5 Catholic Women Offer Simple Tips for Everyday Holiness
Insights from Barbara Golder, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Susan Brinkmann, Lauren Ashburn and Abby Johnson.
For Women’s History Month, I am sharing suggestions from five very strong and very Catholic women. They would all say that their stories center around “His Story,” that of Jesus Christ, to show them the way.
Their ideas on ways to walk with Our Lord are excerpted from their original contributions in the book Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith and Get to Heaven.
Barbara Golder is a doctor and a lawyer, editor-in-chief of the Linacre Quarterly and author of the (must-read!) Lady Doc Murders Series. She recommends:
- Make a home enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, proclaiming Christ king of our families and home. Among the many pious customs involving the Sacred Heart is a traditional “enthronement,” or consecration, of your house (and heart) to Jesus. In particular, Jesus promised St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, “I will bless the homes where an image of my Heart shall be exposed and honored.”
- Use some external cues as prayer reminders. Years ago, a friend’s son was killed in a train accident. I live where I can hear train whistles. I use that to remind me to pray for him and the family.
- Feed leftovers to someone who is lonely, and take them over yourself.
- Sit in a different spot in church every time you go. Make sure to greet those around you, especially if you don’t know them.
- Call clerks and servers by name (they all have name tags), and make that recognition a prayer of intention for them.
- Give up electricity after dark in Advent and Lent. Use candles. Talk with each other. Pray. Watch the stars or stare into the fire, and listen to God.
- Keep Sunday a day of rest. No shopping. No TV. No going out to eat. Spend the day in quiet with God, friends and family.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of A Year with the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. Her suggestions:
- I pray an Our Father and Hail Mary every time I hear a siren. (Did I mention my office is in midtown Manhattan? I remembered to write this because in the time it took to write this sentence, I heard one.)
- I travel a lot and often wind up in a hotel bar/restaurant for dinner. There’s always someone nearby to pray for. I try to do something similar when commuting. Though at a certain point you have to do a general one to cover everyone in your train car, and so forth.
- Always, always pray for your Uber/cab drivers.
- In urban settings, I engage in conversation with people asking for money, often learning more than anything else the day could teach me. I try to have packages to give them. On my best days there is a little note telling them I wish I could do more — this is something small such as, “I will pray for you, please pray for me.” I often include a prayer card and something like a $10 fast-food gift card, some wet wipes, hand lotion, beef jerky, or fruit snacks. Other days I may have just picked up lunch or made an extra sandwich on purpose. I try to have some bottles of water, especially in the summer.
- I keep a few prayer cards in my Magnificat to pray for certain people and all priests and friends who have died. Occasionally I accidentally crash a funeral Mass in my traveling and know I’m there to pray for the family.
- I use prayer cards of certain saints and a lot of Mary as bookmarks to remember to keep the saints with me as I work.
- The Sisters of Life have a “Litany of Trust.” I carry copies in my purse and give out with some abandon.
- Overlook no one and you will be gifted sometimes with seeing the face of God in gratitude and wonder and grace.
Susan Brinkmann, O.C.D.S., is director of communications and New Age research at Women of Grace. To see her many engaging and powerful books, go here.
- Whenever I recite St. Gertrude’s prayer for the release of the holy souls, I also ask the souls who were just released to intercede for a specific intention. St. Gertrude Prayer: Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
- I devote each day of the week to praying/sacrificing for particular intentions. For example, on Mondays I pray for vocations, on Tuesdays, for the conversion of souls, and so forth. Even though I pray for a lot of other intentions on these days as well, it helps me to remember to keep the “bigger picture” and not become consumed by my own needs.
- I never pass a church without giving our Eucharistic Lord a salute of some kind — blowing him a kiss or making the Sign of the Cross in reparation for those who treat him with indifference.
- I keep a little notebook on my nightstand for prayer requests and then ask Our Lady every morning to intercede “for all of the intentions in my notebook.”
Lauren Ashburn left the job of managing news editor and anchor of News Nightly with Lauren Ashburn on EWTN in 2019 after nearly four years to focus on her family with three children. Before that, she left the secular world to work in Catholic media.
- To carve out time for my soul, I added a daily entry on my Google calendar ‘Bible’ from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. Even if I don’t get to it right at 7:00, it is a reminder of what is most important.
- Three children, including two teenagers, can experience a lot of upsets in their lives. When I see them struggling, I ask the Holy Spirit to enter them and calm their anxiety. I do the same when I am feeling overloaded.
- My mother sent me a prayer to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots which I treasure. Even if I just say the first sentence over and over again, I feel closer to God and more able to do his will.
Abby Johnson is the author of Unplanned (and subject of the movie by the same name), a speaker, CEO of “And Then There Were None” and busy mom of eight children. She admitted that she once kept God at a distance until chaos struck. “I knew he was there in those moments of struggle,” she said, “but I also knew I would probably not have so much upheaval in my life if I would consciously spend time in prayer and Scripture every day.”
“At first, I did it begrudgingly. But you know how they say when you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit. That’s exactly what happened. I found myself eagerly opening up my readings for the day. I found I was praying more throughout the day, all the time. I was going to God in good times and in bad, experiencing clearer discernment.
“And honestly, I just had more peace. God so desperately wants to spend time with us every day. This little daily routine has made an incredible difference in my relationship with him.”