Peter Baklinski

Stories our world needs to hear: An interview with Author Sherry Boas

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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GILBERT, Arizona, January 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - What does a mother of five children all under the age of 13, one of whom has Down Ssndrome, do with her spare time when she is not washing, cleaning, cooking, and home schooling her children? She writes gripping fiction, of course. Not just any kind of fiction, but powerful emotional novels that are taking the culture of life by storm.

Sherry Boas, 44, devout Catholic, married to Phil Boas, and mother and teacher of her children, says she is passionate for truth and picky about little else, except for how her coffee is “grown, harvested, roasted, ground, stored and brewed.” Sherry places such a high value on friendship, however, that she is willing to “drink even a bad cup of coffee with a good friend.”

Sherry has written a trilogy of novels that set out to “subtly address” as she says “a good number of issues contributing to the culture of death”. These issues include abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, unresponsive medical care, divorce, infidelity, and promiscuity. She sees her writing as a way of responding to what the late Pope John Paul II called “the New Evangelization,” whereby one reaches out to people searching for meaning through compelling media.

Her novels have been hailed by critics as “masterful”, “riveting”, “heart-wrenching”, “brilliantly written”, “truly beautiful”, “fully imagined”, and “made for our times”.

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LifeSiteNews contacted Sherry to find out just who this woman is and what she is offering to the world through her novels.

Sherry and her husband have a strong love for life. After the couple married in 1996 they soon became troubled that they were not able to conceive children. Infertility however did not stop them from having children. The couple decided to adopt their children, four of them, all from various difficult backgrounds. One child was exposed in utero to crack cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Another child they adopted was born with Down syndrome.

They were eventually blessed with a child of their own. But even he had a difficult background, born 15 weeks premature and weighing only a pound and a half. Sherry and Phil are convinced that their biological son John, who is now 6, is a walking miracle.

Sherry holds a B.S. in journalism from Arizona State University and wrote for a daily newspaper for ten years. She has won numerous awards as a journalist. After adopting, Sherry left journalism for what she saw as a move up-the-ladder to the vocation of motherhood.

It was Sherry’s experiences as a mother to her children that inspired her with a message that she passionately desired to convey to the world. After the kids were in bed, she found herself sitting in front of the computer with coffee and ice cream furiously pounding away at the keyboard. She wrote about what she calls “truth” that “resounds in the struggles and triumphs of everyday family life”. While Sherry’s stories are made up, the context of her fiction is as real as the daily events that unfold in the life of her family.

“I draw virtually all my material for my books from everyday family life. I find it a rich reflection of the beauty of God’s kingdom,” she says, adding that family life is a “place of mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love”, a place where “selfishness” is broken down and where each member helps the others “ultimately get to Heaven.”

The author says that her world view has been formed and continues to be formed by the “wisdom and love of Holy Mother Church.” This does not mean, she says, that one has to be a believer to enjoy her books, but it does mean that one has to be “at least somewhat open to beauty, mercy and compassion.”

Sherry’s life is truly a rich tapestry of sorrows and joys, threads from which she weaves into her novels. Readers say that they cannot put them down once they pick them up.

“My great sorrow is all the years I lived outside the fullness of Truth and Light, making up my own rules instead of following Jesus, even in the many moments when He was saying, ‘Come follow me.’ But that’s how merciful Jesus is. He kept inviting and inviting, until finally I could resist His love no longer.”

Sherry shared that her crosses have to do with her own “inner struggles with living up to the joy and love we are called to live as followers of Jesus.” She feels that God has giving her so many blessings and yet, in each moment, she says “I don’t always respond with gratefulness and joy. My crosses are my own impatience, my own selfishness, my own unwillingness to surrender every moment to Him for the simple reason that He gave everything - even His very life - for me.”

But Sherry’s experiences of sorrows and crosses do not have the final word in her novels, rather a profound sense of joy, love, and hope-filled expectation. For Sherry, the greatest joys come from the same coin that has sorrow as the other side.

“I have had many great joys: my coming to fully understand the beauty, love, mercy and life offered to us in the Holy Eucharist; each new baby I hold in my arms, each miracle we witness in our children’s lives, each Baptism, each First Holy Communion.  My work, which has introduced me to so many wonderful people.” One “great joy” that still brings tears to Sherry’s eyes is what she calls the “miracle that allowed me to see my little boy, John, grow up.”

Sherry says that she has learned many important lessons while journeying through life. “The great lesson I have learned is that holiness consists in the complete surrender to the will of God.” She and her husband believe that their infertility taught them their “greatest lesson” which allowed them to turn a “personal tragedy” into their “greatest joy”.

