Monday 15 April 2019

Forgiving Mother A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace - Marge Steinhage Fenelon

Forgiving Mother: 
A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace
Marge Steinhage Fenelon
Servant Books
Franciscan Media
ISBN 9781632532275
aISBN 9781632532282

I have read this book through and am already reading it a second time. When I was reading My Queen, My Mother, by Fenelon I came across this book and immediately bought it. I kept it toward the top of my screen on my Kindle but was hesitant to open the book. I debated starting it several times, and yet could not bring myself to flip open the cover. But once I started reading, I could not put it down. The first time through the book I highlighted 27 passages before getting to part 2 of the book, the novena, which is about a third of the book. This is a book that anyone who had a less than perfect relationship with their parent could read and benefit from. The sections in this book are:

Introduction - Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Part One: Learning to Forgive
Yes, You Can Heal
Why Is Mary the Answer?
It’s Okay to Look Back
You Are a Child of God
She Is a Child of God
You’re Just Like Your Mother
Mom! I Need You!
Who Will Be a Mother to Me Now?
I Forgive You
Part Two: Novena
Lord, Give Me the Grace to Want to Heal
Mary, Let Me Grow Closer to You
Mary, Help Me Look Back
Mary, Let Me See Myself as a Child of God
Mary, Let Me See My Mother as a Child of God
Mary, Let Me Be Transformed in the Spirit
Mary, Draw Me into Your Heart
Mary, Let Me Grow
Mary, Let Me Be Healed

In the introduction Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle states:

“I can guarantee it. I also believe that Forgiving Mother will edify any reader, helping them to understand the need to love and nurture one another as well as learn more about Mary’s essential role in our lives.”

And the book lives up to that prediction. This book spoke directly to my heart, and to my experience. Even in my years away from the Catholic church, I maintained a devotion to Holy Mary, always kept Rosaries and often prayed to Mary. And I had many issues with my earthly mother. We were estranged for a few periods in our life. And my children do not even know her name. But being inspired by this book, I have not only started praying for the repose of my mother’s soul, have had mass intentions offered for her. But back to this amazing book.

Fenelon states in the preface:

“Perhaps you see my dilemma. I am sure beyond doubt that I’ve been called by God to share with you my childhood in light of healing from the effects of an abusive mother and about the miracles Mary has done in my life and will do in yours.”

And also:

“More than anything else, I hope and pray that, by daring to share my story, I will be helping you to open up channels of forgiveness, healing, and peace for you as well as for your mom. May our Mother Mary bless, guide, and comfort you!”

Marge writes this story from a very transparent and vulnerable place. She is open and honest with us about some of the abuse and mistreatment she received at her mothers’ hands. She shares her journey to healing and eventually forgiveness. It is a powerful read. But the book is also much more then biography both family and spiritual. It is an example that can offer tools for those of us who need to heal from our relationships with our mothers, or grandmothers. It does an incredible job of showing the love and protection of Mary. About the relationship you can have with Mary and through that healing and growth in your personal spiritual life.

I will share a few random quotes from the sections I highlighted:

“In spite of the difficulties, I was brought up in what I consider a fairly Catholic home, and my three siblings and I all received a Catholic education.”

“I want you to know and feel that you are a child of Mary and that she loves you tenderly. She really, truly is your mother—given to you by our Lord as he hung dying on the cross. Jesus wants you to accept his mother as your own and to develop a deepening relationship with her so that she can fill the void that the past has left inside of you. And in her kind, motherly way, she will. What’s more, she will lead you to her son, who, as God, is the ultimate source of all healing and peace.”

“Healing is a process, not a project, and you must, through prayer, allow God’s grace to work in you.”

“Do you want to be well? Do you really want to be well? Are you ready to go through the work of affecting that healing? I think you are; otherwise, you never would have picked up this book.”

“As our mother, she cares about every aspect of our lives, past, present, and future. She cares about our joys and sorrows, successes and failures, dreams and desires. She cares about where we have been and where we are going. She cares about who we are and who we would like to become. She cares about the seemingly insignificant details of our daily routines and the huge life events. She cares about all that is important to us and even about what is not so important. She cares about everything.”

“No matter what you lack from your childhood, it can be recovered with the Blessed Virgin’s help. Mary is the answer.”

In the last few weeks I have read two books by this author. Both were excellent reads. And before I had even finished this volume, I picked up two others by this author to read. This is an amazing read and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Marge Steinhage Fenelon:
Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
My Queen, My Mother
Imitating Mary
Forgiving Mother
When’s God Gonna Call Me Back?
When’s God Gonna Show Up?
Reveille for the Soul
Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home
10 Promises of Jesus: Stories and Scripture Reflections about Suffering and Joy


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