When Roma Downey speaks, you know you’ve heard that golden voice before, but as you listen, the Irish-born actress is reading aloud a children’s book, The Sweetest Story Bible. She’s telling how much God loves us – with stories chosen specifically for little girls.
“I tell about some of the female characters from the Bible so girls can be inspired and empowered and uplifted,” she says. “They can see themselves in these characters. They can see themselves in these women. That they can understand that they’ll be called on to step into faith, to be strong and to make good choices about themselves.
Tess and Monica, played by Della Reese and Roma Downey
“You know, it’s presented in such a cute way,” she says, “as sweet thoughts to think about and easy Scripture verses to remember – all which connect a little girl’s life to God’s Word. My hope is that it will help them see just how wonderful God’s love really is.
“It’s really, really sweet and wonderful and I enjoy lending my voice to it.”
And that voice is so instantly recognizable. Although her long-running TV drama “Touched by an Angel” has been off the air for almost ten years, Downey can be shopping unnoticed until she speaks.“Inevitably,” she says, ‘someone will turn around and say ‘Is that you? I recognize your voice.’ So, I think perhaps that’s why they asked me if I would do The Sweetest Story Bible.”
She’s also lent her voice to a line of children’s books and DVDs called “Little Angels” aimed at preschoolers, both boys and girls.
“In the stories, these little angels live on the ceiling of the children’s nursery,” she says, “and when the mom and dad aren’t around, they come down and teach the kids Scripture and how to live in the world – how to be kind, how to be respectful, how to be obedient – you know, all the things we want our children to learn.”
Several years ago, she had to mask that trademark voice, her gentle Londonderry brogue. In the Emmy Award-winning miniseries “A Woman Named Jackie,” she played First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who had very un-Irish voice.
“I had to work with a dialect coach,” recalls Downey. “We nicknamed him the ‘brogue basher.’ He was on the set and anytime he heard a hint of my Irish accent, he would stop everything.”
In March, she will play Mary the mother of Christ in a 10-hour mini-series, “The Bible,” that she and her husband Mark Burnett produced for the History Channel. Yes, Mary will have a golden, Irish voice, but
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