Moana’s Vocation: An Analysis

Moana’s story is unique in many ways. While the villains may be lackluster, the music is amazing. My favorite thing about Moana, though, is how the movie portrays what it means to have a vocation. While The Crown shows how the vocation of queenship negatively affects the people in Queen Elizabeth’s life, Moana’s story is a more positive portrayal.

As I’ve stated before, many people figure out their vocation at a very young age. Moana’s vocation is twofold: She needs to be the chief of her people, but she is also called by the ocean to voyage out and return the heart of Te Fiti to where it came from. She quickly learns, thanks to her grandmother, that in order to truly be the chief of her people, she has to answer the ocean’s call first, because her people were descended from voyagers, but forgot about that part of their life because of how dangerous the ocean became.

Answering the ocean’s call meant leaving her family behind, much like those who pursue religious life do. Men go to a seminary or monastery and women go to the convent. In the process of becoming a priest, a nun, or a brother, they are required to learn a lot of things. Out in the ocean, Moana learns how to be a good wayfinder, thanks to Maui’s mentoring.

Throughout the movie, Moana is tested in her resolve to stick to her vocation. She first gets tested when she gets hurt on her first attempt to sail beyond the reef.  Maui constantly tests her patience.  She faces obstacles such as the Kakamora and Tamatoa. She even loses her resolve when Maui decides to leave after Te Ka nearly defeats them. In spite of all that, the spirit of her grandmother returns and asks Moana “Do you know who you are?”

“I Am Moana” basically summarizes what it feels like when a person discerns his or her vocation. A Catholic can interpret that “still small voice,” the voice that calls Moana, as the Holy Spirit, reminding her about what she needs to do.  When she decides to be the one to take the heart to Te Fiti, she goes back to the ocean and gets the heart back, restoring order to the ocean and her home and even giving Maui a new sense of purpose.

When Moana returns home, the people of Motunui become voyagers again and it’s clear, from how the movie ends, that Moana’s adventures are just beginning. It shows that a vocation is something you have for life. For Moana, that means continuing the tradition of her voyaging ancestors and being the a good leader to her people.

I highly recommend Moana because it’s an excellent movie with a positive message for kids. It shows them that following your heart doesn’t mean being a rebel. It can mean becoming a leader and growing in wisdom.

The Crown: Elizabeth’s Vocation

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One of Netflix’s latest hit original series is The Crown, a historical drama centering on the life of Queen Elizabeth II as she deals with the loss of her father and transitions into her new life as the Queen of England. There are many things that I liked about this series, but this post will look into how the duty of being queen reminded me of having a vocation and how that vocation affected Elizabeth’s relationships with her husband as well as her sister.

The Queenly Vocation

The word “vocation” in Catholic circles often calls to mind people who become priests or nuns. Some people believe that God created us with a certain vocation in mind. In Elizabeth’s case, she knew that she would be queen eventually because it’s a duty inherited by her birthright and bestowed on her upon the death of her father. The coronation ceremony shown in “Smoke and Mirrors” reminded me of the sacrament of Holy Orders or Confirmation, as Elizabeth is anointed with oil on her hands, chest, and head.

One aspect to having a religious vocation is that sometimes, a person’s name is changed. This was the case for Elizabeth’s father and her uncle, who took on different names upon becoming king. Elizabeth chose to keep hers. However, she still goes through a different sort of change in her identity. Towards the end of the 2nd episode “Hyde Park Corner,” Elizabeth receives a letter from her grandmother, Queen Mary. In that letter, Queen Mary tells Elizabeth that “Elizabeth Mountbatten” has been replaced by “Elizabeth Regina,” her persona as Queen and tells her that “The crown must win, must always win.”

This brings me to the third aspect of the show that reminded me of having a religious vocation: the vow of obedience. While Elizabeth is both married and rich, she was still expected to obey the duties given to her. Upon her coronation, Elizabeth vowed to maintain and preserve the traditions and laws of her country as well as the Church of England. The vow of obedience to God and country is what provides the main conflict between Elizabeth and her loved ones, particularly her husband and her sister.

