October 27, 2015

Faith & Suicide Story on WBUR 90.9FM Public Radio Today

‘Everything Is Grace': Looking To Faith For Answers To Suicide 
by Lynn Jolicoeur

This is a story relating faith and suicide. It was aired this morning on WBUR 90.9FM public radio as part of the series, Suicide: A Crisis in the Shadows. You can read the transcript at the link, and you can also click on the white triangle in the blue box and listen a replay.

"Kathleen Laplante wrote a book about how her renewed Catholic faith helped her heal
from her father’s suicide and her own struggle with being suicidal. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)"

I am honored to be included with the other people in this story. I agree with much of what they said, but I do feel the need to clarify that this is a story from different viewpoints. For example, Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan, Bishop John Borders, says he does not think suicide is a mortal sin. The Catholic Church still teaches that it is. I also think none of us knows anyone's final judgment, so the door to hope is left open. That means we should pray for all who have taken their lives by suicide, because God's mercy may be present. We just don't know.

Hope is one of the virtues that psychologically and spiritually brought me back to life after I was challenged with suicidal thoughts for years. It is one of the virtues that helped me recover from my own attempt at suicide several years ago. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we know that hope centers on eternity:

Catechism of the Catholic Church
1817 Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful." "The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life." - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

I am grateful to Lynn Jolicoeur for inviting me to participate in her ongoing series, Suicide: A Crisis in the Shadows. Her perseverance is bringing the different facets of suicide, and the challenges facing survivors who remain behind after a suicide, into new light.

image - http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2015/10/faith-religion-suicide

October 18, 2015

Canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin - and Italian priest Fr. Vincent Grossi and Sister Mary of the Immaculate Conception

From the Manchester, NH, Diocese:

Today [October 18, 2015], Pope Francis will canonize, Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux. They are the first married couple who were not martyrs to be canonized. Their faithful and lifelong witness to being Christian was rooted in relying on God's grace and engaging in the works of mercy.  http://www.catholicnh.org/faith/features/canonization-louis-zelie-martin/


As seen in the image above, Louis and Zelie had several other children, many of whom were called to the religious life. To learn more, go to:


August 30, 2015

Me? Wear A Chapel Veil?

A little over a year ago, I purchased my first mantilla, or chapel veil. No one would have guessed that I would do such a thing, including me. Before I reverted to the Catholic Church in 1997, I was what I call a rugged feminist, along the lines of "No one, especially a man, was going to tell me what to do, women should be allowed to be priests, and the likes." I would have never guessed that I would return to the Catholic Church, never mind start wearing a chapel veil later on.

Of course, there were several years between the two, but it was all good and all in God's timing. Today, I love my mantilla. Years ago when I first came back to the Catholic Church, I could never have imagined wearing one. Chapel veils were for those really "far out Traditionalists," of which I was not one.

Years later, I found myself attracted to mantillas worn by other girls and women attending the Latin Novus Ordo Mass and Divine Office I frequented. I paid attention to the yearning because it happened several times. Eventually, I took it as a calling from God and I decided I was going to purchase one. I foresaw it as an expression of humility before Jesus in the Tabernacle. I saw it as an expression of my femininity, something I rejected while I strayed from the Church. It was a deepening of my love for Christ and I was so ready for these things.

But what color? What shape? What vendor? Some women/girls wore black, some dark purple, a few white, some green. I asked around. What was the meaning of the different colors? The most concrete answer I got was that they used to mean something way back when, but now, they don't really have a meaning.

I wanted to get a white one. Despite the general consensus that colors have no meaning, I imagined that white would have one.  Purity, virginity. Since I had made an attempt at marriage earlier in my life (I have a Decree of Nullity), I wondered if white was appropriate for me, but I eventually found my way to the concept similar to that expressed here, "Renewed Purity for the Non-Virgin."

I decided it fit and I bought a white lace mantilla like the one in this picture.

Here are others.  It is a beautiful thing to develop femininity in young girls. I am not talking about being doormats. I am talking about developing true personal and Christian power from within. It is endearing and empowering at the same time.  

This is tan and black.                                               And white.....

    This is lilac.                                                 And blue....


Some women try to match the color of their chapel veils with the color associated with the current liturgical season.

