kelly wahlquist

Catholic Evangelist & Speaker

Kelly Wahlquist is a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker whose gift of weaving personal stories and Scripture together with practical advice allows her audience to enter more fully into what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have called us into - to be witnesses of our faith and part of the New Evangelization.

How Does A Soul Magnify the Lord? With Pure JOY!

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women's Advent Retreat this morning where I was asked to speak on how we can live as women of JOY! What an awesome topic!

Here's the Reader's Digest version of the talk: 

You want to be joyful? Then follow in the footsteps of the Blessed Mother. Say "yes" to God and trust him. Prepare a place in your heart for Jesus to dwell and invite him in. Be a divine helper and share with another your story of how Christ changed your life. And, above all, love the Lord your God with all your heart and praise him with all your soul! You want your soul to magnify the Lord this Advent? Then let the JOY of Christ dwell in your heart and it will.

"Jump for Joy" by Corby Eisbacher

"Jump for Joy" by Corby Eisbacher

The morning was full of so many blessings. I was reconnected with a dear friend, and holy man, Fr. Steven Hoffman. I was reunited with women from around the archdiocese, some of whom I hadn't seen in years, some who knew me from a few years ago at the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, some who knew me in high school, and some who knew me way back when shoulder pads and leg warmers were all the rage. (Yep, that would have been grade school.)  I was welcomed by an amazing room of women on fire for their faith and I was inspired by the beautiful voices of the Schmitz Sisters. These lovely ladies have been singing together for over 70 years! (For the record, they started their singing careers very, very young. They made their big debut on the Arthur Godfrey show on May 13, 1957.) Today, they were a blessing to all as they sang "May You Always…"

 

As promised, here's the link to the beautiful print of Mary & Elizabeth at the Visitation, by Corby Eisbacher: Jump for Joy

Thanks ladies of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women! You are all such an inspiration to me! May God bless you abundantly this Christmas Season and always.

 

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Why Am I So Crabby and How Advent Can Help!

By Lucy Johnson

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in rush hour traffic on my way to an 8am meeting at the University of Minnesota. The traffic was so slow that I was able to journal about my feelings.  Lately, I’ve been feeling crabby, and I don’t know why.

I don’t consider myself a crabby person, although there were times, years ago when my children could have disagreed. Sometimes “Mean Mother” reared her ugly head while raising six children in ten years, but the kids are older now, so I can’t really blame this on them.  

Perhaps “Mean Mother” reappeared when I was Mother Nature for Halloween this year.  Although I warned people not to fool me, I seem to recall that shortly after Halloween, it snowed and got cold! That could make me crabby, but what I was experiencing seemed to be something deeper than the weather.

I was still pondering this question when I arrived at my meeting with female graduate students.  I was to be a part of a series titled Outside the Pharmacy: Conversations with Women in Leadership.  Perhaps somewhat ironic, our topic was about a meaningful life and what contributes to one’s happiness; not the pleasure/happiness but more the joy/happiness. 

I was surrounded by graduate students who were all joyful. I was amazed. Aren’t graduate students supposed to be stressed out and over-worked? That’s when I learned the secret.  Each of them told a similar story. They began the year stressed, but they took about three months to think about what they were doing. They had a gift of time, preparation and reflection before beginning their research and studies. They stopped and listened.

This is what I’ve been missing. I’m so busy that I haven’t taken the time to think, reflect and prepare. This is what Advent is all about. It’s a time to prepare more than our houses and gifts but our hearts and ourselves for the coming of Christ. Perhaps we can’t take three months to prepare, but hopefully we can take a few minutes each day.  

If you can take a little longer, there are many wonderful retreats in the upcoming days.  I would recommend the ACCW’s “Greet Advent as Women of Joy” with Kelly Wahlquist. There are still spots available.  https://events.archspm.org/accw-advent-2014 When we booked Kelly last May, I had no idea how much I needed this topic. I want to greet Advent as a woman of joy and not a crabby woman.

