Monday, June 24, 2013

Reading Catholic: A Tale of Two Books About .... Pregnancy

Reading Catholic: A Tale of Two Books About .... Pregnancy: When I review certain books, I have often shared them informally with others--such as medical experts or even kids--to help me discern if t...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time

A Garden of Visible Prayer:
Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time

By Margaret Rose Realy

Margaret  Rose Realy has released  a new book! This is what I said about her lovely book:

Long time gardener and author, Margaret Rose Realy believes that solace and the gentle voice of God can be heard in a garden. Take a walk with her within the pages of her beautifully crafted unique book, A Garden of Visible Prayer as she descriptively guides you every step of the way to create your own personal retreat space, incorporating a variety of elements, which will lead you to prayer. Even with meager means or a small space, by following the steps in this book, your end result will be a distinctive and beautiful setting in which you can bask in God’s creation and where you may very well hear His voice telling you to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic speaker and author of numerous books and EWTN TV host. 

Margaret Rose Realy

Why did you write this book?
About five years ago I saw a need for gardens at St. Francis Retreat Center in Dewitt, MI. Specifically, prayer gardens where people could sit and draw closer to God who often speaks to us through nature. Retreatants would ask how I created these spaces and could I teach them to do the same in their own yards. Through this book I describe the step-by-step process of how to build personalized gardens that make prayer visible. In fact, that’s where the title comes from: “A Garden of Visible Prayer.” My hope is that the beginner or experienced gardener will use this book to create a personalized outdoor prayer space at home.

How does gardening integrate with our spiritual lives?
When working in a garden you cannot help but recognize the presence of God. To not feel God would be like standing next to a fire without feeling its heat. I read somewhere that to touch the earth is to touch the skin of God. One cannot but hope in the garden; we plant seeds and hope they sprout, we water and prune and hope for proper growth, we learn that winter always comes and we hope for rebirth. Here there are many similarities between gardens and gardeners, God and his children. Gardens are places of growth, not only for plants but for our souls as well.

How is this book an expression of your own faith?
There’s a quote I read in Magnificat
; “Give me Lord what will rebound to your own profit,” which reflects my own faith in creating prayer gardens. What I do is done to promote His will, and to help other people quiet themselves enough so they too can find a way to communicate with God in His creation. There are so many ways to pray and each of us has our own. The question is how do we find it? I want to help answer this question, and that’s part of why I wrote this book.

What are one or two ideas from the book I can use in my own garden?
The book doesn’t start by telling you how to build a garden. Instead it tells you how to focus on your own intentions and faith. I break the process up into three parts, “discern, design, and develop.” First you have to discern what type of garden is important to you by looking at your own spirituality and how you would translate your spirituality into an outdoor prayer space. For example, for some people rocks or boulders are great element to include in their garden because they are seen as solid or stable, and this is comforting to them. But because of those same qualities others could see them as cold and hard, not necessarily a loving reflection of God. Next, you design what the garden will look like while incorporating these spiritual elements. It’s helpful to flip through magazines or web images for ideas of how to arrange the things you want to include. Finally, the last step is developing, or constructing your outdoor prayer space.

ISBN: 978-0-9790747-7-6

FAITH Catholic Publishing
1500 E. Saginaw, Lansing, MI 48906

Margaret Rose Realy has a master’s degree in Communications from Michigan State University and is the author of A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time (FAITH Publishing, 2011) and Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent (Patheos Press, 2013), both available at AmazonShe is an Advanced Master Gardener with thirty-five years of experience as a greenhouse grower, garden consultant, and workshop and retreat leader. Margaret is a columnist, freelance writer and monthly contributor at and blogs about gardening and spirituality at Morning Rose Prayer Gardens on

God bless!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Catholic Mom's Cafe: My third guest on Catholic Mom's Cafe!

Catholic Mom's Cafe: My third guest on Catholic Mom's Cafe!: I am very happy to introduce my third guest Lisa Mladinich. Lisa will be my guest on the segment "The Skinny on Catholic Fashion.&quot...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Interview with Author of "Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest"

 I'm honored to interview Father Donald Calloway MIC about his newest book, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. I met Father Calloway a couple of years ago at a Catholic conference at which we both presented. Father gave a inspirational talk at the conference. He had quite an incredible story to tell.

As a priest in the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Donald has completed advanced studies in Mariology and strives to share his own love of Mary. Currently Fr. Donald is the House Superior of the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, OH, and Vocation Director for the Marians.

