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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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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, keep me in your care. Guard me in my actions. Teach me to love, and help me to turn to you throughout the day. The world is filled with temptations. As I move through my day, keep me close. May those I encounter feel your loving presence. Lord, be the work of my hands and my heart. Amen.

The Passion and the Cross Ronald Rolheiser

 
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