Oprah: Growing up, how many children were in your family?
Kathryn: I'm one of three girls, and my husband is from a family of eight. We knew we wanted children—we just never talked about having nine. After our oldest child, Jimmy, was born, we wanted him to have a sibling. With every child we were blessed with after that, we just adjusted and were thankful.
Oprah: Are you Catholic?
Kathryn: Yes, I converted from Greek Orthodox when I married.
Oprah: So is your large family a religious thing?
Kathryn: No. I've always just loved children. Before I got pregnant the first time, I was an elementary school teacher. I got pregnant on my honeymoon.
Oprah: Did you leave teaching after your first baby?
Kathryn: Yes, I left after I had Jimmy. As a teacher I always wanted to bring out the self-esteem in a child, and that's what I want as a mother, too.
Oprah: I felt that the moment I met your kids. Each one has such a strong sense of self.
Kathryn: Thank you—that's such a huge compliment.
Oprah: One child is as well behaved as the next. To raise children like this is one of the hardest jobs on earth.
Kathryn: We're still working hard at it, especially now that we're getting into the teen years, with all the crap that's going on out there. We've put parental controls on our computer, and we took off the instant messaging. Otherwise I might not know who my children were talking with.
Oprah: What's your dream for your children?
Kathryn: My dream is to raise self-confident, respectful, responsible human beings who can give a lot to the world. After I drop off the kids at school every morning, I go to a monastery and sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and give everything over to Our Lady and to Jesus. My prayer is always the same: "Use me." I get a lot of strength that way. I want to do the best for the kids, and since I've got so many, my mind is always in a million places.