Queen, Wife, and Sister

The main reason I decided to watch The Crown was because I wanted to see how Matt Smith would be outside of the world of science fiction. Prince Philip Mountbatten aka The Duke of Edinburgh is Elizabeth’s husband and for a while, it’s clear that the two of them love each other. However, Elizabeth’s duties as queen put major restrictions on Prince Philip’s life. Gender roles have been reversed as Elizabeth is the one with the “breadwinning” career while Philip is stuck trying to make the most of his life as the “homemaker” and is often seen playing with the kids.

The marriage takes a great strain towards the latter half of the first season as Philip has to give up his surname, the house he and Elizabeth bought and had renovated,  and was extremely limited in what kind of leisurely hobbies he could pursue. He was still allowed to socialize, but he still wanted to be the head of the household, even if Elizabeth was Queen. By the time the first season ends, Philip is heading to Australia to help out with the Olympics, feeling like his role of husband has been erased.

Worse still, however, is how Elizabeth’s role of queen affects her relationship with her sister Margaret. From the beginning of the season, Margaret is in the midst of an affair with the married Peter Townsend. Even though Elizabeth wants her sister to be happy, she couldn’t allow Margaret and Peter to marry.

While I understand Margaret’s desires to stand out from her older sister’s shadow, I honestly think that her relationship with Peter is foolish, even if you consider him to be the “innocent party” in his divorce. Margaret is a woman in her early 20s and is already set to marry when most women her age with her personality would be playing the field in terms of dating. I’m not saying she should play fast and loose with her heart, but her belief that she will never love someone as much as she loves Peter is a foolish one. I also didn’t like how she treated her sister and undermined Elizabeth’s love for their father.

While I don’t think I’ll ever be an Anglophile the way that others are, The Crown pulls me into the drama of Elizabeth’s life because it shows how being the queen is a unique, Anglican version of a vocation and how that vocation will affect the lives of Elizabeth’s family, for better or for worse. I can’t wait to see Season 2 and I hope that Elizabeth and Peter will make an effort to keep their marriage strong.

Dating and Other Things Catholic: Men of Christ Monday with John Antonio

 

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John Antonio is a single Catholic professional who runs a medical ethics and professionalism program for resident physicians in the Texas Medical Center. He is also a lifestyle writer Catholicsingles.com and Catholic speaker. His new book Dating and Other Things Catholic: What Seminary Taught Me About Single Life is a smart, witty guide that I recommend to all millennials who are just starting out or for anyone who needs to start over from a major setback.

1) Where did the inspiration to write Dating and Other Things Catholic come from?

4 years ago I was leaving seminary. I had spent almost my whole life there. I didn’t know anything about careers, dating, or the lifestyle of a single professional. I had never gotten a job. I had never gone on a date. I did not know a lot of things about the lifestyle of a single young professional. I did not know how to ask a young lady out nor how to get a job. I looked for Catholic books on this since I was a Catholic. I did not find one. So I decided to do research, gain new experiences, and write the book myself.

2) Tell me what it’s like to be single. How is that different from dating, marriage, and religious life?

The religious has the Church. The married have each other. The dating have each other to some degree but not in a stable form of life. Someone who is “single” could still be dating but generally not in a serious relationship. He/she makes many decisions alone and is very in control of their destiny. That adds a new opportunity to life. Single life is a huge opportunity.

3) One problem I personally have with being single is loneliness. How do you deal with that?
A single person needs 3 things: friends, a mission, and the right type of daily routine. I find that when singles have these 3 things they feel loneliness much less.

4) Who’s your go-to saint when it comes to living the single life and discerning your vocation?
St. Valentine. “Love is all you need” or is that the Beatles?

5) What advice would you give to young adults who are discerning vocations to marriage? What advice would you give to those discerning religious life? And for those who are indecisive?
There will always be a fork in the road at some point. You will have the choice to give your freedom away or hold on to it tightly. In my experience, giving it away is risky but it leads to more exciting things. If you give it away to something good, that is.

6) Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Subscribe to my blog and I’ll keep you up to date 🙂 …I already have another book in the works though for starters; the one that will tell all and tell things as they are.

Women of Christ Wednesday: The Visitation Project

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From left to right: Bonnie, Rebecca, and Heather. Credit to The Visitation Project’s Facebook page.

From The Visitation Project’s Website:

The Visitation Project is a radio show with one goal: meeting Catholic women wherever they are.

Co-hosts Rebecca Frech, Bonnie Engstrom, and Heather Renshaw come from different backgrounds, regions of the country, and perspectives, yet together they offer a fresh voice for Catholic radio. On-air, the TVP Crew discusses issues and challenges significant to today’s Catholic woman, while infusing huge doses of joy and their love of Jesus Christ and the Catholic faith as the underlying thread that ties it all together.

The Visitation Project is produced through the facilities of Mater Dei Radio in Portland, Oregon. TVPRadio episodes broadcast every Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST on 88.3 FM Portland / Vancouver and 100.5 FM Eugene / Springfield. You can also listen live at http://www.materdieradio.com.

 

1) What is The Visitation Project and where did the idea for this show come from?

The Visitation Project is a weekly half hour radio show that airs Sunday nights at 7:30 PST. Our name comes from the Visitation, when Mary set journeyed to see her cousin Elizabeth. There she was literally with The Lord, but she didn’t ask Elizabeth to come to her. She met Elizabeth where she was, and brought Jesus to her.

That’s the academic answer. What is it really? It’s three Catholic women having an honest conversation about life, family, the culture, and our faith with lots of laughter and the occasional beat-boxing.  We’re meeting women where they are and bringing Jesus with us!

 

2) What do you think makes The Visitation Project different from other Catholic radio programs?

We’re not scholars or theologians, so we’re not talking about things from that perspective. We’re trying, instead, to engage our audience in a conversation about what it means to be a Catholic woman in the modern world. We talk about things no one else is discussing, and we aren’t afraid to say the things you don’t normally hear on Catholic radio.

 

3) You have a few podcasts about vocations. What advice would you give to young adults who are discerning marriage and religious life?

Start off with prayer, asking God to make it obvious where He wants you to be. I always ask him to make it obvious, because I’m not good with subtle. I need big blinky neon lights pointing the way.

After praying, search out people who are living the life you feel called to and ask LOTS of questions about what it really looks like to live that life. Don’t forget to actually listen to the answers, not just the good bits but the bad ones too. Then you can have a full picture of the decisions you are making.

Get all the information you can, and then realize that God is going to lead you wherever He wants you to go.

 

4) What advice do you have for young moms that want to make sure that their kids understand the Catholic faith?

Talk about your faith in front of your kids and let them see you pray. Small children will soak up everything you tell them, but they will believe what they see you do.

 

5) What do you think is the most important thing you guys want people to know about The Visitation Project?

That they need to be listening. Seriously. All the cool kids are tuning in. We’re everywhere – radio, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and our website thevisitationproject.com; and we really do want to hear from them. Some of our best shows have come from suggestions or questions from our listeners. We want to know what’s important to you and what crosses you’re carrying. We want to go beyond being your favorite audible addiction. We’re hoping to create a community of Catholic women that helps us all to live our faith out loud and with great joy.

Men of Christ Monday: Timothy Quigley

Timothy Quigley is an actor and filmmaker based in Lancaster. He is the creator and star of the sitcom, “Ordinary”.

“Ordinary” is a sitcom about a fresh-faced newly-ordained priest assigned to a parish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When his rascal little brother Josh shows up at his new home, Father Anderson finds himself facing more challenges and surprises than he could have anticipated. From handling erratic staff to wrestling restless catechumens, he’ll need to summon all the patience he can to get through his ordinary day. You can donate to the Season 2 Kickstarter in the link
Timothy volunteers as a videographer and editor at Lancaster Community Television (LCTV66) and is actively involved in community filmmaking and local theater. He will next be seen on stage in the musical, “Absolutely Anything” produced by The Creative Works of Lancaster, March 5-8.

