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A good deed all 365 days keeps British author at play

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 31st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

British author Judith O'Reilly made a New Year's resolution to do one good deed every day in the year 2011. The resolution proved to be arduous, but she kept it, and chronicled her adventures in the book "A Year of Doing Good."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 48-year-old author did a grand total of 365 good deeds last year, from picking up litter on the beach to making cups of tea for other people's builders. Judith decided to record them and has since published a book on her altruistic adventure.

"I didn't realize when I made the resolution that New Year what I was taking on," she says in the epilogue to her book. "I'd made resolutions before . but the idea of doing one good deed a day morphed into something else again.

"This year made me question what a good life is, how we give our lives meaning, and what it is to love.

"It also taught me that people don't always want the good you want to do, and that doing good - believe you me - is harder than it looks."

O'Reilly goes onto say that the year of doing well is really an admission of her own failings.

"My parents are saints, and it is tough being the parents of saints," she says. "People feel sorry for the children of murderers; because they think it must be hard worrying whether you've inherited a genetic predisposition to kill as well as those long-lobed ears. It is worse when you're brought up by those who are good. Really good."

"A Year Of Doing Good" Judith's third book - her first, "Wife In The North," was a bestseller; her second she says is "living in a drawer." Her latest book she says is the one she wanted to write in order to help make her a better person.

In her journey, the author, who hails from Northumberland, humorously concluded there were both good and bad things.

One such bad thing, she writes, is: "I am still writing a bloody novel, and everyone who reads it says it is pants." She also casually tosses digs at her husband throughout the book, writing: "My other New Year's resolution is to stay married. If at all possible".

Each chapter is dedicated to a resolution.  Good deeds include tidying a vase of flowers that had fallen over at a child's grave to giving the Queen some flowers when she visited a nearby town.

O'Reilly also became a companion for cancer patients, taught mentally disabled children to write and worked with Operation Christmas Child packing shoe boxes.

She even set up her own charity collection called the Jam Jar Army whereby she put any loose change into a jam jar. Thousands of people joined her and raised an amazing 26,000 for a variety of good causes.

Her latest book has won rave reviews in her native England.

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