Book Review: The Handbook for Catholic Moms

Neighborhoods are empty during the day, playgrounds are occupied with babysitters, and the parking lot after church looks more like a traffic jam than an opportunity for fellowship. Where is a Catholic mom to get solid advice on things like; prayer, fitness, finances, time management, doctor visits, and creating a culture of faith in our homes?

We Catholic Moms are confronted with a culture which considers us at best, quaint, and we long for acceptance and a sisterly arm about our shoulders. Lisa Hendey, the woman behind the popular internet gathering spot, Catholic Mom, has given us just that in her book The Handbook for Catholic Moms.

For more than ten years, has provided Catholic women with a place for friendship and counsel, wit and wisdom. Now Lisa has organized the insights of her talented cadre of seasoned Catholic writers into several important themes to form a book to reach the mom in the trenches of laundry, dishes, teens and potty training with the message that they are not alone. They are part of a blessed sisterhood.

Lisa does not see herself as a Mom-guru, giving advice from on high, instead her attitude throughout the book is “I found some great ideas on this subject from a friend, come and see”, or “here’s how I struggled with this problem.” I enjoyed reading about her experiences as a young mother moving to a new parish with a husband working long hours, and the story of her stirring victory over breast cancer.

The Handbook has sound, balanced advice on matters practical as well as spiritual, and the topics are so diverse, that any mom is bound to find a personally relevant section. The two which stood out to me were the nutrition and fitness sections; these are two areas where my husband and doctor have been trying to motivate me. Lisa’s upbeat, affirming words have helped me take another look at how I care for my body. She has helped convince me that my health is worth taking time out of my schedule, and that taking care of me is an act of love for my family. Encouragement is her particular gift and she uses it well throughout this book.

Lisa is a natural cheerleader, and when it comes to sharing her faith, her enthusiasm is contagious, yet she doesn’t get too theoretical. For example, in her section on prayer, she acknowledges the difficulty most mothers have maintaining an active prayer life and proposes practical solutions:

The demands of our motherly vocation, couple with an ever-increasing societal “noise” level and the busyness of the schedules we keep, leave our spiritual reserves running on empty. In this chapter, we look at different types of prayer and how busy moms have succeeded in prioritizing prayer in their lives.

Hands-on strategies, heartfelt sharing of triumphs and tragedies, and authentically Catholic advice based on Scripture, the saints, and the Catechism are what make The Handbook for Catholic Moms an essential resource, you will consult frequently. As Lisa says, in her section on creativity:

When we take time to tap into our creative abilities, we acknowledge the God who placed them within us, and who crafted us, just so, knowing every aspect of us and loving every hair on our heads.

The Handbook for Catholic Moms reflects both the creativity of its author and the love of the God who made us.


Mother to three daughters and a Literature instructor, Leticia has always loved writing, good literature, and classic films. She became a blogger in 2006, and began to include film reviews on her blogs, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, and Cause of Our Joy Suddenly Leticia was thrust into the world of film criticism when Eric Sheske of the National Catholic Register mentioned her blog as a source for Catholic film reviews. The next day, an invitation arrived to attend a film premiere in Hollywood, which she accepted, and a film critic was born. Leticia began Catholic Media Review to guide parents in their decisions on whether to let their children see a particular film. She also promotes independent family films like “Bella”, and “Fireproof” so that they can reach a larger audience. Her goal is nothing less than a transformation of the culture to what Pope John Paul II called a “Culture of Life”. She realizes that the pivotal role the media has to play in this transformation, and is determined that those who would defame Christ’s message do not have the last word. She writes film and book reviews for the following publications: MercatorNet, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and “National Catholic Register”. Her reviews have been posted at the websites of Reuters, IMBD, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, and various TV news stations.

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