Thursday, February 29, 2024

First Friday! (and March: can you believe it?)

This year, March begins on a First Friday of Lent: a perfect day for you to begin the Nine First Fridays (if you haven't already). 

If you're not sure what I'm referring to, you really need to download the free introductory unit of my book (A Eucharistic handbook for the Nine First Fridays) and get going! We are right in the middle of the 350th anniversary year of the series of apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary that gave us not only the devotion of the Nine First Fridays, but Eucharistic Adoration as we know it today, the Forty Hours devotion, and the (ubiquitous and often misunderstood) image of the Sacred Heart itself.

I have my copy;
where is yours?

So what are you waiting for? (Jesus wants to know.)

Friday, February 16, 2024

First steps into Lent

Exhibit A: Starfleet LogoExhibit B: Bold Cross 

Do the ashes count if they form less of a cross and more of...a Starfleet logo (as in Star Trek)? Well, it (Exhibit A) will have to do. My sister (Exhibit B), in the meantime, received the perfect, well-defined, very forthright symbol of redemption on her forehead this Ash Wednesday. Either way, we're in Lent now! And as the initial readings for the season remind us, it's a season for prayer, fasting (oops, almost typed "feasting"; too much Mardi Gras over here!), and works of mercy. That got me thinking about one of my patron saints, a veritable prodigy of fasting: John the Baptist. 

It struck me only today that while John the Baptist is our Advent guide, he is rather marginal to Lent, except as a model of fasting (or prayer, when you focus on his life in the desert, which the early Church considered the place of prayer par excellence). John's mission was to prepare the way for the "one who comes after," the "one greater" than he. And that is Advent, plain as day. Lent, however, has a different focus. In Lent, it is as though John has led us to the Lord Jesus, and now we have a decision to make: to follow or not to follow. To follow on our own terms is not to follow Christ, but to follow our own path, with a bit of Christly decoration. Jesus makes that clear in the various "hard sayings" we find scattered throughout the Gospels, especially that winsome invitation to "deny yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me."

That doesn't mean making life miserable. Sometimes it means accepting life as it is and finding God in suffering.

Scores of people started joining us weekly for an online Lenten book study of a new book with that very title: Finding God in Suffering. Sessions are free, and meet every Wednesday night at 7 CST on Zoom. If you'd like to be invited, please message me by email or by sending your email address in a comment (that I will NOT post). You would have only missed two sessions, I think. Sorry I forgot to mention this earlier. If you join, you will get links to the earlier sessions. This coming Wednesday we will have the author with us, so that will be a good time to join. (And it gives you time to get the book; Here is an Associates link if you must use Amazon; otherwise, you can order direct from the sisters.)

Either way, solo or with an online study group, it's one way to learn how to "take up your cross every day" to follow Jesus.

Monday, February 12, 2024

I'm back!!!

It's kind of crazy, but I haven't posted a thing
since my book came out: just when I should be going crazy with promotions of every kind! It's not that I haven't been promoting my book, it's that I haven't been online much. The Christmas concert "season" saw to that, coming within two weeks of the book launch. But now that we are over a full month into the not-so-new year, and Mardi Gras, I mean LENT, is here, I have a number of opportunities in the New Orleans area to bring my book right to the people. And, as you can see, I have some really strong support in that regard!!! (Photo taken at this weekend's parish book fair at Our Lady of Divine Providence here in Metairie.)

Besides going to parishes as part of a Pauline book fair, I am preparing a brochure promoting talks on the First Friday devotion and other topics connected to the themes of the book. That way parishes and groups in need of a speaker or a retreat presenter can schedule a talk or mission and the people have an opportunity to keep the fire burning by taking a book home! Given that this is the 350th anniversary year of the apparitions of the Sacred heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, it is quite a good time to renew the devotion he specifically requested! The hard part about this is trying to advertise my own abilities. Thankfully, one of our Pauline cooperators worked in marketing, and she is helping me get over it. 

