My Cup of Tea


Daughters of St. Paul, 2005 Paperback (5″ x 7″) 180 pages. $15.95

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Although many excellent books have been published about the teaching of John Paul II on marriage and the family, excellent books about how to apply this teaching and put it into practice on a daily basis are more difficult to find. Enter Danielle Bean. She is not a theologian, and this book is not an elaboration on how the family is an icon of the Trinity. Rather, it is about what such lofty ideals imply in the daily struggles of raising a large family in a hostile world. Bean takes on the gamut of obstacles that a mother faces–everything from dirty diapers to terminal illness. But the book is not only for hard-pressed mothers who look for light or yearn for solidarity in their trials. Counselors and spiritual directors who sympathize with their plight will find solid and specific advice on how to console them. In her essays, Bean is conscious of God’s superintending providence: she focuses on the positive side of the setbacks she faces, and manages to draw universal lessons from personal experience without ever being preachy. Her captivating style makes these edifying reflections a pleasure to read. What is perhaps most striking about My Cup of Tea is that the author has forgotten herself. Although she candidly admits her faults and is never boastful, it is clear that her life is not her own. Her joy and consolation is the joy and consolation of her children. It is this gift of self, which is at the center of John Paul II’s teaching on marriage and the family, that this book will inspire its readers to attain.

— First Things

Bean writes of many things we all experience, from spending Sunday Mass at the back of the church with a baby, to organizing the family’s Christmas photo with five children perfectly posed. Her reflections on family life are touching and insightful and encouraging to all mothers. Through her stories of children and family, she makes us realize the gift God has given us as mothers, and does so in a delightful way. This book is a good read for all mothers needing a little comfort, a little refreshment and a little humour in their day.

— Susanne Munro, Editor, Catholic Mother Magazine

Danielle Bean’s new book, My Cup of Tea – Musings of a Catholic Mom is a refreshing look at what those relationships are meant to be. Danielle has the gentle heart of a true mother, and I found her book totally refreshing and uplifting. She has the most amazing way of capturing things in words – the ‘preciousness’ of children, the ‘tenderness’ of a mother’s love, the little moments of spiritual communion between her children and herself.

I laughed out loud as her normally ‘mousy’ personality is transformed by the ‘Mama Bear’ agressiveness of a mother protecting her child, willing even to tackle a group of teenagers! (Brave Mama Bear!) And my eyes filled with tears when her little 5 year old son, after a painful period of “Don’t kiss me, Mom!” declared he’d rather date her than some other woman…

Danielle has a wisdom beyond her years, coming not from books but from lived love, as she raises and homeschools her six children. The only book I’ve read in years which I would call ‘beautiful’.

— Holly Pierlot, author of A Mother’s Rule of Life

A woman can be an outstanding lawyer, doctor, or executive and still be a failure as a person. But a woman cannot be an outstanding mother and a failure as a person. Thus, the vocation of motherhood can fulfill a woman in a way that no profession can. My Cup of Tea illustrates this truth in a concrete and good-humored way, offering a wonderful antidote to the destructive undervaluing of motherhood in our culture. Danielle Bean, a mother of six young children, three boys and three girls, is a gifted writer. To all of us familiar with her monthly columns in the National Catholic Register, this book is a welcome collection. With charming warmth and freshness, she captures eloquently the beauty, simplicity, and grace-filled character of every day life in a happy family. This work is destined to bring consolation and encouragement to the many beleaguered mothers and fathers struggling to pass on the Catholic faith to the next generation.

These adventures of Mrs. Bean are spiritually uplifting without being preachy. Instead of complaining about her motherly stresses, frustrations, hardships, and crosses, she laughs at them, and invites the reader to laugh along with her. One reads some of her pages with hilarity, others with a lump in the throat. Every chapter will bring a flash of recognition to Catholic moms: “Yes, I know that feeling! I’ve been there.” Every episode is a morale booster for an audience sorely in need of knowing they are not alone and that someone understands and can articulate the nobility of motherhood.

This book is not just for moms, however. I am not a mother and I found every one of the 30 short chapters delightful and edifying. Reading My Cup of Tea will help husbands better appreciate their wives. Priests can draw from it an understanding of the sacrifices and joys of modern married life that will help them counsel the faithful. Each chapter is only a few pages long-the perfect length for a busy mom or a busy priest.

Although hard to put aside, My Cup of Tea was not meant to be read at one sitting. That would be like trying to visit the Louvre on a speeding motorcycle, or trying to consume 30 exquisite desserts at one sitting. You’ll get indigestion even if the portions are small. No. You must savor this work. Limit yourself to one reflection per day. Make yourself a cup of tea, relax, and enjoy.

— Homiletic and Pastoral Review