Radio Show

Roma Downey on Unexpected Blessings


Friend of the show and Hollywood actress Roma Downey stops by the studio to discuss her book, “Box of Butterflies.”

Father Dave asks Roma to explain the title of her book: “When I was a little girl, just a week shy of my 11th birthday, my mother unexpectedly died,” Roma says. “It was as if the lights were turned out and the color removed from our lives. My father really leaned into faith at that time to help us through the loss. Of course, we knew that through Jesus we had hope in seeing her again, but I was still a little girl who needed her mom. When we went up to the cemetery to visit her grave I brought with me a bunch of pansies, they were Mom’s favorite flowers; she thought they looked like little butterflies. As I was kneeling down to put the flowers on her gravestone, a real butterfly flew by, and my father said, ‘Would you look at that wee butterfly! That could be your mother’s spirit right there.’ And in my own personal darkness, it was a little ray of hope. Since then, the butterfly has held significance for me, reminding me that my mother is still around and that God is with me.”

RELATED: A Message of Hope: How Our Small Actions Can Change the World

Roma explains that throughout her life she has seen butterflies as signs of hope, and they represent the blessings in her life. She shares that a few years ago on Valentine’s Day, her husband took her outside and gave her a box when she opened the box a flock of butterflies flew out. All of these experiences resulted in the title of the book.

Father Dave shares that when giving blessings to people or objects, he will often identify blessings that are obvious, but sometimes we take our blessings for granted. “We do believe that the communion of saints is praying for us, cares about us, and is involved in our lives. So, why wouldn’t there be a butterfly at a moment that you know it is a representation of your mom?”

Roma agrees: “On ‘Touched by an Angel,’ we used to say that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. But there are those moments in your life when [bad] things occur. I understand for myself that comparison is the thief of joy. And I know that the easiest way I can get myself back into a joyful state is counting my blessings. Because sometimes when you’re just thinking about lack in your life, you don’t see the blessings. … So, this book is a little reminder of gratitude, and it offers some real practical advice on how to shift back into gratitude.”

RELATED: Living a Life of Gratitude

Father Dave asks Roma what the writing process was like. “When I was writing the book I always imagined one person,” Roma says. “I tried to write it for that one person who’d gone through something. Maybe a loss. I can’t help but think about the loss that I experienced, my mother died when I was 10 and my father died when I was in my early 20s. I can’t help but think, obviously I would do anything to have them back, but somehow their loss and the empathy that it has allowed me to feel really prepared me to play the role of the angel on ‘Touched by an Angel,’ because a great deal of that role was just listening. I’ve learned that sometimes people when they share something with you, aren’t looking for advice or an answer. Sometimes people just want to be listened to, and that’s such a valuable gift to give somebody.” (Original air 3-08-18)