Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Trusting God With St. Therese, an Interview with Connie Rossini
Connie Rossini, blogger at Contemplative Homeschool and administrator of Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network, has just released a new book. Connie and I agreed to share an author interview with you, to tell you more about her life and her book... and she will be stopping in here today to respond to comments or questions you might have!
I have read Trusting God with St. Therese and can wholeheartedly recommend it. But before I get too far ahead of myself, here is our interview.
Connie, What is your background? Were you always Catholic?
Yes, I was raised Catholic, but I almost left the Church for Protestantism when I was in college. I grew up in a Catholic Charismatic household, which had both positive and negative aspects. One of the most positive was that I learned to love the Bible, something I'm passing onto my kids. One of the negative effects was I was very influenced by Protestant theology and came to believe in Sola Scriptura. In my book, I tell about a traumatic experience I had with some non-Catholic Christians that sent me running back to the Catholic Church.
Tells us more about your book. What is it about? Who is it for?
Trusting God with St. Therese tells how Therese of Lisieux trusted God through tragedy, scruples, spiritual darkness, and physical suffering. I pair episodic stories from her life with memories of my own quest to trust. Using Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and insights from psychology, I lead readers to surrender their lives completely to Jesus. Almost everyone can benefit from growing in trust, but I specifically wrote it for Catholics who want to grow in holiness but find their fears, doubts, and weaknesses are holding them back.
That sounds really interesting. How did you come up with the idea?
I have struggled to trust God all my life. Shortly after I started blogging, at the end of 2012, I was reading The Way of Trust and Love by Fr. Jacques Philippe. A passage he quoted from one of St. Therese's letters struck me. I had been going nowhere in my spiritual life for a long time, even though I made lots of resolutions and said lots of prayers for help. This passage showed me what the trouble was.
Are you going to share the passage with us?
Sure. Therese was writing to Fr. Belliere, a missionary priest she was encouraging and praying for. Basically she said that when we sin, we should be like a repentant little child who asks his father for a kiss in place of punishment. God will not be able to resist such a request if it's made in childlike trust. He will pour blessings upon us and increase our trust so that in the end we are closer to Him than before we sinned.
I can certainly see why that struck you! So you started working on trust then?
Yes, I wrote a blog post about that passage. Then as the new year drew closer, I decided to focus on trusting God for all of 2013. I wrote about different challenges to trust I was facing, and how God was helping me overcome them. By June I realized this would be a great topic for a book, so I began to flesh out those posts, eventually adding a lot of stories from my childhood and beyond.
I show readers that Therese faced many of the same struggles we all face. I show them how my struggles in the twenty-first century are similar to hers. I lead them to reflect on the roadblocks to trust in several specific areas of their lives. I invite them deeply into my quest to trust God, so they can learn from my successes and failures. Every chapter ends with practical suggestions they can implement right away. Many books about St. Therese stay more on an inspirational level. They tell readers about her life, but don't show them how to go about becoming more like Therese in her surrender to God. They might talk about the importance of trusting God, but without demonstrating what that looks like for someone living in our day and culture. I needed something more specific. I think it will benefit my readers too.
I love your approach. The practicality of it has already proven beneficial to me, personally. Where can readers get a copy?
Right now, Trusting God with St. Therese is only available through Amazon.com or directly from me. It should be available at more online retailers soon, and I hope eventually to see it in Catholic bookstores. The Kindle edition is $3.99 and the paperback is $13.70.
And I just found it at Barnes and Noble as well! Thanks so much for sharing with us, Connie. May God bless you, your family, and your marketing efforts.
This interview has been the first stop on Connie's Blog Tour. To visit other blogs along the way, check out the schedule at Contemplative Homeschool.
Pictures on this post provided by Connie Rossini