From the Bottom of my Heart

At our Thanksgiving table, as so many families do, we go around before we eat to acknowledge what each of us is grateful for. I always got teary when I spoke because the memories would flood back one over the other, making it impossible to list all the gifts from those I hold dear. Even the hardest years have moments of light (and bold-faced names!) to remember.

This year I would like to thank the thousands of people who came to The God Box Project–whether through the book or the play or the app–particularly those who hosted events so that we could give back to their charities and the theaters who shared space generously for a good cause. This year was particularly special due to the leadership and generous spirit of so many. Thanks to Gina Groch, formerly principal of St. Charles Borromeo in Port Charlotte, Florida. (Will be performing for Gina again at her new school St. Ann’s in Naples on Jan.28!). February brought me to Atlanta, the day after the big ice storm for a special reading for Barbara Bonapfel’s women’s group of St. James UMC Retreat. And March came in like a lion, thanks to Lily Safani and the Gilda’s Club NYC show at the fabulous Cherry Lane Theater in NYC followed by four shows in a row. The first was pulled together by the beloved late Mike Prendergast, one of his last efforts to support scholarships for Cardinal Dougherty students who now attend Bishop McDevitt HS. That show was held at Arcadia University’s Theater, thanks to president Steve Finley and later that day, I performed the first of three shows in honor of late Sr. Alice Edward Strogen SSJ, longtime chaplain on the oncology floor of Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia (at Arcadia, at Saint Joseph’s University Bluett Theater and then at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio in Philadelphia.) Huge hugs to Rachel Biblow, Stroge’s boss and forever friend. Later that spring, I staged another show for the Cancer Support Community, this one hosted by CSCNJ, thanks to the marvelous Amy Sutton at the Bickford Theater in Morristown, NJ and then a special event run by Dina Murray for the St. Andrew’s Home and School Association in Lawrenceville, NJ and a huge event at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Doylestown, PA with the leadership of Janice Perry. During the summer, our performances at the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland brought needed dollars to MacMillan Cancer Support in the UK. The fall brought me to New Hope, PA to St. Martin of Tours Church for an amazing reading thanks to Pamela Gray and to Harrisburg to Bishop McDevitt HS to support the Sisters of St. Joseph Retirement Fund, (shoutout to Sr. Elizabeth Ferguson SSJ!) and then to Villanova U for Robin Cohen who heads the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Fund. Finally, I ended the fall tour at the hospice conference sponsored by Barnabas Health, run by the spectacular Mary Murray.

If you have read througChildrens God Boxesh these names–and believe me, there are many more!– you may not remember them but I can never forget. This year, thanks also to the stellar work of our director Martha Wollner, lighting designer Kia Rogers, video designer Chris Kateff and production coordinator Nidia Medina,  the God Box Project passed the $250,000 in total funds raised since we launched in spring 2012. If we were at a Thanksgiving table together, by now we would be on to dessert. My dessert? The joy of sharing my family’s story with so many and being able to pay my mother’s love forward…with so much more to come. Check out the events calendar for the winter/spring 2015 tour. Love is all around us! (and please write to me if your community and/or charity would like to book the show. Here for you!

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A Dream Realized

"The God Box, A Daughter's Story"

Losing my parents was the heartbreak of my life. But I feel that they left me a gift, first in my mother’s God Boxes of notes but also in the grit and hope they instilled in me as a girl. I had always dreamed of a career in theater but instead poured my years into a business career. But after losing Mom and Dad, I decided I wanted to share their story, not only in my book but onstage.  I started from scratch, at the bottom, at a sad point in my life. But their belief in me gave me courage. And my partnership with the amazing actor/playwright/director Martha Wollner gave me the skills. After many U.S. performances raising nearly $250,000 for charities, now the show is stepping up to a world stage. From July 31 to August 25, I will be performing ‘The God Box, A Daughter’s Story’ at the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It was an honor to be accepted by the famous Assembly Theater there. A new journey is beginning.But I’ll pack my bags with Mom and Dad’s love inside.  Come along with me as I share the next few months of the dream of a lifetime.

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press & praise
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  • "A wonderful legacy…Keeping a God Box is an incredibly moving and hopeful ritual that we should all consider adding into our daily lives."
  • "What a beautiful and profoundly human book....I will keep The God Box in my heart for a long, long time."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."
  • "The courage and wisdom from the messages left in her mother’s God Box will inspire you to create a God Box of your own."
  • "In the slips of paper that carry this sweet story forward, we can see the love in our own families and the great possibilities of simple faith."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan has told the story of her mother in a way that entertains, moves and inspires. The thoughts about life and values will stick with you forever."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."

The God Box App is shiny new and ready to welcome your cares

February 28, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

Since The God Box book was published in the spring of 2012, so many readers have told me that they started their own God Boxes. I love hearing stories of children creating God Boxes and married couples joining their prayer and cares in a family box. (And my mother would be thrilled!)  A 'real' God box is a constant reminder that we are not in control and that letting go is the first step to finding comfort, hope and relief for life's worries. But did you know that many thousands have gone virtual with their God boxes? To help the many busy ...

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