Buona Pasqua!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My pilgrimageapalooza is well underway. I'm going to have to catch up on blogging once I'm home, because I'm doing my best to be present every moment here, and live each day to the fullest rather than see everything through the lens of my camera and while I plot a blog post. I spent a full week in Poland walking in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II. The experiences we had were crazy - like getting to meet the Cardinal of Krakow who was JP's secretary for forty years. The man is practically a living relic!

Nearly three years to the day after this post, I'm back in Roma for Holy Week & Easter, round two! Thanks be to God! Last time I left before the beatification of Blessed John Paul II, but this time I'm sticking around for the canonization. It's going to be crazy, and I'm kind of afraid...but we all know the famous words of Jesus and of Pope John Paul II....."Be not afraid!" I'll be in Rome for 9 more days so there are still lots of graces and gelatos to be had!! :)

Can you see me?! :) During Easter Sunday Mass. 
Pope Francis addressing the church & the world after Mass

Girls Just Wanna Be Nuns

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


"March Madness" is the perfect description of my life for the past 30 days. This March, the month of St. Joseph, has been the craziest, most exciting, and most blessed month of my life. I've learned quite a few lessons in trust and patience. The Lord is always faithful, even when I am not. Even when I am worried, anxious, trying to force timing, and control everything, He holds me in his steady hands. "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord!" -Psalm 27:14

My last post was kind of vague as to what exactly this big new adventure is but now that it's official, I am overjoyed to announce that I have been accepted to enter the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in August!! Praised be Jesus Christ!!!

I get to pray here multiple times a day. Heaven touches Earth. 

Let's start from the top, because really it's amazing I'm still alive after so much stress and excitement:

I've always looked good in black & white ;)

  • March 5 - bought a plane ticket to Europe. Three weeks with Erin in Poland, Italy, and a quick jaunt to the Czech Republic. Hope I am accepted to the convent soon or I'll have to quit my job anyway because I don't have enough vacation days
  • March 14 - finished and mailed my application to enter the convent after receiving application papers in January (hooray!) 
  • March 15 - Sister received my application and my psychological evaluation and letter of recommendation arrived - application complete!
  • March 15 - 18 - obsessively checked my phone and email every 30 seconds and jumped every time my phone rang
  • March 19 - accepted to enter the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia on the Solemnity of St. Joseph!!! BEST DAY EVER. Thank you Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Dominic, and Cecilia!!
  • March 21 - resigned from my job & told everyone I was entering the convent
  • March 25 - total consecration to Mary
  • March 31 - turned 24 and started my last week at work

My last day of work is this Friday, April 4, and then I'll be in Poland and Italy for the rest of the month on an epic canonization of Pope John Paul II/Easter in Rome pilgrimage. I'll be blogging about my pilgrimage and my preparations to enter the convent over the next few months. 

Also I have a confession to make. Remember my post on how to celebrate Advent? I may be a bit of a liturgical stickler when it comes to waiting until it's actually the Christmas season to celebrate Christmas. I intended to leave my tree up through February 2, the Feast of the Presentation. Well...now we've gone through a cycle of Ordinary time and part of Lent and my tree is still up. It was going to be my Lenten penance to take it down except...by the time I get back from Europe Lent will be over. Resurrection tree anyone?! My liturgical living win turned into a #liturgicalfail. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. Pray for me! ;)

Look at all those cute nuns ;)

It was only a matter of time with these two praying for my vocation!


My Greatest Adventure Yet?

Friday, March 7, 2014


Oh hello there. I've been reticent to blog about Cincinnati life since I moved here in June 2012, mainly because it's taken me this long to know what to think of it ("it" being Cincinnati and life in the fast lane) and to understand why I said yes to a job offer in Cincinnati and no to everything else. I spent the first six months hating Ohio and my job/corporate America and the next year wondering why I moved here, what could settle my restless heart (a new job? getting an MBA? busying myself in parish ministries? lots and lots of retail therapy?*), what could make me truly happy, and what could make me come fully alive.

I was asking all the wrong questions. I should have been asking: Who can settle my restless heart? Who can make me truly happy? Who can make me come more fully alive?

