Looking for Mary is far from a sterile story of devotion, but is instead the rambling, real-life journey of a woman who I couldn’t help but relate with. Full of thorny relationships and with a heart that was ravaged by her life, Beverly Donofrio finds herself intrigued by the Blessed Mother. First, she is just interested in images, and she collects them around her house. Then, after a series of decisions and choices that seem to be unrelated, she decides to visit Medjugorje, the Bosnian village where the Blessed Mother has been allegedly appearing since 1981, for a radio documentary on NPR.
It is in Medjugorje that Beverly becomes a believer, but not in the cookie-cutter, uncritical sense. Donofrio rebels against the craziness she sees in the others, and although she sees the spinning sun, smells roses, and experiences miracles, she remains true to what becomes her down-to-earth relationship with Mary. She experiences conversion of heart, and she begins to pray the Rosary.
Her story is inspiring to those of us who have made mistakes in our lives, who have made decisions we regret, and who have been living with consequences that seem too hard. Looking for Mary encouraged me to begin praying the Rosary daily, and I have found in that devotion a comfort I now find cannot live without.
I also really liked this book. I read it some years ago and remember the memories of how she raised her son as being particularly painful although the current day reflections were quite inspiring.
I need to reread this I think. Thanks for the reminder.
I liked it so much, I have given away at least three copies. I recommended it to a lot of people enthusiastically. I then overheard one person telling another that she was SHOCKED at the language, and I had to bite my lip to stifle back my laughter. There are people who would not want to hang around me AT ALL when I am worked up. I marked her down as one of them. It spoke to me of coming home, though, and it really touched my heart. Glad you enjoyed it too and hope you enjoy the reread as much as the first time through.
I enjoyed this book several years ago. I published the following review of it in Bas Bleu magazine:
An angry lapsed Catholic suffering a mid-life crisis is an unusual guide for a spiritual journey. Yet with sharp humor, keen insight, and brutal honesty Beverly Denofrio lays bare her soul’s journey back to faith. She carries a lot of baggage– teenage motherhood, an abusive relationship, an estranged son. Whether by chance or by divine intervention she is pulled to rediscover the Virgin Mary. She struggles with the fear that her growing devotion is turning her into one of those detestable religious fanatics. Still she follows Mary to Medjugorje Yugoslavia. There, in a very unsaintly fashion she finds reconciliation and direction. I couldn’t wait to finish the book but as I read the last page I was nagged by the sense that the story wasn’t finished. Then again, I suppose spiritual journeys never are.
That’s really a great take, Catholic Mom, and I enjoyed yoru review.