First of all, tell me (and my readers) exactly who you are and what you currently do for a living.


I’m Timothy Quigley, cradle Catholic, from a happy family of 10 children happy to keep the Irish-Catholic stereotype alive. I am an actor, a filmmaker and local television producer. Those three jobs keep me quite busy.


I take it there are some Irish twins in your family?


None, as a matter of fact!


So you have a family of your own now. Describe a typical day in your life, balancing your family and the jobs you have.


I have been married for almost 7 years, no children (pregnancies but no births). My wife and I both come from large families and wanted to have one right off the bat, but our Father had other plans. We’ve seen this as a time to find ways of ministering where we might otherwise not be able. My wife, Carolyn, is a nurse who works a number of places but primarily as a school nurse at the local high school, JP McCaskey. Monday through Friday, she’s doing her work and I’m doing mine, touching base with each other regularly. We get up early, get ready for work together, then split up until I come back from the office to go to bed. Saturdays we get housework done and Sundays we chill.


What inspired you to create Ordinary?


The first inkling of an idea came from working around the rectory and observing how similar it was to any other workplace. It started as a joke that NBC’s “The Office” could easily do a spin-off called “The Parish”. Years later I returned to the idea and started to write, but it morphed into something very different than what I thought it would be. I didn’t want to fashion a “Father Michael Scott”, if you will. We have plenty of them elsewhere in visual media, and they’re just not representative of the majority of priests I know. This led to centering the show on the priest and his story. The vocation of the priesthood has always fascinated me, and there’s a lot to work with when your character is in persona Christi, with elements both very human and very divine.


Tell me more of your personal vocation story.


I started discerning the priesthood when I was 10 as an altar boy, attending daily Mass. At that time, the only other thing I wanted to be was an actor, but when I learned that movie and TV actors don’t get to write their own lines or direct the movie/show, I said “Forget it then, I’ll be a priest”. I went to a school in New Hampshire for boys wanting to become priests, run by the Legion of Christ. I was with the Legion for a short time but discerned away from there thinking I was perhaps called to diocesan and parochial life instead of the life of a religious community like the Legion, so I entered diocesan seminary at Saint Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia. It was there that I watched the short film, “Fishers of Men” from Grassroot Films. My friend, with whom I had confided my recent doubts about my vocation, turned to me and said, “Doesn’t that just inspire you to want to be a priest!?” I said, “No, it inspires me to become a filmmaker.” I left seminary in 2006 and started studying the craft. Now I’m an actor who does get to write his own lines and direct his own show. Heh, a show about a priest at that. Everybody wins!


What led you to marriage?


It didn’t take much thought or spiritual agony on my part. In 2007, a year after I left seminary, I met a really cute girl at the Saint Gertrude’s 20s Group in Cincinnati and I asked her out. My first girlfriend! I married her 10 months later. Transitioning from pursuing a priestly vocation to a marital vocation was relatively seamless. Because while I discerned I didn’t have a vocation to the priesthood, I was certain I still had a vocation to fatherhood. My whole life changed when I altered my vocational discernment approach to basically, “Pray and just go with your gut.” There’s way too much vocational analysis paralysis among our young Catholics.


What advice do you have for those who are discerning vocations and struggle with “vocational analysis paralysis”?


I think everyone discerning their vocations understands they were created for a purpose. We know that we each have a unique way we are meant to know, love, and serve God in this life, so that we can be happy with Him in the next. That puts pressure on us to make sure we don’t muck this up!! But it’s really not that complicated. Our Father has no interest in making our vocational discovery a PhD in aerospace engineering. (Unless of course he is calling you to be an actual rocket scientist then… yeah.) What He really wants from us is to enter into prayer with Him and stay close to Him. Whatever I am made for is what I am MADE for; it is part of who I am, right there in my gut and will become clearer with prayer. So what is the thing that drives you, motivates you to be the saint you’re called to be? Do that thing. Don’t focus on vocational discernment as a, “What do I feel called to eventually be?” You already know: a saint. Ask instead, “What do I feel called to do today?”


