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I’m at World Meeting of Families… some links, photos, and an espresso shot Among Women to get started

I’m at World Meeting of Families… some links, photos, and an espresso shot Among Women to get started

There’s been so much to do in the last few days, and I’m hard pressed for time to share it all, but here’s a few posts that review some my journey to the World Meeting of Families, plus a new podcast with the jubilant voices of some of the participants I’ve met from around the world… from the sidewalks of Philadelphia and PA convention center hallways.

Listen to the Among Women Espresso Shot #2: the World Meeting of Families


I’m blessed to be sharing this with my globe-trotting good friend, Lisa Hendey –– who is truly in her element. This is how I see Lisa several times an hour… sharing her experiences on social media. She is breathtakingly committed to sharing this far and wide…. and I’m in awe of her.


This will be how I will remember seeing her… discovering all that is good, and in a relentless search

In search of coffee...

for coffee…

Read Lisa Hendey’s posts here and here.

And don’t miss Lisa’s Aleteia report on her mid-week trek to see and hear the Pope in Washington DC.


There was much time spent around the Ave Maria Press booth.


With Helen Alvare, Teresa Tomeo, Lisa Hendey, and Catherine (Helen’s daughter).

And several reunions with friends so far…


Meeting the amazing Diana von Glahn, center.



With Terry Polakovic, who is soon to be retired from Endow.



with the Daughters of St Paul.



With “Ben.”



And with a liberty bell replica at the media center.


We did get to see the real Liberty Bell, in front of Independence Hall.


Hope to be back with more soon!




Schedule for Ave Maria Press Book Signings at #WMF2015. Meet me & others at Booth 742!

Schedule for Ave Maria Press Book Signings at #WMF2015. Meet me & others at Booth 742!

Awesome book resources from many of Ave Maria Press’ authors can be found at booth #742 at the World Meeting of Families! Hope to see you this Wednesday at 2pm!

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015
4 p.m.–Live broadcast with Greg and Lisa Popcak

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015
9:45 a.m–live broadcast with Grace Urbanski
10 a.m.–Grace Urbanski and Susie Lloyd book signing
11 a.m.–live broadcast with Sr. Terry Rickard
12:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Teresa Tomeo1-59471-370-7_
1 p.m.–Teresa Tomeo book signing
2 p.m.–book signing with Pat Gohn and Lisa Hendey
3:15 p.m.–live broadcast with Lisa Hendey and Pat Gohn

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
9:45 a.m.–live broadcast with Marge Fenelon
10 a.m.–book signing with Marge Fenelon
12:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Lisa Duffy
1:30 p.m.–book signing with Lisa Duffy
1 p.m.–book signing with Fr. Michael White
3 p.m.–live broadcast with Fr. Michael White
5:15 p.m.–book signing with Carmen Santamaria and Angelique Ruhi-Lopez
5:45 p.m.–live broadcast with Carmen and Angelique
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Among Women “Espresso Shot” debuts today. Our topic: Perseverance

Among Women “Espresso Shot” debuts today. Our topic: Perseverance

I hope you will enjoy this new, shorter, version of Among Women. Listen here!

The topic is perseverance and it’s a reflection on Psalm 103. Listen to the podcast.


Faithful Among Women listeners will know that I recently announced on episode 191 that I’m attempting to offer fresh audio three times a month… that is, podcasts coming on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month. However, given my schedule, doing full length podcasts with that frequency may not always be possible. Therefore, I’m introducing these “espresso shots” –short strong jolts of faith sharing and teaching. I often feel the full length podcast is a friendly conversation over coffee with good friends. But when you are missing your friends, sometimes even a quick visit is worth your time. I hope you concur that, in this case, less is more — if it gets us together more each month!


Please add your comments or review in the combox below, or over at Among Women, or on the Among Women Podcast Facebook page.


Among Women 192: Finding God in Hollywood and where you are

Among Women 192: Finding God in Hollywood and where you are

Among Women is back!

