Home » Books » Review & Giveaway: Imitating Mary

Who better to imitate than Mary?

Try to imagine for a second how today’s culture would respond to something like Mary’s yes to the angel Gabriel when he came to ask if Mary would bear the Son of God. Would Mary update her Facebook status? Would Gabriel be tweeting the play-by-play? Would the tabloids be filled with dramatic photos of Mary and Gabriel? Or, would the blogosphere be silent, the news networks oblivious? Whatever the case, you can be sure the reaction would be disproportional to the event that changed the course of history forever.

Marge Fenelon, Imitating Mary, from Chapter 1

Fenelon blogtour A 0413

For so many people, she’s inaccessible. It’s something I find again and again as I write and speak and ponder this woman who changed the course of humanity.

You may call her Blessed Mother or Virgin Mary. You may call her Mama or you might just call her Mary. Whatever you call her and wherever you see her, from your garden to your church, from your daily life to your deeper devotion, there’s a new book you should consider a must-read: Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom, by Marge Fenelon.

cover-imitating mary

What Fenelon has done isn’t so remarkable, really. The market is saturated with books on mothering, books on Mary, and books that are lists of things. What this book has that no other book I’ve found has is all of that together: Mary, mothering, and lists.

Did I mention that it’s written in an accessible and down-to-earth style? Within these pages, you won’t be able to help growing closer to Mary…she will breathe from the pages and take shape before you.

Mary had to watch…and wait…and pray, as her Son was falsely accused, given a bogus trial, and then put before a hostile mob for sentencing. What a helpless feeling that must have been! It wasn’t as if Mary could hire a lawyer to plead Jesus’ case, do a little plea bargaining, and negotiate a lighter sentence. There was no defense of Jesus, save that which he could—but would not—offer himself. Did Mary question why her Son wouldn’t speak in his own defense? She knew he was perfectly capable. Not only that, but he could change the entire course of events with the blink of an eye. Can you imagine the suspense, the fretting, the tension that Mary experienced during this time? I can see her standing someplace in the crowd, being jostled back and forth by her Son’s foes. Perhaps some of them recognized her as Jesus’ mother, and cursed and spat on her. Maybe she was even struck a couple of times. Was she muttering, “Jesus, do something!” under her breath? No doubt, at a deeper level, she knew the answer. She knew that Jesus wouldn’t do anything, because there wasn’t anything left to do but follow the heavenly Father’s will.

Marge Fenelon, Imitating Mary, from Chapter 9

The virtues highlighted throughout the book aren’t things that I think I’m naturally good at; they’re definitely things I need to improve. I’m glad I read it before I got caught up in thinking about how far I had to go: each chapter inspired me and made me think more deeply about how very much Mary wants to help me personally, ME.

Throughout the ten chapters of this book, Marge Fenelon makes the Virgin Mary into a real person without subtracting from any of the Blessed Mother’s amazing qualities. Mary becomes a model—not of a distant figure from thousands of years ago, but of a mom like you and me who wants to walk beside us.

This is a book I’ll be sharing and rereading and sharing some more. I only hope you will do the same.

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Nominate an extraordinary mom!

Do you know a mother who exemplifies Mary’s love and devotion? As part of the blog tour for Imitating Mary, Ave Maria Press is sponsoring a contest. Nominate an extraordinary mother you know (or yourself!) to win a copy of Imitating Mary.

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Win a copy by entering here!

And yes, I do have a copy to give away too, as part of the blog tour fun.

Leave a comment with a special memory of you and your mother by Friday, May 3, 7 AM Eastern. 

The fine print: One entry per person, please. You must have a valid email address (filled in on the comment form below), which I promise not to use for anything other than this giveaway (it’s not public after you type it in). You enter the email as part of the comment form–you do not have to include it in the body of your comment. Good luck!


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  • Lorraine Zecchini

    My favorite memories with my mother are ones of us alone. We used to love to go to fairs together and any time they had a booth for time period photos we jumped in! I’ve got pictures of us dressed as cowgirls, princesses, noble women…the list goes on!

  • Monica

    awesome giveaway! 🙂 My favorite memory of my mother and I were all those times when I would go to her for adice about anything. We had the most wondeful and lengthy conversations, she would talk about her childhood memories. I miss and love my mom so much more now, it’s been 2 years since she went to Heaven to be with Jesus and our Blessed Mother, I know she’s watching over my sister and I and still gives us the blessing every morning and evening.

