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!