Who are your go-to saints?


The Blessed Mother is number one. I chose the name Mary at my Confirmation. Others I go to regularly are Saint Joseph, Saint Timothy, Saint Raymond Nonnatus. When I’m in the middle of filming, I go to Saint Jude and Saint Rita.


What do advice do you have to young adults who want to pursue a career in film and television? How do you balance your faith and your work?

 

I can’t speak to the challenges of keeping your faith while working in Hollywood. That’s one avenue some take, but I’ve decided to stay in my lovely hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With the ubiquity of the internet and the low cost and wide accessibility of equipment, there aren’t any good excuses to not just do it. Surround yourself with talented people, which becomes easier the more you do and the more you pay attention to what everyone else is doing. And don’t ever make the mistake of thinking other filmmakers are your adversarial competitors. They’re your allies. One thing that is very cool about our production of the second season of Ordinary is the great team of local filmmakers we’ve assembled. None of them are even Catholic, but they love what they do and they love the show. It’s not worth it to compromise your artistic vision or your religious conviction in an effort to be liked. People value authenticity of character and work that is genuine.

 

Please donate to the Ordinary Season 2 Kickstarter! Season 1 is available for On-Demand on Vimeo.

Women of Christ Wednesday: Marriage Edition

Diana is the creative force behind The Faithful Traveler, as the show’s co-producer, writer, host, second cameraperson, and editor. She is also The Faithful Traveler’s entertaining and vivacious host, imbuing the series with an exuberance that attracts viewers of all ages and backgrounds and makes them excited to join her on her travels. Diana explores the art, architecture, history, and doctrine behind shrines and places of pilgrimage around the world, and hopes to encourage people to visit these spectacular locations themselves, armed with the information provided in The Faithful Traveler. For those who can’t make the travels themselves, Diana hopes to bring these amazing sites into their homes, and enable them to virtually make pilgrimage with her.
Born and raised in San Diego, Diana is a lifelong Catholic who uses her knowledge of her faith, her English and legal degrees, and the marketing and publicity skills she has honed in the last seventeen years as a book editor in trade and professional publishing markets in all of her roles with The Faithful Traveler. Diana received a BA in English at Pepperdine University and a JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School. She has been a book editor since 1998, and currently edits books for a publisher in New York City.

Today, I interview Diana von Glahn and ask her about her show and her marriage with David. I ask that you pray for both of them, since David was recently hospitalized.

 

What inspired The Faithful Traveler?

The Faithful Traveler grew out of seeds that were planted in my childhood, and which grew throughout my youth and young adulthood. I’m a cradle Catholic, and i grew up in San Diego, where Father Junipero Serra built the first of 21 missions in CA. I grew up loving the saints and learning about them. As i moved from my home to go to school, wherever i would go, i would seek out a Catholic Church because that was home.

As I travelled around–Malibu for college and South Bend for grad school with a year in London, my world view was growing, and I was encountering different styles of architecture and churches. I found them fascinating.

At Notre Dame, at the time, it was the only Catholic university with a chapel in every dorm. They all differed architecturally based on when they were built. I wanted to write a book about them, calling it The Chapels of Notre Dame! That idea was eventually scrapped because of life, but I continued to explore churches in my life, moving from San Diego to Mississippi to New York City.

In NYC, I met David. we moved to PA and eventually got engaged. As we planned our honeymoon, I wanted to include both Catholic and touristy things in our itinerary. We were watching a lot of the travel channel, and we’d often talk about how awesome it would be if there was a travel show on tv that went to catholic places, but that didn’t talk about Catholics like we were a bunch of nutters.

(Sometimes, non-Catholics can sound a little TOO skeptical when talking about things like incorruptible saints and eucharistic miracles. but really, who can blame them?!)

I wanted to watch something that had the production values of the Travel channel and the History channel, but that actually talked about Catholic things and places. Eventually, we decided that we had to create that show ourselves, and so The Faithful Traveler was born

 

Tell me about how you met.

