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What is my purpose?

Who am I?

These are questions that every woman will find herself asking in a culture swirling with increasing confusion around meaning and identity.

Life can strip us of the illusion that our identity and calling has anything to do with what we do or accomplish in life–or what we want to become or think we must be, for that matter.

Daughter by Design is the only book of its kind, bringing together faith and science in a practical way. This book is a must-read for every woman seeking to stake her life on the eternal truth of her existence: that she is a daughter forever.

Now available on Amazon

Hi! I’m Mary Ruth

And Yes, I go by both Mary and Ruth. I was named after my two grandmothers so leaving one of them out just wouldn’t be right. Welcome to my little corner of the web. I am so happy you found me!

After earning my PhD in Educational Psychology, I left the halls of academia to be a stay-at-home mom. That said I am a scholar at heart. I have a huge passion for helping families integrate the best of developmental science, the Catholic faith, and their own unique parenting styles.

With my podcast Parenting Smarts and my blog as a foundation, I am able to offer resources for families everywhere. Additionally, I am a regular contributor to and Blessed is She’s books and devotionals. Now that my children are older, I enjoy speaking on to groups around the country.

It is like being back in the university classroom!

Raised Protestant, my conversion to the Catholic Faith in 2006 allowed me to further embrace the Church’s timeless wisdom around authentic femininity.  As the key to both personal wholeness and effective parenting, I have come to appreciate the need to strengthen a woman’s identity as daughter of God before anything else.

I write and teach at the important intersection of faith and science, blending them both in the original harmony God intended. Daughter by Design, my new book on identity for Catholic women is the only book of its kind, bringing together these fields in a practical way.

I am a lifetime resident of Arizona where I live with my husband and four children. They all still provide plenty of practical experience to complement the theory and research that informs my work. When I am not writing, speaking, or wrangling children, you might find me enjoying a cup of coffee and some historical fiction or mapping out my next traveling adventure.

Photo credit: @LillyBPhotography

The Book

Dr. Mary Ruth Hackett invites Catholic women to explore their identity in her first book Daughter by Design: Discovering Your Identity as God’s Beloved Daughter.

The Podcast

Parenting Smarts blends together the science of child development and the realities of Catholic family life. Subscribe, download, or just start listening today.

Kate Prejean McGrady

Award-winning author and host of The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM

“In a world fighting to define femininity, what it means to be a woman, and how to best be a mom, Mary Ruth Hackett cuts through the noise and beautifully presents the idea that first we must understand who we are as daughters of the Creator of the universe. With a gentle hand and tender strength, Mary Ruth helps us understand the feminine heart and the identity we must first accept and understand. This is an excellent book, needed now more than ever, and will be a gift to Catholic women everywhere.”

Father Charlie Goraieb

Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Tempe, Az

“If you are a Catholic woman whose efforts to grow in your faith are constantly frustrated by the demands of a busy life, Dr Hackett’s short, very readable book is for you.  She writes not as a teacher from on high, but as a sister who draws upon the compelling stories of her own lived experience.  Daughter by Design is a well-written, insightful guide to finding the Heart of Christ in the midst of everyday, chaotic life.  I consider it a modern-day, feminine version of Brother Lawrence’s Classic, Practicing the Presence of God.”

Claire Dwyer

Author, This Present Paradise

“With warmth and wisdom, Mary Ruth Hackett delivers a much-needed personal retreat for women designed to restore our dignity and remind us of our identity.This book is an invitation to finally become the woman the Father had in mind from the beginning. Page by page, readers will reintegrate all the broken, scattered, lied-about parts of themselves into the place within where God waits to embrace His beloved daughter and welcome her home.A life of wholeness and integrity—that is God’s deep desire for us as women.  Grab a friend—or a group–and dive in!” 

Father John Bonavitacola

Pastor, Our Lady Of Lourdes, Phoenix, Az

“Amid the dishes, diapers and daily dizziness, you may wonder- who am I? Dr. Hackett will help you discover your true identity and how to live that out day by day. Her writing is clear, concise and seeded with kernels of wisdom and practical applications. Her experience, strength and hope will be a great benefit to others, especially those who have given up or are just too frustrated with life to even care”.

Rachel Balducci

Author, speaker and co-host of The Gist on CatholicTV

“Knowing who we *really* are is at the core of true freedom and happiness. Diving into our identity as a daughter of Christ will offer more joy than we could ever conceive. Take advantage of this book as it guides you toward a stronger understanding of who God created you to be!”

Sr. Maria Kim-Ngan Bui FSB

Daughters of St Paul

“We all yearn to hear and know in the core of our hearts that we are beautiful, blessed, and beloved. But this longing for the truth of our identity can only be satiated by a living relationship with God. The amazing thing is that through Christ we come to discover precisely that—we discover our identity as daughters of the unfathomably merciful and Good Father. Dr. Hackett’s *Daughter by Design* is an essential resource for every woman seeking to discover the freedom of what it means to hold peace and joy in her core while she goes about her daily life. With decades of experience as a mother, a wife, a Doctor of Education in Psychology, and a daughter and disciple of God, Dr. MaryRuth Hackett has generously and prayerfully gathered all her treasures and brought them to bear on this most essential topic and pressing issue of our day—How do I live as a Daughter of the Heavenly Father?”

Father Robert Seraph Aliunzi

Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Tempe, Az

“The moment I started reading the manuscript, I simply could not put it down as page after page revealed to me a powerful spiritual plan of action as well as a riveting life compass not only applicable to daughters but to sons as well. In fact, in my second round of reading the manuscript, the book spoke directly to me and my relationship with God. So, I highly recommend this wonderful book: “Daughter by Design: Discovering your Identity as God’s beloved Daughter” to anyone seeking to discover and appreciate their God-given Identity. Thank you, Dr. Hackett, for this invaluable resource.”

Nell O’Leary, JD

Managing Editor, Blessed is She

“I have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Hackett for over eight years on a number of writing and business projects. She brings her keen mind to every encounter, her humble heart to every conversation, and her capable storytelling to bring others closer to God.”