Interview with Colleen Pressprich

Last month, my 10 year old daughter, Rosie, and I were able to review a new children’s book, The Women Doctors of the Church!  Not only did we receive a copy of the book to review, we were also blessed to interview the author, Colleen Pressprich. We had a delightful conversation and what follows is the results of the interview. Rosie played an integral part in creating our questions and conducting the interview. She also helped me write up this summary. Rosie hopes to someday become a writer so this was a fantastic opportunity for her to spend time with a real life author and learn more about the process of writing a book, finding inspiration and getting published. We are so thankful to Colleen for taking the time to talk with us about her fabulous book.


How did you get the idea for this book?

These women are some of my favorite saints. I really wanted my daughters to learn about these 4 amazing women. When I went to look for books about them, I couldn’t find any! I decided to write one because, “I want my girls and other girls to get to meet these ladies before they’re adults.”

Why did you choose to talk about the 4 women Doctors of the Church? Why not 4 other female saints or martyrs?

“I chose these 4 women because I think they are incredibly strong and capable.” There are 37 Doctors of the Church but only 4 are women so this is a special group. I am hoping that by highlighting these women and bringing them forward then more young girls and the Church as a whole will begin to consider more women saints as candidates for the title, “Doctor of the Church.” There are many important women saints who have changed the Church that could be on this list someday.

I (Rosie) learned more about what it means and takes to become a Doctor of the Church. Mrs. Pressprich explained that you have to be known throughout the whole Church, not just the area you lived in. You also had to write a lot! And, your writings had to effect the whole Church.

Which Doctor of the Church is your favorite? Why?

I actually have 2. Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. I first met Teresa of Avila in college when I read Interior Castle. I felt like Teresa was writing especially to me. I loved that she was writing directly to women and that all the pronouns in her writing are “she” and “her.” I also liked that she was, “a little bit spicy, and feisty and sarcastic.” At first, I didn’t think I would like Therese of Lisieux very much. She seemed too obedient. But then, as I got to know her, I realized how hard it is to really live her Little Way well. To run back to God right away each time you sin, forget to pray, or mess up. “Therese challenges me.”

Which Doctor of the Church did you know the least about when you began researching your book?

I knew the least about Hildegard. She was the only one I hadn’t read any of her writings or books on before I started researching. 

I (Rosie) knew the least about Hildegard too. Before this, I didn’t even know there was a Hildegard of Bingen! Because of this book, now I know that anyone can receive visions, even little girls. I also have learned that just because it hasn’t been done before it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Hildegard, with the pope’s permission, went around Europe preaching to many people which was unheard of for a woman in her time period.

We love all the illustrations! Can you tell us about your relationship with Adalee Hude? Did you collaborate on the pictures and flowers or did you work separately?

Adalee Hude is one of my favorite artists. I was so happy when Our Sunday Visitor was open to working with Adalee and that she didn’t have a project already happening at the time. We emailed back and forth about the illustrations and we worked closely with one another to create the book. 

How did you start writing? Is this your first book? Do you have more books coming?

I always liked writing and have had a blog before. I started writing online when I was a missionary and we had to keep an online journal about our experiences. I began to write a book when I was looking for a book about Marian Consecration for families. My oldest daughter was young and asking lots of questions about Jesus. When I couldn’t find anything, my husband said, “Well you know how to write. Why don’t you write it?”

This is my second book. My first is called Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children. I also have a Stations of the Cross booklet. I have a Jesse Tree book coming out next Christmas and a devotional about the Father Heart of God for families. Both of those books will be out next year.


This interview was a great experience. Mrs. Pressprich was a delight to talk to about her book and we can’t wait to read more from her.

Below is Rosie’s bio since she wrote this just as much as I did. I’m so proud of her!

Rosie Taliaferro is ten years old and second child of six. She attends St. Mary’s Parish Catholic School near Wichita, KS. She enjoys reading and learning new things. She plays the violin and piano. She would like to be a writer someday.

When You Don’t Know What to Pray For

I am stuck. I don’t know what to pray for in this particular situation and it is uncomfortable, to put it mildly. Have you ever been unsure of what to pray for? It’s more than apathy, or not caring about what comes from the situation. I genuinely don’t know what I want from this moment in time.

Let me back up. As you know, Ben is in the military which means we move a fair amount. Actually, we have moved less often than many of our peers. This has been a blessing but it’s catching up with us for Ben’s career. We are looking at another move this coming summer, putting us at a brief 2.5 years in Kansas compared to the 4+ in both California and Texas. The upcoming move is poised to be an even quicker turn around. Ben is eligible for a leadership school which is a fantastic opportunity. However, it means we move…somewhere…for a year. Then move again.

From where we stand today, it looks like we have 2 possible options.

  1. Do the move. Pack everyone up, move to a new place for a single year, knowing we will be moving again. The moves would be during the summers, so at least the kids would have some consistency in school. I do not know at this point if we would go back to homeschooling for that year or keep them in traditional school. That’s a whole other issue. But we would all be together.
  2. Don’t move. Ben goes, we stay. The kids can continue at our local parish school which has brought so, so many blessings to our family. They have some continuity with friends, location, activities, etc. We have found so much good here, I am extremely sad to think that this is going to be such a short duty station for them compared to previous. But wow, Ben goes. That means Ben is an airplane ride away (based on the current information we have). He would be able to come home only as we have funds for him to fly, the military will not pay for any of those visits.

