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Looking for Mary: Or, the Blessed Mother and Me

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Entering her fortieth year, Beverly Donofrio, a "lapsed Catholic," inexplicably begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia at yard sales. Her search for kitsch, however, soon becomes a spiritual quest, leading her to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medjugorje. There, she learns that Mary comes into your life only when pride steps out and receives a bonus: hope. In Loo Entering her fortieth year, Beverly Donofrio, a "lapsed Catholic," inexplicably begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia at yard sales. Her search for kitsch, however, soon becomes a spiritual quest, leading her to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medjugorje. There, she learns that Mary comes into your life only when pride steps out and receives a bonus: hope. In Looking for Mary, Donofrio offers the universal story about a woman who-in a quest for the Blessed Mother-finds herself.


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Entering her fortieth year, Beverly Donofrio, a "lapsed Catholic," inexplicably begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia at yard sales. Her search for kitsch, however, soon becomes a spiritual quest, leading her to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medjugorje. There, she learns that Mary comes into your life only when pride steps out and receives a bonus: hope. In Loo Entering her fortieth year, Beverly Donofrio, a "lapsed Catholic," inexplicably begins collecting Virgin Mary memorabilia at yard sales. Her search for kitsch, however, soon becomes a spiritual quest, leading her to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medjugorje. There, she learns that Mary comes into your life only when pride steps out and receives a bonus: hope. In Looking for Mary, Donofrio offers the universal story about a woman who-in a quest for the Blessed Mother-finds herself.

