Learn more about Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious or order a signed copy!

"Making a connection. Telling a story. Being a witness. That’s what catechists do. As translators of the truth they seek to give away what they possess because it was so freely passed onto them."

Pat Gohn - writer, speaker, catechist

I’m over at the WINE Blog… talking about the fantastic… the infinite…

I’m over at the WINE Blog… talking about the fantastic… the infinite…

Women In the New Evangelization = that’s WINE!

I’m happy to be contributing to their blog this week!

Catholics believe in the fantastic, the miraculous, and the infinite!

God. Love. Forgiveness. Friendship. Heaven.

Friendship with God of the universe! Joy for eternity!

Truly, this is the stuff of celebration!

I’m a wine drinker – and a wine lover! One of my favorite sounds is the hearing the pop signaling the release of a cork from a bottle. It’s a cue for celebration – sometimes lavish and sometimes simple! Our earthly celebrations bring meaning to life.

All of our family’s most important celebratory moments happen in the context of good meals with wine – sacraments, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, job promotions, engagements, marriages, victories large and small. And there is a prayer of blessing for each occasion! Besides the food and drink, we also discover the blessing in the love of the people gathered there. In these simple earthly rituals we find nourishment and refreshment, and the presence of hope and love.

It is no wonder that Jesus desired to bring us his love in a way that would be a daily reminder of the reality of his true presence – a way to miraculously make his sacrificial love accessible and experiential.

With his friends, at the Last Supper, Jesus offered his very self through the ancient Jewish blessings of bread and wine…

Read it all. 

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In Napa CA, last fall.

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

This is a very important show for the Among Women audience since it is first time we’ve discussed in-vitro fertilization, both in relation to Catholic teaching, AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300and within the life story of a guest. For many years I have searched for a guest who would dare to talk about this subject in a reasonable and faith-filled way. In this special expanded edition of Among Women, I am suspending our normal format in order that I can bring you this important conversation in its entirety. Our focus today is on one woman’s story, Jenny Vaughn, and her personal journey through IVF, in vitro fertilization, and her conversion to a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Parental Programming Note: This program is rated PG-13. It contains mature subject matter, not suitable for children.

Go listen now.

There is no quibbling about Catholic teaching on the part of this show, but as we will hear, our guest took a while, for a variety of reasons, to come around to the truth of this teaching. I understand that this is hard subject for many to discuss. We have friends and relatives, who may be Catholic, who have built their families using IVF. There are some people we may love who have left the Church over the Church’s teaching that prohibits the use of IVF. There may be others who have never heard that IVF is prohibited. No matter where we may be on this subject, I humbly offer this testimony of teaching and sharing for your prayerful consideration.

This podcast is also a story of growth in understanding in the life of Jenny. For when we come to know Christ deeper, and ultimately encountering the truth of the Father’s love and forgiveness for us, we can own the truth of knowing our sins and repenting of then. So, dear listener, pay attention to the progressive faith journey that Jenny and her husband undertake, as she talks ever so candidly about the healing she has received in the face of the traumas she and her family sustained as she underwent IVF.

The Catholic perspective is that the use of IVF ignores the dignity of human persons and the dignity of marriage. IVF replaces the marital embrace with invasive third parties, and removes the unitive and procreative means of the conjugal act from the married couple. Plus, the process reduces the dignity of the human person who is created in the petri dish to a commodity, a product of reproduction, rather than being begotten or generated procreativity.

This episode of Among Women also mentions resources to help you learn more about this subject and the teaching of the Catholic Faith with regards to it.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women!

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Gohn fishin’

Gohn fishin’

No Chevy van. Just a Mini Cooper, and the one I love.

This^ is one badass book by María Morera Johnson — literally! Did I mention it’s about saints?!

This^ is one badass book by María Morera Johnson — literally! Did I mention it’s about saints?!

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Yes, that’s really the title… My Badass Book of Saints... and from what I’ve read, the saints in there are pretty badass — but in a you’ll-never-guess-this kind of way! Fun stuff! And good story telling too. The book is due out in November, but let’s get excited and pre-order it NOW! Just cuz we can!

Let’s just say, this takes the idea of the feminine genius in a bold direction and breaks the weak and weird and un-funstereotypes some folks attribute to saints, and women saints in particular.

From the book’s description:

In this edgy, honest, and often audacious book… blogger and popular podcaster Maria Morera Johnson explores the qualities of twenty-four holy women who lived lives of virtue in unexpected and often difficult circumstances.

In My Badass Book of Saints, Johnson shares her experience as a first-generation Cuban-American, educator of at-risk college students, and caregiver for a husband with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Through humorous, empowering, and touching portraits of twenty-four spiritual mentors who inspired her, Johnson shows how their bravery, integrity, selflessness, perseverance, and hope helped her and can help others have courage to reach for a closer connection to God.

She presents remarkable holy women and saints–including the gun-toting Servant of God Sr. Blandina Segal who tried to turn the heart of Billy the Kid, and Nazi resister Irena Sendler who helped smuggle children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II–in a way that brings their vivid personalities to life and helps readers live out the challenges of their lives with virtue and conviction.

My publisher asked me to write the Foreword. Bodaciousness! 

:::

Confidential to Professor Johnson: Go, BeGo, Go!

Bodaciously toasting Badass...

Bodaciously toasting Badass…

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Related: Check out this archived Among Women podcast with Maria Johnson. 

This makes me think… quotes from St Philip Neri

Short effective prayers of St Philip Neri:

“Jesus, be a Jesus to me.” 

“I cannot love you unless you help me, my Jesus.” 

“My Jesus, if you want me, cut the fetters that keep me from you.”

Good advice from him:

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore, the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.”

For more on St Philip Neri’s life and time, read my archived piece at Patheos, “Saint of Joy: Philip Neri”.

Among Women Podcast 190: Cultivate your faith in a garden – with Margaret Rose Realy

Among Women Podcast 190: Cultivate your faith in a garden – with Margaret Rose Realy

I’m pleased that my Among Women guest is Margaret Rose Realy, author of A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac and my longtime friend from the Catholic Writers Guild. We discuss the new book and the intersection of faith and the beauty of creation. Margaret is not only a blogger and author, but she’s a Master Gardener. Enjoy this conversation from the Among Women podcast!

The latest Among Women podcast also introduces four new saints canonized by Pope Francis earlier this month — four religious women. (After all, this is the Year of Consecrated Life.)

Don’t miss the newest episode of Among Women! 

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The F.U.N. Quotient… birding edition

Stuff Birders Say…

What non- birders Say to Birders… 

(Note: if you see the video titles, there is no sh*t or swear words in these videos.)

This makes me think… “Let your heart be an altar…”

Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop, 5th century.

 

The F.U.N. Quotient… this one’s for the Mom’s

The F.U.N. Quotient… this one’s for the Mom’s

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And if you’ve raised toddler’s, this one’s for you. Hope you smile!

 
Finally, here’s a cheerful soundtrack for your day!