With Mary, It’s Personal

I have one book that is always in my purse, in my car, or on my person.  It is Heidi Hess Saxton’s Behold Your Mother.  When I was recently editing Teresa Tomeo’s upcoming autobiography, Newsflash, there is a point where Teresa encourages her readers to make a habit of spending at least a few minutes a day with a book that provides inspiration and is scripturally sound.  Behold Your Mother is exactly that book and is probably why I have such an affinity for it. 

Heidi first introduces the reader to three personal Mary stories.  Right away you feel that this book is unique among Marian books due to Heidi’s personal revelations about her conversion to Catholicism and her own admitted interest in keeping Mary at a distance.  As we all know, honoring Mary is one of the great divides between Catholics and their Christian brothers- and sisters-in-Christ so to hear Heidi’s honest words, “The very idea of talking to Jesus’ mother held no appeal,” takes us behind that great divide.  Heidi shares her pilgrimage into the heart of Mary and we are blessed by her journey. 

fullsize.jpgOur own journeys continue to be affected by the essence of this beautiful prayer book as Heidi uses 48 different titles of Mary to offer Scripture, a meditation, and then a prayer.  I have used Heidi’s book to quiet my mind while racing from one appointment to another and have also sat with her book at the Tabernacle.  Each title seems to ring so true that I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite although “Bride of Heaven” and “Woman” are certainly stand-outs for me. 

Since the release of her Marian book, Heidi has also started a “superblog” called the “Extraordinary Mom Network.”  Patrice Fagnant MacArthur, herself a columnist at Catholic Exchange, designed the website and runs technical interference for Heidi.  This network is a clear piece of Heidi’s own Marian journey that began with holding the Mother of Christ at a distance and has now come full circle by offering a dedicated blog addressing specific needs of today’s “extraordinary moms.”  Beginning with the understanding of Mary as an extraordinary mom, Heidi’s own definition has grown under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Heidi now invites a multitude of extraordinary mothers to her newsletter and site.

The Extraordinary Mom Network (EMN) is an outreach to women who have embraced an extraordinary calling to motherhood (adoption or foster care as well as step-parenting and single parenting) and mothers who face extraordinary personal challenges (such as infertility, chronic illnesses, or difficult marriages), or who are raising children with extraordinary needs — physical, emotional, or mental.

For more information about Heidi’s book, Behold Your Mother, which is now available in Spanish, visit Heidi’s website at www.christianword.com  or you can find it on Amazon.  To read the extraordinary mom superblog, go to extraordinarymomsnetwork.wordpress.com. If you or someone you know would benefit from their monthly newsletter, or wish to join their network, contact Heidi Saxton at hsaxton@christianword.com.

Cheryl Dickow


Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. Cheryl’s newest book is Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Womenwhich is co-authored with Teresa Tomeo and is published by Servant (a division of Franciscan Media); there is also a companion journal that accompanies the book and an audio version intended for women’s studies or for individual reflection. Cheryl’s titles also include the woman’s inspirational fiction book Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. Elizabeth is available in paperback or Kindle format. Her company is Bezalel Books where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith and is located at www.BezalelBooks.com. To invite Cheryl to speak at your event, write her at Cheryl@BezalelBooks.com.

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  • Cooky642

    Of COURSE it’s “personal”! What mother doesn’t get “personal” with her children?
    (Okay, okay; we’ve all seen the exceptions.)

    Like Heidi, I’m both a convert and a re-vert. Every now and then, that niggling little suspicion surfaces that, somehow, honoring Mary “takes something away from” Jesus’ glory and majesty. I often think that Protestantism is a lot like the measles: any one who’s ever had it carries the virus dormant in their body for the rest of their lives, and remains vulnerable to an attack of shingles!

    Nevertheless, MARY came looking for ME! Through my life-experience and the ministy of a holy pastor, she initiated the filial devotion I have for her and the honor I pay to her. I think that telling about the life-experience part may help someone else in my boat–and is often a segue with Protestants.

    When my husband and I started dating, he took me home to meet his family. His mother, unlike my own, was a warm, nurturing woman, and I fell in love with her irrespective of my love for her son. I made it a point to get to know her (and we became quite close) in part because she was an interesting Catholic woman. I always felt I wanted to “grow up” to be like her.

    She’s been gone some 25 years, but I still honor her and brag on her because she was a wonderful woman, AND because she was/is the mother of my husband. Every time I come up against these “scruples” about Mary, I remember Mom. If I love her son, why wouldn’t I want to love and honor the woman who gave birth to him and raised him? It’s unreasonable to think otherwise.

  • Warren Jewell

    Okay – I’ll bite – I ordered Madame Saxton’s Behold Your Mother.

    Cradle Catholic, I too have had two minds about the Lady and Mother whose Ave Maria I pray at least 53 times a day.

    However, begging for an autograph, I asked to have the inscription:

    Remember, God’s love gave you two Moms.

  • Cooky642

    Hello, dear P.S.! It’s a blessing to see you “back in harness”! I hope you and your family are well.

    I love the reminder that God’s Love gave us 2 mothers! For me, His generosity brought me 3. In my old age, I’m learning to be grateful for the difficult one: she taught me lessons I probably couldn’t/wouldn’t have learned any other way.

  • Warren Jewell

    Yea, Pristinus Sapienter returns – hold the parade, please.

    Got the book, and I was moved deeply by her story about a mother (Mrs. Saxton herself) who waits in unrequited love. Have not so many of us done that with Mother Mary herself, for so long?

    Remembering back, I recall a few other Moms, as well, who gave this clumsy, confused clown with his soul some guidance. God bless them and keep them all.

    Now, when I get ‘paid’ next, one each for my daughter and granddaughter. And, I will have those personally inscribed and signed, too.