Growing up Catholic in New Orleans, it was easy for me to develop an early love for God and my Catholic faith. I went to Catholic schools and loved the stories of the saints, as well as the stories of Our Lady’s appearances in places like Lourdes and Fatima. I had a special love for the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. I went to Mass every Sunday and holyday. I graduated from Mount Carmel Academy in 1967, and went off to college.
Like many young people, it was while I was in college at LSU that I started missing Mass. I still believed, but I got lazy and lukewarm in my faith. I graduated from LSU in May 1971 with a degree in Elementary Education.
In 1973 I married a good man who was also Catholic. We married in the Church, but we were both lukewarm and inconsistent with church attendance. Although we both prayed individually, we never prayed as a couple. I do not think that the thought even crossed our minds!
We were very happy and very successful! We started a family and built our dream home in 1978. Our future looked bright. We had our second child a year later. We were doing what we thought we were supposed to be doing, and we were doing it well. We believed in God and went to church when we could. But having two young children made that hard for us to do. And when I prayed I asked God to grant me the next thing on my wish list. It was all “my will be done.” It never even occured to me that God might have had a very different plan for me.
Fifteen years into my marriage, it all began to fall apart. I had graduated from Tulane’s prestigious School of Social Work in December of 1984. My husband moved out in September of 1987. We were each pursuing our own individual happiness, and we were very good at it. We were both hard working and high achieving. We could achieve just about anything if we really wanted it. Over the years this put us on different tracks that started to run into each other. Life became painful and unpleasant! We tried to mend things. We even sought secular marriage counseling. If the goal of life is to be happy, and this marriage is making you unhappy, then end the marriage so you can be happy. This is the crazy thinking that ended my marriage and destroyed my family! It was all about what we wanted with nary a thought to what God wanted for us. How sad! How very, very sad, … and stupid!
It was not until my marriage was headed for divorce and I could feel the fabric of my life unraveling that I began to panic inside. I was responsible for not only myself, but for the safety and well-being of my two young daughters. I realized that I was in the fight of my life! I realized that I had built my house on sand, and the storms of life had blown it to bits! To survive I had to rebuild my life on the Rock. I knew I had to cling to God! And for the first time in my life I was truly afraid to ask for anything! Look at what the pursuit of my will had gotten me! For the first time I prayed in earnest for God’s will to be done in my life! I wanted to become the person He created me to be!
It was during this time that I started my private practice from my home. It was the best way for me to provide a safe and stable home life for my daughters while I pursued my career. I surrendered my life to God, and asked Him to guard and guide me with my children. I started going to daily Mass. My life began to feel solid and right. I also surrendered my practice to God. I routinely pray and seek His guidance with clients. Over the years Our Lord has provided well for me and my girls. He has blessed us abundantly! He has also strengthened my faith to the point where now most of my clients come seeking this faith-based approach to life. This, my friends, is the essence of Catholic faith-based psychotherapy.