Among Women 183: Falling in love with the Trinity — and the feminine genius

Among Women 183: Falling in love with the Trinity — and the feminine genius

This latest episode of Among Women features the faith story of Nan Balfour, whose love and faith in God led her to knowing her feminine genius .

Speaker_BalfourTogether we explore the gift of faith and what it means to fall in love with God, and how it changes the way we love and live. Nan Balfour shares pivotal conversion moments in her life — a life of on-going conversion — and how they led her to what she does now. Nan is a leader with the Pilgrim Center of Hope, and the conference coordinator for the Catholic Women’s Conference in San Antonio coming up Sept 19-20.

In our “Blessed are They” segment, we pray along with Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity — whose faith was wrapped up in love of the Holy Trinity.

Don’t miss this episode, and share it with your friends on social media, and put an announcement in your church bulletin for Among Women.

Don’t forget to like Among Women Podcast on Facebook, and leave a positive rating and a review on our iTunes page. Thanks!

For details on upcoming conferences and retreats with me, Pat Gohn, go here. 


The MOM podcasts: 12 “Best of” Among Women episodes on Motherhood – Bookmark these!

The MOM podcasts: 12 “Best of” Among Women episodes on Motherhood – Bookmark these!

Mother is another word for LOVE! Motherhood is call to raise saints for heaven. (<–this link has an except from my book.)

I’m pleased to look back to the Among Women archives to bring you some of the most memorable conversations I’ve had the joy of hosting. I hope you’ll be blessed.


AW 179 Momnipotent with Danielle Bean – Don’t miss this most recent podcast dedicated to the feminine virtues that make Moms great! With author and editor Danielle Bean. Plus I discuss Mary’s spiritual motherhood in our lives. Listen!

AW 119 The Interior Life of Mothers - Make no mistake motherhood matters! Join me for a lively conversation with author Dorothy Pilarski about her book that explores that vital truth. Listen!

AW 71 Small Steps for Catholic Moms – They are the dynamite duo behind the book of the same name: Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss. These married women and longtime writers have eight and nine children respectively and give us a glimpse into the meaning of it all. Listen! 

AW 178 New Life in Christ – My guest describes how an unplanned pregnancy in her successful single professional life brought her to her knees and back to the faith. This is a joyous testimony. Listen! 

AW 56: Founder Dishes – Catholic founder, author, and social media maven Lisa Hendey takes us through the pages of her first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Listen! 

AW 163 A Name for Eternity – A perfect podcast for mothers and mothers-to-be! Learn all about naming your baby from author Patrice Fagnant MacArthur. Listen!

AW 15o The Rosary and Pregnancy – perfect together! - Hear author Sarah Reinhard’s loving advice from her book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy. Listen!

AW 104: Little Ones in the Domestic Church, Part One, and Part Two – A rare gem for mothers getting their bearings in building up a Catholic home. Blogger Melanie Bettinelli  offers sage advice for starting to share the faith with the very youngest members of the family by creating an environment that naturally communicates the faith over time.  Listen to part one! Then: Listen to part two! 

AW 90 The Icing on the Cake - Got little ones? Need some cool — and simple!– ideas for growing your domestic church at home? Meet blogger Lacy Rabideau whose blog Catholic Icing is a favorite! This podcast offers great Lenten ideas, but make sure you check out her blog year round! Listen! 

AW 160 Mary’s Astonishing Motherhood – I teach a bit on Mary’s life with Joseph and her miraculous pregnancy, then I’m joined by Katherine Coleman who talks about her life’s joys and sorrows as she looks back on raising her autistic son, Matthew, to adulthood. Listen!

AW 121 Each Life is a Masterpiece - Moms of special needs children will be encouraged by the life and writing of Leticia Velasquez as she unpacks the wisdom from her collection of stories found between the pages of A Special Mother is Born. Listen!

AW 5 How to Form a Mothers Prayer Group – I am joined by Colette Crowley and together we both share our experiences in founding mothers prayer groups in our locales. My experience with my Mothers Morning of Prayer was a powerful aid to my spiritual life and my mothering. Don’t miss this very early archive from the early days of Among Women! Listen! 

banner photo



This makes me think… all women are called to promote a new feminism, even those who have had abortions

In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a “new feminism” which rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination”, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.

Making my own the words of the concluding message of the Second Vatican Council, I address to women this urgent appeal: “Reconcile people with life”. You are called to bear witness to the meaning of genuine love, of that gift of self and of that acceptance of others which are present in a special way in the relationship of husband and wife, but which ought also to be at the heart of every other interpersonal relationship. The experience of motherhood makes you acutely aware of the other person and, at the same time, confers on you a particular task: “Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman’s womb … This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings not only towards her own child, but every human being, which profoundly marks the woman’s personality”. A mother welcomes and carries in herself another human being, enabling it to grow inside her, giving it room, respecting it in its otherness. Women first learn and then teach others that human relations are authentic if they are open to accepting the other person: a person who is recognized and loved because of the dignity which comes from being a person and not from other considerations, such as usefulness, strength, intelligence, beauty or health. This is the fundamental contribution which the Church and humanity expect from women. And it is the indispensable prerequisite for an authentic cultural change.

I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.

-Pope Saint John Paul II-
The Gospel of Life, 1995, par. 99. [Emphasis mine.]