A Biblical reference for the veil in general, is 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. I like to include all of it.  The excerpt from the NABRE is below... More about this in a future blog entry.

1Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
2I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.
3But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ. 4Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head. 5But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. 6For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.
7A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9nor was man created for woman, but woman for man; 10for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels. 11Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. 12For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God.
13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? 14Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears his hair long it is a disgrace to him, 15whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been give [her] for a covering? 16But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God.

images - https://img1.etsystatic.com/051/1/6823702/il_fullxfull.665161485_ou3g.jpg

July 07, 2015

Eight More Days For Giveaway of My New Book

      Ever wish you knew what goes on in the minds of suicidal people? Unraveling My Father's 
      Suicide is a new, powerful, and easy-reading book that can give you some insight. Kathleen 
      Laplante is the author whose father committed suicide on her twenty-first birthday. She 
      discusses her struggles with that, with her own attempt at suicide, and with life in general. 
      She reveals how her spiritual conversion back to Catholicism helped her find faith and hope.

Join the other 216 people who have entered the 
Goodreads Giveaway 
for my new paperbook, Unraveling My Father's Suicide.
                                          (If you don't have a Goodreads account, you'll have to create
                                                                one (FREE) to register for the drawing. Click here.)

If you don't win the drawing, you can purchase the book at a reasonable price at the following websites:
Amazon (6 reviews)
Barnes & Noble (2 reviews)

And remember to check in on the Facebook Page. Thank you for your prayers and support!


image - https://chrismcmullen.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/giveaway-w.jpg 

July 05, 2015

Beautiful Womanhood

My older son is coming home to visit soon and my mind stepped back in time to when the Empty Nest Syndrome was ruling my roost. I was reminded of when he & his younger brother were steadily in college and not at home. My heart ached - and was elated for them as well. At different times, I experienced different layers of all that is associated with children flying the coop. This time, I reflected back to when I was pregnant. I reflected on the fact that I cannot be and never will be pregnant again. I have gone through menopause, and as many positive things there are about this phase of my life, I rue about what at times feels like a loss of my femininity. No more menstrual cycles, no more pregnancies, no more babies to rear, no more soccer games to attend.  

Many women embrace and are glad about those facts. I, however, still yearn for another child. I want to be vibrantly pregnant again. I want the chance to be less neurotic. In between, I want my menstrual cycle, not only because it signifies that I could get pregnant (God willing), but because it was integral to my womanhood. It provided a cadence to my female life. Without it, I have at times been at a loss about who I am. Of course, the loss has diminished with time, and with prayer and Jesus and the Catholic faith, I have been blessed with the opportunity to expand my development of the word womanhood into later stages of life. 

Given the fact that I was repulsed by and even afraid of my womanhood for so long in my younger years (see my conversion story), this is a miracle of sorts. I love being female. I love being a woman. I love men being men. I love that I can let men be men, unlike my pre-Catholic-conversion when I was angry and usually felt that women got short changed.

Perhaps if my marriage did not end up in divorce, and perhaps if my husband and I had ten+ children, my yearning to have more would have less pull on me. But maybe not. 

My mind will now step back into today where I can appreciate the depth and beauty of God's gift of reminiscing. He truly is amazing.

In JMJ+,

image - http://beautifulwomanhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/BW_logo.png

June 30, 2015

Initial Reviews Are In! Unraveling My Father's Suicide

I have been pleasantly surprised by the reviews shown
below, not only because they are positive, but because
their analytical nature is so insightful for other readers. 
I hope you benefit from reading the book.
      From Amazon.com