30 review for Looking for Mary: Or, the Blessed Mother and Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    I go to mass sometimes. I now prepare myself for what I would consider the top five internet assertions as soon as the Catholic church is mentioned in a public forum: 1. Christianity = far right politics. 2. I grew up Catholic and the nuns were mean. As soon as my parents couldn't make me go to church I stopped going. 3. Priests sexually abused kids. 4. Historically the church has been responsible for many atrocities. 5. The church is primarily a paternal organization. Listen. I am not going to argu I go to mass sometimes. I now prepare myself for what I would consider the top five internet assertions as soon as the Catholic church is mentioned in a public forum: 1. Christianity = far right politics. 2. I grew up Catholic and the nuns were mean. As soon as my parents couldn't make me go to church I stopped going. 3. Priests sexually abused kids. 4. Historically the church has been responsible for many atrocities. 5. The church is primarily a paternal organization. Listen. I am not going to argue that every one of those assertions is either true (e.g. #3 and #4) or partially true (all the rest). I went to Catholic schools first through tenth grade until my all-male high school asked me to leave for various petty criminal offenses. I faked mandatory church attendance as soon as I figured out that as long as I snagged a bulletin from the lobby my mother would assume I sat in a pew rather than read on the balcony. And, other than a stint working at a Catholic elementary school, I barely set foot into a church from age fifteen to forty. Catholicism and Christianity was part of my past, something I experienced when younger but conceptualized as dark, mean-spirited, and controlling. I abhorred the idea of turning to Christianity through difficult years. I couldn't be a fair-weather Christian and maintain self-respect. And my insane mother, with her dead-weight description of finger-wagging saints, made me ill. The political ramifications of prescriptive Christianity (e.g. if you use birth control you'll go to hell) disgusted me. So I understand, I think, why people roll their eyes at the first mention of Catholicism. Two events led me to re-conceptualize Christianity. First, I grew both mentally and physically healthier. Second, I started working at a Catholic institution facilitated by overwhelmingly compassionate, well-intentioned Sisters of St. Clare. I studied St. Francis and visited Rome and Assisi. And, in a very subtle way, I kept Mary's image in the back of my mind. I'm not sure why. But I've started to believe, over the years, that Mary, to me, symbolizes peace and feminine wisdom. Mary makes me feel safe. Through the most difficult hours I wanted to lay my head in Mary's lap and cry and sleep. Yes, I see the way I wanted to replace my psycho mother with a serene woman. But it's more than that, bigger than me, bigger than Mary, even. I sit in chapels, often alone, and pray. I reclaim Christianity on my own terms. The Mary I seek now, in fact the very seeking of Mary, is a rejection of my past and a metaphor for my personal rebirth. And what's more important to Christianity than resurrection? At its very best Christianity is a radical rebirth, a second chance, well beyond the reach of any Pope, priest, or scowling teacher. The institution does not own the church. There is another church, spread among us, extended by empathetic, humanitarian seekers. I claim my place among them. It's mine. Christ, Saint Francis, and Saint Clare were radicals, and you can never take that away from me. And the people who want to characterize Christianity as inherently evil and stupid? Fuck you, too. Thoughtlessly dismissing Christianity is too easy, too comfortable. And I don't want to go that route. I