Dana R. Doyle exudes a passion for the Catholic faith not only in the classroom as a middle school religion teacher but also through self-published books where she reveals how faith has been her strength.
“God can bring good out of very bad situations,” she reveals through her survival of infertility, abuse, joblessness and other trials. “I’m living proof.”
Doyle, 48, a teacher for 25 years, said following God’s plan doesn’t always make a perfect life. “How we respond to his tests on Earth could well determine our eternal future,” she writes.
Doyle said she copes through God-given tools – such as perpetual adoration, the Eucharist, Sacred Heart of Jesus home enthronement – allowing her to become nearer to God and to hear his answers.
“I believe God communicates with us on a regular basis,” Doyle said. “Unfortunately, in the hustle and bustle of today’s hectic lifestyle, our spirits are seldom quiet enough to hear his whisper.”
Whisper led to writing
While she had always kept a journal, her inspiration for writing books came in the quiet of an adoration chapel, where she’s found immense peace.
“I was asking the Lord in prayer if there was anything he wanted me to do that I was not doing,” Doyle said. “And, before I got it out of my mind, I heard one word, strong and loud – write.”
A revelation regarding the subject matter didn’t come until three weeks later. She scribed her spiritual journey, revealed guardian angels and how God answered her prayers in her first book, “God Messaging … Will You Accept His Friend Request?”
Subsequent books would follow: “A Cardinal Chorus: Songs and Strategies for Teaching the Basics of Our Catholic Faith,” and “Hope for Healing From the Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse.”
Her fourth book – “The Answer for Families” – delves into how her family members and others have benefitted from her home’s Enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The home enthronement was mentioned to Doyle when at wit’s end after her youngest son’s bouts of anger as a 2-year-old. A friend shared her family’s turmoil and the peace gained after the enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Doyle knew it was what her family needed.
“I felt everything was building up to the Enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” Doyle said. “I think God gradually prepares you.”
John, now 9, is a family prayer leader who finds calm in prayer.
“It has made such a difference for us,” she said. “We have grown so much closer together and to God through the act of consecration.”
Doyle wrote the book to benefit other families.
“Our kids are bombarded with so many bad influences, so many things that are anti-religion, anti-faith and anti-family,” she said. “I think this could really help families that are struggling or families who just want to be close to each other and God.”
Her other books have targeted different audiences. She’s helped students, ages 11-15, learn the Catholic faith through “A Cardinal Chorus,” a collection of verses she wrote to familiar songs. Feedback from former students proves its value.
“The older kids don’t want to sing, but when I tell them it’s an easy way to ace a test, they do it,” she said. She is now recording the songs as a resource for teachers.
Doyle is working on her fifth book as a resource to help parents recognize signs of child abuse. It expands what she touched on in “Hope for Healing” where she describes the healing she achieved through God’s grace after her abuse – an unearned, supernatural gift from God – and the support of her husband and family.
“That’s been important,” she said. “I wanted people to know that the church has a lot to offer – the sacraments could be an important part of the healing process, especially adoration of the Eucharist.
“When you experience the graces of forgiveness, it helps you forgive and sets you free in a way no amount of psychotherapy can do,” she said, adding how she forgave her abuser. “Because of God’s grace, I am no longer hopeless – but a survivor strong and full of optimism for the future.”
A turning point in forgiveness for her was hearing a talk by Rwanda genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza and how she forgave the people who had brutally murdered her family.
“If she was able to forgive that, how could I be holding onto my lack of forgiveness,” she said. “I know it’s hard. Anger is a part of the process. But if she could do it, I could do it.”
Doyle said people may not know what they are searching for in life, but she suggests it is a personal relationship with Jesus that every human desires.
“Bring your cross – whatever it may be – to him,” Doyle said. “He has helped me find hope, healing and a sense of joy in my life. If anyone can help when you feel that all hope is gone, it is Jesus Christ.”
Doyle is available to speak on her books and does blogs for the archdiocese of New Orleans’ NOLA Catholic Experience at www.arch-no.org, and A Catholic Working Mom blog at danardoyle.wordpress.com. Her books are on amazon.com by searching Dana R. Doyle. Mule’s in Metairie sells her latest book, “The Answers for Families.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org