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A Short Wait on the John Bosco Book

I promised myself I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t  be one of those authors who set themselves a deadline only to come back later with excuses for why the couldn’t meet it. The fact is that John Bosco: A Simply Saints Book will not be ready by his feast day, and there are three reasons why.

Reasons (read: excuses)
1. Our whole family was very sick for the first two weeks of January (coughs, pink eye, hives – it was so bad). But that’s over now and not very interesting, so let’s leave it at that.

2. Now this excuse is pretty exciting. We got licensed as a foster family early in January. So far we have only done respite. Every weekend we have opened our house to an infant or toddler whose foster parents need a break. We’ve had quiet 6 month old girls up to curious, laughing 18 month old boys. This has been fun for everyone, but not very conducive to writing.

3. I’m  learning about the differences among primary sources. For the Saint Catherine book I used a comprehensive biography by Blessed Raymond of Capua as my main source. This book covered everything you could want to know about the saint. Raymond interviewed family members and double checked dates scrupulously. Saint John Bosco wrote the memoirs that I am using for hisbook in little snatches of time between duties. He remembers some dates wrong. He leaves out things that I really want to include – some important dreams and information about Dominic Savio. And – perhaps predictably – he includes nothing about how he died. So the research step is taking longer than expected.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Okay, those are pretty good excuses, but when can we expect the book?” This is not a bad question, and I appreciate the polite way you phrased it.  However, I’m not sure how to answer it.  I can tell you that I am about 90% of the way through the first draft, though there are still some holes to fill in.  I edited Catherine of Siena in a couple of weeks.  So that gives you a rough time frame.  I write 500 words or draw a comic every day except when I have a foster child in the house.  Otherwise I’ll try to keep you updated as best I can.

Have fun celebrating John Bosco’s feast day Saturday.  It’s my oldest boy’s feast day so we’re going out for pizza and ice cream.

Thanks for your patience and God Bless you.

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We’ve Finished Catholic Icing’s challenge!

Well, there is one more week left in the Christmas season, but my family has finished the Reason for the Season Challenge from Catholic Icing.  The boys are proud.

Okay, John (the oldest) might be more sleepy than proud, but Andy is clearly pumped about this!

2015-01-03 18.23.45We basically colored a red ornament for each secular thing we did to celebrate Christmas – Snowmen, cookies, etc, and a yellow ornament for each spiritual thing we did – mass, reading the gospel . . . It was nice to record what we were doing and be sure that the spiritual balanced out the secular.  I may  or may not have put Home Alone in the DVD player this week so we could finish coloring our secular ornaments.  I don’t think that’s how this was supposed to work, but I’m glad we weren’t scrambling for spiritual ways to celebrate the season.

On another note, I’m really knuckling down to get the John Bosco Simply Saints book written.  It’s going to be great, but it’s also going to get very quiet around here this month.  So if you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s what I’m doing.  I will reconnect at the end of January, hopefully with a new book to share.

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Happy Feast Day, Saint Lucy!

Untitled_Artwork (3)I love it that Lucy means light. During this time of year when the days grow ever shorter we need as many celebrations of light as we can get. Advent wreaths, Christmas lights and this feast remind us that Christ is the light no darkness can dim.

Unfortunately, we don’t know a lot about Lucy. She was a brave woman who lived in Syracuse and died for her Christian faith early in the fourth century. She is often pictured holding a plate with eyes on it. There is a legend that Diocletian had her eyes torn out and God replaced them.  She is the patron saint of people with blindness and other eye ailments.

Saint Lucy, help me to cherish the light of Christ and share it with everyone I meet this season.

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I’m Taking the Reason for the Season Challenge!

I’m taking the Reason for the Season Challenge from Catholic Icing.  It couldn’t be easier.  You simply try to do at least one spiritual thing for every secular thing you do to celebrate Christmas.  There are even these cute recording sheets.


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We’ve already got a few filled in.  We put up some snowman decorations (secular) and a nativity scene (spiritual).  We made candy cane bark (secular) and talked about how a candy cane can teach us about  Jesus (spiritual).

More information and a couple of record sheets can be found on Catholic Icing.


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New Planner and a morning meditation upgrade

My parents got me this great filofax planner for Christmas (early)!  Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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It’s so cute and easy to customize.  Right now my prayer section is about twice as large as all other sections.  It has prayers I want to remember and room for notes.  There is even a pocket in the back for a rosary and a chaplet.