Lucy Johnson is the President of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and a member of the WINE: Women In the New Evangelization core team. Most importably, she is a wife and mother of six wonderful children, who at times don't think she's too crabby.

 

 

 

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Be It Done Unto Me According to Your Word

"Be it done unto me according to your word." 

That response of perfect humility from a young girl in Nazareth encompassed the greatest of love, brought with it the greatest of pain, and ended in the greatest of joy—a joy that awaits each one of us when we are once again with Our Lord in heaven. 

We got a touch of that joy that awaits us at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Catholic Celebration!

On Saturday, October 4, over 5,500 people came together to celebrate their faith and to be inspired by the message of Christ—the message of hope.

The theme of the celebration, Horizon of Hope, was taken from the Holy Father's address at the beginning of Advent last year when he said, “For the great human family it is necessary to renew always the common horizon toward which we are journeying. The horizon of hope!”

Pope Francis went on to encourage us, especially in our darkest of hours, to always return to the Horizon of Hope, because, as the Holy Father said, "Jesus promises a hope that does not disappoint. He is faithful!" 

That message was heard loud and clear last Saturday at the Catholic Celebration!

There was an incredible sense of hope that over-shadowed those gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center to celebrate their Catholic faith. Everything that took place, in the beautifully orchestrated day, filled hearts with joy and pointed to the splendor of what awaits us on the horizon.

From the powerful explanation of the wonderful Catholic schools and activities for youth and young adults in our Archdiocese, to the flash-mod of talented teens singing "Happy", to the witness of over 400 Catechetical Institute students on fire for their faith, to the moving display of the men in formation at The Saint Paul Seminary and St. John Vianney minor seminary receiving a double standing ovation, to the pure example of sorrow turning to joy given by a beautiful young woman whose father died in the 35W bridge collapse as he went back in the water to save another life… everything showed why we have our hope in Christ.

Every aspect of the day exemplified promise, the music, the speakers, the volunteers, every aspect, but it was what happened in the first few minutes of the celebration that had the biggest impact on me.

As we began our celebration, our bishops took the stage and began to speak—not from behind a podium, but front and center, among the people. Each spoke for about a minute—not something scripted, but words from their hearts. They welcomed us, expressed their thanks for our gathering together, acknowledged the pain we have experienced as a church in the past year, encouraged us to find hope in Jesus Christ and to return to the horizon, and then they asked for our prayers. It was their sincere plea for our prayers to help them as leaders and their humble gesture of kneeling before us that caught me off guard.

As I looked at them so humbly on their knees with their heads bowed before me, I couldn't help but think of what the Blessed Mother must have looked like as she responded to the question of an angel, and suddenly I saw our bishops as young men responding to God's call on their lives, an act of great humility born out of great love for Our Lord and His people.

Each time I look at the picture of our bishops kneeling before us, I see their humility and their pain… but above all, I see their undying love for Jesus Christ and their deep commitment to lead His people to a joy that can never be taken from them. (John 16:22)

Thank you Archbishop Nienstedt, Bishop Piché and Bishop Cozzens. Be assured of our prayers.

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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

"Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate."

~Anonymous

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Wonder what this little child is up to now?

Imagine walking in the footsteps of one who loved God more than self, one who sacrificed everything to teach others of the Lord's love for each individual person no matter how much society said they didn't matter, one who who gave up everything to live the will of the Father. 

If you can see yourself following in this person's footsteps… then you can see yourself following Christ. 

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Day 9: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Go and tell...

Reading
Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go and tell my disciples and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Wondering
It seems a little of the story has been missed out... what might Mary's reaction have been that caused Jesus to tell her not to cling to him? What about when she is sent to the disciples? And what of their reaction?

 

Contemplating
Read the passage a few times and see what ideas or thoughts emerge. Look back over your journal or take a mental trip back over the last nine days. Read the whole story - reminding yourself of the thoughts that accompanied it....

Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you have found has worked for you.  Allow the scene to play out in your mind. How do the feelings change?

 

Reflecting
We are people, like Mary, with a mission - to tell people what we have seen - what we have heard - what we believe...
Pray that we may live faithfully the command to go and tell...

 


Praying
Mary of Magdala,
woman of the resurrection.
Pray for us as we too go and tell what we know -
that Jesus is alive
and at work through us.
Guide us all through your story
teach us to live always in the light of the resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 8: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

The moment of recognition...

Reading
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"  

She turned and said to him, "Rabbouni!" (which means "Teacher).

 

Wondering
How did Jesus approach Mary? At what point did Mary recognise her Lord?

 

Contemplating
One of our longest pieces in the account of Mary on that first Easter morning... Read it through several times and allow any significant words or phrases to sink into your soul. Why are they important to you? Make a note of them and prepare to use them to feed into your mind and spirit.

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you find most helpful.  If as a film director - enjoy the scene unfolding... if in imagination - simply enjoy!

 

Reflecting
Many people have moments of recognising something that holds promise and builds on the many good things that have been happening.
Pray for them - for the moment of grace which may affect the rest of their lives.

 


Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
your moment of recognition echoes down the centuries
as we learn to recognise our Lord in Word and Communion.
Pray for those experiencing such a moment of recognising
something founded on the rich legacy of faith
and love of countless millions of believers around the world.
Pray too for those who contributed to its development.
Guide us all through your story
to the hope of resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 7: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Not knowing what is to come...

Reading

They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
 
Wondering
Is Mary comforted by the words of the angels - or further confused? She turns and sees Jesus but does not yet recognise him... why not?
 
Contemplating
We are reaching the climax of the story - but are not there yet... Read the passage a few times and see what ideas or thoughts begin to emerge.
Make a note of your thoughts - jot them down – and, if you are using the Novena in a group, prepare to receive the insights of others.

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you have found has worked for you. What fears might be within Mary at this point - and what hope against hope?
 
Reflecting
We who know the story know what's coming and have a feeling of anticipation - but Mary does not. We ourselves sometimes wonder: what will be asked of me? Will I like what I see and hear? 

Pray for a willingness to wait to see what God is to reveal... 
 

Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
still sorrowful,
even you could not at first recognise your Lord.
Guide us all through your story 
to the hope of resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 6: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Staying in the dark places...

Reading
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.
 
Wondering
What is Mary's state of mind now? What might her reaction have been to seeing the two angels?

Contemplating
As you ponder the reading, which words or phrases seem to be especially significant to you. What might God be saying to you - perhaps, for your own life and for your community. If you are using a spiritual journal, add any thoughts or insights - and perhaps look back to see if there are any links that are beginning to form. 

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene using whatever technique has helped you over recent days. Try to put yourself in Mary's shoes as the scene begins to move to its fulfilment. 
 
Reflecting
Mary is struggling to come to terms with what is happening... but still she stays in the place where things don't yet make sense. This is a feeling we can identify with ... sometimes we do need to walk away from something but on other occasions we realise we have to stay in a spiritual place until God deems it the right time to offer us the revelation that allows us to move on. 

Pray for those who find themselves "stuck" - whose faith feels empty and whose prayer seems dry.
 

Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
you still did not know what was to come -
but your love for the Lord held you by his tomb.
Pray for those who are in dark places -
who feel without hope 
and for whom the idea of a Pastoral Plan feels burdensome.
Guide us all through your story 
to the hope of resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 5: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Faith leading to understanding

jesus-12.jpg

Reading
As yet they did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
 
Wondering
What was the mood of the disciples as they turned back to go home? What were their expectations about what might happen next?
 
Contemplating
A very short piece but continue to read it through a few times, allowing the words to sink deep within you. Are there words or insights from the passage than seem important as we pass the halfway point in our Novena,

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way you find most helpful. How do the disciples take their leave of Mary? What is the "feel" of the scene at this point?
 
