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.