know all the negatives. But I've seen the good. And I won't give up. This is my Christianity, and no institutional figure can get in the way between Mary and me. So am I a Christian? I don't know. Depends on who you ask. I don't say the Apostle's Creed. I don't go to confession. I haven't taken communion in years, but I think I will soon. I think I'm a Maryian. No disrespect to her son. But reaching the point where I can forgive myself, where I can claim my own existence, where I can stand on my own...I owe that to Mary. You can call her a symbol. You can call her a myth. You can call her saint. You can call her a manifestation of powerful medication. Knock yourself out. I call her Mary. Okay, there's a book review in here somewhere, right? Yes. I found Beverly Donofrio's Looking for Mary quite moving. The author's slow circling of Mary (e.g. almost unconsciously finding herself drawn to images of Mary in art) mirrored my own. Donofrio's internal dialogue relates the connection to her Mary to her own challenges as a mother and a seeker. She's neither able nor willing to align herself with morons who claim Mary (e.g. the women on a pilgrimage who want to one-up each other with their offering of suffering to God) as their own. But she's also neither able nor willing to pretend Mary's calm, beauty and serenity doesn't exist. And that takes guts. Donofrio's open, lyrical style and her (I imagine both scary and cathartic) exposure of her own darkness and depression give Looking For Mary a recognizable authenticity. She finds serenity in habitual prayer and anonymous mass attendance. She feels the power of faith at Mexican festivals. She meets strong Christian women on a pilgrimage to Medjugorie. And she doesn't lie to herself, even once, at least from what I could tell. So I liked this book. But whether or not you do depends on where you are with the subject matter. If you're not interested in Mary and conflate her image with pedophiles and crusaders you probably won't get much from the text. I don't mean to imply criticism of your position. But this book isn't for you. If you're interested in that gray area between institution and radical faith, between the best Christianity has to offer and the traditional conceptualization of the church, if you're somewhere in-between, then you might like Looking for Mary. I refuse to accept wholesale the idea that the Catholic church is the sole arbiter of celestial wisdom. I also refuse to accept the idea that Christianity is dumb and people open to faith are idiots. I've seen great beauty in the church. And I've been bored as fuck. But sometimes, every now and then, I sit in a church, or I'm out in the sun, or standing in the snow on a starlit night, and I get it. The tranquility burns white inside me. Like in Laverna, up in Tuscany, sitting quietly alone in front of this image for a half-hour. Or sitting with my phone and a rosary late at night, in the dark, reading the Hail Mary off the screen because I've forgotten the words. Mary makes me feel better. She challenges me. She's proof to me there is more to this world than what we see. After that, ladies and gentlemen, things get complicated. But I'd rather not mess them up with arguments about dogma, practice, and policy. I'll be over here, doing the best I can. Somebody else can approach Christianity like it's an interstate Hardee's and he's the assistant manager. I will embrace Christianity on my own terms, without ignoring the negatives of the institutional church. I don't have all the answers. But I'm not going to reject mindful seekers' search for a more meaningful way to live. I respect them too much. And I share their spirit. Oh, and Looking for Mary is a good book. Maybe you should read it. Up to you. Either way. I liked it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X Off having adventures

