Roma Downey's life has been more than touched by an angel

“If I were to look back at my career," says the producer, author and actor, "I think my greatest achievement is very simple. I’ve been able to make choices where I could glorify God.”

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“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

there’s much more behind the role than an acting career or a trademark voice, says Downey.

Roma and Mark in Morocco


“All these projects have been ways of combining my faith with the things that I’ve learned in life. In the books, I’m trying to find ways to look back and reach the wee ones. It’s been a very fun and loving and engaging project.”

She was raised in a single-parent family after her mother died when Roma was 10. Her father filled the gap as best he could. “My dad used to sit me on his knee and read from the Bible to us. We were a praying family. Ours was a family of love and a family of prayer.

“Some of my fondest memories are of kneeling next to him and slipping my little hand into his. He was such a great guide and mentor to me. His love and his teaching me about my heavenly Father’s love allowed me to get through tough times — to be comforted and to feel the unconditional love that the Lord has for us.

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