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Thank you, Mother Angelica, for teaching us the art of networking for Jesus…

Thank you, Mother Angelica, for teaching us the art of networking for Jesus…

Jesus was her spouse and Eucharistic Adoration was the center of her television ministry. That’s what stands out for me as the Catholic world mourns the passing of Mother Angelica, foundress of two religious orders of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Franciscan Missionaries, and the Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN. 

IMG_1975With prayer and holy chutzpah Mother Angelica, together with others, launched what would become a global Catholic network in 1981 to bring Jesus to the world. Donations from faithful Catholics around the world continue to sustain the mission today.

Mother Angelica taught us a lot about the beauty of the Catholic faith, as well as the feminine genius, in the way she lived.

Mother is definitely not a stereotypical nun. She appears stereotypical, but beneath the habit is this gutsy, determined woman who wields an incredible faith.

Her feminine genius resides just there I think: in her radical faith, in her abandonment to God’s will in the present moment. Additionally, she had an intuition that allowed her to see events as they were and to follow her heart and God, always.

We need that feminine aspect in the Church today. Mother used to say that the faith had become too “heady,” too theoretical. And I think she is right…

…she says, “Most people today are seeking master’s degrees, then they forget the Master.” She never forgot her Master.

Isn’t it curious that some of the same people who were the most outspoken advocates of “women’s power” in the Church, were the first ones trying to shove Mother Angelica back into the cloister once she appeared on the scene?

The idea of an orthodox, faithful woman leading people to Christ was a threat somehow. It shouldn’t have been. Time has shown that it was actually a blessing. – 2007 Zenit interview with Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo from The World Over at EWTN announces Mother Angelica’s passing and offers a few notes on her legacy…

Thank you, Mother Angelica for your wit and wisdom as a catechist, intercessor, and a spiritual mother to millions.

Oil painting of Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, outside the chapel area.

Oil painting of Mother Angelica, outside the chapel area at EWTN

Thank you for loving Jesus and teaching us not to keep that love to ourselves, but to spread it to others… and that sometimes we are asked to do that with a microphone or camera in hand. You built a network for Jesus both in the relationships you grew in religious life and in your expression of the faith person to person.

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In 2013, I visited EWTN as a guest to record a few programs with “Women of Grace” host, Johnette Benkovic, I took time to pray in the Adoration Chapel and attend Mass. (The banner photo above is the monstrance above the chapel altar at EWTN in Irondale, AL. I took the picture during a period when Mass or adoration was not taking place, so there is no Host in the photo.)

Find more of my photos from that visit here, and here.

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No doubt you can search the internet for hundreds of tribute to Mother Angelica, but I’m happy to recommend a few.

 

 

I’m just one of the many presenters supporting “The Catholic Conference 4 Moms” on February 20, 2016!

I’m just one of the many presenters supporting “The Catholic Conference 4 Moms” on February 20, 2016!

I’ll be presenting at the Catholic Conference 4 Moms, Feb 20, 2016. I’m just one of many guest speakers featured!

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Who? This is for Moms — all moms need support in their faith and their mission! Watch the video trailer here. 

What? An online conference that you can stream or download as an individual, or by hosting this event in your parish. Hey — get a group and hang out with other moms together!

When? February 20 – Smack dab in Lent 2016!

Why? Cuz you deserve it — and its the Year of Mercy!

How? It’s online. All presenters donated our time for the videos in this project. That keeps the cost down for you! Sign up today! Share this far and wide – we are the marketing team! We need your help!

Why now? Sometimes planning one’s calendar takes time! We especially want you to host a group in your parish, if you can. You can make the event as formal or informal as you wish. Get all the details and make your plans! 

 

 

A Summer Leadership Conference in DC for Catholic Women ages 20-30 — The Given Forum. Apply now!

A Summer Leadership Conference in DC for Catholic Women ages 20-30 — The Given Forum. Apply now!

I’m happy to share this information about an exciting opportunity for faithful Catholic women between the ages of 20 and 30….

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What’s it all about? From the event website…

Why the theme, GIVEN?

There are three pillars upholding this Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum.

First: You are a gift!

Second: God has given you gifts of nature – particular talents and charisms, and gifts of grace – the family of the Church, the Sacraments, and a relationship with Him.

Third: We’re created to respond to these gifts by giving the gift of ourselves – a gift the world needs and awaits, and a gift that will bring us the fulfillment for which we long.

Receive the gift you are. Realize the gifts you’ve been given. Respond with the gift only you can give.

What will I gain?

The GIVEN Forum presents you with an opportunity of a lifetime. You will be surrounded by the witnesses of prominent Catholic lay women and Religious Sisters who desire to share with you from their store of knowledge and lived experience of the feminine genius in leadership. Simultaneously, you will be equipped to share your unique gifts with the Church, while getting to know 300 other rising leaders.

Participants will have the opportunity to experience the community of the Church upholding and investing in them, allowing for dedicated time to encounter the Lord at Mass, Holy Hour, and the in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – which will bear long-term and abundant fruit in your life, in the Church and in the world.

For more details go the the GIVEN Forum website.

