Co-editors Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard tag-team us to discuss a book every Catholic mom should own.
With Mother’s Day approaching, it seems a perfect time to catch up with Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, the co-editors of The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections, which — outside of a spa day including a lobster dinner and finishing with a decadent dessert — may be the most perfect and affordable gift to give to a busy Catholic mom for Mother’s Day.
1) What inspired the book?
Lisa Hendey: We were actually approached by our wonderful colleague, Ave Maria Press editor Heidi Saxton, with the idea for a project that would re-create the community atmosphere at CatholicMom.com, with the goal of providing a simple yet meaningful daily prayer resource for busy moms. Of course, since we begin each day at the site with our Daily Gospel Reflection resource (written by a team of 300+ volunteers), I knew that this would be a natural complement to the many ways we try to lift up moms each day on the blog. I never could have imagined what a beautiful resource it would turn out to be!
Sarah Reinhard: It came about because Lisa dreams big and I get excited by other people’s big ideas. A lot of credit also goes to Heidi Hess Saxton, who pitched it our way in the beginning. But truly, the inspiration came from the amazing generosity we see every day from the many people involved at CatholicMom.com. After a year of having the Daily Gospel Reflections, it just seemed like the next thing would be to pray every day of the year.
From that one idea, the Holy Spirit lit a fire … and we used a lot of spreadsheets.
2) If you could give this book another title, what would it be?
LH: Coffee with God and a Bunch of Cool Catholics, because that’s what I feel each morning when I pray with the Prayer Companion! I have the sense that many, many non-moms could (and may well be) join the blessing that our team of writers has created. With 80 co-authors of all ages and stages, including dads, singles and religious, I really love the fact that there is something here for anyone who is looking to build or deepen their personal relationship with God and the Church.
SR: A Little Bit of Prayer Goes a Long Way
3) What story or anecdote (or piece of advice) in this book most personally resonated with you?
LH: I have to say honestly, although this may sound like a cop out, I find something fresh and new to love every day. Our writers often come from a different perspective than I would personally, so it’s wonderful–especially often with the daily “ponder” questions–to be stretched beyond my comfort zone.
SR: Honestly, no matter what day I open it up to, I find myself touched, either by the reflection, by the quote, or by the question and prayer at the end. I roll my eyes at myself, but truly, the Holy Spirit has used these different contributions for ME. It’s like I had a chance to compile a lot of my favorite people and writers and gave them free reign to write for me. AND the rest of the world gets to enjoy it too. As self-centered as this sounds, I have talked to other people who have had the same experience with this book. It’s truly a gift.
4) Did writing this book teach you anything?
LH: Since Sarah already stole my “how to use spreadsheets” answer, I will say that I learned to trust the workings of the Holy Spirit more deeply. When you set out to do something this mammoth and have such very few snafus, it’s clear that God had a hand in helping us to pull this off. And despite the logistical nightmares I caused for my wonderful co-editor, Sarah (who truly had her hands full with organizing), I learned that in a resource like this, the more voices you can involve, the better the finished product would be.
SR: Among the many lessons I learned: that you must not rely solely on spreadsheets, that the internet is amazing when it works, and that the generosity of God will not be outdone.
5) If there is one person you want to reach with this book, who would that be?
LH: The busy mom of any age who needs a reminder about how very cherished she is in the eyes of her Creator. Sometimes moms get so busy caring for everyone else that they neglect to care for themselves. I hope this book will offer every mom who has the chance to pray with it a tiny “mini retreat” and a reminder that she is being lifted up daily by other women just like her who are praying this book with us worldwide.
SR: That mom who’s ready to pull her hair out, who feels like she’s one breath away from a blowup, and who wonders where the heck God is already.
6) What is the ideal beverage to have in hand while reading your book?
LH: I have to say that my beverage of choice is always coffee, but I’ve also been known to accompany my reading and reflection of the book with an IPA or a nice chardonnay on occasion!
SR: I think it goes well with coffee, but I think tea is equally amenable, and I daresay wine would be a nice accompaniment, too.