Pope Awesome is twice the Catholic
and half the fat of Dad is Fat.”

–Jim Gaffigan
stand-up comedian and author of Dad is Fat


Take a two-income, quasi-New Age, newlywed couple with two Greyhounds and the resolve never to have children or to embrace any form of organized religion.

Add ten years of hunger for “something more.”

What do you get?

A large Catholic family, of course. And one in which the second youngest, while watching Pope Benedict depart the Vatican, solemnly declares, “Now I’ll be pope: Pope Awesome the First, with my Swiss Guard army. And if my army men don’t give me any new video games, I’ll punch them in the face.”

In words often as sassy as those of her little Pope Awesome, Catholic homeschooler Cari Donaldson here relates how her friend’s newborn baby, a portrait of the Virgin Mary, and the words of the Miraculous Medal called her forth from a selfish, small way of life into the welcoming arms of the Church.

Six children in ten years have banished all her hopes for a tidy secular life, and, in her upscale town, where “Cats, not kids” bumper stickers are seen, have raised countless eyebrows along the way.

Undaunted, Cari declares that “If we’re to be a traveling carnival freak-show by New England standards, then we’re going to be a carnival freak-show for Jesus,” although her husband has stopped her from airbrushing onto her van a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a unicorn over a sparkling river.

Above all, Cari tells of the awakening of her love for the Eucharist, the deepening of her love for her husband and her children, and the humility and faith these experiences have nurtured in her.

To Jesus she confesses, “You taught me to be open to the lives You wanted to bring into the world through me. I rose above myself just enough to let You bring the blessings of these children into my life. I was sometimes scared and sometimes angry, and always at a loss about how I was going to mother these children, but I knew that it would be Your grace, and not my shortcomings, that would triumph.”

Pope AwesomeThrough Cari’s remarkable tale of her conversion and the peace she’s found as a Catholic, you’ll be reminded of the many profound, lifelong blessings God gives you through your Faith, and, yes, even through your daily small troubles and unexpected joys . . . like little Pope Awesome punching his Swiss Guards in the face!

Cari’s tale will lead you to share her conviction that we never know what God has planned for us tomorrow, but, for sure, “it will be better than anything we ourselves could have planned, even in our wildest dreams.”

Praise for Pope Awesome

“Pope Awesome is a rollicking, thoughtful, hilarious, heart-string tugging conversion story.  Cari Donaldson stands up for life, love, family and faith with feisty good humor, open hearted intelligence and a subversive twinkle in her eye.”
Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Author of Quest for the Creed

“Cari Donaldson is a brilliant storyteller who knows how to share her experience in a way that is humorous, touching, and imminently relatable. Pope Awesome is a memoir that everyone is sure to love.”
Jen Fulwiler
author, speaker, and blogger at

“I loved this book.  Cari Donaldson sweeps you along on her quest for God in a memoir that is lively, clever, funny, and sincere.  Not to be missed.”
Simcha Fisher
author of Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning

 “Cari Donaldson brings the reader into the wild ride of conversion, marriage, and family life. The funny, often poignant tales from her life are sure to have readers laughing and nodding in recognition.”
Hallie Lord
Editor of Sex, Style and Substance, and blogger at

“Cari’s hilarious and uplifting stories really touched my heart and renewed my love for our amazing Catholic faith!  If I wasn’t already a mother and a Catholic, this book would inspire me to become both.”
Colleen Martin
Blogger at

“As a cradle Catholic sometimes tempted to take the life of faith for granted, I need to snack on conversion stories from time to time—they delight while they nourish. Cari Donaldson’s story was a real banquet—and her zany descriptions of large family life are just plain fun.”
Daria Sockey
Author of The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

“I was truly inspired by this book’s tale of how Faith was found and met with unabashed courage, and was allowed to radically change Cari’s life.”
Rebekah Es
blogger at

“The presence of God’s grace is all too evident in this beautifully and hilariously written book. Through so many heart warming and humorous stories, Cari does a stellar job of mixing the sublime with the real and constantly hearkening back to God’s loving providence.”
Ana Hahn
Blogger at

“Pope Awesome is more than just one woman’s story: Cari Donaldson uses real life experience to convey wisdom—and she does so with a generous dose of humor that everyone will appreciate and devour. Anyone who has ever fallen in love, wrestled with belief, or struggled to keep up with daily life is sure relate to page after page of Pope Awesome.”
Grace Patton
Blogger at


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