    This has nothing to do with Catholicsm and everything to do with creating a very personal god tailored exactly to what the author feels would be worth worshipping. I semi enjoyed the book, the writing is light and flows along well and the subject promised to be interesting. However, the more I read the more I lost respect for the author and it got to the point I couldn't wait to finish it. The author so loves the Virgin Mary that she goes on a pilgrimage to see her apparition and the people to w This has nothing to do with Catholicsm and everything to do with creating a very personal god tailored exactly to what the author feels would be worth worshipping. I semi enjoyed the book, the writing is light and flows along well and the subject promised to be interesting. However, the more I read the more I lost respect for the author and it got to the point I couldn't wait to finish it. The author so loves the Virgin Mary that she goes on a pilgrimage to see her apparition and the people to whom she appears weekly. She doesn't see her but several miracles happen - the sun spins in the sky and a tear disappears from a marble statue. You might think that the author would also love the Virgin's Son, but no, she doesn't like Jesus at all and makes no bones about saying so at several points in the book, although she does make an effort to like him, because he is Mary's son. With an exception or two it seems that the author doesn't like men in the church very much at all and at the culmination of the pilgrimage, seeing the Pope in Rome, she chooses to have a manicure instead. Eventually the author decides the Mary she likes best is Our Lady of Guadeloupe and the extraordinary cult-worship of her in Mexico, so naturally she decides to go and live there, just commuting to the US for her writing career. The book, possibly because of the lovely cover, was a lot like being asked out for dinner, dressing up, getting a taxi and finding all that was on offer was a Big Mac and fries and having to get the bus home after that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I took this down from the shelf to re-read during Lent this year. I first heard of this book when Beverly Donofrio did her NPR piece. She was talking about some of the South American customs to honor Mary, and suddenly, I was there. It was stunningly real to me. I can relate much easier to Mary than I can to other saints, and sometimes to God, himself. He's busy. I don't want to bother Him with my petitions and prayers. But Mary's a mom. She understands. Sometimes, when things are cruddy, all yo I took this down from the shelf to re-read during Lent this year. I first heard of this book when Beverly Donofrio did her NPR piece. She was talking about some of the South American customs to honor Mary, and suddenly, I was there. It was stunningly real to me. I can relate much easier to Mary than I can to other saints, and sometimes to God, himself. He's busy. I don't want to bother Him with my petitions and prayers. But Mary's a mom. She understands. Sometimes, when things are cruddy, all you need is a quiet and loving ear, and as you speak, the solutions help reveal themselves. Mary is my quiet ear to whisper into. And when I'm too shy (because I doubt it's humility that keeps me from yakking to God about the important stuff) she gives me the nudge to talk to the Big Guy himself. Maybe she puts in a good word for me, too, who knows? One can only hope. Donofrio writes that she was a lapsed Catholic, who began collecting images of Mary, and eventually found herself on pilgrimage. I'm not lapsed, but I think that I'd love to go on pilgrimage again. As to collecting Marys...I look around my desk and can see a statue, an icon, 2 pictures, rosary beads, a prayer card or two and at least 4 books on Mary. When I went to the Goodwill the other day, I found another copy of this book to register to BookCrossing and send off to Hazrabai, who is out in California right now. My original copy will stay in my personal library. It's always good to have a song in your heart, a prayer on your lips, your sweetheart by your side, an angel in your pocket and Mary on your shelf.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    One of the things I like about Donofrio is that she makes me look like a good mother by comparison. In this memoir about her obsession with Mary, mother of Jesus, she's no less self-absorbed or narcissistic than she was in Riding in Cars with Boys. She still doesn't have a lot of clues, but to her credit she went looking for some. Lots of interesting Marian detail here. Donofrio is a believer in the miraculous and has enough money to go on pilgrimages all over the world. Reading about it is as c One of the things I like about Donofrio is that she makes me look like a good mother by comparison. In this memoir about her obsession with Mary, mother of Jesus, she's no less self-absorbed or narcissistic than she was in Riding in Cars with Boys. She still doesn't have a lot of clues, but to her credit she went looking for some. Lots of interesting Marian detail here. Donofrio is a believer in the miraculous and has enough money to go on pilgrimages all over the world. Reading about it is as close as I think I ever want to get, but I'm glad I read this book. Religious fervor wherein one voluntarily allows one's self to be caressed with a glove covered in a dead priest's blood strikes me as best observed from a safe distance. There are lots of little details that were left out of her first book. Not particularly linear, it's disjointed, all over the place, and I don't think I'm nearly as fascinated by Donofrio as she is. The writing is good.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Maguire

