Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
I grew up non-denominational and entered the Catholic Church in college when I was 19. My confirmation saint is St. Monica! I am married to a wonderful man with whom I have three children, two daughters and a son. I grew up in Southern California and then went to school in Alabama before moving briefly to New Orleans. Three months after our wedding, my husband and I packed up everything and moved sight-unseen to Ohio to serve as missionaries.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
When I was going through my conversion in college, I was encountering the Lord through two ways simultaneously: first, through the Eucharist; second, through charting my cycle. I realized that our faith is incarnational and that I can experience the love of God in and through my very body! I wanted to share this with others, and this passion ultimately led me to become fascinated with the Theology of the Body and pursue graduate studies in this topic. After working for a few years as a Chastity Educator at a local pregnancy resource center, I found my professional calling and co-founded the New Eve Foundation, a non-profit apostolate that seeks to bring women to an encounter with Christ through the truth, beauty, and goodness of their femininity.
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
I’ve been blessed with a mind and heart for vision casting and rallying others towards a common cause. I have drive and passion and people tell me that my passion is contagious. I use these God-given strengths to bring people into the mission that the Lord has given me through New Eve—ultimately, inviting others to fall deeper in love with the Lord through their biological and spiritual femininity.
What women inspire you, and why?
Naturally, I find great inspiration in the life of Our Lady, the New Eve. Her role in salvation history was so incredibly profound and yet she lived with such humility! She leads others to her Son through her quiet example of holiness and she fights for our salvation with her prayers and love. Aside from Mama Mary, I am deeply inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Edith Stein, two of the patrons of the New Eve Foundation. Therese and Edith lived very different lives (while both being Carmelites) and they both show me how to pursue the Lord in my daily life: Therese through the smallest actions of love, and Edith through the work and study I do.
Are there friends and mentors that you depend upon? How do they support you?
I am blessed that one of my best friends is also now an employee of mine at the New Eve Foundation. Abby, who is also the godmother of my second daughter, was a missionary with me and has become a part of my family as well as a sister on mission with me. She prays with and for me and my family and sheds so much light on the work that we do together to bring women to an encounter with Christ.
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?
I love any time spent in Eucharistic Adoration. I find that some of my most fruitful prayer is sitting in silence in His Presence. You can also find me repeating the Divine Mercy Chaplet to myself on repeat—I love this prayer as it reminds me so profoundly of the depth of the love and mercy of the Lord.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
My favorite inspirational quote comes from John Paul II in his Letter to Women, #11:
“The life of the Church in the Third Millennium will certainly not be lacking in new and surprising manifestations of ‘the feminine genius.’”
What were your key takeaways from the 2016 GIVEN Forum?
I am a gift and the gifts that I’ve been given are meant to be shared with the world for the glory of God!
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
My Action Plan is essentially the New Eve Foundation, but in particular its Retreat Ministry and a pilot of its small group and charting program. The concept is simple: bring women together to encounter the Lord in a large-group retreat followed by participating in a small group and one-on-one charting instruction. The vision of the New Eve Foundation is to see women of the Church empowered through encounter with the Lord in and through their bodies while also being able to articulate the truth, beauty, and goodness of their femininity. The mission is to bring women to an encounter with Christ through that truth, beauty, and goodness of their femininity. The audience is Catholic single women of reproductive age: Catholic, because for change to happen outside the Church, it must first happen inside the Church; single women, because there is a painful lack of resources on body literacy and femininity catechesis specifically for unmarried women; and women of reproductive age because actively charting a cycle is an integral part of the ministry model that New Eve proposes and in order to chart a cycle, you must have a cycle!
Could you tell us a bit about what motivated or led you to develop this action plan? Was this something that you had on your heart prior to this past year or was it something you developed through the GIVEN program?
I believe that the impetus to develop the New Eve foundation was really a winding road that began even before I was Catholic. When I first genuinely encountered the Church’s teachings, I was in awe at the belief that the Lord is truly present—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—in the Blessed Sacrament. At the same time this belief was becoming my own, I was introduced to cycle charting. I found wholeness in and through a complete understanding of my own body in the light of the Body of the Lord. Several years and some deep catechesis later, I founded the New Eve Foundation just a few months before my attendance at the GIVEN Forum in 2022!
How did you grow throughout this year as you worked with a mentor 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 honestly found the Year of Accompaniment to be such a fruitful part of my participation in GIVEN! My mentor, Christina Valenzuela, was able to help me navigate many of the challenges that comes with running an organization, since she herself runs a business (centered on promoting Body Literacy—how perfect!). When I found the demands of life beginning to get in the way of my Action Plan about halfway through the year, Christina was a huge help in offering support, commiseration, and encouragement. I know that she prayed with and for me and my apostolate and I truly believe that her prayers and support helped me overcome the external adversity I encountered around the midway point.
What were some of the fruits you saw from your action plan? What did you find most fulfilling in this process?
I ask for feedback from participants whenever I host a retreat, and I feel that this testimony from a retreatant speaks for itself:
“I really truly felt the presence of our Lord many times that day, even that of our Blessed Mother. I had not had time to just sit with our Lord and explore who I am through Him and Mother Mary in far too long, and it was just the guidance and reset I needed to find refuge in the Lord. It also really helped me to accept and find beauty in my biological and spiritual blossoming womanhood, and to encounter Christ through my femininity.”
It is incredibly gratifying to know that the work that the Lord has placed on my heart is not done in vain and that women are truly encountering Him through the apostolate He has entrusted to me!