sisters of the last straw

Sabbath Rest Book Talk/Open Book [June 2018]

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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The aforementioned Carolyn also joins me every month for Sabbath Rest Book Talk.

JUNE’S THEME: FORTITUDE

Sunday, June 3 at 7pm Eastern

Theme: Fortitude

hcfm_hendey_headshotSpecial Guest: Lisa Hendey, author of CHIME TRAVELERS

Lisa Hendey is the founder of http://www.CatholicMom.com and the author of several books including A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, The Grace of Yes and the Chime Travelers children’s fictions series. Lisa hosts two podcasts and is a frequent radio and television guests. She speaks and writes internationally and resides in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Join us this month as we discuss:

Theme: Fortitude

Discuss FORTITUDE in DYING FOR COMPASSION by Barbara Golder on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubDying for Compassion (The Lady Doc Murders Book 2) by Dr. Barbara Golder

GIVEAWAY: COMMENT ON JUNE’S SRBT by June 30 and be entered to win a paperback copy of DYING FOR COMPASSION (North American mailing addresses only)

What happens to a new love when an old one appears to claim first rights to a man and a marriage?  Just as Telluride Medical Examiner Jane Wallace and Irish writer Eoin Conner take their first steps toward romance, Eoin’s beautiful wife Fiona arrives to resume her long-abandoned life with Eoin. When Eoin discovers that Fiona was responsible for the denial of their annulment, he returns to Ireland to find the proof to free him to marry Jane. After Fiona is found dead in her hotel room, Eoin is indicted for her murder.  Unwilling to leave the matter solely in the hands of Irish authorities, Jane goes to Ireland to follow the evidence wherever it leads. She leaves behind a tangle of problems in Telluride, where it is left to her trusted friend Father Matt to unravel the mysteries at home, unaware that they hold the key to Jane’s mystery abroad.

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Discuss FORTITUDE in SHANE by Jack Schaeffer on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubShane by Jack Schaefer

In this true Western classic Jack Schaefer tells the story of a mysterious stranger who finds himself in the Wyoming Territory joining local homesteaders in their fight to keep their land and avoid the intimidating tactics of cattle driver Luke Fletcher. While trying to leave his gunslinging days behind him, the mysterious stranger, Shane, is tested by Fletcher and his men. In Shane, Schaefer executes a perfect Western narrative while exploring the overarching themes of virtue, the human condition, and a man’s search for self.

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Discuss FORTITUDE in THE SISTERS OF THE LAST STRAW by Karen Kelly Boyce on Sabbath Rest Book Talk #live #video #bookclubSisters of the Last Straw 1: The Case of the Haunted Chapel by Karen Kelly Boyce

GIVEAWAY: COMMENT ON JUNE’S SRBT by June 30 and be entered to win a paperback copy of SISTERS OF THE LAST STRAW #1 (US mailing addresses only)

The Sisters of the Last Straw and the Case of the Haunted Chapel is the first in a series of children’s books that convey the fun-filled story of a group of misfit nuns. These sisters and their madcap adventures teach the importance of tolerance and forgiveness. Each book focuses on the virtues of Gospel living and the frailties of human nature. While children delight in the humor and fast-paced exploits of this special group of nuns, they learn the need to be forgiving of the faults of others and to look for the good in all people. Children are enchanted and entertained with the humorous escapades of the characters while learning the importance of basic Christian values, growth, and love.A1PlaceHolder

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The Sisters and I! A Guest Post from Karen Kelly Boyce

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear from today’s guest, Karen Kelly Boyce.


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The Sisters and I!

Last week I found myself sitting with a group of fallen Catholics. We were instructed to go around the table and talk about our faith in God. The first woman announced that she was an atheist – an intellectual. She claimed her education did not allow her to believe in a fairy tale-like God. Then she went into a tirade about how the nuns in her grammar school abused her and were responsible for her loss of faith. Her cover of intellectualism quickly turned to a revelation of anger as the true source of her lack of faith.

