Taking my heart to Ireland

This week I am setting out on a great adventure, one that my husband Joe and I have planned for nearly two years. Our goal was to bring my one-woman play “The God Box, A Daughter’s Story” to an extended tour of performances in Ireland and now it’s real. Below are the facts though at the m0ment, I am more consumed by my feelings.Clover-Green-Leafs-Water-River-214x161

October Tour Schedule
10/13 Dunamaise Arts Centre PORTLAOISE
10/14 The Everyman CORK
10/15 Watergate Theatre KILKENNY
10/21 Siamsa Tire, TRALEE
10/22 Lime Tree Theatre LIMERICK
10/27 Hawk’s Well Theatre SLIGO
10/28 ROSCOMMON Arts Centre
10/29 Backstage Theatre LONGFORD
10/30 Pavilion Theatre DUN LAOGHAIRE outside DUBLIN.
All shows begin at 8PM. All tickets available through the theatres at 18 euros/15 concession and all proceeds support Local Hospices through the Irish Hospice Foundation.
So, those are the facts. Here are my feelings. My heart is bursting with expectation, hopes and memories of my mother and father. Joe and I love Ireland so much. We’ve visited over 20 times over the years and I can almost inhale the sweetness and grace of that God’s green gift to us. I cannot help but wonder what my parents would say to the idea that I am sharing our family’s story of love and loss throughout the homeland of both their own mothers. I can only know that I will bring my heart to the stage every night and that the hugs I may give and receive on this beautiful Isle will stretch all the way to heaven. Hands on, Ireland! Joe will be with  me and Martha too and of course, Mary! Here we come!

share the love:

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 marylou@theGodBoxProject.com if your community and/or charity would like to book the show. Here for you!

share the love:

Here Comes the Sun!

I‘m honored to perform “The God Box” anywhere but I must admit that staging the show in sunny Florida for January 29 really warms my heart–for a lot of reasons. Yes, the slushy ice and bitter cold of NYC are getting close to unbearable and trading snowboots for flip-flops sounds appealing. But it was Gina Groch, principal of St. Charles Borromeo School in Port Charlotte, Florida who won me over.

Gina, also a Philadelphia native, leads a wonderful Catholic school there, but one in need of real financial support. Her students, from first through 8th grade, have been making their own God Boxes all year long. (When you consider how many worries and wishes children carry on their shoulders today, sounds like a beautiful idea!) I can’t wait to do the show on Wednesday night in the Parish Auditorium at 6:30PM with all proceeds going to the school. If you are in the area, please join us. Go to the events calendar on The God Box Project website for ticket details.

share the love:

Bring The God Box to your Community!

Bring The God Box to your Community!

I am sticking to my promise to spend this summer off the road but planning the next seasons of The God Box show. Each day I speak with amazing charities about how I can help them raise needed dollars for cancer care, hospice, healthcare and education. How about your special cause?

So often I hear, “When are you coming to the southwest?” Or “how come you haven’t been to (fill in the blank)? Here’s my answer: Just Ask! If you are associated with a school, a hospital, a hospice, or a women’s group, please write to me at marylou@thegodboxproject.com  Describe your organization, location, whether you are interested in the full play or a special book reading/speech and I can share details of what it takes. Simply put, you get the audience and we bring the show. Our team works with yours to make an experience that your community will always remember. The ticket revenue goes straight to your charity, with only minimal staging costs deducted (and if you are far from NYC, travel for me and our technical director.) I take no fee.

Check out the play on this site under ‘performance.’ Bring The God Box to your town in Fall ’13 or Spring ’14. (And a hint: If you live in the sunny south/southwest/west coast, talk to this New York girl about a January or February show.) Hope to see you!

share the love:

Thank You St. Mary!

The show for St. Mary Medical Center’s Healing Ministries meant a lot to me because last Christmas, my mother-in-law Ginny Quinlan arrived in their emergency room in very bad shape. We thought we were going to lose her but once in the kind and expert hands of the team there, day by day, they found the source of her pain and here she is five months later holding hands with her husband of 63 years, Tom Quinlan. So, the thank you letter below from the leader of the event Heather Procaccino works both ways:  St. Mary, I love you!

Hi Mary Lou,

I am still basking in the glow of the event.  Everyone was so moved by your presentation and your story.  The event helped us to raise several thousand dollars which will help our Holistic Center provide services to cancer and stroke patients who are in their final stages of life.  I will reach out to  Boni Riether with the good news.  She is the manger of the center and I know she will be so appreciative of your generosity in time, talent, and financial support.  All of which were above anything we could have expected.

I am sure through your book and performance you touch so many people who see themselves and their mothers in your story.  The universal message of love, loss, and grace is certainly conveyed every time you are on the stage.

Thank you again for sharing all of this with us and supporting St. Mary Medical Center. You helped to bring a new group of people into our orbit who we now have the opportunity to continue a conversation with them about our hospital.

I wish you all the best, and if there is anything I can do for you  or your family, please Mary Lou just ask.


share the love:

A Performance to Benefit Hunterdon Hospice

Please join me tomorrow as I perform “The God Box; A Daughter’s Story” at North Hunterdon High School at 7 PM. All proceeds will benefit Hunterdon Hospice. I hope to see you there!

share the love:

Open Doors to Hope

This door represents the Cancer Support Community program at the Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute. Last Tuesday, as you will read in the article HERE, “The God Box” performance raised $10,000 to support a new Mindfulness program to help cancer survivors cope with strength and awareness. What a beautiful door to walk through!

share the love:

The God Box in the Greenville News!

The God Box made the news in Greenville, SC! Read the article HERE.

Excited for tonight’s performance at 7 PM at the Warehouse Theater. If you are interested in the show, or know someone who lives in the area that may be, visit HERE for more ticket information.

share the love:

The God Box Performance in NYC!

My dream for the spring road tour of “The God Box” performance has been to kick it off in NYC where I live. Good news! On the weekend of February 16/17, we are proud to partner with the Connelly Theatre, not only because it’s a jewelbox of a space but because of where it “lives”. The theater is nestled within the Connelly Middle School of the Holy Child, educating girls living under the poverty line in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. These terrific young women are soaring academically, moving on to high school and college graduation through the generous support of the Connelly Center. (Cool coincidence: my parents were married in Holy Child Church in Philly!)

We will post information about reservations. In lieu of paid tickets, we will invite donations to support the girls and their devoted teachers. Stay tuned to the Events page on www.theGodBoxproject.com or write to me here for details.

share the love:

What’s in your God Box?


Last night in Lake Forest, I was so grateful to perform The God Box on behalf of the BCureful Foundation. Photos coming of the beautiful, packed house who came to the show filled with love for the host and mom in charge Julie Scroggins of Waukegan, Illinois. With her trusty genius artistic friend Teddi, look at the God Box centerpieces she created with antique boxes, each holding one of my Mom’s little messages. Pure joy! What do you place in your God Box?

share the love:

sample chapter
Enjoy a free selected chapter from The God Box.

reading group guide
Invite your book club to join this engaging conversation about Mary Lou’s book.

printable mini cards
Share these mini note cards or write notes for your God Box.

mobile app
The God Box app makes it easy to write notes on the go.

giving back
Ask how Mary Lou can support your local cause with the book and play.
Learn more


Come meet Mary Lou and experience The God Box: A Daughter's Story at a venue near you.
Learn more

press & praise
View All
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "Mary Lou Quinlan shares her mother’s handmade and heartfelt gift of how to persist, believe and move forward with joy."
  • "A beautiful story of love, faith and family. It reads like an intimate, familiar prayer."
  • "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."

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

November 28, 2023
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 ...

View More