“I am grateful for our infertility. Without it, we would never have known these four children who have made our lives so rich. Our adoptions have so clearly been guided by God. We see adoption as just another way that God builds families - brings souls together on this journey to Him.” The couple is convinced that God’s plan for their family with their adopted children “far surpasses our wildest dreams.”

Sherry draws from this deep well of sorrow, joy, gratitude, faith, hope, and love to craft her profound tales. “I feel my calling is to write fiction that is laden with truth. Fiction is the path I have chosen to reach a world that might not be open to the pro-life message presented in a straight-up fashion,” says the author.

Sherry pointed out that Jesus reached out to people in a similar way through parables which are similar to fiction. “If reaching the culture through fiction is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.” It is her hope that through works of art, including works of fiction, “we can take the message of hope and gospel truths to a society that is becoming increasingly secular and resistant to the message of Life and beauty.”

The primary message that the author hopes to give her readers is that “hope reigns and mercy is unbounded”. Sherry believes that the world is thirsting for the message of “hope and mercy”.

“The problems our world faces today are caused by fear. Love and fear cannot co-exist. Where there is love, fear flees. Why does a woman have an abortion? She is afraid of something. Why does a woman carry a child, bearing all the discomfort and pain that goes with it? She does it out of love.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ has called Sherry’s novels “made for our times,” adding that they are “another sign that the Lord is building a culture of life today, even as the culture of death rages around us.”

“Thank God for writers like Sherry Boas whose words could only arise from a heart that is familiar with the mystery of the cross,” said the Bishop.

Note: An upcoming piece to appear on LifeSiteNews will examine Sherry Boas’ Lily Trilogy more closely. Stay tuned.

Sherry Boas’ books are available at LilyTrilogy and Amazon.

 

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Wendy Davis facing trouble in Democratic stronghold over radical abortion stance

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By Dustin Siggins

State Senator Wendy Davis' outspoken support for late-term abortion made her a national figure, but it may have so turned off Hispanic voters that it could cost her, and her party, the votes of a Democratic-stronghold.

According to The Texas Tribune, Davis has a tremendous advantage in the Rio Grande Valley, a strongly Hispanic part of the state. Hidalgo County has not elected a Republican to a countywide post in "the modern era," the paper noted.

But her Republican challenger, Attorney General Greg Abbott, is looking to change that, targeting the area and the Hispanic vote with a new ad campaign.

According to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-TX, pro-life Democrats will find it more difficult to vote for Davis because of her abortion position. And the region, which is very Catholic, tends to send pro-life Democrats to the polls.

Even as Davis faces risks among Hispanic Catholics, Abbott is making a major push to the minority population, which is expected to become a plurality of the state's population by 2020. Abbott has launched ads in Spanish, and spoken about how his wife will be the first Hispanic First Lady of Texas. He has also brought volunteers in for a ground campaign in the Rio Grande Valley, reminiscent of the 1998 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaign.

Bush was considered a popular Republican among Hispanics, winning 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 2004 president re-election campaign. While Abbott has a 12 to 13-point advantage in many polls over Davis, and an enormous financial advantage, his efforts are seen as looking to the GOP's future in Texas.

Davis, meanwhile, has struggled with all voting blocs. She is losing to opponent Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott by 12 to 13 points -- including women, according to an April 2014 poll. Democrats have largely written off the race, especially with control of the U.S. Senate taking up enormous media and financial resources.

Since her filibuster, Davis has attempted to walk a tightrope on her abortion position in order to win more moderate voters. She has called herself "pro-life" because of her support for certain education policies, and indicated that she supports limitations on abortions done after the first trimester. However, she has also recently published a book describing how she aborted a child in 1997 to prevent the child from "suffering."

That claim has drawn enormous media coverage for Davis, who was in New York for a book signing, was on the Rachel Maddow show, and generally had her abortion claims widely covered in innumerable national media outlets.

The book has also brought new life to abortion's importance in the gubernatorial race. In the Davis-Abbott debate last week, the first between the candidates, Davis indicated she supported no restrictions on abortion. She was asked "What do you see as fair regulations on abortion?"
Davis responded that she has "always believed that women should be able to make this most personal and difficult of decisions themselves, guided by their faith and their family and with their doctor."
"I stood on the Senate floor for 13 hours to ensure that this most private of decisions could be made by women," Davis said, before attacking Abbott for, among other things, allegedly opposing abortion in cases of "brutal rape" and incest.

At no point did Davis indicate support for any "regulations on abortion."

