7 Quick Takes With Lisa Hendey

Read on to learn how you can win a copy of Lisa’s new book: A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms!

My girlfriends probably tire of hearing me say certain things over and over AND over again. Things like: “You should read The Handbook for Catholic Moms” by Lisa Hendey.” Or, “Des Moines needs to host a Catholic women’s conference and Lisa Hendey would be a great featured speaker.” Or in response to a question I have no clue how to answer, “Check out CatholicMom.com. You’ll find your answer there.”

To say I admire Lisa Hendey’s work is a gross understatement; she’s been a tremendous inspiration and spiritual help since journeying into motherhood three plus years ago. The aforementioned book and website are staples in my mothering pantry. And if my word isn’t sufficient, trust Fr. James Martin when he says: “Every time a Catholic mother asks me what author she should read, I have a ready answer: Lisa Hendey.”

And moms, boy oh boy did Lisa give us another staple ingredient with her new book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, which shares 52 holy companions as guides for the high calling of motherhood. And 52 is no coincidence — the book is designed as a weekly devotional tool for busy folks. Each chapter includes a short biography and reflection on the saint’s life, traditions and sample family activities inspired by the saint, daily scripture passages, and a prayer for families to say together. Think of it as taking 52 mini-retreats with 52 saints over the course of a year.

I am so pleased that today’s edition of Quick Takes Friday are 7 Q&A’s with Lisa Hendey. As much as her work has influenced me, I am so honored to share Lisa’s words of wisdom here. And there’s a bonus! Compliments of Ave Maria Press, we have a copy of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms to give away. To add your name to the free and random drawing, simply leave a comment below about your favorite saint. And if you don’t know or don’t have one, it’s okay to say so — this will be a great book for you! Comments will be accepted through the end of day on Tuesday, November 1 — appropriately, All Saints Day.

And now, with no further adieu, The Practicing Catholic presents 7 Quick Takes with Lisa Hendey!

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

— 1 —

Q: Many parents report that having a second child is a completely different from having their first, yet no less fulfilling or exciting. You have two sons; A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms is your second book. How would you compare writing a second book with having a second child?

A: What an apt analogy! Honestly, as with the birth of my second son, I didn’t think I was prepared for what was ahead of me. I wondered how I could possibly expand my heart to contain the love and passion I felt for the second, and yet when the “sibling” arrived, I learned how large our capacity for love can be. With The Handbook for Catholic Moms, my heart was so bonded with the project because of my absolute conviction that we moms need to do a better job of caring for ourselves in every way. With this second “baby”, I’ve absolutely continued the themes of the first book but added the great joy of writing about the lives of the saints. Just as my second son taught me new and exciting lessons, the publication of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms has been filled with joy and learning!

— 2 —

Q: A friend of mine has what he calls “a personal board of directors,” composed of a number of saints near and dear to his heart. Which saints would you recruit as your personal board of directors?

A: Am I allowed to have 52 saints on my board of directors? Seriously, each inclusion into the book was thought out and considered, and their placement in each chapter was as a result of a lot of prayer and discernment. But if I were to choose perhaps the “executive committee” of my board of directors, I would include the Blessed Virgin Mary (for the fact that she is the ultimate Catholic Mom), St. Therese of Lisieux (my personal patroness who has helped me see the “mission” in my life), St. Isidore of Seville (who oversees my use of technology and information), St. Gianna Beretta Molla (an amazing working mom, physician and champion for life), St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop (for her constant fidelity to the Church and because her cool Aussie accent would make meetings fun) and Blessed John Paul II, to whom I owe my life’s work.

— 3 —

Q: While researching to write this book, I remember seeing you pose questions on Twitter, seeking input from your followers on the particular saint you were writing about that day. How did social media play into your research for this book?

A: I wish I could credit each of my Twitter and Facebook friends as a co-author, since they were so integrally involved in this project. Social media fuels all of my work, but with the task of writing a book — which can be an incredibly solitary process — being able to tap into the knowledge and spirit of committed Catholics literally around the globe brought so much energy and expertise to each day’s writing assignment. My online friends were research assistants, prayer warriors and cheerleaders for this project. I owe them a great deal of thanks!

— 4 —

Q: Speaking of social media, you are a pioneer in Catholic New Media and one of its biggest proponents. Tell us how you balance fast-paced work on the Internet with prayer and contemplation.

A: Isn’t this a critical question? During my talk at the recent Catholic New Media Conference on Pope Benedict XVI’s World Communications Day letter, I shared that this is a major concern in my life. We can be so wrapped up in the mission of spreading the good news of the Gospel that we neglect our own spiritual lives and families. I’m always cognizant of this risk, so I do my very best to let prayer set the rhythm for my day. I love the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, and daily Mass (although I’ll admit that I never get there on a daily basis). I am fueled by prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament and — of course — by a daily dip into the lives of the Saints and a constant seeking of their intercession.

— 5 —

Q: Your book is written for Catholic moms. What saints can be of special encouragement to fathers – those both of a biological and spiritual nature?

A: Honestly, readers may be surprised to know that the book shares the stories of 24 male saints, so in many ways the themes that are covered are every bit as relevant to men as they are to women. Several of the saints in the book were fathers themselves: St. Thomas More, Blessed Louis Martin, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and of course St. Joseph. They can serve as role models but also as serious spiritual intercessors for dads, who face a constant balancing act of serving their Church, their families, and their employers. And of course the many priestly saints in the book are spiritual fathers in so many ways too, so their lives offer a pattern of nurturing and grace that is perfect for dads to embrace.

— 6 —

Q: In that same regard, what strategies do you recommend for sharing the lives of saints with our non-Catholic sisters and brothers?