So….right. How to pray in this situation. I truly don’t know what I want. I don’t want to move knowing how brief it will be. I do not want Ben to miss the majority of a year of time with us, especially when it’s of our own choosing.

We don’t have to make any decisions yet, and we still need to be informed of where he would be attending school. That particular detail – the location – is going to be a big factor of this decision process. We don’t get to choose that part, however, the Air Force will tell us where we are going. What do I pray for? The locations we would want to move everyone to? The locations we would not?

I’m sure others have been in similar situations. You want to get the job but it means leaving good friends and coworkers. You desperately need a snow day but don’t want to shovel (just me?). Someone has to die for your family member to receive a life-saving transplant. Whether serious or otherwise, there are genuinely times when we just don’t know what we ultimately want to happen.

I have had to step back and recognize that, in the end, it’s not supposed to be about what I want. I want a lot of things, cheesecake and yarn included, but that doesn’t mean I always get them or actually need them. In this particular situation, what I want doesn’t actually matter because I have no influence over the situation. I can’t call up the Air Force and let them know how I desire things to play out. It’s in God’s hands, not mine.

Which means I need to change my prayers. I could say, “I don’t know what I want so there’s no point in praying about it until the Air Force gives us more information, then I’ll think about it.” But this is a lie perfectly planted by the devil himself. St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We shouldn’t put God on hold until x, y, or z falls into place. Or worse, come to the conclusion that God is only worth praying to if x, y, or z happens.

I may not know what I want, but God knows what I need. Instead of praying for what I want to happen, I have been trying to root all my prayers in Jesus’ prayer:

Not my will, but Yours be done

Luke 22:42

This situation isn’t about me, though it affects me. This is bigger. It is about where God desires our family for the next year. The people we will interact with, the blessings we can offer others, the blessings others are called to share with us. By pulling myself back and checking my emotions, I am slowly becoming more peaceful about the phone call that will, fingers crossed, hopefully be coming to Ben soon. Whatever God is calling our family to next will be hard, but I trust it is going to be God’s will for our family. He will continue to provide for us as He always has.

I have only come to this place of peace because of Adoration. We are blessed with a 24-hour Adoration chapel at our parish. Whenever we are at the chapel, aside from Sundays for whatever the reason, Gabe, our 3 year old, asks if we can stop in. We only spend a few minutes, but those minutes add up. No matter the time spent, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is powerful. I am so thankful for these minutes and that it is Gabe who has drawn me into that quiet space. It was there I felt those simple, hard words resonate within me.

Perhaps what God is calling you to next will be hard. Maybe you don’t know what you want next from a present situation. That just means that He is already preparing the grace you need to shower upon you as you set forth into that new place. Join your voice with Jesus’. Allow your desires and wants to diminish as you gaze upon God’s loving face. As it is Advent, this is a fantastic season to spend time in Adoration. Run to God, open your hands and let Him see you know know what you want next. Let Him remove that burden of choice from you and allow His Will to become your true desire.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Rorate Coeli ~ Advent Music Review

Advent has always been one of my favorite liturgical seasons. The music, in particular, is something I look forward to each year. I love how mindful our Church has been throughout the centuries to safeguard and celebrate certain passages, melodies and refrains that hold special significance for the various liturgical seasons. I was so happy to be able to receive a copy of Rorate Cœli: Marian Sounds of Advent from The Monks of Clear Creek

This CD was recorded at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. It is a series of chants that come from different liturgical moments throughout Advent and the Mass the Vigil of Christmas, that being Mass in the morning on Dec. 24. The “Rotate Cœli” which the CD is named after, is heard during the Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin in Advent. The text is taken from Isaiah’s lament over the destruction of Jerusalem while keeping our eyes fixed on the promise of God’s salvation. The refrain is specifically Isaiah 45:8:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

I found this image to be striking. The introduction to the CD, written by Abbot Philip Anderson, reflects that, “It is through Our Lady that the Dew of God in Person finally came down from Heave to fulfill the longings of the prophets of old.” Jesus, the gentle Dew of God. It reminded me of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 where God passes by the cave. Not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake and not in the fire. It was at the lightest wisp of breeze that brought Elijah to his knees before his Lord and God. Jesus didn’t come to earth on the backs of wild horses or flaming chariots. He wasn’t born in a palace or a cultural center. He came, meek and mild, as the dew we often don’t even remark upon or notice. The simplicity of chant mingles with the complexity of what is sung about. It never ceases to cause me to pull away from the demands of my day and to rest in those few moments of peace and prayer. 

As someone who loves to learn, I was so happy to find the booklet that came in the CD to be full of information. Not only are all the chants written out in Latin, but it also includes English and French translations. Additionally, the majority of the translations are also accompanied with an explanation of when the chant is typically sung, a few comments about key notes, chords, or phrases to listen for and how this chant connects to the others in the set. While these chants are beautiful and mediative on their own, their richness comes alive when you journey through them with the booklet to guide you and inform your ear to the subtleties built into the music.

Though Advent isn’t upon us just yet, still a few days to go, I am already making plans to be listening to this CD as part of our daily drive to school. My kids and I have listened through it as I prepared to write this review and there is a definite difference in the overall tone of the car from when we listened to chant and when we did not. Adding chant to our usual day may become a permanent thing. I will definitely be looking to the monks at Clear Creek for more peaceful and thoughtful chants to expand our collection.

If you haven’t yet, this is a great time to visit my previous blog post which has the Advent Journals for this year. Again, these are totally free to you and anyone whom you choose to share them with. I hope they bring you blessings and peace this Advent season.