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Therese J. Borchard: 'Beyond Blue' View Comments
By John Feister

Therese J. Borchard, on a dock close to home, holds the book about her struggles with bipolar disorder and tips for tackling depression. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, she is realistic and hopeful.

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THERE WAS A MOMENT in Therese Borchard’s life when she found herself crouched in a closet, terrified, with her kids in front of the TV in the other room. The bouts of depression and anxiety she had fought since she was a teenager—the same depression that had led her aunt-godmother to suicide—had become unbearable to her.

Eric, her husband of 10 years, persuaded Therese to allow him to take her to the hospital for help. That trip to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore was the beginning of a journey that led Therese to become one of this nation’s leading advocates for people with manic depression. You sometimes can find her books Beyond Blue or The Pocket Therapist on the racks at stores nationally; she’s been interviewed for Psychology Today, among other magazines, and has been a guest on national television shows.

But she is most known on the Internet, at a Web site of many religions called www.beliefnet.com, where she blogs and interacts with online visitors. Hers is an advocacy of caring.

“It was my Catholic faith that saved me,” Therese says unabashedly, as Eric helps two children up the stairs toward bed. At home in Annapolis, Maryland, Therese shares her story of faith, struggle, how she found a way to cope and how she now helps others. Faith is clearly at the heart of her story.

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John Feister is editor-in-chief of this publication. He has master’s degrees in humanities and theology from Xavier University, Cincinnati.

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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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