Apply here before February 2. 

My thanks to Terry Polakovic…

My thanks to Terry Polakovic…

Those of you familiar with Among Women, or my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, may recognize Terry Polakovic’s name. Terry was one of the founders for Endow, a wonderful ministry to women that specializes in educating on the nature and dignity of women. She later became its President and one of the more public faces of the organization over the last 14 years. Endow’s growth has been powerful, and has now spread to hundreds of women’s groups throughout North America.

Over the years, I’ve endorsed Endow — a fabulous collection of studies for women on the feminine genius and so much more — and I will continue to do so.

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Terry Polakovic

Terry graciously penned the foreword for my book, and was a guest on my show, in the early days when I was just getting Among Women off the ground. (Terry was a guest on AW #24.) We also worked together on a webinar for Ave Maria Press when my book was published. She has been such an inspiration to me.

I have just learned that Terry Polakovic is stepping down from her position at Endow. She will be missed. But I’m so happy that our paths crossed along the way.

Thank you, Terry, for your wonderful and prayerful support of my book and my work. Your graciousness and friendship have been a true blessing, even from across the country, and amidst a busy calendar. I’m grateful for the few projects we’ve shared, and I wish you all the best in the years ahead.

In other news, Terry Polakovic is slated to speak at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. I hope to see her there!

 

Here’s the letter that Terry wrote to Endow’s followers about her news of her retirement and introduces the new President, from the Endow newsletter.

There is a beautiful passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which tells us: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I am one of the founders of Endow and for nearly 14 years, I have had the privilege of leading this organization.  I will be forever grateful to God for giving me this opportunity as I have loved every minute of it.  However, during this past year, I have come to realize that my season is over.  Consequently, I will retire from Endow on September 30, 2015.

When we began this apostolate, I was terrified.  I felt certain that it was a call from God, but I was completely unprepared for the task ahead.  I had grown up Catholic, but I was not accustomed to speaking openly about my faith.  Added to that is the fact that I honestly didn’t know very much about my faith.  But there was a pull in my heart to say “yes” and once I did, God literally did the rest.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap., who was the Archbishop of Denver at that time gave us his support, as well as an office in the Chancery.  Sister Prudence Allen, RSM, Ph.D., who is a world expert in Catholic feminism providentially moved to Denver to help start our new seminary at exactly the same time that we were starting Endow. For five years, she taught us about the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and other Catholic thinkers and saints. Additionally, then-Bishop José H. Gomez, S.T.D. (now the Archbishop of Los Angeles) joined our board of directors and it was his guidance that helped launched the organization.  All of  these years later, Archbishop Gomez still serves as our spiritual director.

Most importantly, through all of these years God has sent women to Endow and He is still sending them.  Thousands of them.  All of these women are open and eager to learn, as they search for something different than what the current culture has to offer.  Inherently, as women we know that we are made for more than what the secular world proposes.  Thankfully, Endow provides a place to look for answers to these important questions.

When I think of what I will miss the most as I leave Endow, it is definitely the men and women I have met along the way. People have asked me if there is one story that stands out more than the rest, and truly there isn’t.  Every single person I have met has a unique story, and each one is on his or her own journey, a different journey ordained by God.  As far as God is concerned, each one of us is an only child.

I will carry your stories in my heart and I thank you for enriching my life in ways that were unimaginable to me when we began this apostolate.  A special thanks to Archbishop Chaput for believing in me, to Sister Prudence Allen for teaching me, and to Archbishop Gomez for walking with me every step of the way.

In closing, I am thrilled to tell you that the Acting President is Martha Reichert.  Martha has been involved with Endow for many years, and she started our Outreach Program, which serves women in homeless shelters, jails, and other vulnerable situations. Two years ago, we honored Martha at our annual gala, and if you click hereyou can see the short video that we used to introduce her. As you will see from her letter below she is a women of trumendous faith.

I could not be happier to have Martha follow me in this apostolate that I love so much!

Your Sister in Christ,
Terry Polakovic

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

Catholic Bishops call for Day of Prayer on Sun. Aug 17 for the Persecuted in Iraq – videos and donation link too.

Our US Bishops have called for a Day of Prayer this Sunday August 17. Let us pray with the church for these intentions. Details here:

Back when Among Women was young, in 2010, then- Sister Olga Yacob spent time with me sharing her experiences of being an Iraqi who lived through the war-torn years, and who later came to the USA.  At the time of this interview with me, she was a campus minister at Boston University. Today, we call her Mother Olga, as she is the foundress of a new religious order, the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth.

Given all that has been taking place in Iraq, especially with the persecution of Christians and other minorities, I was not surprised to find Mother Olga bringing a message of peace to us and to the world. In the video that follows, Mother Olga Yacob, talks about loss of life and homes and Christian heritage in Iraq, on EWTN’s “The World Over”.

 

Please continue to pray for the situation in Iraq and for all those who face violence and persecution throughout the world. They are our brothers and sisters.

To send immediate help,  donate now to Catholic Relief Services who have a special fund to help Iraqi families in need. 

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