As I mentioned in my mini-review of God Will Provide last month, I had hoped to post an interview with author Patricia Treece. I'm delighted to be able to share our conversation. Thanks, Patricia!
Q. Tell Catholic Post readers a little more about you and your work.
I’m a convert who fell in love with God’s friends the saints, particularly modern saints and holy people of our time who are on their way to official sainthood. Their lives, often so like our own, offer me mentoring, companionship, and prayer help. To share them with others - the whole human family - is my delight. I’m so grateful that God has given me a lively writing style and a talent for research from my training as ajJournalist and the several languages I studied in high school, college, post-grad., or independently with tutors. In turn, it is a grace and a lot of fun to give these gifts back to God by spending much of my time with the holy. You know people, in part, by the company they keep. God’s saints have helped me know and love God. My prayer is that my books help readers in the same way.
Q. I found God Will Provide an amazing book, “brimming with wisdom and grace.” How did you get the idea for it, and how long did it take you to complete the book?
Thank you for asking. I am so relieved you found “wisdom and grace” instead of an author just thinking she can tell others what to do in trouble! I certainly can’t but wisdom and grace are found in the saints and they get them from the Lord, who uses very ordinary people like me sometimes to pass them on.
During the dark winter days of 2008-09, I woke one Sunday morning and almost immediately grabbed something to write on. An outline complete with many of the examples which appear in the book poured out. I don’t wake in work mode on the Sabbath! But I felt – of course I knew I could be deluded! – God, out of love, was letting me be an instrument to help the many people struggling in the terrible economy. I felt this work was a Divine invitation to everyone to position himself or herself so that God could meet their needs, material, emotional, and spiritual. I brought the outline to an editor I was working with on another project. He found value and I set aside the other project and began work, hoping to have it out by Christmas 2009. Call it just the way things go and laugh or see in what happened the kind of roadblocks that come against projects that will do good (I believe both are true) but as 2010 neared its end I finally learned that the publisher actually had no money and the printer-ready book was not going to come out. A new publisher took it early in 2011 but wanted many changes so the twice-edited book was edited, to good purpose, twice again. Yet it made it out by mid-December 2011.
Q. I found myself so uplifted and spiritually nourished by every single page. What is your intention for the people who will read it?
You hit it, Nancy, right on the head. My prayer is that readers be uplifted and spiritually nourished. May the book fix in every reader faith – as the saints lives show - that God cares about your material and other troubles, God has power to help, and God loves you and wills to help you.
Q. You have such an interesting mix of saints and near-saints. How did you select the saints for the book?
Time and again in researching and studying saints’ lives, I have found instances of Divine Providence whether for their own material needs or those of the many they ministered to. I usually made notes about these and threw them in a file. I have also listened to the stories of people I know and experienced myself, that we non-saints, if our lives are pointed Godward, receive Divine Providence too. So when the outline for the book, I believe, was given me, many of these came to mind. In my file, I found others – way more than I could use. And sometimes an example fell into my lap just at the perfect moment. I could almost say I didn’t select the saints, they were sent to play their role.
Q. Don’t take this as a criticism, but to me all the stories are all delightfully mixed up in the book. I normally like books that are super-structured (8 Habits of Highly Effective ..., etc.), but in God Will Provide, the way you wrote helped me just let all the saintly wisdom soak in. Was that your intention in writing?
I certainly hoped the saints’ wisdom, which is a gift from God, would soak in, but I can’t claim that I consciously structured the book to mix up the stories in just this way. Sometimes a story started in one chapter and, after editing – and I had a very good editor at Paraclete who stretched me to sharpen my focus - ended up in another. I guess I’ll just have to blame the Holy Spirit!
Q. Any more books or writing projects in your near future you would like to share with Catholic Post readers?
The book I set aside due to the need I felt to get God Will Provide out is my next project. Nothing Short of a Miracle: God’s Healing Power in His Saints some of your readers may remember when it came out in the late 1980s. I took it out of print to update it with the addition of healings from the 1990s forward as well as to let readers know what has happened to some of the children particularly who received great miracles when they were tykes or infants. At the moment with five new chapters and all the updates, I may have to cut a bit. Isn’t it wonderful to think that our God gives us ordinary people (if you think about it, few beatification and/or canonization miracles, for instance, go to any but the most ordinary folks) so many miracles that a book on just some of the recent ones through just modern saints can easily get too long!
Q. Is there anything else you wish I would have asked, or would like to share?
I would just like to thank you, Nancy, for relieving my mind that I did probably receive this book from the Lord to help people, rather than am kidding myself about that. And I thank you for mentioning it as possible reading for Lent. With the modern emphasis on doing something positive for Lent, I would be thrilled to think of people reading God Will Provide. Especially in these difficult times when it’s a temptation to turn away from God in disbelief or even get angry at Him in one’s struggles, I’d be so happy to think of some reader discovering or discovering anew that God loves and wants to provide for them.