The F.U.N. Quotient… for the Moms and Dads out there

Moms will love this: A song parody à la “Frozen”…


And there’s this one… (Viewer caution: a single use of a swear word, the ‘s’ word.) This is a comedy sketch from a comedian Dad talking about the upside-down-ness of doing simple things with children. Yes, to quote the previous video, he definitely needs to “let it go…”

Women in the Diocese of Springfield Illinois: I’ll be there Sept 13!

Women in the Diocese of Springfield Illinois: I’ll be there Sept 13!

Have you been to a Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious retreat yet? Midwesterners will have there chance when I come to the Diocese of Springfield’s first ever women’s conference — at the beautiful Chiara Center… event details below! Follow and “like” the Facebook page. Plan your escape and come for the weekend! You can’t beat the one-day price or location!!



Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.00.34 PM

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.01.14 PM

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.01.42 PM

See more lovely photos of Chiara Center. 

A happy shout out to the Moms — these are the women I come from… (music video)

A happy shout out to the Moms — these are the women I come from… (music video)

My mom and me, circa 2009. New York.

My mom and me, circa 2009. New York.

My mom with my daughter Katie on her wedding day, last July 2013.

My mom with my daughter Katie on her wedding day, last July 2013.


This is my mother’s mother, Margaret, on her wedding day. Circa 1934. With my grandfather, John Patrick. (Margaret is the one I most look like in the family, so they say.)

This is my paternal grandmother, Henrietta. "Henri" for short. In the days before her wedding in the 1920's.

This is my paternal grandmother, Henrietta. “Henri” for short. In the days before her wedding in the 1920’s.

Circa 1966, Backyard 25 Sheppard Lane, Huntington. L to R: Peg, Pam, Pat

Circa 1966-67. These are my sisters. Peg in the blue. Me in the daisy dress, and Pam the little one. Both my sisters are great moms too! They each have four children!


Can’t forget an image of Momma Mary — this is the one from our home church in MA. Beautiful hand painted statue.


A throwback to 1994, with a recent remake… “These Are The Women I Come From”

lyrics: by Bonnie Keen and Tori Taff

These are the faces in photographs

Heads all held high

Not afraid to look life in the eye

They are women with backbone

Keepers of the flame

With a spirit even hard times couldn’t tame

These are the women I come from

The faith that sustained them is bred in my bones

I know what I’m made of and where I belong

‘Cause these are the women I come from

They were lovers of babies and lovers of God

With lessons and laughter in their songs

Did they dream better dreams for their children?

As they prayed silent prayers in the night

“Lord, make their way clear and always be near”

Purchase that music here.

The Blessed Beautiful and Bodacious Women’s Retreat goes International!

The Blessed Beautiful and Bodacious Women’s Retreat goes International!

photoMy first international women’s retreat (#BBBRetreat) outside of the US began with a lively conversation with the pastor of Saint Benedict parish in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Fr James Mallon in 2012. A media-savvy evangelist, Fr James and I shared a flight to Chicago following our independent presentations at the Diocesan Adult Education Conference in Springfield, IL. (H/T to @sullijo.)

Me with Fr James Mallon, pastor of Saint Benedict Parish

Me with Fr James Mallon, pastor of Saint Benedict Parish

In the correspondence that followed I was contacted by the lovely Dawn Purcell who was charged with forming a team for the first-ever women’s retreat at the parish. Dawn and I did most of our work together via email and phone calls. We talked about goals for the parish, and reaching women of all ages, and logistics.

A Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious retreat can be a single day event, or a Friday- Saturday event.

(Saint Benedict women decided on a Friday night that was followed by a wine and cheese reception with music provided by a harpist. Very elegant! Then we had a Saturday event that gave us a lavish amount of time for interaction between the talks and presentations. We also benefitted from Eucharistic Adoration in the midday hour.)

What happens at a BBB Retreat? 

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.23.47 PMIn the course of the retreat, I give three talks on the Blessed Dignity, the Beautiful Gifts, and the Bodacious Mission of women. The material is drawn from my book, and contains Catholic teaching from Scripture, the Catechism, magisterial teaching from St John Paul II from his ground-breaking documents on women and theology of the body, as well as other popes and saints.


Momma Mary’s got my back. Can’t present without her!

Three local women give short testimony talks describing how these ideas take shape in their lives.

Stephanie, giving her witness talk.

Stephanie, giving her witness talk.

We discuss these things in small groups.

Members of a discussion group.

Members of a discussion group.

And large ones.

Women yield the floor to one another.

Women yield the floor to one another.

We laugh.


Who knew Pope Francis would make a guest appearance on the retreat?

We get to know each other better.

So much goodness in one room!

So much goodness in one room!

We get to know Mary better.

Great witness talks from Sandra Kline, Heather Taylor, and Stephanie Potter.

Great witness talks from Sandra Kline, Heather Taylor, and Stephanie Potter.

We had over 200 women in Halifax.


Just over 200 women in the parish hall.

I’ve given this retreat to groups from 50-500, and the event is adaptable to a variety of settings and budgets.

Fr James thanks Dawn Purcell for her leadership.

Fr James thanks Dawn Purcell for her leadership.

If you are interested in having this retreat in your parish or diocese, contact me through this website. I can offer recommendations from women who’ve booked me, or you can read a few online here. A few dates are open for the fall of 2014, and early 2015.