Learn more about Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious or order a signed copy!
Sisters of Life featured in NY Times & WSJ! #YearOfConsecratedLife

Sisters of Life featured in NY Times & WSJ! #YearOfConsecratedLife

Did you know that the Sisters of Life were founded by the late Cardinal John O’ Connor to serve the Church and, in particular, to spread the pro-life teachings of our faith and fight against the culture of death? And as this is the Year of Consecrated Life, let’s just take a few moments and send up a prayer or two for this religious order.

You might also be interested in this article that recently ran in the NY Times regarding the Sisters of Life…”Nuns of a New Generation Forge Their Own Path”…


The members may hold to traditional teachings, but as they see it, there is nothing more countercultural in 2015 than a young woman’s becoming a nun — eschewing careerism, material possessions, sex.

….

All of the 84 Sisters of Life have joined since 1991, when Cardinal John J. O’Connor, who was the archbishop of New York, founded the order. Ten postulants, or first-year members, are expected in September. On Thursday, at the order’s retreat center in Stamford, Conn., eight sisters professed “final vows,” making a commitment for life. To the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, the Sisters of Life add a fourth vow, “to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life.”

“They have a very clearly defined focus,” said Brother Paul Bednarczyk, the executive director of the of National Religious Vocation Conference in Chicago. “There was a very real need which Cardinal O’Connor responded to, and that real need captures the imagination of younger women.”

The Sisters of Life work with about 1,000 pregnant women a year, at several sites including a home for expectant and unwed mothers in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan, a mission on the East Side of Manhattan and a mission in Toronto. They operate a house for first-year members in the Bronx. Last year, at their Stamford retreat center, more than 4,000 people attended retreats, including weekends for women “healing after abortion.” Next month, four sisters are opening the order’s newest mission in Denver.

“Our experience is that once a woman is given the love and practical support that she needs and deserves, she almost always desires to carry her baby to term,” said Sister Mary Elizabeth, who was acting as a spokeswoman for the group.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 7.55.23 PM

The Wall Street Journal also captured some cool ideas about final profession, when sisters take their final vows…

The idea of religious sisters as brides of Christ is easily lampooned. But the metaphor isn’t just a pretty substitute for the weddings and husbands they give up. Just as the ideal of conventional marriage calls upon husbands and wives to rise above themselves to put their spouses first, so it is for these nuns.

For it is precisely the abandonment of self to Christ that sustains these women in those moments when perhaps they’d rather not obey, when they might prefer not to get out of bed in the middle of the night to help a pregnant mother who is throwing up in the next room.

In other words, the vows they make today and the rings they received as a sign of these vows isn’t about “no.” It’s about a radical “yes,” an echo of the assent given more than two millennia ago by a Jewish girl in Nazareth: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy word. Or, as a young redhead in Florida says she put it in her own prayer when she first considered religious life: “You know that I’ve had my wedding planned since kindergarten . . . but I can take a hint if you want me to be Yours.”

:::

While I was on retreat at Spiritual Direction School, (my Summer Jesus Camp), I met a couple of fabulous sisters from this order who were also learning to be spiritual directors. In fact, one went to the same high school I attended, albeit she graduated several years after me. I was just happy to meet another native New Yorker in Florida. (What am I saying? Florida is full of native New York transplants. But I digress…)

If you’re a fan of helping women through crisis pregnancies, or you know a woman who needs to heal following an abortion, I highly recommend the Sisters of Life for counseling and retreats! Find more details about their mission here and their retreats here. 

Find an earlier post about the Sisters of Life here. 

Tribute: Lauren Hill, #22 “Live well to the grace of the moment. Do your best and leave the rest to God.”

What an inspiration you are, Lauren!

On Lauren’s honorary degree and more. From that post: Lauren lives out the words of St. Elizabeth Seton: “Live well to the grace of the moment. Do your best and leave the rest to God.”

Retreating…

Retreating…

I’m on an 8-day retreat.

Hope to be back to writing and podcasting soon.

Let us pray for one another.

Recap: Photos from the Sisters In Faith Conference, Billings MT

Recap: Photos from the Sisters In Faith Conference, Billings MT

Thank you, good women of Montana, and sponsor KJCR –Billings Catholic Radio, and all the other sponsors, for an unforgettable two days of wine, women, and song! (and prayer, and talks, and sisterhood, of course!)

FullSizeRender

IMG_4735

Joining me as a co-presenter was the gifted singer, Jaime Thietten.

IMG_4754

The event coordinators, Julie Koerber (r) and Pam Purinton (l).

IMG_7229

Yours truly, presenting on Saturday.

IMG_4742

Trust me, Jaime Thietten has great pipes and a beautiful testimony. Find her music here.