    Don't be fooled by the 5-star rating from me. This book is not for everyone. For me, however it rocked me to my very core. It resonated in a mostly unpleasant way with me because Beverly Donofrio admitted so many things about herself that I had to admit are true about me. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who falls into at least two of the following categories: 1. women who hate themselves for their own narcissism and self-absorption 2. women who are lapsed Catholics and hate the Chur Don't be fooled by the 5-star rating from me. This book is not for everyone. For me, however it rocked me to my very core. It resonated in a mostly unpleasant way with me because Beverly Donofrio admitted so many things about herself that I had to admit are true about me. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who falls into at least two of the following categories: 1. women who hate themselves for their own narcissism and self-absorption 2. women who are lapsed Catholics and hate the Church, but still miss it somehow 3. women who don't believe in anything but who desperately want to believe in something If this is you, get this book. Do it. Now. Why are you still reading? Go!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    This book is by no means an accurate or responsible portrayal of Catholic theology. This is one author's self-indulgent account of her journey to faith. The danger is that people will read this book and think that they understand the Catholic doctrine of Mary, and the faith of millions. However, that would not be the case. I recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a resource, or a good Bible study program like the Great Adventure series. This book is by no means an accurate or responsible portrayal of Catholic theology. This is one author's self-indulgent account of her journey to faith. The danger is that people will read this book and think that they understand the Catholic doctrine of Mary, and the faith of millions. However, that would not be the case. I recommend the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a resource, or a good Bible study program like the Great Adventure series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pat Camalliere

    The author really knows how to write a memoir. Her fascination with the Virgin Mary might not be of interest to all, but she weaves her past experiences into her search for Mary when she made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I read the book because I wanted to know about why a woman would make such a pilgrimage to personalize her experience. I found many similarities to my own feelings. This is not a book about a fanatic, but about a very real woman wanting to examine her faith and her doubts through The author really knows how to write a memoir. Her fascination with the Virgin Mary might not be of interest to all, but she weaves her past experiences into her search for Mary when she made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I read the book because I wanted to know about why a woman would make such a pilgrimage to personalize her experience. I found many similarities to my own feelings. This is not a book about a fanatic, but about a very real woman wanting to examine her faith and her doubts through Mary. I was particularly impressed by the author’s structure. In each chapter she relates a current experience on the pilgrimage, relates it to an experience from her past, and then concludes with an expository that describes some aspect of religious doctrine. She makes transitions quite smooth, and in my opinion this book should be read by anyone seriously studying the art of memoir. Don’t let the religious aspect of the book turn you off. Even if you are a total nonbeliever you will find much to like about this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kenyon

