Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available now!
I’m on the road in 2017! Join me for retreat days in California and Massachusetts…

I’m on the road in 2017! Join me for retreat days in California and Massachusetts…

Good things to come!
Find two upcoming dates in California, and one in Massachusetts on my events page!

I’m thrilled that more and more women are interested in the feminine genius! Come join us for retreats based on the themes of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. 

Looking to book something for your church or diocese? Contact me via this link, or see the “contact me” at the bottom of this page!

 

Offer a bookclub for your girlfriends and walk closer with Jesus with… Walk in Her Sandals

Offer a bookclub for your girlfriends and walk closer with Jesus with… Walk in Her Sandals


screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-9-51-13-amIt’s here!

I’ve shared about this book before its release, but now you can get it in your hands! Its a great book to share with the women you know, whether through church, or right around your kitchen table.

Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women  is a labor of love for Christ, and it was written in support of a powerful Catholic women’s ministry called WINE or Women in the New Evangelization. 

Here’s the book’s summary from Amazon:

What if you could have been a witness to the events of the last days of Jesus’ life–walking with him as he entered Jerusalem, observing his crucifixion, and embracing him on Easter? What would you have thought and done? How would you have been changed?

Walk in Her Sandals, edited by popular Catholic author and speaker Kelly M. Wahlquist, takes you deeper into your relationship with Jesus by helping you relate to him in a profoundly intimate way. Looking at six universal gifts of women through the eyes of women in the gospels, the book guides you on a prayerful and creative journey through the days of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

As you imagine the experience of the women who met Jesus, you will discover how each of them expressed one of six, distinctive, feminine gifts identified in the writings of St. John Paul II. Through the eyes of an imagined woman who watched Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, you will understand how she conveyed the gift of receptivity. Through the hands of Veronica, who reached out to wipe the face of Jesus, you will discover how sensitivity is present and can grow in your own life. These gifts, along with generosity, prayer, maternity, and the Holy Spirit, come to life through the vivid portrayal of women who walked with Jesus. Their imagined stories are complemented by the real accounts of contemporary women who share their own stories of receiving and cultivating these gifts.

This book offers Scripture study, reflections on the feminine genius, and powerful storytelling in a kind of you-are-there way that makes the bible come alive. You’ll also find dynamic personal testimonies from women who are trying to walk with Jesus today. And naturally, there are reflection questions for you (or your group) to help foster discussion about the deeper truths of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

This book was a group effort with these wonderful women, and our fearless leader, Kelly Wahlquist:

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You may very well enjoy reading this book for yourself, but we wrote it to be shared! The benefit of getting together with other women, will deepen your experience. So ask yourself, and ask the Lord, who might you invite to a six week experience with this book? I recommend doing this during Lent, so you can buy the book now, but plan for something in the new year. (But really, you can do this little study any time of the year! It’s up to you!)  Read it now, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to plan for that group event in Lent 2017!

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This just in: Ave Maria Press is now offering 20% off of the book’s cover price. Go here to order and use the promo code #walk. Now thru Oct 31.

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Among Women podcast listeners may enjoy this interview with Stephanie Landsem, who wrote a large part of this book. In this interview, we talk about her love of writing historical fiction with a view toward the women in the bible. We also talk about the writing process for Walk in Her Sandals. Listen here. 

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See all the books to which I’ve contributed here.

 

A short Mother’s Day reflection from St John Paul II on Mary and the glory of womanhood

A short Mother’s Day reflection from St John Paul II on Mary and the glory of womanhood

For every Christian, for every human being, Mary is the one who first “believed,” and precisely with her faith as Spouse and Mother she wishes to act upon all those who entrust themselves to her as her children. And it is well known that the more her children persevere and progress in this attitude, the nearer Mary leads them to the “unsearchable riches of Christ”(Eph. 3:8). And to the same degree they recognize more and more clearly the dignity of man in all its fullness and the definitive meaning of his vocation, for “Christ…fully reveals man to man himself. [Gaudium et Spes, 22]”

This Marian dimension of Christian life takes on special importance in relation to women and their status. In fact, femininity has a unique relationship with the Mother of the Redeemer, a subject which can be studied in greater depth elsewhere.* Here I simply wish to note that the figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God, in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son, entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman. It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.