This episode recaps my summer break from podcasting and returns with reflections on building a strong prayer life to help to keep us in God’s will. In it I unpack these themes in the life and writings of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Christin Jezak, Official photo courtesy of IMBD.

Christin Jezak, Official photo courtesy of IMBD.

We also find them in the work of actress/producer Christin Jezak, who shares her unique calling to be a Pauline Cooperator, a lay member of the Pauline family with a special media charism. Don’t miss this latest show! 

A special shout to AW listeners Maria, Mary, and Tracey for meeting with me this summer and discussing new ideas for the podcast! Hear all about it on this episode. As of now, I’m going to upload a new show on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month. (This one is for the 30th.)  Listen for more details.

Also described in the podcast, are blog posts (with photos) of the mini-pilgrimages we made this summer to the National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD, and the Cathedral of St Augustine in Florida.

Listen to Among Women!

My Year to Write Forewords: 3 great books coming from Melanie Rigney, Lisa Mladinich, and Maria Morera Johnson

My Year to Write Forewords: 3 great books coming from Melanie Rigney, Lisa Mladinich, and Maria Morera Johnson

When the first request came in, I was a bit shocked and humbled. Within a couple weeks two more invitations came in. Last winter, amidst the trials of being cooped up by continual snow storms, God gave me three new assignments in support of other writers with new books.

It is with deep gratitude that I share with you three forthcoming books in which I have been privileged to write the forewords.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.09.42 PMThe first one is new this month. You’ll be hearing more about it here on the blog soon — Melanie Rigney’s Blessed are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith. The book’s blog tour stops here next week — look for it here on August 27. However the blog tour is currently underway this week, so go visit MelanieRigney.com for a list of where and get clickin’!

This book is a wonderful mash-up of the Beatitudes-meet-saints stories. If you’ve never had a firm grip of what the beatitudes might look like in daily life, this book will help! I’ll brag on it a bit more when the blog tour gets here! Regular listeners of Among Women may remember when Melanie was my guest when her last book about the saints came out.

Get Blessed Are You by Melanie Rigney now!


The second book I want to share is Lisa Mladinich’s True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of LifeThis book is due out in October, but I had the pleasure of catching up with Lisa at the Catholic Writers Guild conference that paralleled the Catholic Marketing Network show last month in New Jersey. It was great to see an early proof of the book.


Me with Lisa Mladinich at CMN and a copy of her new book!

Can you say “I’d like to grow old gracefully?” Its something we all ought to aspire to for ourselves and others. I love how Lisa’s new book points us toward the glory of heaven while keeping our feet down to earth. Lisa is also a longtime friend of Among Women and you’ll find two conversation with me that I retrieved from the Among Women archives here and here.  A lot of good things have happened in Lisa’s life since those two recordings, and this new book is just one fine example… pre-order it today! 

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Third, but not least, is Maria Johnson’s My Badass Book of Saint: Courageous Women Who Showed Me How to Live. Yeah, that’s a mouthful to say but its a great story book… you’ll meet gun-toting nuns,  women who worked in the French Resistance,  and the author herself, a first-generation Cuban-American whose family fled Cuba, telling stories of badass women who kept faith first despite oppressive odds. I can’t wait to see this book finally in print.

Maria and I do a lot together as friends and as colleagues but what a joy to be asked to collaborate on this eye-popping title! Look for it this November, but hey – go pre-order it now! 


Ok, look for more about each of these books in the weeks to come. In the meantime, here’s one amazing photo that really brought me joy…. two friends with two new books with forewords by moi. They had never met before but they shared their books with each other, and took a photo for the sake of me…. Too funny…


Maria Johnson (l) with Melanie Rigney (r) both holding each other’s books! (Photographed at the Edel Conference, 2015) (Facebook photo courtesy of Maria Johnson)

For a look at all the books I have contributed to in recent years, go here.


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. 


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!


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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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.