    I was torn between loving this book and disliking the author, and then decided by book's end that is exactly what I need to work on as a Christian. How can we wonder and yes, judge, the actions or choices of another human being without having walked in their shoes? Does it say something about the author (or me) that I never fully understood her choices in men or mothering, considering what looks like a decent and loving home she grew up in? Where is the explanation for why she would destroy and I was torn between loving this book and disliking the author, and then decided by book's end that is exactly what I need to work on as a Christian. How can we wonder and yes, judge, the actions or choices of another human being without having walked in their shoes? Does it say something about the author (or me) that I never fully understood her choices in men or mothering, considering what looks like a decent and loving home she grew up in? Where is the explanation for why she would destroy and demolish a classroom as a youngster? I was too often looking for explanations as I read. Why did she spend so much time in bars when she had a child at home? For that matter, who was always taking care of this child? At the same time, Donofrio opened herself (and her reader's hearts) up by admitting she was an awful mother. And yes, despite her sleeping around, an abortion, and her selfishness in never putting her son first, I DID care about her by book's end. I felt her pain as she cried and searched for something (she says Mary, but I always felt it was the loving arms of Christ she searched for). I hope she lives the love she discovered in her quest. I hope she continues to honor the good and the moral of the religion she cobbled together. But I am not convinced she really means it when she says she will "wait until marriage" next time, and that makes me feel judgmental and petty. I believe people can change, and I want to believe she has. I will look for future writing from her.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yvette

    The candor of which Donofrio writes is refreshing. She is so honest about her failings and her struggles. This story is truly inspiring and shows us the love that Our Blessed Mother has for us. This book made me reflect on my shortcomings and has inspired me to want to be more like Our Lady. I must admit that like Donofrio I have had my doubts about the church – I grew up knowing the basics of my religion, but never anything deeper. It is of great relief to know that others have had struggles in The candor of which Donofrio writes is refreshing. She is so honest about her failings and her struggles. This story is truly inspiring and shows us the love that Our Blessed Mother has for us. This book made me reflect on my shortcomings and has inspired me to want to be more like Our Lady. I must admit that like Donofrio I have had my doubts about the church – I grew up knowing the basics of my religion, but never anything deeper. It is of great relief to know that others have had struggles in finding their way. Now being more mature I can understand and appreciate the Catholic Church. This book reflected my struggles in so many ways that I found myself nodding and saying “Yes, yes, that’s exactly how I use to feel.” Donofrio is honest, funny, and very insightful. I really enjoyed this book and it would make for a great book club conversation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    This is all about Donofrio's search for faith. She lost it somewhere along the way of her life of being a single mother. She intersperses her chapters about her pilgrimage to Medjugorje with the mistakes she has made in raising her son. As she searches for something to believe in, this pilgrimage helps her to forgive herself and seek forgiveness from her adult son. At the end of each chapter is a story about the Virgin Mary. I found it all to be quite informative. This is a quick read and one th This is all about Donofrio's search for faith. She lost it somewhere along the way of her life of being a single mother. She intersperses her chapters about her pilgrimage to Medjugorje with the mistakes she has made in raising her son. As she searches for something to believe in, this pilgrimage helps her to forgive herself and seek forgiveness from her adult son. At the end of each chapter is a story about the Virgin Mary. I found it all to be quite informative. This is a quick read and one that offers some interesting accounts of seeking solace in religion. I have always had images of the Virgin Mary around my house growing up; To pray to her never seemed unusual to me. So Donofrio's story interested me because her search for faith is germane to finding peace in her relationship with her son and herself.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    I knew that this book really wasn't going to be for me, but I read it anyway because I like Donofrio's writing. Given that, it really isn't a surprise that my reaction is a little lukewarm. The writing it really good, and I really like the non-Mary portions, but this is still a faith story. It just isn't my faith. I've never felt that and have never felt a call to feel that. A lot of the Mary portions didn't feel universal to me, instead putting up a wall that pushed me out of the book and preve I knew that this book really wasn't going to be for me, but I read it anyway because I like Donofrio's writing. Given that, it really isn't a surprise that my reaction is a little lukewarm. The writing it really good, and I really like the non-Mary portions, but this is still a faith story. It just isn't my faith. I've never felt that and have never felt a call to feel that. A lot of the Mary portions didn't feel universal to me, instead putting up a wall that pushed me out of the book and prevented me from connected. It isn't the book, it's me, but that is still my reaction. Most probably wouldn't have that reaction, but for the few that the religious aspect will be a problem, they might have some trouble connecting to the book as well. It just isn't my favorite Donofrio.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I enjoyed the read, but had some problems with it. Some of it seemed to espouse the typical baby boomer Catholicism: if it makes me feel good I'll believe it, and if it doesn't then the rules don't apply to me. Second, the author admits over and over again that she worships Mary and that is not truly Catholicism anyway. I did like her reflections about her past with her son and the realization about her selfishness through the years. I think we will all have to battle selfishness all our lives, I enjoyed the read, but had some problems with it. Some of it seemed to espouse the typical baby boomer Catholicism: if it makes me feel good I'll believe it, and if it doesn't then the rules don't apply to me. Second, the author admits over and over again that she worships Mary and that is not truly Catholicism anyway. I did like her reflections about her past with her son and the realization about her selfishness through the years. I think we will all have to battle selfishness all our lives, so I could relate to that aspect of the novel. I also enjoyed reading details about Medjugorje even though the apparitions there have not been approved by the Vatican.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This is the best book I've read that introduces a vital part of the Catholic Church--the Virgin Mary. It's a frank autobiography of Beverly Donofrio's journey about finding God and experiencing the unexplainable. Some of the book may include foreign and questionable concepts for those outside the faith but I think it's still cool to read if you want to learn. This is the best book I've read that introduces a vital part of the Catholic Church--the Virgin Mary. It's a frank autobiography of Beverly Donofrio's journey about finding God and experiencing the unexplainable. Some of the book may include foreign and questionable concepts for those outside the faith but I think it's still cool to read if you want to learn.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judith Shadford

