Disclaimer: This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Homegrown Faith: Nurturing Your Catholic Family. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Homegrown Faith: Nurturing Your Catholic Family by Heidi Bratton

There are a plethora of “self-help for moms” books on the market today; most are interesting, some are very good, but very few are written by a Catholic mom. It’s not that we’re so different than other moms — we run carpools and sit through soccer practice, act as a taxi service for dance and art classes, help out at our churches and often hold down a job. No, it’s not that we’re so different, rather, it’s that Catholic moms have a different schedule. Our schedule is predicated on the liturgical calendar, the ebb and flow of the feasting and fasting that our Church celebrates.

I was delighted to be offered the chance to review Homegrown Faith: Nurturing Your Catholic Family by Heidi Bratton — it sounded like a perfect read: meditations for nurturing my family in the Faith, using the liturgical cycle as the theme. Just what this particular Catholic mom needs.

Bratton knows of what she speaks — she and her husband are raising their six children in the Catholic Faith while doing all those things American moms do — driving to little league, assisting at Church functions, and working to help the family. [Bratton is an award-winning photographer and author who had already written more than 20 books!]. Sounds like she understands just a bit of what we’re each going through, doesn’t it?

Homegrown Faith: Nurturing Your Catholic Family starts, as the Catholic calendar starts, with Advent, a season that has been secularized and fraught with hectic-ness, but should and could be a season filled with recharging and focusing on the “reason for the season”. Bratton than moves on to the Christmas season and finishes the first section with how to nurture body and soul during the ordinary times of the winter. The book than continues with reflections for Lent and Easter, ordinary time through the summer months and then finishes off with reflections for the fall.

The reader is carried through each week and season of the liturgical year. For each week, there is a meditation or reflection to read based on Bratton’s own life-experiences, anecdotes that focus the reader on the particular time or liturgical event. The story is then followed by suggested actions titled “growing spiritually this week.” These actions help the reader learn more about herself, her family and her faith. Sometimes the activities are reading a particular scripture passage and meditating on it; sometimes there is a more concrete, do this as a family, activity suggested. All of the “growing spiritually” activities sound particularly helpful in living and loving the Catholic faith. These activities are not over the top but actually seem doable amid all the other activities we already do every week.

It is particularly hard to read a book of this type for review: it’s not meant to be read in big chunks, devoured by the reader. Rather, Bratton’s writing is meant to be savored, allowing the thoughts, images and ideas to steep in the mind and soul before moving on to the next. That said, I really like this book. Bratton has a way of showing herself and her foibles, laughing at her mistakes and celebrating her triumphs, that doesn’t turn the reader off. I like that she has set it up to be used for both personal meditation and group prayer. I can see that this would be a great book-club choice … or even for a small group of moms to get together once a month, review the appropriate readings and then come back to together later and discuss what worked and what didn’t.

I plan on using this book starting on the first Sunday of Advent and seeing if it truly does help me nurture my Catholic family. Anyone else want to join me?

I highly recommend this book for young moms and old moms … even for young adult women who are just starting on their adult journey. Thanks, Mrs. Bratton for writing such a gem!

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