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.

Anticipation... It's Making me Wait

If Advent is a time of waiting, does that mean we do nothing but ... wait?

If you can't "wait" to find out the answer, just click on the picture below and watch a quick two-minute video.

Second Week of Advent; A Video Reflection by Kelly Wahlquist and Fransican Media

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The novena to Our Lady of Sorrows is a beautiful prayer in which we ask, through Our Lady, to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to grow in virtue.

I was honored to speak with Hallie Lord at the Duluth Women's Conference on Saturday, March 7, and was blessed to meet many beautiful and inspiring women. As promised ladies, here is a little summary of  the conclusion of our time together and the handout.

How do we maintain the courage to live our “unexpected” lives as faithful women?

We look to the one who is the perfect example of courage from the moment she is told that God has a plan for her and it will radically change her life... and the lives of all humanity, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From the moment of the Annunciation on she lived with the greatest courage, because she lived with the greatest love. I believe we learn from and are nurtured in our virtue of courage by entering with her into that which embodies the greatest courage ever exhibited in one of God creatures—Mary's Seven Sorrows.

"One cannot love without suffering or suffer without loving." St. Gianna

The key to understanding Mary’s courage is to understand her seven sorrows. Through the seven sorrows comes the realization that God does not spare us from pain. Our pain, however, can co-exist with God's peace and God can use our pain to draw us closer to him. To succeed in this, we must learn from Our Lady of Sorrows how to have the courage to open our hearts to God's will. If we close our hearts to His will and cling to our own understanding, we carry not only the original pain, but we also lack the peace of surrender. This tends to lead to live in the valley of vice: anger, self-pity, and despair.

Whatever pain or trials enter your life, look to Our Lady. She has experienced all and through every experience, she constantly believed in and lived the will of God.

Click here for the handout -> Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Novena




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“Do whatever He tells you…”

One invitation can have an eternal ripple effect.

Ten years ago a friend invited me—well, to be honest, more like “volun-told” me—to join a Bible study, and ten years ago my life was drastically changed. I’ve spent the last decade deepening my relationship with Jesus, falling in love with each person of the Trinity anew and traveling the country to share the joy of the Gospel. My heart was transformed and my spirit lit on fire to share the faith, and all because of one simple invitation. It’s amazing to imagine what one invitation can do.

In fact, here’s a perfect example: “On the third day, there was a marriage in Cana in Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus was also invited to the marriage, with his disciples” (John 2:1). Think about that. Someone invited Mary to a wedding… and they also invited Jesus.

Perhaps the scenario went something like this:

The young engaged couple is sitting down with their parents and making their wedding guest list. They’ve determined how many people can fit at the wedding and how many mouths they can afford to feed. The mother of the bride says, “Let’s invite Mary of Nazareth. She’s always been such a dear friend and there for me whenever I need her.”

To which her husband responds, “She still has a son living at home. If we invite her, we have to invite him too.”

The young bride quickly says, “That’s ok. He’s single and I hear he’s a nice guy. Might be fun to have him at the wedding.”

The young groom chimes in, “And he has a great group of friends.”

Someone invited Mary and Jesus to the wedding, and look what happened! Lives were change and hearts were transformed on that day, and every day since.

Because of one invitation, on that day in Cana, a need was met, a family was spared humiliation, water was miraculously turned to wine, Jesus began his public ministry and the Blessed Mother spoke words that have an eternal effect: “Do whatever he tells you.”

The story of the Wedding in Cana perfectly sums up WINE: Women In the New Evangelization.

WINE is about meeting women in their need and inviting them into relationship—relationship with other women and relationship with Jesus Christ.

WINE is about growing in our love for the Lord by following the example of the perfect woman, Mary, and striving to always do the will of God, striving to do whatever he tells us.

WINE is about living our Catholic faith with renewed confidence, with conviction and hope, and one of the beauties of our faith is that we are a community. We’re all in this together. It’s not always easy to know and live the will of God. How blessed I am to have strong Christ-centered friends who help me as I stumble along this path. And many of these friendships are the result of one simple invitation years ago to join a Bible study.

We invite you to visit our new website at and to set it as one of your favorites. It is our hope at WINE, that you find peace, joy and a sense of belonging in the friendships that come about as a result of spending time laughing and learning and growing in your faith with other women. 

May we always be there to assist each other as we grow deeper in our personal relationship with Jesus. May we open our hearts to an invitation from the Lord to follow him and invite others to journey along with us. And may we always be there to guide, encourage and support one another as we each strive to do the will of God—to do whatever he tells us.



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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. 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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