Founder and Executive Editor
As a lifelong pastoral minister, Jennifer is committed to meeting people wherever they are at on their spiritual journey and walking with them at the pace of the Holy Spirit. Over the last twenty years Jennifer has ministered in campus ministry, parishes, and diocesan offices. She is passionate about justice issues, building connections between people, and making a daily effort to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. When not active in ministry or maintaining this site, you can find her exploring local parks in and around Chicago, drinking too much coffee, spoiling her niece, and always trying some new baking recipes.
She is grateful to the Senior Contributors who not only share their wisdom as authors on the page, but share their advice and guidance with her on decisions for Wisdom's Dwelling.
Editor and Content Creator - Wisdom's Voice
Jessica grew up attending church with her devoted Hispanic mother. This was the catalyst that started her journey of faith. By the time she entered high school, she found a curiosity and joy for the faith that led her to participate in Peacebuilders Initiative, a program that introduced theology and ministry to high school students, and eventually heard her call to pursue and receive a Master of Divinity from Catholic Theological Union. She is passionate about social justice, interreligious dialogue,, care for creation, scripture, preaching, and women's roles in the Church. Jessica currently accompanies young women at an all girls high school and is an adjunct college professor. She can often be found reading or crocheting in her spare time.
Editor and Content Creator - Prayer Corner
Rachelle Kramer recently completed her Doctor of Ministry degree at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. She holds master’s degrees in theology (St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota) and music (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and has nearly twenty years of experience leading liturgy and music programs, twelve of those years being in Jesuit higher education. Rachelle has published and presented nationally on topics relating to liturgy, music, youth, and young adults. She has served as the music and liturgy director for the Religious Formation Conference Congress and Youth in Theology and Ministry Program and is the former chair of the Standing Committee for Youth for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. Her doctoral thesis and research interests center around the holistic development of college students at Catholic Universities.
A first-generation Indian-American and convert from Hinduism, Rakhi is a wife and mother who works in ministry at her home parish in Metro Detroit all while trying to keep up with her husband of 11+ years, three young children, a growing creative business, and starting random projects like a fledgling podcast. Her greatest joy is speaking light into darkness and encouraging others to discover their deepest identity as the beloved of God and the beauty and gifts they possess. Rakhi spent many years working in campus and young adult ministry where she had the opportunity to work with the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association and the USCCB on a variety of projects.
Rakhi uses the varied pieces of her life as her inspiration as an artist, a writer, and a speaker. When not chasing her children, you can find her singing, dreaming of Italy, hanging out on Instagram, and making beautiful things and messes, all with coffee in hand. Some of her creative work can be found in her Etsy shop, Rakstar Designs. She is also a founding member of Zelie & Co, part of the Voices team for Live Today Well, and a former contributor to Take Up & Read.
ELLEN ROMER NIEMIEC
Ellen Romer Niemiec has a deep love of accompaniment - not only to walk with others but to break and share bread with them. She applied for her Master of Divinity wanting to be a campus minister at an all-girl high school, currently works in adult faith formation and has ministered everywhere in between. She has lived in Dayton, Denver, Boston and is back in Chicago after 10 years away. She loves weekly meal planning under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee and finding every reason to gather people around a table. She loves building a family with her husband and two young children and marveling in the ways God continues to surprise and invite.
Jenna serves as a contributor and a member of the editorial sounding board.
Micole Amalu grew up immersed in stories of the saints and with the Catholic Church as a second home. After continuous involvement in parish ministries, a discernment period in a lay consecrated community, and three years of missionary service with FOCUS, she could no longer ignore the need for mental health education and advocacy in the Church. This led her to create The Face of Mercy, a non-profit dedicated to mental health advocacy and education in the Church. This mission brings together her own struggles with mental illness, an educational background in psychology, and her passion for helping the Church live out Christ’s mission better!
Susan Amann is a life-long Catholic, wife, and mother of 5 who has been involved in ministry since the 5th grade when she began proclaiming the scriptures for her elementary school worship services. Susan has spent more than 30 years in volunteer parish ministry of all sorts and in professional ministry leading catechetical and spiritual growth ministries. Susan has a BS in Engineering and an MA is Justice Ministry, and she is a self-proclaimed "Nerd Theologian". Susan is especially interested in the intersection of Theology and Disability and is passionate about the justice issue of children with disabilities being formed in the faith community where their families live and worship. Susan loves to garden, crochet and read historical mystery novels.