A: I think there is a great deal of confusion amidst our non-Catholic sisters and brothers about our relationship with the Communion of Saints, in that many of them see our care for the saints as almost “superstitious”. I love to explain to my non-Catholic friends that the saints are an extension of our earthly “faith family” — that they offer a role model for us to emulate and that, thanks to their amazing lives of great and heroic virtue, they can and do offer our intercessions to a God who loves us so greatly. Studying their lives — including the challenges they faced in their own paths to heaven — inspires me along my own daily walk.

— 7 —

Q: What’s on the horizon for Lisa Hendey?

At the moment, I’m fully ensconced in the joys of family life with my wonderful husband Greg, our teenage sons Adam, a junior in high school who keeps us on our toes, and Eric, a sophomore in college. I’m so lucky that the work I do affords me the opportunity to make my faith and family the greatest priorities. But in my spare time, along with running CatholicMom.com, I’m at work on the writing of an Advent book for families (which will be out for Advent 2012) and busy with speaking around the country. I wake up every day with a tremendous sense of gratitude for all of the blessings God has granted me and asking His support and guidance for whatever He has planned for me. Every day is filled with unexpected graces and surprises — so only He knows the full scope of what’s on the horizon. But I can guarantee that the ride will be an adventure!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Don’t forget to leave your comment below for a chance to win a copy of Lisa’s new book!


  1. says

    Lisa is the best! I can’t wait to get my hands on her new book. As far as my favorite saint, tough one. It has only been in recent years that I have been exploring this part of our rich faith tradition. Mary has been my go-to as I’ve been learning the ropes but I am looking forward to spending time with others as the journey continues. ; ) Great questions for Lisa, thank you for this post!

  2. Kelly S says

    I would love to win a copy of this book! (It really looks like a great one…adding it to my wishlist if I don’t win!) Picking a favorite saint is tough, but after the year that I had last year, St. Gerard Majella will always hold a special place in my heart. Prayers for his intercession & wearing a St. Gerard medal really helped get me through the scariest time in my life.

  3. Rhoda says

    As a youth minister, St. John Bosco is one of my favorites because he was such an example of relational ministry–he met kids where they were at and loved them to Christ!

  4. Lisa Sailer says

    Looking forward to reading this book! There are so many saints that are near and dear to my heart. Mary, St.Monica and St. Gerard have helped us in so many ways. Thanks for posting this, Lisa!

  5. says

    Lisa, I just treasure this blog so much and love what you share.
    I will definitely add this book to my list (can I read it before I’m a mom?) – and probably get it for my sisters-in-law who are both mothers.

    As for “my saint,” I don’t know. I am still learning about the saints. I read about half of Saint Augustine’s “Confessions” – and just loved it. I’d say that he’s my guy – until I learn more, of course!

  6. says

    my favorite is St. Gianna; what a story of inspiration and love for her child. She completely understood what the sanctity of human life is all about. Would love to learn about more saints!

  7. Lisa Bourne says

    No better source from which to mine inspiration than our wonderful 2000-year tradition of saints, unless of course when you’re looking to the Lord himself for that! And few things are more fitting than motherhood as an object of honor and being deserving of support. God bless us all, and our mothers!

  8. Molly says

    Ooohhhh, would love to have a copy of this book, Lisa you have been raving about her for as long as i’v known you! I should check her out too!!!!

  9. Jessica E. says

    My favorite saint would have to be St. Monica because I long to be a mother devoted to prayer like she was. Also, she’s my patron. :)

  10. Jennifer says

    I have already asked for this book for Christmas and there are few people on my list I would like to give it, too, as well.

  11. Sara Brinker says

    How fun!!! I do hope I get picked!!! If not, this book CERTAINLY sounds like a great one!! I’ll put it on my ever growing list of “must reads” about my faith.

    I don’t know if I have a favorite Saint just yet, but Gage and I read a lot about St Sebastian and he wears that medal (most days). I love talking about saints with Gage!!

    Thanks again!!! Love. Sara

  12. Sara Schuler says

    Hey Lisa — Throughout my life, I’ve come to ask for intercessions from a variety of Saints, depending on what trial/tribulation I was facing. Some of my favorite Saints include: St. Gerard and the Blessed Virgin Mary (not sure how I would’ve gotten through my pregnancy without either one of them!), St. Anthony (for ALL of the things I’ve lost), St. Clare of Assisi, and St. Nicholas (Grace’s favorite Saint) :) Both of these books sound terrific! Thanks for sharing

  13. Renee says

    I’ve been looking for some information on which saint to request intercession from on those crazy mom days … I will definitely be checking this out! Thanks, Lisa! I typically go to the Blessed Virgin or St. Monica with my mom-related requests.

  14. Katy says

    Help from the Saints?! Count me in! I need all the help I can get! St. Therese of Lesuix is usually my go to gal, she keeps me balanced, but I love to learn about the rest of our heroic brothers and sisters. We like to keep the saints close to heart by dressing up as “Little Saints” for All Hallows Eve (aka Halloween) and going door to door before Trick or Treat collecting canned-goods for local homeless shelters. We also celebrate our childrens’ patron saints on their feast days.
    Thanks for letting me know about this Lisa!

  15. janedoejo says

    I really enjoy reading about St. Peter. I am so inspired by his enthusiasm and love for Jesus. Plus the fact that he was able to reconcile with the Lord even after some pretty big mistakes, gives me hope.

  16. says

    People coming through RCIA often wonder what’s the big deal with Catholics and the saints. I talk about how we sometimes ask our friends to pray for us and tell them the saints are our friends, too.


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