John Paul II
Redemptoris Mater, par. 46

*My book also looks at these fundamentals. Find it on sale here til June 19.

My book, Blessed Beautiful &Bodacious, is ON SALE with other great books for women — all 25% off!

My book, Blessed Beautiful &Bodacious, is ON SALE with other great books for women — all 25% off!

Details to order books listed below! Check out some of these great titles!

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Call Ave Maria Press at 800-282-1865

or visit www.avemariapress.com.

Use Promo Code FAITH16.

Sale ends June 19th.

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Among Women 202: Chastity is for Lovers with Arleen Spenceley

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 10.13.08 AMIn this latest episode of Among Women the subject is the virtue of chastity and my guest, Arleen Spenceley, is a writer for the Tampa Bay Times. A few years back, an essay she wrote on being a chaste single adult garnered much discussion in print and went viral online. All this led to her book release Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin. Join us for a discussion of the influence of St John Paul’s thoughts on love between the sexes, and how chastity is a virtue every person must cultivate.

Also in this episode, a look at a Welch saint who rivals St Valentine as a saint for lover, St Dwynden.

Listen and share this episode!

 

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. 

Dear St John Paul II… a thanksgiving for your holy influence in my life

Dear St John Paul II… a thanksgiving for your holy influence in my life

Dear St John Paul II,

What a blessing to go to Mass this morning on your feast day! Your life had such a big impact on mine; your holy influence has fueled some of my best prayer practices and my most earnest studies.

Long before you instituted World Youth Days, you struck a chord with me as a youngish youth minister when I accompanied my youth group to Madison Square Garden. You told us: “Look to Christ!” So simple, yet so life-changing. We have so much that distracts us in this age. Only one thing is needed: keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.23.47 PMYour love for the Blessed Mother caught my attention. I had mixed emotions about Mary until I read your advice in Redemptoris Mater about Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. You said it was a way to better live my baptismal promises. That inspired me to say yes to Marian Consecration when I was invited by some local friends to do so. Who knew the timing would be just months before my breast cancer diagnosis? I would need Momma Mary all the more during that time. But you know that ANY TIME is a good time to get closer to Mary.

To this day, I remember my profound shock and joy when the The Catechism of the Catholic Church came out in English in 1994. I have a first edition. Some people laughed that I cared to read it. Yet its teaching grounded my love for Christ and the wisdom of the Church. It’s amazing footnotes and multiple indices sent me back to grad school for my Masters to learn what all that “alphabet soup” meant — all those abbreviations! — all the magisterial teaching and the wisdom of the church doctors and saints continues to thrill and inspire my life and my work. I’m still learning from it, by the way. I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed to write a monthly column in Catholic Digest about it for the last few years.

A happy fallout of learning the Catechism in the 90s is that it put me in touch with the profound theological master, our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Reading you and reading him made me grow to love Christ and the Church all the more.  What a legacy your remarkable friendship has given the world!

Your Theology of the Body renewed my marriage and gave me a path for raising my teens — sharing with them God’s plan for marital love and fidelity to whatever vocation that God gives them.

I remember standing with my Bob and my daughter Katie in St Peter’s Square with you, toward the end of your earthly life. It was our first general audience in 2004. That was a long time since our youthful selves were at the Garden in ’79. But your age and infirmity did not matter, you were still happy to be with us. By then I knew you were a living saint. I yelled out my love and prayers with that crazy throng as you passed by in your Popemobile.

Let me tell you one last thing. When I was a young mom, I stumbled upon your musings about “the feminine genius”, in Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Women… Little did I know the impact they would have. Later, those writings, and related homilies, and your encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), would eventually become the basis of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.  How can I ever thank you for that? Maybe someday in heaven, right? I’m hoping my work is part of that great thank you. Did you have a hand in my book being recently translated into Polish is advance of the next World Youth Day in Krakow? Either way, I’m crediting your influence.

Speaking of all good things Polish! I have loved the Divine Mercy devotion and St Faustina for years, thanks to you! It has changed my 3 o’clock hour. Not to mention your addition of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. That was brilliant.

Okay I’m rambling here, but you get the point. Thank you, thank you, dear Papa! There’s so much more I could write and gush about. I know you are praying for the universal church, and for your little friend here, who is writing a new manuscript with fear and trembling, and looking to you again for your holy tutelage. What a gift to ask for your intercession!