 

David and I met shortly after I started working at a legal publisher in NYC

Apparently–or so he tells me–he thought I was cute and wanted to meet me. Unfortunately for him, the first thing he said to me was some snide remark about me being a lawyer (I was a legal editor), and I immediately decided I didn’t like him.

So for, like, a year, he would come by and try to talk to me, and I would be so rude!

It was horrible. I often say it was like Pride and Prejudice. Eventually, it got to the point where I would tolerate being in his company. (I was such a jerk!)

One day, I REALLY wanted to go see opera in central park, but all of my friends were all, “WHAT?! You’re crazy!”

No one would go with me! One of my friends said, “David von Glahn likes opera!”

I was desperate–this was a huge event and I didn’t want to go alone, so I asked David if he’d go with me and he said yes. I guess that was our first date. He bought wine and took me to a very nice restaurant. He made me laugh all night long.

The opera was horrible but we had fun and then we stayed up talking in Central Park until, like, 3 am.

He wanted to know what kind of guy I’d date, and I told him, “I’m only dating Catholics from now on, sorry.” He wasn’t Catholic, and I had just had years of dating non-Catholics and I eventually got tired of always compromising on my faith

David said, “well, what if I’m interested in converting?”

I said, “My kind of Catholic is too hard for you.” But by this point I liked him, and so I prayed about it

It occurred to me that there are many Catholics who aren’t too stellar about practicing their faith and so why would I deny this one person the opportunity to rise to the occasion? We started dating, and David went to Mass with me every Sunday. He LOVED it. He went to adoration with me at St. Patrick’s Cathedral one day early in our relationship.

 

Wow! The classic flirt and convert story.

I know, right?! But I really wasn’t flirting with him. Anyway, we dated for about 1 month and then Sept 11th happened. David was supposed to be flying to LA that day. I saw the whole thing from the windows of our office on 6th ave and when they closed the bridges, I gathered my girlfriends and we walked up to David’s apt on the Upper West Side. It changed everything. The tenor of our relationship. Our happy courting days were cut short. Eventually we moved to PA and got married.

We were engaged on the feast of the annunciation and married on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was a beautiful winter wedding.

 

What’s your marriage is like now, especially since you work together on the show?

We’ve been married 11 years and to be quite honest, my brand of Catholicism is hard for him sometimes. (My brand being cradle Catholic.) I love everything about the church and don’t ever question anything. He’s a New Yorker. He questions everything. For many years, this caused problems in our marriage, but we grew and learned. Now we do our best to make our differences work for us as opposed to against us

Marrying a convert isn’t easy, but you know, marrying anyone isn’t easy. I know many cradle Catholics who have married other cradle Catholics who have crises of faith or who get divorced. The key is being committed. Really committed.

 

Who are your go-to Saints?

 

The Blessed Mother, always. St Michael, St Joseph, St Rita of Cascia, and St Anthony, when I lose something.

 

What advice would you give to young married couples? And what advice would you give to singles?

To both, I would say read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

 

For the singletons out there, I’d say, read that book and identify what kind of love language you speak–what kind of love you need  to feel loved. Then go out there and find someone who can give that to you. Don’t settle. Pray all the time. Don’t get impatient. A lifetime of being married to the wrong person is way worse than a lifetime of being alone because you can also be alone in a marriage and that is very painful

For the young marrieds or soon to be marrieds–my niece is among this list–I would say read the book together. Identify what love languages you speak and do your best to speak those languages to one another

The key to staying married is this: Forgive. Pray. Don’t ever quit. And don’t ever settle, either. Remember that your spouse is your vocation. He or she is your ladder to heaven or to hell, and you are the same for him or her. Let your spouse make you holy.

I once had a friend say something to me that made me laugh but which was so real, so true. “We all have rough edges, but its only in bumping up against one another that those edges are smoothed out.” That’s what marriage is like. You will bump up against one another and it will hurt, but don’t let that chase you away from one another. Don’t let the answer be the creation of space. You have to allow the bumps to smooth you out, to make you holy. It’s part of the purification process that God allows us to go through. We can’t be afraid of or run away from the purification if we want to get to Heaven.

