyday encounters, and through my talks, writings, radio, and my television shows on EWTN.

Q: I must ask because this book is so deeply personal, what motivated you to write this book at this time in your personal, professional and spiritual life?

That is a very good question, Lisa. I truly believe that the timing is Our Lord’s, and not mine. Over the years I have written to inspire others. After a while, I have added anecdotes throughout my writings, but I still shied away from drawing much attention to myself. Along the way, though, I realized that I needed to share more of myself so that others could be helped because they could then relate to the particular struggles. As well, they could feel assured that I would understand their plight because I had been through tough stuff too. I wholeheartedly believe that in sharing my personal trials I could offer a much needed dose of hope to others. God must have deeply stirred my soul to write this book at this time. It is how it prayerfully unfolded.

Q: How did you prepare personally and spiritually as well as within your family for the release of this information?

This is another great question. The Kiss of Jesus is certainly a book which would require this type of preparation. I have prayed and continue to pray that the information shared in my memoir will only edify and help others. Needless to say, I have left some parts of my life out of the book so that others will be protected. But, a considerable amount of what I have shared is some crazy scary stuff that had remained hidden in dark corners for many years. For that reason, I remain in prayer and hope that with God’s amazing grace, my book will be an instrument of healing and hope for countless people all over the word.

Q: What do you hope readers will take from their encounter with this book?

I think some readers will discover themselves in this book. They will relate to many of the struggles and the joys. I sincerely hope that after reading this book, readers will feel more hopeful to move through their own trials and struggles and feel more confident in seeking God’s Almighty help in their own lives.

Q: As an author and speaker, how does being so very honest about your past help enlighten the way you serve our Church and her individual members?

I believe that we should always be honest. By sharing difficult parts of our past, we open ourselves to many more blessed encounters and opportunities to offer help to others in need. It is extremely rare to meet a person who is not wounded in some way due to life’s hurts and trials. By being open and honest, we can share our hearts more fully. Prayerfully, we can reach out to help the wounded around us.

Whether it be in an intimate personal conversation with another or when spilling it all out in a book, God can work His miracles through all of that to draw countless souls to Heaven!

Q: What are a few lessons that your own life has taught you about overcoming struggles that might support and encourage our readers?

There were many very scary incidents in my life—whether it was being afraid as a little girl that we were going to get into a car accident because of erratic driving on my father’s part, or later on being held captive by a crazed man with guns, or still later, navigating life as a single mother struggling to make ends meet—I absolutely needed to reach up to God in prayer. I could have let the fear take over and end up with completely different outcomes. But, with God’s grace, we can rise above the intense fear that we are feeling to reach up to God in prayer. I believe that even in the darkest moments, God is there and He will help us!

Q: What comes next for you?

Maybe that is the million dollar question! Just kidding. :) I don’t know what is next at this moment. I rely on God for that answer. I do know that I’ll be intensely involved with The Kiss of Jesus and will be praying for all those who read it.

Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you for asking, Lisa. I would like to encourage readers to subscribe to my email newsletter by going to my website: and submitting their email address (upper right column) to receive all of the news about The Kiss of Jesus which includes contests, a Book Club, sales, and more.

Purchase The Kiss of Jesus at your local Catholic bookstore, at Ignatius Press or at Amazon (to support with your order)

Copyright 2015 Lisa M. Hendey

Images courtesy of Ignatius Press