As a Catholic military wife, life and faith can sometimes seem overwhelming or unachievable when another entity dictates most of your life. It’s also hard to have a spouse who must serve two masters– God and country. It’s hard to be the foundation behind that, coordinating life and faith and service in the face of unknowns and potentially dangerous situations. But it can also be a great source of spiritual life and comfort.
In her new book, By Dawn’s Early Light: Prayers and Meditations for Catholic Military Wives, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle compiled stories, prayers, and meditations to uplift the souls of these brave women and encourage them on this sometimes dark path. Here are some of the best snippets:
Patron saints of the military
Cooper O’Boyle points out saints who are patrons of the military or specific branches and includes prayers to each. Among these are Our Lady of Loreto (for aviators and astronauts!) Saint George, and Saint Joan of Arc. But she also includes some lesser-known holy men and women like Saint Erasmus (sometimes called Elmo) and Servant of God Vincent Capodanno.
Be selfless, forgiving, and merciful
In her new book, Cooper O’Boyle challenges women to not become complacent and to frequent confession. She also encourages women to know and love their true worth.
Quoting St. Edith Stein, Cooper O’Boyle says, “Everywhere [woman] meets with a human being, she will find opportunity to sustain, to counsel, to help. If the factory worker or the office employee would only pay attention to the spirits of the persons who work with her in the same room, she would prevail upon trouble-laden hearts to be opened to her through a friendly word, a sympathetic question; she will find out where the shoe is pinching and will be able to provide relief.”
Cooper O’Boyle also provides some beautiful prayers and Scripture verses specifically for military wives throughout the book.
Ask for help in times of loss
This is a hard subject to write about, and Cooper O’Boyle treads here with much compassion. She speaks here of losing friends due to new assignments, separation due to deployments, and loss of loved ones in war – even suicide. To the book’s great benefit, Cooper O’Boyle speaks very little in this chapter and instead offers prayers to Our Lady of Sorrows, the Divine Mercy, and others. “There are many hidden tears associated with military life,” she writes. “Sometimes we cry inside….Other times our tears are out in the open…”
In some ways, almost anyone can relate to the struggles and joys of being a military spouse and Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book offers reflections and prayers that can benefit any soul. But this book will find a special place in the lives of those who live the military life daily.
Military life, the heroism of defending the lives of people throughout our country is like the burden of the Cross. It requires s a daily giving of self to others. Each day, military personnel and their spouses lay aside personal wants and desires to do good for other people. Cooper O’Boyle quotes G.K. Chesterton at the beginning of By Dawn’s Early Life: Prayers and Meditations for Catholic Military Wives as saying, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
Pick up a copy of this magnificent book for yourself or someone you know at your local Catholic bookstore. You can also purchase the book online through Sophia Institute Press.