Father Calloway, your book, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest is fascinating. I had a tough time putting it down the day it was delivered to my mailbox. I also love the soft images of the Blessed Mother throughout the book. Can you tell us the inspiration behind the book? Why did you feel compelled to write it?

After I published my conversion story in 2010 (No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy) I began to receive tons of requests to speak at parishes, conferences, and other events. For the last three years I have been speaking all over the country and internationally, as a result. As part of my talks, I always give teachings about such things as the Eucharist, the Church, the Papacy, Confession, the Priesthood, Prayer, Divine Mercy, and Masculinity and Femininity. The cool thing is that all of these talks have a very strong Marian aspect and I always weave Our Lady into all my presentations. People seem to really like that Marian aspect of these talks and I got so many requests to publish them in book form so that others could benefit from them. So, that is exactly what I’ve done in Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. It contains my nine most requested talks in written form. 

Would you be able to tell us when your personal relationship with the Blessed Mother began?

I fell in love with Mary when I read a book about her that my parents had on their bookshelf some 20 years ago.  My parents are converts to Catholicism and had purchased a book about Marian apparitions and put it on their bookshelf.  After I lived a very sinful life, getting into all kinds of trouble (that’s an understatement), that book could not have come at a better time. Reading that book, I became fascinated by this beautiful woman I never knew and wanted to know more about her.  What that ultimately did was lead me to fall in love with her, God, Jesus Christ, and fall in love with Catholicism.  Without Mary, I really would not know Jesus. Without Mary, I certainly would not be the man I am today. 

Why do you feel it is important to write about one’s relationship with the Blessed Mother?

That’s simple. Mary is a princess. All girls want to be one, and all men want one. I’m a man, so I write about my princess. She is my beautiful lady and I see myself as a Knight for her, and I want to honor her in any way that I can.  One way is to write about her. 

What can the average Catholic do to deepen their devotion to Mary?

I highly recommend that people pray the Rosary. The Rosary is such a powerful prayer.  It can change hearts quickly and effectively. It changed mine.  I don’t go anywhere without my Rosary.  Praying the rosary is like holding Mary’s hand. I also highly recommend that people make a Marian pilgrimage.  There are so many Marian Shrines all over the world. I lead one every year, and this year I’m going to Fatima, Spain, and Lourdes from June 19-28.  Most importantly, people just need to talk to Mary in prayer.  Share the joys and pains of life with her.  She loves us so very much and wants to be close to us, and we get to know her best through praying to her. 

You include “Marian Gems” to the end of each chapter. Can you tell us about them?

I love the Marian Gems section of my book.  It has taken me almost 10 years to collect all of them.  They are quotes about Our Lady from Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, Servants of God, and Popes.  They are profound statements made about Our Lady that go along with each section that they follow. I have gotten so much good feedback about them and can’t wait for others to read them and meditate on them. 

What are your hopes for this book?

My greatest hope is that people fall more in love with Jesus and the Catholic Church through reading this book. That is what Mary would want, and so that is what I want, too. 

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I highly recommend that people read the book slowly. There is a ton of material in it, and if it is read too fast they might miss key things. I also think it is a great book for parish book clubs because it gets people discussing important topics about our faith. 

Do you have any special speaking events coming up?

Yes, my pilgrimage to Fatima, Spain, and Lourdes this summer! It’s going to be a great pilgrimage during the Year of Faith. I can’t wait. 

Finally, Father Calloway, where can our readers get this book?

People can purchase my book and find out about the pilgrimage by going to my website:

Thank you very much for your time for this interview, Father Calloway. I hope and pray that your book will inspire many hearts.

God bless!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Surprise Radio Interview!

It will be a surprise. :) You'll discover what it's about when you tune in. You can check out an interview I did with American Catholic Radio. You will be able to listen to the a shortened version of the interview beginning today by going to the website: and look for program # 13-12. I will be featured in the "Sharing Faith" segment and it will also be it’s own podcast.

I hope you enjoy this short 5-minute interview.

God bless you and yours!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Interview with Michael Seagriff O. P.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Seagriff O. P. about his book, Forgotten Truths to Set Faith Afire!

Here's our interview:

Michael, would you share something about your background with our readers?

I am from a working class Catholic family of seven children - born and raised in New York City (Brooklyn and Queens). Two of my brothers died – one of polio and the other of pneumonia, having lived during a time when there was neither polio vaccine nor antibiotics. My father came from a large family and ended his formal education during the Depression to help support his family. His lack of formal education made his earthly life more difficult. He did not complain. My father did everything he could to pass on his Catholic Faith and to assure his children a quality education – sending us to Catholic elementary school and Catholic high school. I was the only child blessed to receive a college education.