JANE ASELTYNE, IHM
Jane is a graduate student at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, pursuing an MA in systematic theology and spirituality. She is involved in the Together Program, an intercultural cohort of young women religious who are studying at CTU and living in community. Before engaging in graduate work full-time, Jane served as the communications manager at A Nun's Life Ministry. Prior to entering her congregation, she worked in various ministries focused on disenfranchised populations, including teenagers and the elderly. When not studying or work, Jane enjoys traveling, cooking, and quoting lines from the Golden Girls.
Alli is blessed to spend her days as a full-time mom and a part-time graduate student of Theology, focusing on Women in Scripture and Disability Theology. She has a deep love for nature, wildflowers, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two sweet, spunky daughters. Alli is passionate about exploring the stories of women in the bible and honoring Christ’s love for the marginalized through theological work that respects all people.
Anna Bonnema is an open-armed Catholic and a lover of words and nature. Anna is a wife to a man with a contagious laugh and a mom to amazing teenage triplets. Anna is a certified spiritual director and works part time at a local college. Though she calls herself an introvert, she loves to gather around the table or the fire. Her first book was published last spring, Creative God: Awaken your God-Given Imagination.
Fueled by tea, lattes, and dog snuggles, Anna loves small celebrations and glitter. Fill your favorite mug and join her on Instagram:
Patty Breen has worked in ministry for over a decade and writes online for several different spaces. Her loves include CrossFit, writing and speaking, strong cups of coffee, Ignatian spirituality, and loving on her godchildren, niece, and nephew. Patty is passionate about messy and deep conversations at the intersection of faith, culture, and ministry.
RACHEL CONRAD CARLSON
Rachel has been on the search for wonderfully told stories, deep and fascinating conversations, and the exhilarating, true Presence of God in her life for as long as she can remember. From her childhood in Florida immersed in a small Evangelical church to her young adult years spent as a missionary teacher at an international Christian school in Vienna, Austria, Rachel has always desired her life to be an offering that brings God joy. She received undergraduate degrees in Secondary English Education and English & Intercultural Studies with a minor in Biblical studies and her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Rhetorical Analysis, Identity Studies and International Education). Currently, Rachel loves building a joyous (and often hilarious!) life with her husband Nick, staying home with their one year old daughter, tutoring high school students, and leading women's Bible studies.
Madison Chastain is a writer of books, poems, essays, and zines. Her work sits at the intersection of faith, bodies, and culture. A former Air Force brat who loves to travel but hates airplanes, Madison has settled into living and working on the South Side of Chicago. If she's not at the library, she's at a bookstore. She studied creative writing and theology at Saint Mary's College of California and earned an MA in theology and ethics from the University of Chicago's Divinity School. You can find her at madisonchastain.com or on Instagram @maddsienicole
CYNTHIA LAMBERT CHESHIRE
Cynthia Lambert Cheshire is a lay minister, consultant, author, speaker, and lecturer with a passion for creating communities of belonging through accompaniment, innovation, and bringing ancient spiritual technologies to modern day needs. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biblical and Theological Studies from North Park University in Chicago, has studied at Boston College and Oxford University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she learned the hard way that you really can’t walk near Aberdonian seagulls while holding food. Since 2012, she has served Keene State College as the Campus Minister at the Newman Center. You can find her writing on Offbeat Mama, Transformative Works and Cultures, and academic publications.
After living across the country including in Alaska, Cynthia settled down in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and a rotating assortment of animals. When she’s not working, you can usually find her knitting, weaving, or overanalyzing any kind of pop culture.
Growing up in a "very Catholic" household, Sara is a cradle Catholic who never saw her future in ministry. Despite a winding path to the field, she is now a high school theology teacher and has been in education for nearly a decade as a teacher, spiritual director, and minister, holding a BA in theology, peace studies, and Italian literature and an MA in catechetical theology. As a student of theology, literature, and philosophy, Sara has always enjoyed writing prayers. A loooong time ago she had a travel blog and was a writer for a Catholic humor website, Epic Pew. Currently, Sara is working on her Doctorate of Ministry at Catholic Theological Union.
