CWG Book Blast: “Broken Brain, Fortified Faith,” by Virginia Pillars

This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Guildie Virginia Pillars’ book, “Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope Through a Child’s Mental Illness.” It is a CWG Seal of Approval winner! Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the story of one family’s journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter, Amber, and support for their family. 

broken-brain-fortified-faith-book-cover with Selah SOA winner


Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the story of one family’s journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter and support for their family. This memoir is an honest look at the stress, anger, education, and finally, hope experienced through eyes of a mother. Along the way, she questions her trust in God as their family encounters setbacks, inadequate treatments, and additional family health crises, but with the help of trusted family, friends, education, and support groups, author Virginia Pillars learns to rely on her faith as she faces the challenges that often accompany mental illness.


I backed out of the garage and turned on to the road. I inhaled sharply and stomped on the accelerator pedal. Amber was not an emotional person. She had never done this before. I drove the familiar route and thought back to her sobs. My right foot pressed down harder. I looked ahead and then glanced into the rear view mirror.

I’m the only one on this road,” I whispered. The wheels gobbled up the gray pavement and the fence posts became a blur.

How fast I’m going? My eyes flitted to the speedometer. “Ninety,” I gasped. I eased off the accelerator while I reached for my purse on the front seat. I grabbed the handle and pulled it closer. My fingers explored the outside pocket to find my cell phone. Balancing it on the steering wheel, I punched nine on speed dial – it belonged to Brooke, Amber’s best friend. They had met in college and the two girls had spent many weekends together with us.

Brooke, I need you to do something for me. Can you call Amber? I think something’s wrong.” I took a short breath. “Keep her on the phone with you until you know I am there. I talked with her earlier today and I am really worried about her. Can you do that?”


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Twitter: @VirginiaPillars


Virginia Pillars lives on a farm, along with her husband of forty-two years. She is the mother of four, one of whom suffered from a mental illness, and a grandmother of four with a passion for reaching out to families who are also affected. Virginia writes and speaks on mental illness, along with its effect on families. She volunteers both as an educator and support group leader for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Virginia became certified in First Aid for Mental Health in 2014. She has also contributed to,, and The Grief Diaries Poetry, Prose & More.

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#mentalillness affects families and individuals. #nami supports both. Broken Brain, Fortified Faith-1 family’s life:

Special Considerations:

Virginia donates profits from each book sale to her local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for education and a portion to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to fund scientists in order that they may discover further knowledge of the brain in order to help those effected.

Broken Brain, Fortified Faith also won the 2017 Selah Award for memoirs.

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2 Responses to CWG Book Blast: “Broken Brain, Fortified Faith,” by Virginia Pillars

  1. Paula Veloso Babadi says:

    Virginia, congratulations on receiving the SOA! I’m glad to have met you at the CWG Live Conference in June.

  2. Ron Smith says:

    Thank you for writing this book Virginia. Schizophrenia is a searing illness that penetrates a family so deeply, it can easily be suffocating emotionally and mentally. Your book is an effort that exalts this trial of the heart, mind, body, and spirit.