So far, here are the topics I am developing:

The Secret of the Nine First Fridays

350 years ago, Jesus appeared to a cloistered nun in France with a complaint, a request, and a series of promises. All of those are summed up in the image of the Sacred Heart and in the “Nine First Fridays” devotion. Learn the amazing story, and how nine First Fridays can renew your relationship with Jesus.


Praying with Art

In the spirit of the ancient practice of lectio divina (prayerful reading), visio divina is a way of praying with art. Background on the artist and the context of the artwork provide an entryway into a time of reflective prayer on themes rooted in the biblical theology of the Sacred Heart.

(Makes use of a projected image; contact presenter for technical requirements.)


The Saints of the Sacred Heart

In this 350th anniversary of the apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, it can be easy to forget that the French nun was not the first (or last) saint of the Sacred Heart! Find out about the saints who prepared the way for devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, those who helped develop it, and what their lives say to us today.


Offer It Up!

In times past, it was the answer to seemingly every complaint: “Offer it up!” As short as it is, the expression is surprisingly deep. But what does it mean? Is it really an answer? What good is “offering it up”?


Discovery through Eucharistic Adoration

Come meet Jesus! For many people, Eucharistic adoration is a welcome opportunity for prayer, drawing from and leading back to the Mass. The history and structure of the liturgy itself offers a kind of pattern that can serve as a guide for making an enriching Holy Hour, one that promises an ever-new relationship with the Lord who continues to call out, “Come to me, all of you.” 

An ideal presentation for parishes where formal adoration is already established, or just being introduced.



About the Book

Come to Me: Living the Nine First Fridays offers a practical and inspiring approach to “making the nine First Fridays” along with the biblical and historical background of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With a complete, Scripture-based Holy Hour guide for each month, it is a perfect companion for the Eucharistic Revival and promises to transform your spiritual life.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Coming your way?

Sr Fay sings, “The Christmas Star”
Well, the Boston leg of our concert tour is officially over: we are checked in for a Tuesday flight to St. Louis! The weekend concerts at the new venue, in a completely new part of the Boston metropolis, went exceedingly well. Both times the auditorium was filled with friends, family and fans—a surprising number of whom were experiencing their very first in-person concert with the sisters. I was able to tell a story about a friend and the nine First Fridays as a way of introducing my book, and signed many copies at intermission and after the concert.

Student techs work on the lighting at rehearsal.

But the concert isn’t just a music event. It’s also a magnificent community event for the sisters of our Boston communities, who coordinate ticketing, transportation, lodging, food, parking (in the dark, whether in snow or, as yesterday, downpour) and more, for the singers, sisters, and volunteers before, during, and after the program. The various teams worked together with such efficiency, it seemed that everything happened on its own. But the collaboration itself is a wonderful indicator of and contributor to community life. 

Sr Julia’s “Christmas card solo”

The next concert will be in Mascoutah, a small town in southern Illinois that is graced with a lovely, state of the art auditorium. (I understand that it is almost sold out.) After that is St. Louis, also close to capacity. So if you want to see us this year, may I suggest a winter holiday in New Orleans? The concert is still a week and a half away, so tickets are still available—do you need more of an excuse for a midweek getaway?

New Orleans friends: The concert will be held in the Jesuit High auditorium; there’s secure parking on site, so fill the car with friends and come!

As always, a fun (and free!) way to enjoy the music (and support the mission) of the Daughters of St. Paul is to listen to our music on Spotify. You’ll find the concert album here (please share the link freely on all your social network channels!): Come to Bethlehem by the Daughters of St. Paul.

We don’t have any costume changes, but
 we do accessorize.

Monday, November 06, 2023

Did Amazon cancel your order, too?

My sister's notification. Did you get one? 
Better check your orders!

Last week, the day after my birthday, my sister got a nasty surprise from Amazon: the behomoth had cancelled her pre-order for my book. If you pre-ordered a copy (or more!) from them, you had better check: they probably did the same to you. 

It's a complicated story, and goes back to Amazon's computers not having taken note of a change in the release date (a change that was entered into their system in JULY). What can I say? Despite its origin as "the world's biggest bookstore" (who else remembers that?) Amazon no longer cares about books.

