We are Tim and Sue Muldoon, called to the vocation of Christian marriage since 1993, and called to the vocation of parenting since 2000. Our domestic church is comprised of ourselves, Sue’s mom, and our three teenage children.
We write and speak on Catholic marriage and family life. Our approach is from both personal and professional experience: Tim holds a Ph.D. in Catholic Systematic Theology with a dissertation on sexuality in Catholic marriage. He is the co-editor of Love One Another: Catholic Reflections on Sustaining Marriage, part of Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century Center book series with Crossroad Publishing. He currently teaches a course on Ignatian discernment in the University’s Capstone Program. Recently, he was named Director of Mission Education for Catholic Extension Society. Sue is a licensed professional counselor with a particular interest in adoption issues, and is currently the director of Family Ministries at Good Shepherd Parish in Wayland, Massachusetts.
Our road to parenting was not an easy one. Tim wrote about this journey in his book Longing to Love:
Three years ago, I thought love was about being uneasy and still committed. The tests were making it clear that pregnancy was a pipe dream, though I had not yet given up hope. She wanted to adopt a baby from China and wanted to get started. Was I ready? My answer: no, but I will be. I will pray and I will work to be ready. My feeling was like what I had experienced as a kid at one of the lakes outside Chicago. I was standing atop what felt like a twelve-story diving board, looking down at the water below, facing my fear and others’ derision. I had seen others do this; I knew they had survived, and yet an irrational panic set in that I either had to succumb to in shame, or face up to with courage. Down I went.
On this day, on this plane, being in love means that we have locked hands and set our faces toward China. The geography of this pilgrimage is both physical and spiritual, for we have moved from a place that we both know well to a place we don’t know at all. It appears on our map, but we don’t know yet what we’ll find there. We will discover it together. Much of the earlier fear is gone, replaced in large measure by the excitement of anticipation. But what am I really feeling? Unlike her, who can distinguish multiple layers of emotion, I am painting with broad brushstrokes—I am happy or angry, worried or enthusiastic. I am still learning her language, even as I am beginning to wonder what sort of language I will need to learn as a new father.
We have joyfully embraced our vocation, speaking and writing about what it means to respond to God in the midst of “the domestic church,” as the family is called in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium. Sue has written about this vocation in the book I Love Being a Mom:
On December 11, 2000, in a hotel room in Anhui, China, I became a mom. A beautiful ten month-old named Zhu Dian Dian was placed into my arms. I immediately felt heartbreak, not the overwhelming joy that I had anticipated. She was keenly aware that something major was happening and cried a deep, soulful cry. I rocked her and consoled her. I cried a little with her. I realize now that crying with her instead of being overjoyed for myself was the essence of becoming her mom. It was not about what I wanted to fulfill my life, but what would make this beautiful little girl happy.
More recently, we have co-authored a book about living as a domestic church called Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality of the Home. In it, we draw from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in order to develop an authentic, flexible, realistic spirituality of everyday life at home.
Are you intrigued by the idea that there can be, as this book’s subtitle suggests, a spirituality for the home? Perhaps you tend to connect the word “spirituality” with what you seek when you leave your home life behind: feelings of peace, a sense of connection with the world, an awareness of the holy—you know, the kinds of things that elude you when you’re in the midst of making dinner, paying bills, or cleaning up after your children. What this book proposes is a view of spirituality as very much grounded in everyday life. And what lies under this proposal is an even more radical suggestion: namely, that everyday life (on the one hand) and those feelings of peace, connection with the world, and awareness of the holy, on the other, are meant to go together. To say it a little more forcefully, we are suggesting that authentic spirituality is not something above or beyond everyday life, but embedded right in the messy midst of it.
(From the introduction)
We write and speak on topics related to marriage and family life. We’ve been to the World Meeting of Families; catechetical congresses in Rockville Center and Baltimore; parish-based groups for parents and young adults in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; and various retreats.
This is our interview on Catholic TV about our book.
This is an interview that Sue did with Jared Dees of Ave Maria Press at the World Meeting of Families 2015, speaking on healing broken relationships.
Our newest book is called The Discerning Parent: An Ignatian Guide to Raising Your Teen, also from Ave Maria Press. See an excerpt of it on the CatholicMom.com site. It’s a reflection on raising our three teens relying on the wisdom of the Ignatian tradition.