Catholic Housewife


Based in San Francisco, this memoir traces a forty-year marriage through the sexual revolution in the 1970s and the materialism of the 1980s. The author keeps hope alive in spite of personal tragedy occurring in 1993. Carmen Hartono discusses the global, religious, and political thinking of the new millennium. A Roman Catholic from El Salvador, her husband is from Indonesia and holds Muslim values. God’s plan further unfolds when their daughter moves to New York and marries a Jewish man.


This toothsome memoir is rich with memories, cultural moments, and family experiences that show the pleasures and challenges of daily faith.”

“The forty-year period of the book spans a time of significant social and cultural upheaval and includes the end of the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, and the Cold War. Chronicles balance insights about marital intimacy with international conflicts.”

“For a spiritual memoir, Chronicles is refreshingly un-preachy. There are no assertions about divine favor or blasts of holy light. Instead, Hartono’s perspective on God and the Catholic Church is earthy. Over the course of her life, Hartono has discovered and reencountered new conceptions of God. She explains that her commitment to her family is a form of faith because it’s an experience of love as the fulfillment of God’s wish for humanity.”

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Fascinating, well-written journey of one woman’s life that all women will be able to relate to

It was a sheer delight to edit Carmen Hartono’s memoir titled Chronicles of a Catholic Housewife. Her style of writing is so fluid, so transcendent, so metaphysical at times that it carries you along like a leaf on a stream. I love the way Carmen writes about past events as if they are happening now, which puts you as the reader right in the moment with her as if you are experiencing her joys, heartaches, trials, and successes with her. I loved the feeling her writing evokes. This book is so much more than a memoir. Carmen’s thoughtful intelligence and exceptional education shine through every word, and if you’re a woman who has ever struggled with the conflicting demands of finding your niche in the world while helping your family members find theirs, you will relate to Carmen’s writing on a visceral level. If you have known the conflicting feelings inherent in marital love, and if you have known the loss of a loved one, her book will speak to your soul and remind you that you’re not alone in the company of women. Well done, Carmen! I’m looking forward to the second book in the series

~ Janet, Amazon customer, May 3, 2014


She “found the good news” and had the good sense to hold on …

I’ll be honest. I was nervous to approach this book. What would you do if your mother wrote a book exploring the events of her life, which is to say, the events of your life? I was curious, sure, but part of me wasn’t quite ready to know.

Sometimes there is a fear in getting to know our parents. I think we are frightened by what we might see in their faces because, as much as studying our ancestors tells us about our past, it may also tell us about our future. What I discovered is that my mother’s story is wholly her own and that mine is just a piece of it. She was born in a different country, in a different time; at my age she was a mother of two, her collegiate education spans decades – our lives have few parallels. What touched me about reading this book wasn’t the stories but the perspective they delivered. A perspective and understanding that deeply aligned with my own. And let me tell you, I’ve had enough debates with my mother to find this very surprising. My mother is stalwarty, forever curious, and tough. She “found the good news” and had the good sense to hold on to it. I think we are all born possessing the secret to nirvana, the way, the key to the kingdom of heaven, the eternal truth, the real raison d’etre, call it what you will; but our original sin is to forget. In Catholicism, my mom found the faith that God would always remind her of this knowledge if she simply remembers to listen. She talks about faith the same way a bride speaks of falling in love and I think it is the joy of being reminded that there is so much more than just the space between our heads to existence that elates her so. In the end, this connection to the divine proves to be deeper than any love my mom has experienced here on earth, but that’s ok. She’s an aquarius and she’s always had her head up in the clouds anyways. Though reading this was a very personal experience, the author is an interesting writer. Chronology is less important than meaning and stories unfold in their own good time and in no time at all. Like meeting a good friend after many years, her writing is like a sweetly coveted conversation over slowly steeping tea.

~  Steph, Amazon customer, July 11, 2014


Her story captivated me and I read each page with great interest not knowing where it would lead me to

Carmen writes about herself, her husband, her family and her journey through life with an open heart and an incredible sense of humor! Her story captivated me and I read each page with great interest not knowing where it would lead me to. She didn’t disappoint me. Highly recommend it!

~  Silvia PintoSouza, Amazon customer, November 16, 2014



Traveling between El Salvador in Central America and San Francisco in California, first-time author Carmen Hartono grew up bilingual and bicultural. She has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of her adult life. Hartono sees her vocation to her home as a building block for the local community, leading to a national movement to create a new global existence. Her education began with a fascination with nuclear physics in elementary school that eventually led to the studying of engineering. Her understanding of social engineering led to interests in psychology, philosophy and theology. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies and a MA in Culture and Spirituality.


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