Altar boy and minor seminarian was I until I decided I knew better than God. I later dropped out of college to enlist in US Air Force where I served as a radio operator (primarily in air traffic control) for nearly 4 years, including tours in Philippines, Vietnam and Presidential Communications in Washington D.C.

I am eternally grateful that God gave me a loving wife and that he used her, a persistent and caring priest and our daughter’s first Holy Communion to bring me back to Him and His Church. The seeds of faith were nourished over the years by my participation in Cursillo, the Charismatic Renewal, Prison Ministry and most especially through Eucharistic Adoration. My vocation as a Lay Dominican and a rediscovered love for the Rosary created an insatiable appetite for the Truth, a hunger and deeper love for the Eucharist, and a zeal for the salvation of souls, including mine.

Following a heart attack in 2008, I retired from the practice of law after 30 years. Suddenly, I had time to write – something I always felt the Lord was prompting me to do.

 Your book is lovely, Michael and the cover is stunning. What was your inspiration for this book?

Like many contemporary Catholics, I did not know my faith very well and did not think I had the time to do anything about it. But I began to read a little bit at a time. The more I read and reflected on Scripture and the works of great spiritual writers, the more I came to understand and value my faith. Over the years, I would write the words that most touched my heart and stirred my soul on index cards. Keeping these life changing “gems” in my desk drawer was not only selfish but contrary to my Dominican vocation. I had to share these truths.

 Would you mind sharing a bit of your writing process for this book?

I simply took the index cards out of my drawer, placed them on my desk, and sorted them to see if there were any common themes or topics. It took me several months to go through that process. I was surprised to see how many different topics were encompassed by the thousands of quotes I had accumulated. There were simply too many to use.

How did you choose which quotes you would include?

That was the most difficult part of the writing process. There are many quotes not in the book that probably should be in it and some that probably should not have been included. Copyright issues, restrictions on the ability to use quotations from Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and space limitations added complexity to and prolonged the process.

I prayed constantly for guidance, adding and deleting quotations as prompted or suggested to do so. I wanted the selections to be diverse enough so that every one who read the book would be challenged, inspired and instructed. I made no attempt to make the topics uniform in length. A reader will easily be able to discern which topics were closest to my heart and the most significant in my spiritual journey.

I divided the 1200 quotations included in this book among seventeen chapters in a way that was similar to my own spiritual walk. I went through eleven drafts, seeking input and comments from priests and friends. Among the invaluable suggestions I received and followed was compiling a suggested reading list and including indices of topics and individuals quoted.

Have you received any feedback on your book you'd like to share?

Yes! In addition to your kind words and those of fellow writer, Anne Costa, posted on, the feedback has been quite positive and humbling. The Catholic Writer’s Guild (CWG) awarded Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! its Seal of Approval and featured it in the “Member Profile” column of its July newsletter.  The book was discussed in the Syracuse diocesan newspaper, several local papers in Central New York, on Catholic and favorably received by my Bishop. As “word spreads”, I have been invited to speak at a number of parishes where the book and I have been well received.

Priests have been challenged by some of the quotations in the book and find it a well of inspiration for homilies. Fellow writers view it as a great resource for quotations to use in their own work. Busy individuals and reluctant readers benefit from the wisdom of the ages set forth in small digestible tidbits. Practicing and lapsed Catholics and Christians from other denominations find it inspiring. One priest friend was kind enough to suggest that his Bishop provide a copy to all of his priests.

 Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

Thank you for the opportunity to share this time with your readers.

 This 366 page volume is one that you will use and refer to frequently. Priced modestly ($13.99 for soft copy), it makes a great companion during this “Year of Faith” and travels nicely on your Kindle or (with a free Kindle Book App) your android and i-phones for only $2.99.  It is available through and my blog (
There is also an informative book trailer that will give you a good sense of what the book offers:  (

If this book causes just one person who otherwise might have spent little or no time thinking of God and his/her relationship with Him to do so, my effort to compile these words of wisdom will have been richly rewarded. The value and future success of this book rests where it belongs – in God’s hands.

Thank you very much, Michael for sharing with us. May God bless the book, all who read it, and you and your family as well!

God bless!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: New Review

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women: New Review: "I received Rooted in Love for Christmas. I can't speak highly enough about it. Filled with words of comfort as well as, uplifting, prac...

Sunday, January 13, 2013