Living Memento Mori

My Journey through the Stations of the Cross

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: January 24, 2020

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Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at eleven, Emily DeArdo knew what it was like to live with a keen awareness of her own mortality. In this book, 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 readers to trust in God’s providence as they confront suffering and death and develop enduring spiritual strength and courage along the way.

Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, 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 were searching for what’s real, true, and lasting in life. Trying to find the answer to “is this all there is?” often led her to thinking about death and what happens afterward, she noted.

In Living Memento Mori, DeArdo shares the insight she 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’s life and reflections on mortality give a fresh voice to the traditional themes found in the Stations of the Cross. She offers the courage to face one's 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, including 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.

Emily DeArdo passed away in 2023 at the age of forty-one. Her memory and reflection on memento mori show us how even a life of considerable suffering can be full of joy, hope, and peace.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 

Product Details

Pages: 128

Trim size: 5 x 7 inches

ISBN: 9781594719677

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

Way of the Cross Reflections

Restoration in Lent with Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLTAt the Foot of the Cross with Leticia Ochoa AdamsHoly Week with Fr. John BurnsCarrying Your Cross with Emily DeArdo

  • “Valuable jewels of wisdom.”

    “Valuable jewels of wisdom gleaned from a life lived in the shadow of death.”

    From the foreword by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, F.S.P.
    Author of Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Lenten Devotional

  • “Skillfully crafted.”

    “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.”

    Elizabeth Foss
    Catholic author and founder of Take Up and Read

  • “A powerful reminder.”

    “Emily 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.”

    Mary Lenaburg
    Author of Be Brave in the Scared

  • “A gift for Christian living.”

    “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

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