In his response, Abbott said that he is "pro-life" and Catholic. He said that "all life is sacred," and said that "Texas is ensuring that we protect more life and do a better job of protecting the health care of women by providing that women still have five months to make a very difficult decision, but after that time the state has an interest in protecting innocent life."

When asked by Houston-area TV station KHOU whether he would sign a bill that would ban abortions for reasons of rape and incest, however, Abbott did not answer the question. Instead, he described his support for the lives of the unborn and women, and his support for HB2.

HB2 is the legislation that Davis filibustered last year.

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Abbott faces his own difficulties -- he favors border enforcement and has made comments about corruption in the Rio Grande Valley. University of Texas-Pan American political scientist Jerry Polinard told the Tribune that he expects Davis to pull at least 55 percent of Democratic voters in Hidalgo, Texas – simply because "this is the bluest part of a red state." 

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Paul Huff, 66, and Tom Wojtowick, 73, were “married” in Seattle in May 2013. Wojtowick was an organist at the parish, while Paul sang in the choir. Video screenshot
Lisa Bourne

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Bishop stands by priest who removed ‘married’ homosexual couple from parish ministry

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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'This is not animus against someone who happens to be a homosexual; this issue is the same-sex marriage,' said Bishop Warfel.

A Montana bishop is standing by one of his priests after the priest told a homosexual couple in his parish that they cannot receive Communion or participate in Church ministry due to the fact that they have contracted a civil “marriage.”

Paul Huff, 66, and Tom Wojtowick, 73, have reportedly been together for more than 30 years and were “married” in Seattle in May 2013, according to the Associated Press.

The men told the local ABC-FOX affiliate that Father Samuel Spiering approached them shortly after beginning his assignment as administrator of St. Leo the Great and asked if the rumor he’d heard of them being “married” was true. When they affirmed it was, he asked if he could meet with them the following day.

Father Spiering informed them the next day that they have broken Cannon Law, and that they would not be able to receive communion or continue in ministry.

Canon 915 holds that those persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.

Both men sang in the choir and Wojtowick was an organist.

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The men agreed to write a restoration statement that, in part, would uphold the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman, during an August 25 conference call with Father Spiering, Bishop Warfel and other diocesan officials. They said they did not intend to challenge the Church’s concept of marriage with their union, rather they just wanted civil protection.

However, the statement also included a timeline for the two men to cease living together and divorce, which they would not agree to.

In an interview with the Billings Gazette last week Bishop Warfel said he knows Wojtowick and Huff “to be good people.”

“This is not animus against someone who happens to be a homosexual; this issue is the same-sex marriage,” Bishop Warfel said. “A lot of people put those two together, and obviously there’s a connection, but it’s not the same thing.”

After meeting with parishioners on Sunday, the bishop said that he would like to “effect healing” at the parish, but pointed out that he also has to uphold Catholic teaching.

The bishop also confirmed for ABC-FOX-Montana on Saturday that Huff and Wojtowick could not receive Communion.

While Bishop Warfel acknowledged growing support for homosexual “marriage” when speaking with the Billings Gazette, he said the fact remains that it stands in conflict with Catholic teachings.

“As a Catholic bishop I have a responsibility to uphold our teaching of marriage between one man and one woman,” said Bishop Warfel. “And I think there’s very solid scriptural teaching on it and our sacred tradition is very strong on it.”

Those teachings leave him little choice, he continued.

“Either I uphold what Catholic teachings are or, by ignoring it or permitting it, I’m saying I disagree with what I’m ordained to uphold,” the bishop said.

“Everyone is welcome to the journey of conversion,” said Bishop Warfel. “But there are certain convictions, beliefs or behaviors that are in direct contradiction to what we believe and teach, and this would be one of them.”

Father Spiering has declined to speak publicly and there has not been an official diocesan statement on the issue since the meeting at the parish on Saturday.
 

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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

New archbishops in Chicago and Madrid: Ratzingerians out, ‘inclusiveness’ in

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By Hilary White
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Chicago's Archbishop-elect, Blase Cupich

Pope Francis announced Saturday that he is appointing as archbishop of Chicago a prelate best known in pro-life circles as the man who ordered his priests in 2011 not to participate in local 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. The media and Church watchers describe him as “progressive,” “inclusive,” and “left-of-center.”

The appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich, current head of the Spokane diocese in Washington, to America’s third most prominent see – an appointment which Vatican watchers predicted would signal the pope’s priorities for the direction of the U.S. Church – has been widely praised by liberal Catholics and opponents of Church teaching but met with concern by many Catholic activists.