The good news is that after a hiatus (on All Saints and All Souls Day!), the master of online sales is again accepting orders, so you can order it again from them. (You can order it from us, too: there are benefits to us either way. We lose money immediately on Amazon orders, but we gain visibility with their algorithms. Such is our world.)

More good news is that the shipment from the printer arrived at the motherhouse, and will soon reach our Pauline bookstores. (It can't go on display until November 15, but still: after all this time, I'll get to see it!) So you have a chance to get your order in, tell your friends, and in general cause some holy hullabaloo.

If you never heard about my book, or completely forgot about it, or don't know what the "nine First
Fridays" are all about, you can download a generous free portion to get started. I think you will find that it is not only a unique book for your own spiritual growth, but it will turn out to be your go-to gift book for all sorts of people on your list, including those hard-to-gift people: sisters, priests and deacons! 

New Orleans area friends (and relatives): I will be speaking on The Secret of the Nine First Fridays at St. Clement of Rome Parish on Thursday, Nov. 16 (7 p.m. in Vosbein Hall), and we'll have a Book Release Party here at the Pauline Bookstore on Friday, Nov. 17; drop in from 2-6 to get your books signed, and pick up some newly designed bookmarks! The community will be making my book (and others!) available  at St. Philip Neri after Masses on Nov. 18-19 and at OLPH in Kenner the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Outside of New Orleans? Tell your parish about the book, and let the adult faith coordinator know that I will be available, starting in January, for retreats and parish missions! Contact me by this blog's email [thenunblogger is a gmail account] for my official contact info.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Coming Your Way?

The Daughters of St. Paul choir is officially going back on tour this Christmas! Granted, it's a decidedly shorter tour (only 5 concerts in 4 cities, and not a coast-to-coast marathon), but still: after four years, it will be very nice to see some familiar faces and places! 

Here's the lineup; see if you can manage to work a concert into your schedule. (Wouldn't a winter trip to New Orleans be just delightful?) There are openings for sponsorships, too!


DECEMBER 9 (evening)

DECEMBER 10 (afternoon)




(one performance only)



(one performance only)


Friday, October 13, 2023

Friday the 13th, Our Lady of Fatima, and a prayer for peace

Not Our Lady of Fatima, but 
a lovely image of Mary to go
with the Pauline prayer!
Today is the 106th anniversary of last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. As in 1917, the world is at war, even if we don’t call it “the war to end all wars” (at least not yet). At Fatima, Mary told everyone the path to peace: repentance from sin, whatever form it takes in our life. In 1917, she warned that a failure to repent would pave the way for “a new and more terrible war.” (History tells us how her plea was answered.) 


The anniversary also suggests that we turn to Mary in this time of “darkness, error and confusion.” This the following, rather ample prayer to Mary, which appeared in the very first edition of the Pauline Family prayerbook in 1920, fits the bill. I strongly suggest that on this Friday, which is a universal day of penance anyway, our prayer for peace be accompanied by an extra attention to whatever it is that we may have to “offer up” for our poor, sick world. I know that the Lord has sent me a number of embarrassingly small things that I can consecrate for this intention!

You can download a pdf (printable) version of the prayer at this link:


Friday, September 08, 2023

Sacred Heart Friday

This week's quote connects to the coming ancient Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), followed by the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. (Today is the similarly ancient Feast of the Nativity of Mary, nine months after the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception.)

“In the Eucharist His Heart is there as on the Cross, opened and letting flow on us torrents of graces and love.”

St Peter Julian Eymard

Friday, September 01, 2023

Sacred Heart Friday


"The arms of the crucified are spread out to draw you to his Heart. He wants your life in order to give you his."

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Today is the First Friday of the month, a day particularly devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's a great day to pre-order my Sacred Heart devotional, a how-to, hand-holding, step by step guide to spiritual growth through the Nine First Fridays. AND Sister Lily is giving you a 20% discount for ordering it now! Get one for yourself, one for your best friend, and one for the person down the street! 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Sacred Heart Friday

”The Heart of Jesus is an assured Refuge of Mercy.”
Abbot William (†1148)

 Keep watching this blog for information about my upcoming Sacred Heart devotional!