Living Memento Mori
My Journey through the Stations of the Cross
by Emily M. DeArdo
Pub Date 24 Jan 2020
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Emily M. DeArdo was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at eleven, so she knows what it’s like to live with a keen awareness of her own mortality. She draws on the medieval practice of memento mori, “remember you must die,” and shares her personal story with unique and compelling insight into the meaning of Christian life and death. Using the Stations of the Cross as a framework, DeArdo leads you to trust in God’s providence as you confront suffering and death and develop enduring spiritual strength and courage along the way.
Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, F.S.P., kicked off a rediscovery of memento mori on social media when she began tweeting about #mementomori and what it’s like living with a plastic skull on her desk. Emily DeArdo said the practice caught on with millennials like her who are searching for what’s real, true, and lasting in life. Trying to find the answer to “is this all there is?” often leads to thinking about death and what happens afterward, she noted.
In Living Memento Mori, DeArdo shares the insight she has gained from living her life on the precipice of death: a willingness to embrace the Cross of Christ can transform the pain and loss we all inevitably experience into a source of spiritual growth. DeArdo shows you how even a life of considerable suffering can be full of joy, hope, and peace.
DeArdo’s life and reflections on mortality give a fresh voice to the traditional themes found in the Stations of the Cross. She offers you the courage to face your own suffering and concerns about death and to follow Jesus wherever he leads. You will discover:
• how memento mori can help you live a deeper spiritual life
• how to unite your sufferings with those of Jesus
• what the Catholic faith teaches about the meaning of suffering
Station by station, DeArdo links her personal and spiritual journey to the suffering of Christ and shows readers how to do the same. Each chapter of Living Memento Mori begins with scripture, includes a quotation from Pope John Paul II’s Salvifici Doloris (The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering ), and closes with three questions for personal reflection or group discussion. An appendix provides readers with a guide to praying the Stations of the Cross with original meditations in the spirit of memento mori.
A Note From the Publisher
"Emily DeArdo lives on the tree of life with joy. Her love in this book will help you to do the same. It’s a gift for Christian living.”
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Senior fellow at the National Review Institute
“In Living Memento Mori, Emily DeArdo imparts the valuable lessons she has learned while suffering with Jesus by her side. Like the precious drops of Jesus’ blood that spattered the Via Dolorosa, Emily shares valuable jewels of wisdom gleaned from a life lived in the shadow of death, a memento mori that has brought her closer to our Savior.”
From the foreword by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, F.S.P.
Author of Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Lenten Devotional
“This richly layered book brought me to a new appreciation for the Stations of the Cross and a new understanding of the redemptive value of suffering. While the story is a page-turner, it is also a book to be read slowly and contemplatively, to revisit again and again. Emily’s life is a testimony to God’s graciousness. Her willingness to bear witness to some of humankind’s most objectively vulnerable moments is an extraordinary gift of grace to her readers. If you have the courage to take an honest look at the nearness of death and the true gift of every day we live, this skillfully-crafted volume can be a beautiful, life-changing instrument.”
Catholic author and founder of Take Up and Read
“In my own life, I have found the practice of memento mori and the spirituality of the Stations of the Cross to be places of peace and consolation in the midst of personal suffering and darkness. In Living Memento Mori, Emily DeArdo shares her own journey, her own pain, her own need to face the reality of death, and shows us that hidden in the wounds of Christ, we are never alone.”
Author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook
“Suffering and death are not easy subjects to meditate on, but in Living Memento Mori, Emily DeArdo challenges us to think of our own suffering and inevitable death in a way that brings both wisdom and joy. The honest story of her daily struggle to live with a fatal diagnosis is compelling on its own, but when joined with her unique interpretation of the Stations of the Cross, DeArdo provides a powerful reminder to live each day as if it’s our last and gives readers the courage to embrace our crosses and draw closer to Christ.”
Author of Be Brave in the Scared