    I know Bev, so there's that. She writes well, lots of energy, lots of truth-telling. Some of the mariolatry is hard to take--but her experiences are hers--and I do not doubt them. The cumulation of looking for, collecting, moving toward Mary is that Beverly regained peace and integrity and a relationship with her son that is wholly convincing. Maybe I should get me a rosary... I know Bev, so there's that. She writes well, lots of energy, lots of truth-telling. Some of the mariolatry is hard to take--but her experiences are hers--and I do not doubt them. The cumulation of looking for, collecting, moving toward Mary is that Beverly regained peace and integrity and a relationship with her son that is wholly convincing. Maybe I should get me a rosary...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I liked it... Wasn't as good as Riding In Cars, but I liked it. I liked it... Wasn't as good as Riding In Cars, but I liked it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Anne

    Riding around Europe with Mary. And other places, too. As she turns forty, Donofrio -- like so many women in her age bracket -- has a crisis of meaning. For whatever reason, she becomes obsessed with the BVM and starts collecting images of her. Given that she's a self-described "lapsed Catholic," this behavior is actually pretty sensible, as mid-life crises go. But as she ruminates on her life choices thus far, Donofrio finds herself drawn more and more to the BVM, though not necessarily faith. At Riding around Europe with Mary. And other places, too. As she turns forty, Donofrio -- like so many women in her age bracket -- has a crisis of meaning. For whatever reason, she becomes obsessed with the BVM and starts collecting images of her. Given that she's a self-described "lapsed Catholic," this behavior is actually pretty sensible, as mid-life crises go. But as she ruminates on her life choices thus far, Donofrio finds herself drawn more and more to the BVM, though not necessarily faith. At least, at first. Or not? By the end of the tale Donofrio is at peace with her choices and has found a way to move forward that works for her. The angst of getting there, however, will seem tedious to anyone who has not had a similar experience. Luckily, there are a LOT of searching, middle-aged women out there, and they are the target audience. Women with children who have always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood will, in particular, find solace here. The reader learns a lot about Mary and a lot about Donofrio as her seeking path twists and turns into some very dark, sad places. All in all, it's a solid read for the right reader, as well as for anyone who liked Donofrio's previous book and its accompanying film, Riding Around in Cars With Boys. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    This book just wasn’t what I thought it would be. Being a Catholic myself I just couldn’t relate to her at all. Her obsession with Mary goes so far beyond it almost seems like idolatry. She flat out says she loves and worships her more then Jesus. I get the need of the mother to help her as she struggled with motherhood but it became her total focus and although she seems to think she’s matured by the end of this journey, I have to disagree with her still needing her yoga meditation and going to This book just wasn’t what I thought it would be. Being a Catholic myself I just couldn’t relate to her at all. Her obsession with Mary goes so far beyond it almost seems like idolatry. She flat out says she loves and worships her more then Jesus. I get the need of the mother to help her as she struggled with motherhood but it became her total focus and although she seems to think she’s matured by the end of this journey, I have to disagree with her still needing her yoga meditation and going to palm readers for signs. I love Mary because she doesn’t want to be the center. She doesn’t want us to worship her. She always wants to lead you to her Son. That’s the true beauty of Mary! That she said yes to God. She is like a model Christian to follow in example. Love and respect her even through the rosary but my heart & soul belong to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If your looking for a book on theology or Catholicism this is not the book for you. It’s simply a biography and journey of this authors life. Another warning is she likes to drop heavy cuss words. Didn’t find that appropriate either.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I can't get behind this author's alleged love for Mary, while simultaneously taking loud, dissonant and exceedingly-played out issue with the very things Mary is continuously gesturing to-- her Son, and the Church. Her "devotion" reads painfully hollow, because she never stops qualifying it with things she takes issue with (mostly men, especially men in positions of power...*yawn*). Her profoundly childish, self-centered, ludicrously immature approach to life is never tempered with the catharsis I can't get behind this author's alleged love for Mary, while simultaneously taking loud, dissonant and exceedingly-played out issue with the very things Mary is continuously gesturing to-- her Son, and the Church. Her "devotion" reads painfully hollow, because she never stops qualifying it with things she takes issue with (mostly men, especially men in positions of power...*yawn*). Her profoundly childish, self-centered, ludicrously immature approach to life is never tempered with the catharsis of orthodoxy. This memoir reads like she's humble-bragging her greatest hits of horrible decision making, which would be compelling if she didn't spend the entire book also challenging myriad aspects of the very institution that Our Lady herself draws humanity to. News to Bev-- you can't amputate Catholicism from Our Lady and then pretend that your distortion is anything but a reflection of frail human fear and ego. I do not recommend this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sally Starin

    Now I understand what a "confessional" author looks like. While this book may have served as the author's catharsis, I kind of enjoyed it. A very limited market for this book must exist. Maybe only MARY Ann kelly and I Now I understand what a "confessional" author looks like. While this book may have served as the author's catharsis, I kind of enjoyed it. A very limited market for this book must exist. Maybe only MARY Ann kelly and I

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cortney

    I'm not sure I'd have finished this if it wasn't for a book club. The writing feels choppy to me and sometimes disconnected. Ultimately though, I think the ending clears up the book and wraps a nice ribbon on a story that is less about Mary and more about motherhood. I'm not sure I'd have finished this if it wasn't for a book club. The writing feels choppy to me and sometimes disconnected. Ultimately though, I think the ending clears up the book and wraps a nice ribbon on a story that is less about Mary and more about motherhood.

  21. 4 out of 5

    dejah_thoris

    Spoke to my soul. I also feel like I understand my own mother and her shortcomings a bit better. Thank you Mother Mary for loving the world. Donofrio is a feminist questioning the Church throughout this book, so I found her spiritual development really compelling.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Luzzi

    I fell across this book by accident. I related to this book in so many ways and am so glad I got to read this book. I will think of it often.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    loved it. I could have been Beverly in a lot of ways. Similar path. I adore the Blessed Virgin and even though i left Catholicism behind, i still honour Her as a Goddess.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Dines

    “Don’t worry; pray.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    marilyn flower

    I learned a lot from all the Mary info and the Mary sittings background. sometimes we actively look and sometimes it finds us!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liana

