This past week I have been reading:
It ended up being a great mashup! Do you ever read something that perfectly meshes with something else you're reading, and then you think, "I'm supposed to be reading this?" That's how it was with these two.
I have been working through 33 Days since April 28, leading up to the renewal of my consecration to Jesus through Mary on the feast of the Visitation on May 31. (As an aside, pregnancy has been involved each time I did this, isn't that wild for that particular feast?) Anyway, I didn't know that much about My Sisters the Saints when I checked it out, but I'm very glad I did. It really spoke to me, in fact in some ways it mirrored my life right now.
Colleen writes so beautifully about her father's illness and about her struggles with infertility. There were several instances where I read her descriptions about her feelings about certain things, and I thought, "I'm so glad she wrote this, this is exactly how I felt." The way that she wrote, I felt a certain kinship and sisterhood with her and not just with the saints that she wrote about (who, wouldn't you know, happen to be my saints!!).
She details her struggle with being faithful to Catholic teaching throughout her infertility troubles even though it meant that she could not in conscience use IVF, which she thought at times might be her only way to conceive. I have not had to struggle with infertility, but exactly the opposite. After giving birth to Lillian it was much harder to consent to follow the church's teachings against contraception, especially with those crazy fertility signs and a husband who definitely wasn't on board with the idea. I wrote about my suffering last May. It was so touching that both of us women struggling in different areas could have the same reaction, a struggle against obedience to the Truth. I say now that I'm happy with how things have unfolded with my husband and I, and *spoilers* things turned out well for Colleen as well!
The book also works through Colleen's struggles in seeing her father descend further into dementia due to Alzheimer's disease, and how difficult it was for her to watch. My dad was diagnosed with cancer just at the end of April and so he has been heavily in my thoughts and prayers lately (though he is doing quite well at the moment). I *loved* the way Colleen speaks about learning to exercise spiritual motherhood from St. Edith Stein's Essays on Woman (yes, I own this book and have read the passages which Colleen quoted!) and caring for her aging father. It reminded me once again to persevere in praying for gentleness and patience as I serve my family and others I may meet.
Near the very end of the book Colleen gets to her thoughts on Mary, the last saint mentioned. The passages about Mary's personal motherhood were exactly what I needed to hear, and definitely overlapped with the section of Morning Glory I'm in at the moment. I felt like God saw me reading Morning Glory ineffectively and said, "you know, you're not getting this. I need you to do this supplemental reading." Bam! Exactly what I needed.
You know how sometimes you're reading Scripture and a line just jumps out and knocks your socks off? My Sisters the Saints quoted not one, but two such Scripture passages which have absolutely grabbed me this past month (Psalm 27:14 and Romans 8:38-39). It may be silly, but these two verses hammered home the feeling of "you're supposed to be reading this, take heed." I'm a strong believer in Providence, and it seems as though last week's reads were exactly provided for me.