Katie Davis-Crowder’s passions lay at the intersections of spirituality, social justice, and the arts. Hailing from the Philly area, she earned a BMus in musical theatre at Catholic U in DC before joining JVC in Houston. Katie earned an MDiv at Loyola Chicago and has worked as a high school chaplain and theology teacher for over a decade. She collaborates with various faithjustice organizations as a singer, writer, presenter, and spiritual director. Sustained by pilgrimage, travel, and immersion experiences, Katie loves long walks, real talk, and working to build a bigger table, alongside her husband Kevin (and pup Smartie!).
Sue was raised in the Protestant faith and became Roman Catholic while an undergraduate. She holds a
Bachelor and Master’s in History and retired from an operational role in the banking industry and more
recently completed a term on the Board of Directors for a mid-sized non-profit corporation. However,
she continues to fulfill several roles for her parish, Deanery, Diocese, and retirement community while
enjoying immensely time with family and friends.
Of all the things in her life, Sue is proudest of her long enduring marriage, her two children, and her now
extended family with a wonderful daughter-in-law and two exceptional granddaughters. Life continues
to challenge Sue and be a joyous experience!
Josie is a community organizer, social worker, and educator who credits their passion for social, economic, and racial justice to a Catholic upbringing grounded in the words of Micah - 'do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.' Born and raised in Western New York, Josie attended Canisius College for undergrad before completing two years in JVC (Houston, TX and Syracuse, NY). For the last several years, Josie has been working toward a PhD in Social Work at the University at Buffalo, with a focus on white antiracist organizing. They are a enthusiastic aunt of three wonderful humans, and can be found working out at the gym multiple days a week or snuggling with their cat, Peanut, at home.
Pearl Gonzales is a first-generation Filipino American who participated in the RCIA program and completed the sacraments of initiation in 2014. Since then, she has been an active parishioner who has volunteered her time as a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, Faith Formation Commission and the RCIA team. She enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and experimenting with baking recipes.
Ever since high school, Jessica wanted to devote her life to helping youth and their families. Jessica spent 14 years in youth ministry in both Catholic and Protestant churches before switching gears to help and minister to at-risk and troubled youth and family intervention. Jessica has committed her life to sitting in the trenches with people no matter the circumstance and helping them find God’s forgiveness, love, peace, hope and joy again. No one is beyond God’s love, forgiveness, and grace. Jessica is passionate about social justice issues, earth/climate issues, making connections and building intimate relationships with people, and growing deeper each day as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jessica recently graduated with her Master's Degree in Pastoral Ministry and hopes to use what she has learned in Seminary to reach more youth and their families to have the best life possible. When not active in ministry you can find her writing for her blog, Everydaygrace.net, hanging out with her family which includes seven nieces and nephews, exploring the countryside of the small town she lives in, traveling and camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, reading, photography, decorating her house, baking and cooking with old and new recipes, trying new exercises, meeting up with her Bible study group, hanging out at boot camp with her staff twice a month, listening to endless amounts of Country music, and lounging by the fire watching Hallmark movies with her cozy blanket and hot chocolate.
LAURA G. HANCOCK
Laura has been aware of, and paying attention to, her spiritual journey for more than thirty years. She has facilitated numerous workshops, retreats, and pilgrimages, including a Civil Rights Pilgrimage for high school youth. Laura holds an undergraduate degree in music education, Masters degrees in the Cultural Foundations of Education and in Lay Ministry, and has studied with Loyola University of Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies and with the Midwest Province of Jesuits to receive her certification as a spiritual director and as a facilitator of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Laura is passionate about creating spaces of radical spiritual welcome for all people, knowing that to experience the presence and wisdom of one’s soul will expand our ability to love, transform our own lives, and create a more whole society.
MARY BETH KEENAN
Mary Beth is an adventurer who seeks the glory of God in all of creation. You'll often find her pulled over on the side of a hiking trail taking photos of wildflowers. An advocate for self-care and authenticity, she loves running, listening to others' stories, gluten-free baked goods, and children's books. She is an artist, wife, and mom to two strong, curious littles. You can connect with her on Instagram @mb_keenan.15.
