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What are the cravings that throw you off course?

This week I had a great conversation about food, self-acceptance, and spirituality when I hung out on-air with Allison Gingras, host of Reconciled to You. It was such a fun interview, and I loved getting the chance to revisit my book Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God. After talking with Allison for an hour, I think I need to re-read my own book! And make a date to visit with her in person because I think we were separated at birth, even if I’m way ahead of her on the age trajectory.

If you missed the show, you can listen to the podcast here:

A Moveable Feast: I’m heading back to Italy. Join me!

Buongiorno a tutti! That greeting can mean only one thing: I am heading back to Italy on pilgrimage for another fantastic combination of great food, beautiful scenery, and spiritual inspiration. We’ll be hitting some of the highlights from my last pilgrimage, with the addition of some must-see cities we missed the first time around. Here’s the brief run-down of where our Food & Faith in Italy tour will take us between May 15-26, 2016: Rome, Castel Gandolfo, Orvieto, Assisi, Siena, Bologna, the Emilia Romagna region, Padua, and Venice. Read more

Why do I stay in this Church?

“Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued by Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) via Facebook this week, calling me (among many other Catholic writers) out by name. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I started to ponder that question as I headed out to meet Dennis for date night at The City Beer Hall in Albany. As we sat at the bar, sipping our Chatham Maple Amber, Dennis reminded me that I had already written my own blog post on this very topic more than a year ago. (I’m glad someone remembers what I write!) Sure enough. I went back and found my own take: “Why Am I Still Here? In this Church, that is.” Read more

Note to my younger self: Don’t pack the Dante books

A former editor, current friend, and perpetually great writer posted an essay — What Fresh Hell Is This? — about the advice he’d give to his 22-year-old self knowing what he knows now. It’s a wonderful weaving of Dante, disappointment, and discovery that will make you think and probably make you nod your head in recognition at least once or twice, regardless of what you and your 22-year-old self have experienced over the course of a lifetime. Read more

Monks, music and musings on monastic life

I came across this video clip via the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio and clicked on it mainly because I love Gregorian Chant, but it is so much more than an album promotion. It gives you a brief glimpse into monastic life in general and Benedictine spirituality specifically, along with some beautiful views of Italy and hauntingly beautiful music. It’s like a micro-version of the monastic feature film Into Great SilenceIf you have a few minutes, this is sure to bring a little serenity to your day. The album, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia by the Monks of Norcia, is available June 2.

Preach it, Denzel Washington

This is so worth 11 minutes of your time. Denzel Washington gives a commencement address that doubles as spiritual direction. “Put God first,” he told the graduates, and then went on to remind them to “fail big,” serve others, and get down on their knees every morning to thank God in advance for what is already theirs. Powerful talk. Check it out.

On retreat: Finding beauty in our brokenness

I was so blessed to give a retreat day at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., this weekend. A beautiful location with wonderful people. And great food. With seashells scattered around the room and prayer intentions overflowing our sea-themed bowl, we dove into the topic of brokenness and discovered a wholeness there. At least that’s what we were aiming for. And we did “collage as prayer,” one of my favorite things to do these days. It seemed to be a hit among the retreat participants as well. There’s something about cutting and gluing in silence that is soothing and centering. And it always seems to lead to at least a smidgen of self-discovery. Read more

Fitting farewell for a giant in Church communications

I was honored to be able to attend the funeral of Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh this morning in the chapel at her motherhouse in Albany, where family, friends, and quite a few Catholic media colleagues gathered to pay their respects and say farewell to a woman who has set the standard for Catholic communications for decades. Although I had the chance to work with Sister Mary Ann only minimally here and there over my own 30 years in the Catholic press, she was present at every turn, whether it was a story she wrote for Catholic News Service, a press release she sent from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or, in later years, her blog posts and, finally, her America columns.  Read more

‘Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved’ retreat day May 9

It’s not too late to register! I’ll be offering a one-day retreat at the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., on Saturday, May 9, on my favorite topic: “Broken Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to see ourselves through God’s eyes.”

The day will include a talk, lunch, some quiet time, a chance to journal and/or try out collage as a form of prayer and contemplation, and group discussion. Here are the details from the website:  Read more

A perfectly timed novena. St. Catherine, pray for us.

I woke up this morning and noticed a link to a Novena to St. Catherine of Siena in my Facebook feed. I will admit that I am not one to pray novenas often. Okay, almost never. But this one caught my attention. St. Catherine of Siena has a special place in my heart. I consider her one of my patron saints since my middle name is Kathleen. To top it off, her feast day, April 29, is my wedding anniversary. So there’s that, but there’s oh so much more than the name and date connections. Read more