Yes, God! What Ordinary Families Can Learn about Parenting from Today’s Vocation Stories
by Susie Lloyd
The experiences of ten people before and after they responded positively to God’s call to the priesthood or religious life, as told by Susie Lloyd, fill the pages of Yes God! What Ordinary Families Can Learn about Parenting from Today’s Vocation Stories. Author Susie Lloyd gives voice to these stories, which are obviously “today’s.” I do not think any one of the ten persons has reached the age of 40, and a few may still be in their twenties.
Lloyd interviewed each person, except for a Sister in a year of “withdrawal” whose story is shared by her blood sister, and gives each interviewee a chapter. The book’s ten subjects include a Mercedarian priest, an Oblate of the Virgin Mary, two Allentown diocesan priests and one from the Ukranian Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Lloyd’s roster of religious Sisters includes a member of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; a Sister of Christian Charity; a member of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; and two members of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (“Mother Angelica’s outfit” as Lloyd notes).
Much of each chapter focuses on the person’s family life, the context in which every vocation developed. Lloyd describes the parents and their marriage as perceived by her subject. Each person relates how Mom, Dad, and home life influenced the future priest or Sister. Most parents led exemplary lives, working hard at their jobs (sometimes more than one at a time) and homemaking, although a few imperfections show up, too. These families were for the most part rigorous in their practice of Catholicism.
Lloyd emphasizes that a father’s religious engagement is critical to his offspring’s faithfulness to the Church. She cites an article about a 1994 Swiss survey claiming that in a family with a church-going mother and non-attending father, only two percent of the children grew up to be churchgoers. In a family with a church-going father and non-attending mother, 66% to 75% of offspring attended church regularly or irregularly in adulthood.
After relating each personal story, the author adds her own comments on a theme she draws out of the person’s life. She writes about “Saying Yes to” duty, affection, strength, spiritual poverty, inheritance, the greatest commandment, generosity, humility, and patience. God’s call comes in a variety of ways.
Susie Lloyd’s wry sense of humor leavens this book. She pokes fun at herself, points out funny aspects of everyday life, even adopts an exaggerated foreign accent to balance her serious content with lightness. Lloyd has written two previous humor books on religious topics and has written for Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, Crisis, Franciscan Way, and The Latin Mass.
About the reviewer
Mary Ann Paulukonis is a writer, artist, and consultant for leadership and ministry.
Disclaimer: Book reviews do not imply and are not to be used as official endorsement by the USCCB of the work or those associated with the work. Book reviews are solely intended as a resource regarding publications that might be of interest to For Your Marriage visitors.