The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Kate Braestrup spent her childhood in Algiers, New York City, Paris, Bangkok, Washington, DC and Sabillasville, Maryland. She married James Andrew "Drew" Griffith in 1985. Shortly after the birth of their first child in 1986, Griffith joined the Maine State Police, and the family moved to midcoast Maine.
Educated at the Parsons School of Design/The New School and Georgetown University, Braestrup originally thought of herself primarily as a writer. She had published a novel, Onion, in 1990, after all, and occasional essays in national publications. More children arrived, but she expected to be able to continue combining motherhood and the writing of fiction and non-fiction for the foreseeable future.
Trooper Griffith was killed in a car accident while on duty in 1996. Kate Braestrup was left a widowed mother of four children between the ages of 3 and 9. Life would not and could not ever be the same as it had been.
As it happened, Drew Griffith had spent the last year of his life thinking about, researching and finally committing himself to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, a plan that was naturally discussed extensively with his wife. In this way, unwittingly, he had prepared the way for Kate Braestrup to recognize and develop her own vocation. She entered the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1997, and was ordained in 2004. Since 2001, she has served as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered.
In 2006, Braestrup married the artist, Simon van der Ven. Between them, van der Ven and Braestrup have a total of six children, all whom are now sauntering, tiptoeing or being pushed up to and across the threshold of adulthood.
As an ordained minister, Braestrup performs weddings, and advises individuals and couples on "how to enter into, be content within, or extract themselves from the married state." It is out of these experiences, coupled with her own, that Braestrup has written Marriage and Other Acts of Charity. With Braestrup's characteristic honesty, good humor and poignancy, it is a memoir that explores the challenging spiritual terrain of our most intimate and important human relationships.