Although I am a Roman Catholic father and not a mother, which this book is written for, I am preparing this review as its usefulness to the home, to which the father is the head and must ensure his household has the tools and resources to make his household a 'domestic church'. Authored by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, The Domestic Church - Room by Room offers the Catholic mother a hands-on way to sanctify, what some may refer to as, the daily grind of life. With references to Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the words of Christ, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, St. Therese of Lisieux (a personal favorite of mine) and others, Donna brings spiritual meaning and strength to the mother longing for a deeper understanding of her vocation. Most striking is the author's choice of referencing our Blessed Mother in Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary as the model of motherhood.
In the book, the author discloses that this mother's study guide works very well in a group setting for mothers, mothers-to-be, and engaged women. However, I can see where it can also work well in a private spiritual retreat. Since silent time away from the children isn't always possible and since many of us parents including myself, rely also on camaraderie for support, a group study of 3 or more would be ideal. Nevertheless, this study guide shouldn't be overlooked just because other mom's weren't available. There is a "How to Use This Study Guide" section in the beginning which provides valuable recommendations for the group setting which can be easily modified for private use.
Each chapter features room for notes that the reader can write in the answer to specific questions, ideas, or other notes that the author presents. This feature is valuable in that studies reveal that we are more likely to accomplish a task if we have first written it down for ourselves. There isn't a more important task in the world than parenting. This book leaves plenty of opportunities to hand-write your personal thoughts, goals, and ideas to give us that additional motivation.
The author emphasizes the husband's participation in the home early in the book. Chapter 2 notes that a kingdom divided itself cannot stand. This chapter offers practical direction, without micromanaging our homes, in communication, problem solving, spirituality, and more. Again there is room for notes so the goals and direction are ultimately the reader's not the author's.
This book will provoke personal challenge, generosity, and a changing of one's old habits to sow more fulfilling seeds of personal and marital growth. This book is recommended to every couple with or without children who seek to deepen their marriage and who seek climbing a higher rung of the ladder to holiness in our own 'domestic churches'.
This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Domestic Church - Room by Room.