Kelley McNutt, GIVEN ’19
“My friends and mentors are a sign of God’s presence.”
Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts with my parents and three siblings. Growing up in New England cultivated a love for natural beauty, to this day I have a preference for New England landscapes and spending time enjoying them in silence. My mother instilled in me a love for coffee and hospitality, and my father passed on his appreciation and love of music. Whenever possible, I also enjoy spending time strolling leisurely through art museums, and if I can get to an aquarium, all is right with the world.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
I currently work at a Catholic graduate school where I obtained my master’s degree. The path opened up gradually, and in a very ordinary way, guided by God’s Providence. I stayed in touch with the community here, and eventually the opportunity to work at the John Paul II Institute opened up, and I’ve been here ever since! I’m very passionate about works of hospitality, allowing people to have the experience of being welcomed, loved, wanted, and nourished. At first glance, my work does not seem directly related to this, but I never lack opportunities to offer hospitality right where I am.
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
Admittedly, I always feel somewhat awkward in the face of questions like this. I’m very simple and sensitive, and I just try to be available to love the people in front of me.
What women inspire you, and why?
There are so many, but I will illustrate what inspires me with the example of a dear friend. I belong to Communion and Liberation, and one of the members of my community is a model for me of what it means to say “yes” to Christ, to remain open with a watchful heart as he proposes new ways of seeing, thinking, and loving through the circumstances of our life, our desires, and the people given to us. Her heart is a heart that is wide awake to the coming of Christ. She has a dynamic relationship with Him that always instills in me a greater confidence in His love and presence.
Are there friends and mentors that you depend upon? How do they support you?
My friends and mentors are a sign of God’s presence. I am deeply blessed to be surrounded by mentors and friends of all different ages and states of life, they are like guiding stars for me. Each one reflects the radiance of the face of Christ in a unique way. They encourage me, counsel me in my doubts, and provide a place of rest during the trials and joys of life.
What is the best advice/encouragement you’ve received about vocational discernment?
“…He so wants you to be His, whatever might be the way you are to follow here below” – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, L 278.
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?
Silent Adoration. Jesus is given the honor that is due to him, and you and Jesus can simply enjoy each other. It’s there in the silence that Jesus will fill you, give you rest, and fill your hands with everything he wants to give the people in your midst.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
“I offer You the cell of my heart; may it be Your little Bethany. Come rest there; I love You so…” – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
What were your key takeaways from the 2019 GIVEN Forum?
My key takeaway from the GIVEN Forum was rediscovering how important it is to listen to the desires God has placed in your heart, and to discern with others the truth of those desires. In fulfilling those desires, there is often a gift God wants to give not only to you, but to give to others through you.
What was your GIVEN action plan?
My GIVEN action plan was to offer a space for people to encounter the writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. The purpose was to shed a light on the treasure of her works, which encourage people of all ages and states of life to embrace deep intimacy with the Holy Trinity dwelling within us, a gift offered to all of us in our Baptism.
Fr. James Brent, OP gave this talk about St. Elizabeth of the Trinity at Kelley’s action plan day of recollection!