Saint Mother Theodore children’s book awarded
Mary K. Doyle has written many books. But she had never attempted to write a children’s book.
However, her first one, “Saint Theodora and her Promise to God,” was recently honored by placing fourth in a contest conducted by the Catholic Press Association.
The book was published in 2013 in collaboration by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., and Holly Kondras, President of WISH Publishing, Terre Haute.
“We got it published through Holly’s ties,” Sister Mary Ryan, Sisters of Providence archivist, said. “She made all the connections. She took the bull by the horns and got it done.”
Plans for the book were etched in stone by Sister Mary a handful of years ago. She started working as the sisters’ archivist one year before Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was canonized.
“I thought we should have a children’s book on Saint Mother Theodore,” Sister Mary said. “Linden Leaf Gifts manager Debbie Victor said people had been coming in asking for a book for children. I call this my eight-year project. It is kind of my pride and joy.”
When the idea came up for the children’s book, Sister Mary contacted Doyle, who has worked with the sisters in the past.
Doyle received her master’s degree in pastoral theology from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and has written other religious books, including writing the foreword and afterword of “The Eighth American Saint,” by Katherine Burton, a book on Saint Mother Theodore, which was published in 2007.
Doyle has also written, “Seven Principles of Sainthood: Following St. Mother Theodore Guerin,” which was published in 2008, and also attended the canonization of Saint Mother Theodore.
“Sister Mary asked me to write the book,” Doyle said. “The sisters wanted a children’s book and I am honored they believed I could accomplish this for them.”
“She was just so excited,” Sister Mary added.
“I call many of the sisters my friends,” Doyle said. “This also is my first time collaborating with anyone. One of the greatest benefits for me was working with the sisters. I have tremendous respect and love for these women.”
The book was illustrated by Brownsburg resident Phil Velikan. Sister Mary said a handful of individuals were contacted to offer illustrations for the book. Each were given the first two pages of script and asked to put together illustrations. The sisters and a committee that was formed regarding the book chose Velikan.
“His illustrations … we loved them,” Sister Mary said. “They are so child-friendly.”
Doyle’s book, “Mentoring Heroes,” won a National Publishers Freedom award certificate for excellence. In addition, “Young in the Spirit,” which was also published last year, won an honorable mention from The Great Midwest Book Festival and also an honorable mention from the Catholic Press Association.
According to Doyle, the contest is open to all Catholic publishers in the United States and Canada. Entries, she said, are judged by a panel of Catholic professionals and all awarded receive a certificate.
A total of 12 books were nominated in the Children’s Book category of the Catholic Book Awards.