Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kathleen Basi: Author of Bring Lent to Life

Today, as we begin Lent, I'd like to welcome Kathleen Basi to This, That and the Other Thing. Kathleen is the author of Bring Lent to Life, a book of Lenten reflections and activities aimed primarily at families with young children. Kathleen is the mother of four beautiful children who range in age from newborn to almost seven. You can read about them, as well as Kathleen's thoughts about motherhood and faith at her blog, So Much to Say, So Little Time.

 Kathleen's latest book is Bring Lent to Life: Activities and Reflections for Your Family  (my review). In it she gives a plethora of ideas for celebrating Lent in your home and making more than just a time to lose a few pounds. She graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me, so, to paraphrase someone famous "here's Kathleen"! 
One thing you mention in your book is that no one should use all your ideas in a year. What is your family doing this year?

Honestly, we are in New Baby Mode, so I haven't thought about it yet. I can tell you this much: I planned Advent to the nanosecond, and Baby Michael put two little hands on the plan and tossed it out the window. I've learned my lesson! I imagine we'll probably decide week by week, like everyone else. The Easter Tree activities, in which we write or draw on leaves and flowers in response to reflections and other activities (they do a good job illustrating it in this video), are important because they give the kids the tactile sense of time passing--watching the bare tree fill up with leaves and flowers as we approach Easter. So I'm sure we'll do those.

What's your favorite activity in the book?

Week four is about renewal (spiritual and physical, i.e. spring), and the way that they enrich each other. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I find God most clearly in creation. In week four, I suggest doing a picnic and nature walk as a way to reflect on the visible journey from desert (winter) to life (spring).  And I love to cook, so the family recipes (my husband is Italian) are high on the list, too.

The thought struck me when reading the book that it would be a great resource for Catholic schools or parishes to distribute. Do you have bulk rates available? If so, how would someone arrange it?

Liguori Publications definitely offers bulk rates. The best way to arrange it is to call the company directly at 800-325-9521. The sales reps are super nice; I've dealt with them recently myself.

I notice the book is not available for the Kindle or Nook. Was this a decision in which you participated? If so, (or if you know why that decision was made) why is it not digitally available?

Had to call in backup on this question! The e-reader format is a separate production process, which they didn't have enough time to finish before Lent this year. However, Bring Lent to Life is on the list to be developed in e-format in the near future. It may not be ready for this Lent, but will definitely be ready next year, and possibly sooner.

I know you live in the general area of St. Louis MO. If a parish in that area is looking for a Lenten speaker, are you available? Is the speaker circuit something in which you have any interest?

I'm definitely interested in the opportunity, but of course, I have a young family, so we would have to work around those obligations to make it possible.

You've mentioned on your blog that you are much more fond of Advent than of Santa; how do you like the Easter Bunny? What does he bring at your house? 

The Easter Bunny does come to the house, but he just brings candy--no presents--and not in large quantities. We've spent a couple of years trying to achieve the right balance there. My husband's family gives up sweets for Lent every year, and has done so for decades. We follow that tradition (although we do individual practices as well), so all of us are ready for some sugar come Easter. But we try to keep it under control, because candy gets tiresome pretty quickly.

You've done Advent and Lent; what's next?

Next up is a project for "the rest of the year", i.e. Ordinary Time, which I believe is make-or-break time for passing on a vibrant faith to our children. I'll be exploring the Beatitudes not as a set of pithy sayings we memorize, but in terms of how to live them out, in very practical terms. How exactly do we become "poor in spirit?" Are we doing anything that we're likely to be persecuted for?

The more time goes by, the more convinced I am that faith falters when we try to compartmentalize it. We serve God (or not) by what we do every day, not just during the high or penitential seasons. I'm really excited about this book.


  1. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Great interview, RAnn and Kate! Love the video...

  2. Yay! Great, Kathleen. Don't know were you find the time, you do so much so well.
    Thanks for the wonderful interview, RAnn.

  3. Thanks for this great interview, RAnn. I believe Kate is absolutely on the right track in thinking of ways to keep faith from faltering. Looking forward to more from Kate.


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