One more thing: Don’t ever think someone else has it better than you. Everyone carries a heavy cross. you just don’t always see it.

 

 

Interview With Arleen Spenceley

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Photo courtesy of Arleen Spenceley

Arleen Spenceley is author of the book Chastity is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin (Ave Maria Press, Nov. 2014). She works as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times, and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in counseling, both from the University of South Florida. She blogs at arleenspenceley.com.

What was the inspiration behind
Chastity is For Lovers?
Chastity Is For Lovers was inspired by my desire to encourage the people who already practice chastity, and to present chastity to the people who don’t practice it yet. I want people who are virgins to know they’re not alone, and I want people who are saving sex from now on to know that chastity truly is possible, and I want people who haven’t heard of it, or who’ve got it confused for abstinence, to know what it actually is.
Do you feel yourself drawn towards any particular vocation or do you prefer to be open to all of them?
I am most drawn to marriage, but I’m not married to it. I’m still not sure to which specific vocation God will call me, but I hope to be open to any of them when that’s clearer to me. In the meantime, seeking Him first is a fantastic way to prepare to accept the call to any vocation. Doing so will refine our desires, and pave the way for continuing to seek Him first when I become a wife or a nun or otherwise consecrated single person.
Tell me what it’s like to be single. How is that different from dating, marriage, and religious life?
I’m two kinds of single: unmarried, and also not currently in a dating relationship. But I’d consider myself “single and mingling,” ’cause I do date. I can’t tell you what it’s like to be perpetually single, because I don’t know yet if I will be. But I can tell you that this season of singleness — if it indeed is a season — is actually kind of exciting. That has less to do with what I’ve done during this season and more to do with what God is done. It is clear to me, almost always only in retrospect, that how single I am has been integral for my ability and availability to do some of what God has invited me to do.
Had I not been single while writing the book proposal for Chastity Is for Lovers and then while writing the book itself, I probably would have neglected the writing or the relationship. That isn’t to say a person can’t write a book, or travel and speak, or otherwise serve the Church while dating or married. But because of my particular circumstances, another commitment would have been a bad idea.
I wrote the book proposal during my second to last semester of grad school. At the time, I worked 32 hours a week as a staff writer for the newspaper, interned 14 hours a week as a counselor at a youth shelter, took two classes and lived, interned, worked and went to school in four different cities. As much as I had moments of hoping I’d meet a guy to date, God didn’t open that door and in retrospect, I’m super glad that he didn’t.
One problem I personally have with being single is loneliness. How do you deal with that?
When loneliness hits, I say “focus on Jesus, focus on Jesus, focus on Jesus,” over and over, in my head. The last time I “ached” like we sometimes do while we’re single was when I was interested in a specific guy — a guy from whom I wasn’t hearing. And while I hoped he’d text me or call, God legit spoke to me when this thought popped into my head: “You don’t ache because you’re alone. You ache because you’re looking in the wrong direction.” I hadn’t been seeking first Jesus. I’d been seeking first some other guy. So I needed that reminder to focus on Jesus.
Who’s your go-to saint when it comes to anything relating to dating/boys/love life/etc?
For most of my adult life, St. Francis de Sales has been my go-to, ’cause we’re basically BFFs.  In undergrad, while I studied journalism, I suffered from anxiety. One day, I stumbled upon a quote from St. Francis de Sales about anxiety, and it really helped. A few days later, I stumbled upon another de Sales quote. It was also about anxiety, and it also really helped. I’d never heard of de Sales before I stumbled upon his quotes, so the journalist in me had to do some digging. I looked him up, which is how I discovered that he’s the patron saint of journalists. I’ve felt a connection to him ever since.
If you’d like to see the quotes I stumbled upon, click here.
What advice would you give to young girls and boys right now?
I’d give both females and males the same two pieces of advice: a) Reflect a lot on the fact that you are of infinite value because you exist, and b) Focus on Jesus, focus on Jesus, focus on Jesus.

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