Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Mount de Sales Academy where I participated in theater and dance. I studied Biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville where I was a part of several biology research projects and published scientific papers. I am recently married, now living in Lockport, New York, and my husband and I honeymooned in Ireland.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
Using my degree in Biology I have worked in several labs including an Orthodontic lab and a Newborn Screening lab. Since my marriage I have been dedicating my time towards publishing my book. I am passionate about the health sciences, biology and women’s health and therefore am excited to be sharing my book about the menstrual cycle.
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
Some strengths I have been given are a good teaching ability, a good intellect and a strong motherly instinct. I have utilized these strengths in different ways studying God’s design of creation and tutoring and training others. People I have trained professionally have said I am a good teacher.
Prayer is essential for everyone, but especially for women who are active in the life and mission of the Church. Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?
The Liturgy of the Hours have my particular devotion. As the established set of prayers for the church they have a guiding rhythm throughout the week that I find peaceful. These prayers make me feel connected to medieval Christians who began the devotion and I appreciate that they follow the seasons of the liturgical year.
What were some of the most impactful experiences from the leadership forum and mentoring sessions?
Two of the most impactful talks at the Given Forum were Cassie Panzenbeck and Mother Clare. Cassie’s talk was impactful because having instructions written out for how to start a business helped me believe that I could do it. And the instructions themselves have been a life saver in actually starting up this business around my book. Mother’s talk about Discernment was so helpful because it was clear, relatable and I was able to implement her advice in my life immediately.
Throughout the mentoring sessions, my mentor’s kindness in walking through this process with me has been impactful. She has shown me how to lead and to open oneself up to helping and guiding others.
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
My action plan was to publish my manuscript that I had been working on for a while. The GIVEN Forum, talking to the sisters, and especially my mentor, were invaluable in giving me the guidance I needed to get this book out there.
One of my motivations for this book is the problem that women and girls do not see the inherent value in their menstrual cycle. I argue that your menstrual cycle is healthy for you and listening to your cycle can help you come to a better understanding of yourself. Learning about the deeper meaning of the menstrual cycle can help women and girls gain more respect for their bodies and themselves.
This was something I had on my heart since 2018. It started as a nebulous idea, and I wasn’t sure what the end product would look like at all. I started making calendars and journals but realized I had more I wanted to say. I started reading and gathering resources and then I sat down and wrote the first draft of my manuscript during covid lockdown. GIVEN gave me the motivation I needed to turn my manuscript into a published book.
How did you grow throughout this year as you worked on your action plan? Were there any moments where you had doubts or felt like you had taken on too much of a challenge? If so, how did you overcome them?
I definitely grew in humility from both directions. I had to ask for lots of help and advice and learn from others instead of doing everything on my own like I think I can. I also saw many other women at GIVEN who had similar ideas and similar organizations that were already successful while mine wasn’t off the ground yet. But even though my action plan was very similar to others, it was still unique and the Church needs what I can give.
There were many challenges, and I would fluctuate between not knowing how I was ever going to complete this to being impatient that it wasn’t done already. I have often had to take a step back and be patient with myself while I do one thing at a time to get everything done.
What were some of the fruits you saw from your action plan? What did you find most fulfilling in this process?
The biggest fruit of this project has been a better understanding of my own body. My mentor and some other women with whom I have shared my manuscript have also told me they have benefitted from what I wrote which I am grateful to God for. My small group’s response and enthusiasm for my action plan was very impactful for me and motivating to me to keep going.
Check out Annie’s book, available in paperback or e-book: Woman of All Seasons: The Symbolism of the Menstrual Cycle