Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has a beautiful new book, Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women, that explores what it means to be a woman striving to be a reflection of Christ everyday, in all things.
In the course of her exploration, Donna-Marie shares a number of personal stories (her own, and those of others), some of them extraordinarily painful. Through these often startling and dramatic anecdotes, she demonstrates that no matter how difficult life becomes, we can turn to Christ and find comfort and healing, growing closer to Him in the midst of suffering.
And Donna pinpoints the ways in which we women can be much harder on ourselves than we need to be. An excerpt:
I think that we women can become our own worst enemy by worrying that we're not doing enough to please others and God, too. We actually heap more responsibilities (whether they be actual or emotional) than is necessary upon our own shoulders. We deal with so many demands for perfection in our lives. Many of the saints spoke about how a whole lot of us might never do very big things in life (or what some might consider "big" things.) But we can lead simple yet faithful lives by doing small things with great love. This is very pleasing to God and is actually the secret to real holiness as both St. Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta preached. And, yes, God calls all of us to become saints.
Perhaps the irony is that, as many women struggle with the demands of our society and the mass media to become "perfect," achieving perfection is simply being faithful to the duties of our lives. God looks at perfection much differently than do we.
Abandonment, loneliness and loss, health problems, crime, and numerous other sufferings -- such painful situations and heartaches can eventually become avenues of grace. Donna knows that. She has faced her own personal hardships and isn't afraid to share them in the hope that her experiences can inspire and encourage other women. Donna-Marie strives to be a whole-hearted disciple of Christ, and she wants the same for every single one of us.