As we went around the table, the theme continued as an attack on the nuns. The poor Sisters were blamed as a cause or excuse for not attending church or believing in a Supreme Being. Years ago, I might have been hesitant to reveal my deep faith in God and my devotion to the Catholic Church. Luckily, that is no longer the case. I silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and found myself announcing that I was sure there was a God because He has worked so many miracles in my life. Looking around at the shocked faces around me, I told them that I read my Bible and meditate on His word for an hour each morning and that I can hear Him talk to me in my heart. I told them that I have a great peace and sense of love since I have the tenets of the Catholic Church to guide me in all my decisions. I thought the people there would fall off their chairs when I announced that I credit the kindness and loving teaching of the Sisters of Mercy who taught me the deep foundations of the Catholic faith for the joy in my life. After a few minutes of stunned silence, the last man spoke. Apparently a fundamentalist, he reddened with anger and shouted something about man-made laws and eating fish on Friday. Spitting his hatred of the Catholic Church across the table, he attacked me personally and my faith especially. I think my smile made him even angrier. I had to smile. My faith gives me peace and trust in the Holy Spirit to reach those who lack faith. His faith made him angry and more intolerant of Catholics than the atheists around him.

On the trip home I thought about the Sisters who taught me, the Sisters who wore heavy veils and clothing without air conditioning. The Sisters of Mercy packed sixty rowdy children into a small classroom and taught us the wonders of God and His Mother.  They taught us about the saints and the teachings of Jesus. They taught us that we were blessed to be Catholics and in the meantime threw in advanced teachings in English, math, and history. Was I grateful then? No, but I am now.  I was one of those rowdy kids who took every opportunity to be a class clown. I even wrote songs about each nun, singing them to my classmates delight during recess. One day, as I was singing about the flaws of the roughest nun, Sister Mary Jean (the kindest nun) was standing behind me. She quickly corrected me and that was the last song I ever wrote about my teachers. However, God has a sense of humor and knew that I would be writing about the Sisters again!

With hindsight, I now realize the wonderful education and faith that the Sisters of Mercy gifted me. Most of the Sisters were kind, hard-working, and faithful. I remember them with great delight and I am grateful for them. I realize now the sacrifices they made. Yes, they were human and got weary, uncomfortable, and sick. As an adult, I understand that nuns are human beings with virtues and flaws. Perhaps that is why God inspired me to create characters who work hard to overcome their human failings. In my children’s series, Sisters of the Last Straw, Sister Krumbles loves animals and all of God’s creatures but is disorganized and clumsy. Mother Mercy is protective and a born leader but struggles to control her temper. Sister Lovely struggles with addiction but is kind and generous. Sister Lacey is rough and tumble a hard-worker who fights an impulse to ‘cuss’ with silly rhymes and exclamations. Sister Shiny is vain and fussy but keeps the house spotless. Sister Wanda is always getting lost but never loses her gentle personality. All of them are good, all of them human.

I hope the books teach children to be forgiving. I know the series make children laugh. It makes me laugh to think about God’s sense of humor. I’m a senior citizen now, but I haven’t changed much. I am still writing about nuns. However, with an adult faith and trust, I can be much kinder than I was as a child. I can present the Sisters and the faith with truth, humor, and gratitude. It goes to show that what they taught me must be rubbing off.

KBBheadshotKaren Kelly Boyce lives on a farm in New Jersey with her retired husband. She has two grown children and two grandchildren. When she retired as a registered nurse, she rekindled her love of reading and writing. She has written for Canticle and Soul magazines. She has four published novels– According to Thy Word, Into the Way of Peace, Down Right Good and In the Midst of Wolves. The first three have received the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writer’s Guild. Down Right Good received the 2012 Eric Hoffer award for commercial fiction and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal. In the Midst of Wolves has just been published.
When her grandchildren were born, Karen started a children’s series. The Sisters of the Last Straw is a series of humorous mysteries that are solved by a group of misfit nuns. There have been three volumes published by Chesterton PressThe Case of the Haunted Chapel, The Case of the Vanishing Novice, and The Case of the Stolen Rosaries.
Karen is a columnist for the CWG Blog and her column “Writing Tips” appears every Monday. Her personal blog can be found at www.karenkellyboyce.com.

She is currently working on future books while enjoying farming, camping, and road trips with her husband.