Reflecting
Faith often comes before understanding. We believe - but may have to reflect - read - contemplate - experience something differently before we move to understanding. Reflecting and learning how to make our faith yet more alive and active is for some people exciting - for others it is a challenge.


Pray for people who are excited - and those who are challenged.
 

Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
you did not understand but you believed.
Pray for as we seek to understand more fully
what God wills for us.
Pray for those for whom this is an exciting time
and for those for whom it is difficult and challenging. 
Guide us all through your story 
to the hope of resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 4: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Seeing and believing

St._John_and_St._Peter_at_Christ's_Tomb_LACMA_M.81.68.jpg

Reading
Peter saw the cloth that had been on Jesus' head (was) not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed.
 
Wondering
Why does John point out the detail about the cloth that had covered Jesus' face? How does seeing the grave clothes as they are lead him to believe - and what is he believing in at this moment - he has not yet seen the Lord?

Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading and reflecting on the Scripture passage. What springs to mind as you ponder the words and phrases? How might these ideas feed into your own life? Jot down any thoughts in a spiritual journal. Are any threads beginning to emerge?

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene. How might a film director film the scene? What would they focus on? What kind of atmosphere would they be trying to create? How do the participants in this drama feel at this point?
 
Reflecting
We cannot always say what leads us to believe... quite often it is a glimpse - a moment when we recognise that there is something beyond what we can see and touch. It is this faith that sustains us through the any changes that happen in our lives. 
Pray for a strengthening of faith for those who feel on the fringes or marginalised.
 

Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
woman of faith,
pray for those whose belief is tested -
who feel that they are not good enough -
who feel they do not belong.
Guide us all through your story 
to the hope of resurrection.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 3: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Waiting ... and acting ...

Reading
The disciple bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there.
 
Wondering
Why did the disciple Jesus loved wait even though he had seen the linen wrappings? What might have been going through his mind? What about Peter? What was his reaction to what he saw? What gave him the courage to go into the tomb of one who had been dead for two days
 
Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading the Scripture passage and see if any words or phrases seem to be especially significant. Why might the word or phrase be important - in your own life? Make a mental note of any insights or jot down any thoughts in a spiritual journal.
or...
Spend a few minutes building the scene in whatever way is helpful - in the shoes of a film director - or sketching the scene. What insights do you get from the action in this part of the story? How are people reacting as it unfolds?  
 
Reflecting
There is a time for waiting - and a time for finding the courage to act in ways we would not have thought possible. 
Pray for those for whom this is a time of waiting ... and for those for whom it is time to find the courage to do things they do not yet think they can.
 

Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
you waited at the foot of the cross -
but found courage to return to the tomb to anoint your Lord.
Pray for those who wait - 
and those finding the courage to act.
Guide us all through your story 
to the hope of resurrection.


Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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Day 2: Novena to St. Mary Magdalene

Going to see for themselves...

 

Reading

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

Wondering
What do the people watching the disciples make of seeing two grown men running through the streets? What might have been going through the disciples' minds as they ran?

Contemplating
Spend a few minutes reading the Scripture passage and see if any words or phrases seem to be especially significant to you. What might God be saying to you - perhaps, in your own life. If you are using a spiritual journal, add any thoughts or insights.

or...

Spend a few minutes building the scene. Use the film-director approach if that worked yesterday or allow the scene to build in your imagination. What new insights emerge as you contemplate this part of the story?

Reflecting
Often people will tell us something but we sense the need to go and see for ourselves. Many things go through our minds - all sorts of possibilities - we can get carried away by our imaginations.
Pray for those who may be caught up in "fearing the worst".


Prayer
Mary of Magdala,
as you ran back to the tomb you knew to be empty,
your heart and mind were in turmoil.
Pray for those who fear the worst -
who are troubled by what might be.
Guide us through your story
to the promise that all shall be well.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory be...

 

*The novena and reflections are taken from Wellsprings.org.uk and can be downloaded in full on their site.

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