    3.5. Appreciate the writing style.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    At the midpoint of her life, after numerous experiences that had left her with a tough facade and an emptiness inside, Beverly Donofrio seemingly stumbled onto her quest for "Mary," the mother who could love unconditionally, and who could teach her to be a better mother for her grown son Jason. Love had disappointed her over and over, and because she had become a mother herself at seventeen, when she had never wanted to be a mother at all, the road to finding love, and ultimately discovering hers At the midpoint of her life, after numerous experiences that had left her with a tough facade and an emptiness inside, Beverly Donofrio seemingly stumbled onto her quest for "Mary," the mother who could love unconditionally, and who could teach her to be a better mother for her grown son Jason. Love had disappointed her over and over, and because she had become a mother herself at seventeen, when she had never wanted to be a mother at all, the road to finding love, and ultimately discovering herself, had been a long, futile, and winding one. Somewhat serendipitously, the journey began when she found an old framed postcard of the Virgin Mary at a yard sale. Her "kitschy" collection grew into something of a shrine until one day, the search expanded, leading her on a pilgrimage, beginning in the Bosnian holy city of Medjugorje and ending in Mexico. My favorite parts of this story were the "flashbacks," in which we learned more about the author and her life leading up to this point in time. I had read parts of that story in her first book, "Riding in Cars with Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good," and could relate to this rebellious girl who persisted in following her dreams, despite the obstacles along the way. It seems completely normal to want more than a life as a teen wife and mother, and feeling trapped and frustrated would be a natural consequence. I liked how she persisted toward her dream, and the fact that she afterward realized that she might have "neglected" her son along the way makes her human and flawed, like the rest of us. Her overwhelming guilt was a by-product of how she grew up. Searching for something to appease the guilt seems logical and inevitable. "Looking for Mary: (Or, the Blessed Mother and Me) (Compass)" is Donofrio's story of that journey, complete with flashbacks of the life that led her on the quest, and how she ultimately transformed that life from darkness into light. Four stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sally Ewan

    Donofrio went to Medjugorje when she was 40, investigating the appearances of Mary for NPR. As she talks about her experiences on the pilgrimage and recounts other miracles involving Mary, she weaves in her own life stories and her relationships with men and with her son. To sum it up, she comes away with a renewed appreciation for Mary's love and peace and sees it as transformative for herself and others. This book reminded me of Anne Lamott's writings, because both women have very definite opi Donofrio went to Medjugorje when she was 40, investigating the appearances of Mary for NPR. As she talks about her experiences on the pilgrimage and recounts other miracles involving Mary, she weaves in her own life stories and her relationships with men and with her son. To sum it up, she comes away with a renewed appreciation for Mary's love and peace and sees it as transformative for herself and others. This book reminded me of Anne Lamott's writings, because both women have very definite opinions about religion and what it should look like. (Yes, I'm sure they would say the same thing about me!) What I can't understand is their disregard for the Bible, preferring instead to make up their own ideas about God and how He should be viewed and worshipped, fighting for women's rights and careers even when it is clear that the dogged pursuit has damaged her relationships. What I DID like was the way that God's love is at work all the time, everywhere, and I am reminded to be open to that. A quote I liked, as she talks about taking a hike that seemed ultimately disappointing. "As I was about to turn and head back down, I heard a loud squawk and looked up. There in front of me beyond the pile of stones was a magnificent view of the valley, rolling down below: A red farmhouse, tiny black-and-white cows dotting a meadow, and the sun disappearing in a blaze of magenta behind a distant hill. I sat down on a rock and wept, aware that this was a moment when God was speaking to me. "I had assumed the worst. I'd been suspicious and dissatisfied, ignoring the beauty of the forest around me, focused on the sun, which I could not get to. I'd been so angry I'd almost missed the view when I'd finally reached it. I'd done this even though I knew that the journey is everything. Even though I'd caught myself many times before this seeing the glass as half-empty--caught myself and promised not to do it again."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicolette Froelicher

    Did not want the book to end! Sad that I am finished reading it. I will forever remember this book and it is now one of my top books I will always keep with me! Love Beverly Donofrio!

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