St John Paul II, pray for us!

The blog tour buzzing about Lisa Mladinich’s “True Radiance” is underway! Here’s where it will be!

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.33.17 PMThe TRUE RADIANCE BLOG TOUR starts today and many of the bloggers will be giving away a copy of Lisa Mladinich’s book! I’ll be interviewing Lisa for Among Women soon, and we’ll be doing our own giveaway at that time in a couple weeks. In the meantime, you could win a book at one of these fine blogs….or you can buy the book here.

 Today, Oct. 19 kicks off at Kathy Schiffer‘s Seasons of Grace! Kathy will be writing about Interior Beauty.

 Tuesday, Oct. 20, Mary Ellen Barrett will blog at Tales From the Bonnie Blue House  about the Sacred Mentality–the sacramentality of our bodies.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 features Leticia Velasquez at Cause of Our Joy, discussing the chapter on Brain Health.

Monday, Oct. 26 Sister Margaret Kerry Fsp will cover Women’s Spirituality at CatholicMom.com, from the chapter on Wisdom and Witness.

Tuesday, Oct. 27 Sarah Reinhard will talk about Women’s Friendships at Snoring Scholar!

Wednesday, Oct. 28, Jen Fitz will cover the Vocations chapter at Sticking the Corners.

Thursday, Oct. 29, Lisa will be interviewed at Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle‘s author blog, discussing one of the Common Pitfalls for Women in the second half of life: complaining!

Friday, Oct. 30, Lisa will again be interviewed at Maria Morera Johnson‘s personal blog about one of the Roadblocks to Peace (impurity)and what to do about it!

Read all about it at Lisa’s blog Water into Wine.

I was honored to write the Foreword to this book. Here’s a few of my thoughts.

True Radiance takes aim at some of the falsehoods that mar and malign our feminine genius. Besides her own encounters with the healing love of God, Lisa Mladinich’s personal research and discussions with other women in the second half of life offer perspective and encouragement from the front lines of post-menopausal living.

Mladinich’s anecdotes and her confident faith challenge us to lovingly reconsider the things that distract us from understanding true beauty. She writes, “like anything that isn’t God himself, the quest for physical beauty can consume too much of our time, money, and attention—when, in the second half of our lives, quite frankly, we’ve got better things to do.”

We do have better things to do! For me, I love reading books that tell honest stories. I appreciate that Lisa Mladinich writes in a way that honors my faith and my intellect. She’s an all-in Catholic. Her awe and zeal for the faith is refreshingly invigorating. Yet she manages to tickle my funny bone while offering a reverential look at this blessed and, at times, bewildering phase of life.

Is it possible to find God speaking to you through a hot flash? Or truth as you battle with a bout of brain fog? Can you sense a smile from heaven in your dog’s antics? Or find peace in a sentence from the Catechism? Lisa Mladinich’s book offers that and more.

Proverbs 31:30 reveals that a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Faith and true beauty go hand in hand. And often, we women learn that best from the examples of other women. From her touching reversion story describing the Blessed Mother leading her closer to Jesus, to her chapter on the need for friendships with saints and other women, Lisa Mladinich never forgets that it is grace that fuels a heart’s movement toward God and others. She, and the women she profiles in this book, offers authentic ways to uncover grace in our own experiences as we mature.

Go on and get your copy right here!

 

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. 

Ladies: The Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious one-day retreat comes to Elkhart IN – May 9! Join me!

Ladies: The Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious one-day retreat comes to Elkhart IN – May 9! Join me!

I’m hoping you’ll join me for a day-long retreat just for us girls! This women’s event, even though it is on Mother’s Day Weekend, is not just for Moms! We love Moms, of course! But the day is a celebration of the feminine genius — and that’s all women! I’ll be offering three talks on the three aspects I covered in Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious — our blessed dignity, our beautiful gifts, and our bodacious — most excellent — mission!

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Catholic Women’s Ministries

This event is sponsored by “Be It Done” Catholic Women’s Ministries representing women from six different parishes from the Catholic Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, and hosted at St Vincent de Paul parish in Elkhart.

Come one, come all!  Sign up here! Buy the book here!

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Give yourself and your girlfriends the gift of faith, fellowship, food, and fun! All the details are here.