Mothering, an art of the heart
author's photo
From left to right: Suzanne Shady, Diane Knittle, Sheila Roney, Patricia Bertucci, Mary Dahl Maher, Jo Ann Figueiredo, Patricia Costigan, Elizabeth O'Toole, Patricia Urban

About the Authors

Patricia Bertucci graduated from college with a BA in English and taught for four years at a Catholic elementary school. Then she embarked on her journey as a stay-at-home mom for 19 years. During that time she was very involved with her four children's schools, her parish, mothers' groups and community service such as Refugee Family Resettlement. Next she returned to teaching and earned her MS in Elementary Education. After 17 years in the classroom, she still enjoys teaching fourth graders and treasures time with her husband, Jon, her four children and two grandchildren.

Patricia Costigan and her husband, Bob, have four beautiful daughters, Clare, Beth, Anne and Irene. Before children, she earned a BA in Art and an MA in Special Education, taught and always made art. Through the years she has been involved with local and international social justice issues. Pat recently completed a series of paintings on "Hope" and is working on a new series titled "Grace." Pat designed and created the artwork and illustrations for this book. When she is not busy in her studio, she is often found walking her rescue dog, Bella, around her neighborhood in Fairport, NY.

Jo Ann Figueiredo and her husband, Rui, are the parents of six children, Sara, Kate, Joe, Emily, Steve and Mari and they are grandparents to five grandchildren under the age of three. She is a graduate of the University of St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto where she earned a B.A. in English Literature. She worked as a paralegal for a Toronto law firm and as a nursery school teacher, then left to focus her time and talent for 22 years on raising a family. Currently she is in her tenth year as a Teacher's Assistant for two second grade classes at Seton Catholic School. Jo Ann has volunteered extensively in her children's schools and in her parish serving as a High School Board Member, Chairperson of the Sports Association, Religious Education teacher and Marriage Preparation leader. Presently, she serves on her parish Pastoral Council and is actively working for her high school alma mater in fund raising. Jo Ann lives with Rui in her hometown of Rochester, NY and loves the printed word almost as much as she loves her family.

Diane Knittle has a BA from Dominican University and taught primary grades until she and Bill adopted their first child. She was a volunteer in both the children's school and for the Diocese of Rochester during her 24 years as a stay-at-home mom. She obtained a Master's Degree in Theology and Pastoral Counseling and training in Clinical Pastoral Education in 1991. She enjoyed the next 20 years as a Parish Pastoral Associate, a hospital chaplain and a Catholic chaplain in a long term care facility. In retirement, she is a hospice volunteer and tutors at Nativity School, Rochester, NY. She and her husband, Bill, have five married children and four grandchildren.

Mary Dahl Maher's life ambition to become a medical missionary in South America was side-tracked when she met and married another student in her global undergraduate program. She and Ken have shared 40 years of adventures from East Africa to Mexico, but have been settled in Rochester, NY for the last 23 years. They are parents to seven children and grandparents to nine. Mary intermittently home-schooled each of her children and was involved in church and community activities such as teaching childbirth education classes and Children's Creative Response to Conflict courses. Her belief that peace begins in the womb and her commitment to the power of motherhood led to a second career as a Certified Nurse-Midwife. She currently shares that passion as a nursing professor and is completing doctoral research on the birth outcomes of Latina migrant farm worker women.

Elizabeth O'Toole's passion is children, whether at home, in the schools, in church, or in the library. Prior to marriage she was an Elementary Education/Special Education teacher. Later, as a Navy wife, Liz was an at-home mom for 18 years with her four children, now ages 19-26. When her youngest entered school, she became an evening clerk in the local library. Her job evolved into a full-time position as a Youth Services Public Librarian, which she has held for the last 14 years. She has volunteered extensively in youth ministry, church, and schools. Liz lives in Walworth, NY with her husband, John and dog, Miss Daisy.

Sheila Roney has three children, Bridget, Brian and Caitlin. Upon completing her BA, she taught in a Catholic elementary school, and then left that position to be a stay-at-home mom when her oldest was born. While raising her children she held volunteer positions in her parish and her children's schools. For several years she worked part-time as a teacher assistant providing extra literacy support to individual students. Eventually, she earned an MS in Education and worked with emergent and struggling readers as a reading specialist in a public school for 11 years. She and her husband, Bob, are currently enjoying retirement in their homes in New York and Florida.

Suzanne Shady is the mother of two children, Anna Mary and Raymond III, who were her "miracle babies" and the answer to her heart's desire. She is a Certified Catholic Chaplain working in hospital, brain injury rehabilitation and mental health care settings. After college she worked for eight years with emotionally disturbed and/or physically disabled children, was an early childhood research assistant and community organizer. When her children arrived Sue devoted herself to family as a stay-at-home mom for 20 years. She initiated mothers' groups in several communities when the family relocated and became an active volunteer in school and parish. She has a BA in Psychology, training in Clinical Pastoral Education and earned an MA in Theology from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. She and her husband, Ray, are blessed with two grandchildren and live outside Rochester, NY.

Patricia Urban is the mother of eight children ages 44 to 56 (two deceased). She was widowed when her husband, Richard, died at the age of 45 and her youngest child was ten. In order to support her family she returned to school, earned a BS in Education and taught in Catholic elementary schools for 20 years. After retiring, Pat became a Claretion Volunteer, serving for two years in a disadvantaged, inner city parish in New Jersey. She has been an active volunteer in her church, working with youth groups on social justice projects and in prison ministry, conducting retreats for incarcerated men and women. She enjoys traveling, especially to visit her six loving children, thirteen grandchildren and one great grandchild.

All original material copyright © 2012 - 2016 Patricia Bertucci, Patricia Costigan, Diane Knittle, Mary Dahl Maher,
Elizabeth O'Toole, Sheila Roney, Patricia Urban, Suzanne Shady, Jo Ann Figueiredo
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