IMG_4707

Momma Mary, front and center!

IMG_4715

Wine, cheese, light fare on Friday night!

2015-03-21 11.36.02

A guest appearance by Pope Francis’ stunt double!

:::

I really enjoyed having Jaime Thietten along for this event. Her music really complimented the message of the talks I gave on Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious and our morning and evening prayers. We were able to collaborate in a way that does not often happen between conference speakers, and I’m very grateful to the conference leadership for the opportunity to craft a program with Jaime where we could share our gifts alongside one another.

I hope to have Jaime as a guest on an episode of Among Women in the weeks to come!

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video of one of Jaime’s songs. In her testimony talk over the weekend, she shared how her the Lord has led her to sing and to be a voice for the unborn. This song is a powerful reminder of the deep heartache that often accompanies a woman’s life, even years after an abortion. Keep a tissue handy.

:::

Finally home after this 4-day jaunt. I was amazed at the mild temps in Montana and no snow! I flew home via Minnesota and they didn’t have snow either! We’re still looking at the white stuff here in MA, as we got a few inches while I was away. There’s about a 18-24 inches covering the yard, and a 6-foot high plow pile at the end of the driveway. But my heart sure felt the surge of spring while I was away! I love those Montana women!

I must thank St John Paul II and Ave Maria Press: Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious is now in Polish!

I must thank St John Paul II and Ave Maria Press: Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious is now in Polish!

BBB cover art. POLISH EDITION-1

 

What a thrill to see this book now in print in the mother tongue of St John Paul II — the author of all good things related to the feminine genius.

Super that the book will be available for when World Youth Day comes to Krakow, Poland in 2016.

(I did not know that this was in the works… my publisher totally surprised me… I was innocently opening the mail and found 4 copies of the new book.)

Do I have any Polish speaking readers here? Contact me!

 

Helloooo Montana! I’m off to Billings, MT – come join me at the Sisters in Faith Conference! Mar 20-21!

Helloooo Montana! I’m off to Billings, MT – come join me at the Sisters in Faith Conference! Mar 20-21!

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 7.17.14 PM

I’m flying out to the Big Horn Resort in Billings Montana for the Catholic women’s conference — “Sisters in Faith” — sponsored by KJCR radio. Full details here. 

I’m speaking in Connecticut this Sunday! Sign up and Join me!

I’m speaking in Connecticut this Sunday! Sign up and Join me!

I’ll be at Mary Our Queen’s parish women’s retreat, 12-5pm on Sunday March 1. You don’t have to be a member of the parish to attend. Note: There will be no registrations at the door, so you must register early. 

I’ll be give talks based on my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. Books will also be for sale.

Top Post for 2014: Saint-Making Starter Kit: Parents Who Love God and Live It In The Home

Why is this no surprise? It is a topic that also coincided with the most downloaded podcast at Among Women.

The Family. It’s all about the family. For lay Catholics, this is Job One. We must support marriage and the family. (I’ll be going to the World Meeting of Families in Philly come June. Maybe I’ll see you there?)

IMG_0219

My family, Christmas 2014. L to R, Back row: Son-in-love Benjy, daughter & middle child Katie, eldest son Bobby, youngest son Peter. Bottom row, Bob, Brady, and me.

So here’s the top post on The Back Porch from the last year: Saint-Making Starter Kit: Parents Who Love God and Live It In The Home. It’s got links to a study on faith in family life and links by me and others on the subject.

:::

In other statistical date: The most popular place on this website was not the blog at all. The page that out-distanced any of my blog posts was the book page. I guess I ought to be grateful that folks are still looking for it, so humble thanks to you, dear readers. Let me also again thank the Catholic Press Association for the award given to Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, too. I’m sure that did not hurt my stats much either.

:::

Then again…

Stats are a funny thing. You learn things like what search engine traffic brings you…. for example, these two posts from 2013 still send this little blog crazy traffic:

4 Magazines for Catholic Women — which really is a bit dated now as only ONE — Catholic Digest is still in PRINT. Verily and Regina are only online. (Verily had a great print product but it was too costly for them to maintain.) And Radiant’s team is on hiatus… (a problem for a small press.) So, today I say: go subscribe to Catholic Digest! Yes, yours truly writes for them.  FWIW, if my blog stats are any indication, editors, many Catholic women are still looking for magazines…

You are the apple of God’s eye — I guess that’s what happens when one of your posts stays in Google’s top 10 for the search of that bible verse. It was a little bitty sharing from my morning prayer and, well, there you are.

:::

Thank you for reading in 2014. And if you also listen to Among Women, thank you for that too. We’ll talk again soon.