"Big Four" Highlights


Mother’s Rule

A rule of life can work in the home as in the cloister

By Jason Godin
Associate Editor, Fathers for Good

Rules of life reflect our past experiences, inform our present decisions and advise our future activities. They tell us what can and can’t be done. They suggest what will or will not happen when we act. They guide us on the best way to accomplish tasks ahead.

For Holly Pierlot, rules also provide a response to God’s call to holiness. Married for 24 years to her husband, Philip, and mother of five children aged 15 to 23, Pierlot is the co-foundress of Our Lady of Fatima homeschooling co-op on Prince Edward Island as well as president of her local PEI Right to Life Association. She is also currently completing a master’s dissertation in Pastoral & Educational Studies from Maryvale University in Birmingham, England, examining parental authority, child obedience and discipline practices in light of a Catholic teaching on the human person.

Pierlot recently took time to speak with Fathers for Good about A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul, her bestselling book re-released recently by Sophia Institute Press.

Fathers for Good: This book was first published 10 years ago. Reflecting on that decade, what have you found still to be the greatest challenge to living what you call “Mother’s Rule of Life”?

Holly Pierlot: The greatest challenge for me in any long-term life project, as I assume for all people, is to be consistent, to practice what one preaches, and to actually live the faith in action as it is intellectually understood. In other words: self-discipline. I slip.I fail. I get back up and start again. And again. But the key is that with a rule of life, I know what “start again” means, and I know “how” to start again, and then it’s like settling back into a familiar habit.

FFG: How has what St. John Paul II called “the gift of self” most influenced you as a wife and mother?

Pierlot: The demands and responsibilities of being a wife and mother, caring for the home, undertaking one’s domestic or professional work – all of this can be overwhelming at times, perhaps a burden at other times. But for the Christian woman, running away from the cross never helps us – it only delays a solution to life’s challenges, at best. Meditating upon and acting upon love as a “gift of self” helps me to get out from under the “burdened” attitude, and places my response to my family and the demands of family life as a “free participation” in the great mission God has given me. Really, the gift of self is ultimately about a woman’s total freedom – to take responsibility for myself in such a way that I dedicate myself to those in my life, in service, freely given. It is a high calling, and the place of ultimate personal fulfillment – just when you think that “giving” will hurt, and selfishness tugs at your heart, you find instead the gift of self is the place of peace and joy! It is the great surprise and paradox of Christianity.

FFG: What practical advice do you have for men who want to contribute to the sacramental reality of their family?

Pierlot: For any father who wishes to enhance the flow of grace within their family life, I would suggest that he examine the possibility of a rule of life for himself. A rule is a traditional Catholic tool for ordering one’s vocation according to the specifics of that vocation. It is lived as a response to God, with the relationship with God as the top priority. Fidelity to prayer, to one’s vocational duties, to the persons in the family – conscious, lived fidelity to these cannot but help make the father a grace-bearer. We can’t pass along what we don’t have, what we don’t live. Every father needs to ask himself: What are my priorities? How do these specifically translate into my daily activities? Am I living these in order and consistency? Then take steps to remedy or create the family life he considers God is asking of him.

Visit Sophia Institute Press for more information on A Mother’s Rule of Life.