The answer is so simple. He was in front of me the whole time, gently calling my name and waiting for me.

My BFF, John Paul says it best:

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
- Blessed John Paul II

St. Augustine says that to seek God is the greatest adventure. And so I have nowhere left to run, but straight to the Lord, embarking on my greatest adventure yet.

*none of these things alone will make you happy. Fleeting pleasure? Yes. Eternal happiness and joy? No. I tried really hard to make it work. I just ended up with a really full closet, a really busy calendar, and a really empty heart.

How to Celebrate Advent

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today at lunch my co-workers were beginning to complain about the stresses and hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The conversation specifically was about putting up Christmas trees and how much of a hassle it is to get the tree up right after Thanksgiving only to take it down less than a month later. Meanwhile, the lunchroom "holiday tree" sparkled behind us, having appeared mysteriously about a week ago. The word Christmas is apparently not inclusive enough and potentially offensive, so in the corporate world we have a "Holiday" Party instead of a Christmas party and "Holiday" trees and decorations. I think they missed the memo that the word holiday comes from holy day. Even more ironically,  we have a giving tree in the lobby of my office and it is actually referred to as the Jesse tree. I guess HR also missed the memo on where the Jesse tree originated from.

Here's a hint: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-2. BAM.

I'd like to propose an idea that's quite countercultural: celebrate Advent and wait in joyful anticipation for Christmas. If you're sick of Christmas before December 25, you're doing it wrong and missing out on a host of graces the Church offers to us by giving us the four-week season of Advent! During Advent we relive and imitate the weeks before Mary gave birth to Jesus by waiting and preparing our hearts as Mary (and any mother would!) waited and prepared for the birth of her son. While the world around us is speeding up and rushing to December 25, we as Christians should be intentionally slowing down in order to quiet our hearts so we can enter into a period of prayerful preparation for the birth of Christ and truly appreciate the beauty of the liturgical season of Advent.

Here are 8 practical ways to celebrate Advent!

  • Listen to Advent chants/hymns instead of Christmas music. And no, the song "Mary Did You Know" does not count because yes, Mary did know. My favorite Advent albums are Advent at Ephesus by the Benedictine Sisters of Mary and Gregorian Chant for Advent by the Benedictine Monks at St. Meinrad in Indiana (shoutout to my home state, the best state!).
  • Set aside time for silence and prayer. I recommend these simple daily meditations from my home parish. You can download/view them in a PDF hereHere's the first meditation: Dec. 1 ~ THE STABLE. Frequently during the day offer your heart to the little Infant Jesus. Ask Him to make it His home. Sweet Jesus, take my heart and make it meek and pure.
  • Wait to put your Christmas tree up, perhaps on Dec. 17 when the O Antiphons begin, or be really hardcore and wait til Christmas Eve. Then leave your tree up through the entire Christmas season (pick your end date - the feast of the Epiphany on Jan 6, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, or be lazy hardcore like me and leave it up for 40 days until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2)
  • Don't put baby Jesus in your nativity scene yet! Wait until Christmas. As Christmas nears move the figures of your nativity closer to the manger as they journey to Bethlehem.
Advent - Doing it right
  • Celebrate St. Nicholas day on December 6 and know about the real St. Nick/Santa
  • It's a bit late for this now, but do the majority of your Christmas shopping before Advent begins
  • Go to confession - create a spiritual creche in your heart and you want it nice and tidy for Jesus
  • Be awesome like my best friend Alicia and paint your nails like an Advent wreath :)
Disclaimer: this is not actually Alicia's hand. 
And for the love of all things holy. Please do not buy any ornaments of Santa on bended knee adoring baby Jesus. Unless you are buying them to give to my friend Fr. JB. Then I will allow it.

Be good, be holy, love the Lord!

Light of Love

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I interrupt my hiatus from blogging to bring you this...

Ever wondered why a young woman would give up nail polish, martinis, a career, and a family to be a nun? What is so attractive about a radical, countercultural way of life that demands much sacrifice? And what do nuns do all day anyways?? Do yourself a favor and watch this film on religious life to find out and share it with any young women you know who is or should be discerning her vocation! It is beautiful.

Light of Love from Imagine Sisters on Vimeo.