The archbishop-elect gave a sense of his approach to the U.S. “culture war” in an interview Sunday with Chicago’s CBS affiliate, in which he suggested he would be open to giving Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and a person wearing a button in favour of same-sex “marriage.”

“As long as they’re in church, are willing to hear the word of God, be open to Christ’s call of conversion for each one of us, then I think that that’s sufficient for me,” he said. “We cannot politicize the Communion rail and I just don’t think that that works in the long run.”

Cupich will replace the ailing Cardinal Francis George, known in the US as a “Ratzingerian” for his strong defense of Catholic orthodoxy, particularly on issues of sexual morality, but who is suffering from cancer and is overdue for retirement at age 77. The archbishop of Chicago is also normally granted the “red hat” and made a cardinal, which would make Cupich eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. Cupich is scheduled to be installed in Chicago November 18.

The Chicago appointment mirrors that of another outside the US in recent weeks. Rome announced August 28 that Carlos Osoro Sierra, 69, will be installed as the new archbishop of Madrid, Spain’s capital city and largest archdiocese. But the story in Madrid has less to do with the new appointee and more to do with the would-be appointee who was demoted.

Until just before the appointment, most Vatican watchers expected the prominent post to be given to 68-year-old Vatican Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, dubbed the “little Ratzinger” for his orthodoxy in line with Pope Benedict XVI.  When LifeSiteNews interviewed Cardinal Cañizares in 2009 at the time of his appointment as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, he noted that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians was a charitable act.

Leaving his Vatican post, he was considered a natural for the Madrid spot. But instead it went to the archbishop of Valencia, and Cañizares is to fill that vacancy instead.

The former archbishop of Valencia is known for his strong “liberal” leanings and he will be replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 78, who, like Cañizares, is also known for following the lead of the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

El Pais wrote of the new appointee that Catholics of the Madrid archdiocese, accustomed to the “hieratic” Varela, will be seeing “an entirely different model.”

“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment, the most repeated words to define his figure were ‘dialogue’ and ‘moderation.’”

“During the 12 years he has been the head of the Catholic Church [in Madrid], Rouco Varela has too often mixed faith and politics, with an overdose of intransigence. Defending the (exclusively traditional) family and attacking laws that recognize the right of women to abortion are the main workhorses.”

Catholic News Agency’s Vatican-watcher, Andrea Gagliarducci, wrote that the appointment marks a “new course for Spain’s bishops.” He is described in the Spanish press as “affable,” “friendly,” and “extremely gregarious.” 

As for Cupich, David Gibson of Religion News Service described him as “a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing.”

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Vatican watcher Rocco Palmo, author of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, wrote that the appointment is “the most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last decade and a half.” Another Vatican veteran, John Allen Jr., wrote for the US Catholic online magazine Crux that Cupich so closely mirrors Pope Francis’ theology and style that he could be called the “American Pope Francis in Chicago.”

On his blog, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, known for his icy relations with the pro-life movement, shared his excitement over the “new breeze” brought by Cupich’s appointment. The bishop noted that Cupich “admires deeply the ecclesiology and vision” of leftist prelates such as former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn and former Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.

The news of Cupich’s appointment was met with praise in the mainstream press. According to The New York Times Francis has “set the tone” for US appointments by “replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.”

It has also been praised by dissident Catholic groups such as the homosexual activist group New Ways Ministries. Last year, the group issued a roundup of evaluations of the various leading members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who were set to elect a new president. New Ways praised Cupich for his intervention in the 2012 debate leading up to a referendum on “gay marriage” in Washington State. Cupich’s only intervention was a pastoral letter in which he asked voters to uphold traditional marriage, but also called for a “more civil and honest conversation about Catholic positions on equality.”

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

Cupich stood out from his fellow US bishops in his response to the abortion-funding Obamacare. Though he joined his other bishops in condemning the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic employers cover abortifacients and contraceptives, he encouraged Catholic Charities in his diocese to act as an Obamacare navigator and help people sign up for coverage that could fund the destruction of unborn life.

He also condemned the line of other US bishops when they threatened to shut down Catholic social services. “These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” Cupich wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Today the anti-Catholic organization Call to Action issued a press release saying they are “relieved” at the appointment. “At a time when numerous U.S. Bishops are choosing to fight ideological battles, Pope Francis’ selection of Cupich demonstrates a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.”  

Call to Action, like New Ways Ministries, works to overturn Catholic doctrine, particularly on sexual matters, from within the Church, and has received the censure of the US bishops for their activities. They wrote, “The choice of Cupich shows promise for a church which can be closer to the people. Catholics in Chicago and beyond yearn for a faith rooted in the Gospel call of love and justice over rigid orthodoxy.”

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