This book is a real page turner! The author has poured her heart out in this book and I surely felt it. I want to thank the author for so bravely telling it like it is!!! I started reading this and couldn't put it down until I was done. (I read it in one day.) This is a raw and courageous account of one woman's struggle with depression and coming to terms with her absentee father's suicide. She is able to recount significant memories which allow the reader to feel the pain, loss and disappointment of her family that was endured while her father was alive - and then the magnification and subsequent confusion after his death. The author manages to convey the mental, emotional and spiritual consequences of growing up with(out) a father. The heartbreak, disappointment and confusion that resides in the heart ever day becomes a baseline of thought and feeling that the family cannot escape. It is an emotional, mental, spiritual weight to which the family is anchored with daily sinking reminders. She masterfully weaves in her own memories of her father poignantly throughout the book allowing the reader to feel the story. Her own honest account of her family dysfunction and battle with depression is both heartbreaking and compelling. Such honesty - such truth!!
The author also unselfishly describes her own lifelong battle with depression and her chilling suicide attempt. She has managed to keep her depression at bay by embracing spirituality, seeking truth and stripping herself of ideology that did serve her. The author does not claim to have cured herself of depression; rather she has managed to curb its impact on her life and to render whatever good she may of this disease. By her own private account, she is providing the reader with a front row seat and a gleam of understanding as to what it feels like to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. This is a huge gift to the world and one step in demystifying depression!!! 
Kathleen Laplante provides an insightful and thought provoking account of her experience as the child of a mostly absent alcoholic father who ultimately committed suicide on an exceedingly important day. As a mental health professional, I am particularly struck by the author's candor about her own struggles with depression and suicidality and with the obstacles to treatment she endured and overcame. The author conveys the powerful impact of her father's death on her family and the questions surrounding it. I was completely engrossed in her courageous exploration of family patterns of depression and suicide, in her spiritual journey, and in her capacity to use her experience to help others. She is truly an inspiration!
Sometimes someone's absence can have a more profound effect on us than we can understand without the benefit of time and a great deal of soulful self-reflection. Kathleen dives deeply and fearlessly into how the suicide of her largely absent father affected her personal struggles with depression and suicide, and ultimately how it affected her spirituality. She explores many facets of these gut-wrenching issues with a level of honesty and integrity that is so rarely achieved under these circumstances. I felt as if I was experiencing the account of her struggles on a very personal level.
The author reveals her struggles with the suicide of her absentee, alcoholic father in this honest and compelling account. Her revelations run the gamut of depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, family dysfunction and the painful aftermath of dealing with her father's suicide. This is ultimately a very hopeful account of how Kathleen persisted and ultimately overcame her mental anguish, helped to find forgiveness not only for herself but for her siblings. She gives others insight into important tools such as, therapy, medication and spirituality. She demonstrates above all that it is not easy but it is possible to rise above circumstances and hardships if one perseveres. I loved how she came to see her mother as a hero and role model. Life doesn't always deal us a fair hand, but it's what we do with it that counts in the end. This is a very life affirming book that will help many who are facing similar struggles

Editorial Reviews from Amazon.com

#1 - The incidence of depression and suicide are usually the 'elephant' in the room for most families. As Kathleen Laplante observed, herself, this was true in her family. Thankfully, for you and me, she was prompted and she responded to do something about this. Facing the torments head on, the author asked the tough questions, researched to find fact, endured misery and rejection but, persevered. She thanked our Lord for this virtue. When we read this book, we will also thank the Lord. Kathleen Laplante has done so much more than unravel her father's tragic suicide. She gives you and me the powerful weapons of faith and hope to engage in our own battles with depression and suicide. This is a page turner. Fast reading. The author writes with an urgency and sense of discovery that will keep the pages turning. You will find a resource you want to reread and share with loved ones so they might also benefit. One of the most important achievements of this work is the exposition of the important function her spiritual journey played in this story. Hope, healing, forgiveness and spiritual nourishment found in the sacraments and friendships wove their strong strands holding together a wounded soul in her powerful search for redemption. Ave Maria --David E. Dowd

#2 - Kathleen...I admire your courage to deal with something so painful. Thank you for the work you are doing to help others. You are an instrument of God to help save lives. God bless you. --Maria Albers

Looking to Purchase Your Own Copy?
          On Amazon - Click here
          On Barnes & Noble - Click here
          On CreateSpace - Click here

If you ever wondered if there is a difference among these distributors, yes, there is.
Among other things, CreateSpace gives almost $2.50 more in royalties per book compared to Amazon.

image - http://italianrestauranttampa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Customer-Reviews-Benedetto.png 

June 11, 2015

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

"A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted. Most people who commit suicide don't want to die--they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life."  ~ Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

The link above has some excellent information. Please read even if you think no one in your life is facing suicide.

image - http://www.etsu.edu/etsupeaks/pictures/offer_hope_prevent_suicide_psa.jpg