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As Christians, we know we have not been promised an easy, carefree life. And yet we resist suffering at every turn, despite Jesus’ clear and direct conditions if we want to be his disciples: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24).

The truth is most of us find the cross bitter. We’d rather not have to carry it, and we wonder why God demands it of us. In Sweet Cross: A Marian Guide to Suffering, Laura Phelps reveals not only why suffering is a necessary part of our Christian life, but how we can learn to carry our cross without fear or complaint — and even to find that it is sweet. The secret is Mary.

Mary teaches us to be patient in our pain and strong in our suffering. Imitating her virtues fortifies us to embrace our suffering and to see the cross as it truly is: the place where Jesus shows his incredible love for us, and where we are given the opportunity to love him in return.


Laura Phelps is a speaker, visionary leader, and author of Victorious Secret: Everyday Battles and How to Win Them. She is a regular contributor at, blogs at, and has written for various online publications, including Catholic Mom. She lives with her husband, Nick, their four children, and a menagerie of pets in Connecticut.

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