Theresa Kiser’s new book, Caring for a Loved One with Mary: A Seven Sorrows Prayer Companion, was written by a mother whose child faced a complex medical diagnosis. But we all face times when we’re cast into the role of caregiver, and who better than Mary to run to with our concerns?
More than a decade ago, I first ran to the Rosary when someone in my immediate family faced a health crisis. At that time, I didn’t know all the Mysteries, but keeping that knotted-twine rosary in my pocket was a comfort, a reminder that Mary is a mother to us all, a caring mother who understands what it’s like when our loved ones suffer.
In the fall, when we once again faced news of a difficult diagnosis, I decided I wanted to specifically pray the Seven Sorrows devotion. I ordered a Seven Sorrows chaplet from the Mary Devotions shop on Etsy; Barbara made one specifically for me. It’s a little too large to keep in my pocket, but when I hold these beads, they’re solid in my hands, and have a lot of facets for my fiddling, anxious fingers.
I found that this book, Caring for a Loved One with Mary, has helped me to go deeper with the Seven Sorrows devotion. I’ve been going through it slowly, a chapter at a time, really concentrating on each particular Sorrow. The meditations on the Sorrows, and each prayer, are truly written for the caregiver:
Her sorrows remind me that my own sufferings are part of God’s loving plan. When I try (unsuccessfully, I might add) to avoid the difficulties of my circumstances, I may be closing myself off to the grace he generously offers within them. When I struggle to find the strength, I am comforted to know—at the very least—that Mary walked this road before me. There is no reason why she would abandon me when she knows so deeply how my heart aches. (32)
So many prayer books about suffering focus on the person who is enduring a particular trial. This book is for the ones who love them; they are suffering too, in their own way, just as Mary suffered along with her Son. It is a comfort to read and pray along with Caring for a Loved One with Mary. I’ve already purchased an extra copy to give to a friend who is in the thick of an intensive caregiving season.
At the end of this book, you will find tips for starting a support group; questions for reflection, discussion, or journaling; and a way to quickly pray the Seven Sorrows Devotion, as well as St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “Little Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.”
Ask for Caring for a Loved One with Mary at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Our Sunday Visitor.
Copyright 2023 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Photos copyright 2023 Barb Szyszkiewicz
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