“The spiritual aspect of GIVEN was impactful for me because it reminded me that in order to live out our missions and the ministries that He has called us to, we have to be in direct communication with Him.”
Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
I recently celebrated my two-year wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband, David. We are both active members at our parish and we are part of the lay movement The Catholic Advance Movement. I work as a Health Educator for the Minnesota Department of Health, focusing on the development and implementation of communication education materials, social media content, website design, and communication planning. I am a speaker for the Behold series through the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and enjoy writing in my free time.
My husband and I co-founded The Beautiful Wounds, which is a collection of curated stories devoted to revealing and appreciating beauty in our everyday lives. We explore and uncover how beauty “wounds” our hearts and speaks to the deep desires that illuminate the very existence and purpose of the human person. I enjoy spending time with my husband over hot cups of coffee, hikes, traveling, and working on our new home together, being with our families, listening to podcasts, baking pumpkin pies, and writing.
Describe your professional work/ministry. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
As I write this, I am overwhelmed by the intricate and beautiful ways God has worked in my life. My journey in healthcare and the passion for women’s health was not always clear to me. I had always been and still am a strong pro-life advocate, but wasn’t quite sure where I fit in the movement and how I could use my skills. I was raised by parents who practiced and implemented Natural Family Planning in their marriage and my mom was a strong advocate for me to learn my body, understand signs and symptoms, and appreciate the beauty of how my body was created. It was an incredibly holistic, pro-life feminist approach, for which I am very grateful.
“I realized that my niche in the pro-life world is helping women understand their bodies, the goodness of their fertility and reproductive health, and to advocate that women be empowered by natural family planning and fertility tracking.”
A life-changing point for me was during my junior year of college when I attended an event to learn more about The Guiding Star Project. I went away with a project to create short films to highlight the lack of knowledge and awareness surrounding reproductive health and sex education. In the process, I realized that my niche in the pro-life world is helping women understand their bodies, the goodness of their fertility and reproductive health, and to advocate that women be empowered by natural family planning and fertility tracking.
What women inspire you, and why?
During our first year of marriage, struggling to understand what it truly means to be a good and holy wife and desiring to learn how to grow and lean into my vocation, I read “The Extraordinary Parents of St. Therese” and fell in love with Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin. This book opened my eyes to the beauty of the Martin family and the immense courage and faith of St. Zélie, who was not only a holy wife and mother, but an incredible business woman who exemplified servant leadership.
What is the best advice/encouragement you’ve received about vocational discernment?
The best piece of advice that I have been given for life discernment is to go and sit in adoration and pray, “God, here I am. Just me. I come to you as I am with my joys, my struggles, my hurts, my fears, my worries, my desires, my dreams, my passions. I sit before you.” A priest friend reminds me to let God look at me and for me to look at God. This may sound too simple, but it is powerful because it is an invitation for God to look at His Beloved and for me to be receptive to His Love.
“God, here I am. Just me. I come to you as I am with my joys, my struggles, my hurts, my fears, my worries, my desires, my dreams, my passions. I sit before you.”
What were your key takeaways from the 2016 GIVEN Forum?
There are 3 takeaways (among many for me) that I would like to highlight:
“Prayer is essential to know ourselves, understand our mission, and have clarity about where God wants us next.”
1. Prayer is essential to know ourselves, understand our mission, and have clarity about where God wants us next. The spiritual aspect of GIVEN was impactful for me because it reminded me that in order to live out our missions and the ministries that He has called us to, we have to be in direct communication with Him. We have to make time for Him in order to understand who we are, the wounds that we have, the healing that He wants to work on us, and how we can boldly and courageously live out the dreams that He has for us.
“The world needs an authentic voice of the feminine genius.”
2. The world needs an authentic voice of the feminine genius. Our voice as women who are rooted in Christ and living out the mission He has given us is critical to a thriving world. We can’t be afraid to speak truth and to be a light in our homes, in our communities, in our places of work, and in the world. We were created for this time and place to make an impact, to bring souls to Christ, and to share the joy of our faith.
“Our gifts are meant to be shared with others.”
3. Our gifts are meant to be shared with others. God didn’t create us to hide our talents or to keep our skills hidden away. He calls us to share and to give life to others. As women, we are life-bearers, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally, too. We are meant to bring life into this world and we need to understand ourselves and understand the mission that we are entrusted with in order to share it with others.
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
I founded and launched Managing Your Fertility in July 2018 as a “one-stop shop” for individuals and couples to learn about the basics of reproductive health and the variety of NFP methods available. I was frustrated by the lack of resources when I was engaged and struggled to find a single source that allowed me to compare different methods. This process encouraged me to propose an NFP resource website project for the 2016 GIVEN Forum. I have been working with practitioners and doctors for over two years on the content and layout of this website.
Managing Your Fertility is a resource for individuals and couples to review reproductive health science, criticisms and praise of specific methods, and research on the topic at large. It also serves as a review of the NFP methods available and supported by the Catholic Church, while additionally highlighting the scientific methodology. Below are some links that further describe our work!
The Catholic Spirit Article
The Catholic Feminist Podcast Interview