2014-11-15 12.52.43I like writing down my morning mediations.  Otherwise I tend to spend the 20 minutes before 6:00 snoozing and occasionally praying for a productive day.  I know what Therese said about a father loving his children even as they sleep, but I feel better starting the day after a good 20 minutes of Lectio Divina.  So I created these templates that I can print out before hand and fill in during meditation.


There are 5 Sections.

  1. Lectio – I write a scripture verse.
  2. Meditatio – I write what sticks out to me in the verse – themes, key words, character studies.  I sometimes consult my Navarre Bible for help with this part.
  3. Oratio – Usually step 2 will stir up feelings – penitence, supplication, praise.  I offer these as a prayer to Jesus.
  4. Contemplatio – I don’t write during this part, but stay still and listen.  Sometimes ideas that I hadn’t considered will well up, other times I just rest in God’s peace.
  5. Actio – I make a resolution for the day.

By the way, I didn’t come up with this method of prayer.  Lectio Divina goes back to Saint Benedict in the  6th century.  Others added to the method by giving the sections names.

lectio divina

I’m including the above template for anyone else who has a personal sized planner they would like to use for Lecito Divina.  I would love to know how you do your daily prayer.  Feel free to leave a description in the comments below.



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Happy Feast Day, Elizabeth of Hungary!


Lately, I’ve been drawing a lot of John Bosco cartoons for the upcoming Simply Saints book.  It’s been a while since I sat down and drew a saint for fun.  So I had a really good time channeling my inner queen for Elizabeth of Hungary.

I love Elizabeth for her example of how to live a virtuous married life.  She was a sanctifying presence for her husband.

At first her husband, the king, wasn’t sure what to think about her charity, hence the story of the loaves of bread changing to roses in her arms to fool him.  After living for years with her example and prayer, he was asked what he though about all the money and food she gave to the poor.  The good man replied, “So long as she does not sell the castle, I am happy.”

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary pray for me so I can serve God in my family.  Make me a sanctifying presence in our home.

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Budding Cartoonist

God Bless Sister Mary Agnes, my child’s second grade teacher. She has her students drawing comics! Here is the one my son drew about the fall. Sister wrote the captions and he drew the pictures. I love the second panel where God says “All these trees, check. This one tree . . . NO.  Also, God is super happy all the time. That’s cute.




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Happy Feast Day, Archangels!

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Today is the feast of the Archangels!  It’s exciting at my house because it is my husband Michael’s feast day. He gets to choose what we have for dinner tonight. . . . so we’re going out for pizza.


St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

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Happy Birthday, John Bosco (I think?) and a Free eBook!

I’m reading through John Bosco’s memoirs while writing the next Simply Saints book.  In his memoirs, John Bosco states, “I was born on the feast of the Assumption of Mary (August 15th).”  But the baptismal record from his church shows that he was baptised on the 17th of August and born on the evening of the 16th. In John’s village, it was common to refer to everything happening around the Assumption as happening on that date.  They considered the Assumption a very important feast. So the baptismal record is probably technically correct, but the 15th of August is an important date for John Bosco fans and Christians in general.

In honor of John’s birthday, I’m going to offer the Simply Saints e-book, Catherine of Siena, free.  In order to cover my bases, you can download the book for free  beginning on August 15 all the way through the 17th.  The link to buy the kindle book is on the left side of this page, but you can always search for Kathy Donlan on Amazon.

If you haven’t read Simply Saints: Catherine of Siena this is the time.  You can read kindle books on a kindle or with a free app on an iPad or smart phone.

Now, here’s a little joke to get you ready for the assumption.  Sister Edith Marie, CK told me this one. Imagine a conversation between Saint Peter and Mary long after Jesus ascended into heaven.

Peter: So Mary, what do you think death will be like?

Mary: Well actually, Peter, I don’t think I’m going to die.  I think my Son will take me to heaven, body and soul.

Peter: Gee, that’s a pretty big ASSUMPTION on your part.

Groan! Sigh. I love it. Happy Assumption!  Happy Birthday, John Bosco! Enjoy your free book

Saint Catherine was very devoted to Mary. Here the Blessed Mother gives her Son in spiritual marriage to Catherine.

Mary featured prominently in Catherine’s spiritual marriage.