From Thomas Howard, PH.D. Author of Chance or the Dance, Hallowed Be This House, Lead Kindly Light
I have just this minute put down the last page of Diary of a Country Mother. My word, what can one say? You have given us the story of a splendidly faithful Catholic household – and that splendour and fidelity issues, like purified gold, from the crucible of suffering, which in the case of you, Tim, and your whole family, was courageously joined to the Suffering of Our Lord, “trans-substantiated”, and made an oblation to him.
It is an amazing document, and I think your word “contemplative” is the key to this memoir…and the quiet pace belongs to its essence….Every chapter (or meditation) in your manuscript entails some concrete, softly-textured, domestic narrative, all of it bespeaking both Tim’s inner man, and the household in which the Lord placed him to pass his brief time here on this earth……. Every single one has its keen point.
The combination of the domestic, with your use of hymns, Scripture, the liturgy, Catholic writings and your own reflections, gives the book the richness that a reader finds in it.
From Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell, Archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut
Thank you for sending along your manuscript, Diary of a Country Mother, for me. I enjoyed reading your daily reflections and learning of the impact your son Tim had on the lives of so many people.
Your memoir is a beautiful way to capture the reality that each and every person, regardless of any limitations or ailments, has profound value and can have a significant impact on the lives of those around them. It is clear from your writing that your deep Catholic faith has given you the strength to endure so much, including the loss of your beloved Timothy. I commend you for the way in which you have stayed rooted in the faith even in the midst of trials and tragedy.
From Kimberly Hahn, Author of Rome Sweet Home ( with Scott Hahn), Legacy of Love, Beloved and Blessed
Cynthia Montanaro is an excellent writer and this is a beautiful book. She demonstrates how the liturgical year provides the framework for embracing the joys and difficulties of family life.
From Ronda Chervin, Ph.D, author of The Kiss from the Cross: Saints for Every Kind of Suffering
Diary of a Country Mother is an inspiring narrative about the redeemed sufferings of a mentally disturbed child with a beautiful soul. As we read this blend of Scripture, quotations from holy people, and the thoughts of the writer, Tim’s mother, we become reconciled to our own sufferings.
From Daria Sockey, author of Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours
If someone were to ask me, “how would you like to read about a family that loses a child in a horrible accident?” My response would not be “Yes! That will go right to the top of my summer reading pile!” Who would be anxious to read about every mother’s worst nightmare, with the possible exception of those who have had a similar experience?
But as I turned the pages of Diary of a Country Mother my reluctance faded. I was drawn in, not to a tragedy, but to the life of a family immersed in the beauty of a faith-filled life. Cynthia Montanaro’s memoir of her youngest son, Tim, is drawn against a backdrop of a full year of life in the New England countryside. We see how the daily pattern of the sacramental life, close to God and to the earth, brings healing, peace, and wisdom. Diary of a Country Mother gives me hope that I too, will be sustained by grace in life’s darkest moments.
From Patricia Hershwitzky, Founder of Trinity Bridge, for parents of emotionally disabled children
What an honor and blessing to read this gently flowing memoir about Timothy, a young man who mysteriously and tragically left this world while still a youth. Yet, thanks to his devoted mother his life and death now serve to remind each of us that all hope is possible in the firmness of faith and the merciful love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Cynthia wonderfully interweaves apt Scripture and saints’ quotations into the journal while always veering the reader towards God in the midst of a human and frequently confounding existence. How sweetly she avoids the temptation of temporal anxiety, anger, and fragile human response so frequently witnessed in the lives and deaths or our disabled children.
From Pastor Sharon Frankel, Envision Easthampton
Cynthia’s devotion to God and her mother’s heart are inspiring. The peace of God makes its way through her grief, and the joy of the Lord breaks through her sorrow. Although this book was part of Cynthia’s journey of healing, it also took great courage to write it. I only wish I had gotten to know Tim while he was still here with us on earth. I feel like I did get to know him a bit through Cynthia’s brave journal.
From Elaine Stillwell, author of The Death of a Child, Reflections for Grieving Parents
I love Cynthia’s warm, friendly, down to earth style. Her quotes are outstanding and meaningful, so perfectly matched with the day or event. Her strong faith is so warmly wrapped around each day, offering precious comfort and hope to grievers who have faced similar circumstances. Many families who have dealt with ADHD or Tourette Syndrome can find validation and strength from Diary of a Country Mother and will nod their heads in agreement with the anecdotes the author shares. I am not aware of any grief book that has addressed these particular syndromes and phobias…Cynthia touched my heart with many things that give me strength.
From Lynda Collins, homeschooling mom, Ludlow, MA
The tribute to Tim in this diary was ever so beautiful to read. I laughed, I cried, I prayed, I thanked God that I have had an opportunity to meet Tim and to know such a devoted family. God bless a Country Mother who taught this city girl how much more to love my kids.
From Suzie Andres, author of A Little Way of Homeschooling
In this book, Cynthia Montanaro writes of the unexpected death of her son Tim, and of the year full of thoughts and emotions which followed. Her themes are universal, for mothers “in the club”—from Eve to Mary to Cynthia herself—share similar depths of grief in their tragic losses.
Like Our Blessed Mother’s sorrow, however, Cynthia’s sadness is illuminated and shot through by the light of the resurrected Christ. This book is in no way depressing. Instead, Cynthia’s diary entries record time and again the peace that passes all understanding, the beautiful hope that only true faith can give, and most of all, love elevated and fulfilled by Love.
Finally, Tim, the real protagonist of this memoir, teaches through his mother’s writing that life is not ended in death, but only changed. The reader will come to know Tim well, and to know him is absolutely to love him.
Quickly, then, draw up a chair to the Montanaro’s hearth and read. You will be lifted into a realm of truth above everyday experience and you will thank and praise Cynthia and God for sharing in this diary one eternally precious life—a joyful exuberant life which will not soon be forgotten.