  • melanie jean juneau

    Of course I do not expect to win again but i just wanted to say that Mary came to live in my heart while I still had a Protestant brain. Try living like that for 10 years as a new, slightly guilty Catholic. In spite of my head’s confusion my heart was Hers and as the Medatrix of all Graces, she literally saved, healed and set me free on all levels

  • Karee Santos

    My mom is tough. She never coddled me and never expected less than my best. My two favorite memories of me and my mom center on that toughness she taught me.

    The first happened while we were jogging together — her favorite sport, not mine. As we started up a long hill that got steeper and steeper and longer and longer, I wanted to quit. She asked me, “See that tree up ahead?” “Yeah,” I panted. “You can make it to that tree.” When we made it to the tree, she asked, “See that mailbox up ahead?” “Yeah,” I wheezed painfully. “It’s just a little bit farther. You can make it to that mailbox.” When we made it to the mailbox, she said, “Look, you can see the top of the hill from here. You’ve made it already. There’s no need to stop now.”

    The second memory came from a simple conversation. “Mom, what do you do when you can’t go any farther? When you have nothing left to give?” I wondered. “You take one more step,” she said. In Mom’s opinion, you always had enough left in you to take one more step. And after that, of course, you always had enough left for the next one.

    Whenever I’m tempted to quit carrying my cross, trudging to the top of my hill, or pursuing a goal that seems impossible, I remember my mom. And I have new courage to keep going.

  • Jenny

    One of my favorite memories of me and my mom, is the day she held my son, her first grandchild. I suddenly knew what it was like to be a mother, and appreciated her so much more in having given birth to my own child.

  • TIffany

    Making butterfly wings with her. I had to have been 5 or so and she helped me make this giant pair of butterfly wings out of cardboard for a school play. I was so excited to be a butterfly and get to wear sparkling wings.

  • Robyn

    Pulling over in a field of fresh fallen snow on the side of the road and chasing each other around!

  • Jennifer

    Making banana bread incorporating several recipes and having our prep time and cook time be much longer than anticipated…and laughing as we went along with all of our mishaps…my kids were helping and it was a hoot! We all still talk about it and laugh. And the bread turned out delicious! Whenever I use “our recipe” now I think of her and that special night 🙂

  • Jen Steed

    I remember my mom taking great care to not hurt me when she had to put medicine on when my skin disease was at its worst. I appreciate it much more now that I have little girls of my own…

  • Lynn

    The first memory that pops in my head about my mother would have to be dancing to Jailhouse Rock and Rockin’ Robin in the kitchen! She always took time to have fun, even when there was supper on the stove and yesterdays dishes still piled up!

  • You ask a hard question, as I am not very close to my mom. But one birthday a few years ago she granted me a mom and daughter day. We travelled to some artisans homes and some wineries and had lunch out and nothing hurtful or unkind passed between us. It was the best birthday present ever. We are cut from such different cloths.

  • Elizabeth Desiderato

    My mom was my hero and she still is even though I lost her to cancer almost 13 years ago in May. I hope to be the mother she was to me to my son. I miss her everyday and lean on Mother Mary all the time.

  • Jen @ enterundermyroof

    My earliest memory of me and my mom was when we moved to a new house. I remember sitting in her lap as we met the neighbors, who had two boys my age. She encouraged me to play with them but I felt so much safer in her lap – where I stayed!

  • Joann

    My mother and I spent lots of time together, not in the kitchen for that was her mother’s domain, but crafting and visiting extended family. Reflecting on all that time spent, I have nothing but gratitude. You see, it’s only due to the extreme charity and selflessness of my mother that I was even born. She suffered horribly during and after a surgical procedure a few years before I was conceived. After I was born, she continued to suffer the consequences of that surgery. Not once did I hear her complain about her condition. I am eternally grateful for the gift of life which she gave to me! As she rests now for eternity, I know her reward is great.

  • Erin C.

    My Mom (who I lost to cancer 8 yrs ago) & I were always very close and I have many good memories, most simply talking and enjoying each other’s company. We also enjoyed going to daily Mass together, shopping, berry picking, playing with my nieces & nephews, etc.

  • Pingback: In Joy & Gratitude: Imitating Mary | CatholicMom.com()

  • Melissa

    A special memory I have with my mom is when she came and stayed with me for a couple days after the births of each of my babies. It was such a blessing to have my mother be there to help me and teach me how to be a mother in those first days. I would love to win a copy of this book! It looks great!

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