Elizabeth Kos has her Masters in Theology from Catholic Distance University. She is passionate about sharing her faith with others and bringing them into relationship with Christ. Working with young people to help them realize their pivotal role in the Catholic faith is a special focus of her evangelization efforts. Her devotion to the Blessed Mother and the saints help define her daily life and she believes that everyone is a saint in progress. She is blessed with a beautiful family that keeps her traveling from sports venue to sports venue in her spare time.
Katie has a passion for social justice and theology. She received her undergrad degree in Social Welfare and Justice and Women's Studies from Marquette University. During her time at Marquette, she spent five months living, studying, and serving in Cape Town, South Africa. Having the opportunity to spend time with South African theologians and social justice activists had a profound impact on how she has since approached theology and ministry. During and after completing her M.A. in Theology at Catholic Theological Union, Katie worked as a DRE and youth minister at an active parish. She also had the great joy of being the Campus Minister at an all girl Catholic high school. She is married to Mike and is mom to Mikey and Maggie. She has the enormous privilege of being able to explore and enjoy the world with them.
Rose Miola currently serves as mental health clinician and has been working at nonprofits providing mental health and substance use treatment for about 5 years. She received both a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Theological Studies at Boston College and loves exploring the intersection of mental health, faith and social justice. She has lived in Baltimore, Boston, and rural Colorado, and currently resides in Richmond. Rose is constantly on the lookout for beauty - in nature, in relationships, in city corners. She finds a lot of inspiration in the resilience of her clients, and loves going on adventures with her baby and husband, and spending time at home with her pet rabbit, dog, and cat.
After her transformative years as an undergrad student majoring in Religious Studies and Philosophy, Kathleen felt called to move to China for 3 years working as a lay missioner with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Her unrelenting questions regarding her Catholic faith, education, culture, and the human condition eventually led her to Catholic Theological Union pursuing a Masters in Systematic Theology. When not steeped in her studies, you can find her biking along the Chicago lakefront, at the community garden, or at Whole Foods rummaging through all the aisles.
BERNADETTE K. RASPANTE
Bernadette loves exploring the experience of women and spirituality through narrative, storytelling, prayer, art, and the reclamation of history. Bernadette is passionate about social justice causes surrounding women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, race, and economics and their intersection with spirituality and worship. Bernadette teaches high school level theology full time, is an adjunct college professor, a spiritual director, retreat leader, and sits on a few boards for church reform groups.
Karen Ross, PhD (she/her/ella) is a graduate program director, theology and ethics professor, and yoga and mindfulness instructor. She currently works at Catholic Theological Union as the director of the Pathways@CTU program, which seeks to engage young people- especially those from marginalized communities- in co-creating the church of tomorrow. She received her PhD in theology and ethics from Loyola University Chicago, and her research focuses on feminist ethics and Catholic sexuality education, particularly of young women and girls.
Kelly has a deep love for writing and building community, especially through ministry. She received a B.A in English and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, where she discovered her love for ministerial leadership through the Catholic student ministry there. She then went on to work as a reporter for the Archdiocese of Washington's diocesan newspaper, before pursuing an M.A. in Theology and Ministry from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She currently works as a full-time toddler-chaser and a part-time writer and editor, particularly focused on projects that support women in the Church. Kelly lives in Toledo, Ohio with her husband and son, where she loves exploring coffee shops and metroparks.
Jenny Snarski is a writer, wife and mother of four in Northwest Wisconsin – all settings in which she lives life as an adventure of discovery and discernment with the occasional detour. Writing for the Diocese of Superior’s Catholic Herald since 2017, Jenny has re-engaged with her passion of poetry as applicable art and a tool for transcendent living. Her first published poetry is forthcoming in Wingless Dreamer and Tiny Seed Journal with more in the works. In August 2023, Jenny will begin the Master’s in Faith and Culture degree program through Houston’s University of St. Thomas.
She is also promoting the poetry and work of renowned 20th century Catholic Sister M. Madeleva Wolff, CSC. President of Saint Mary’s College, poet and advocate for women’s education and study of theology, Sr. Madeleva is a buried treasure for the 21st century.
Discover more at jennylarks.com.
Catherine Sullivan is a Catholic writer, reader, and teacher. She holds a Masters of Theological Studies from the University of Notre Dame, where she focused her studies on Catholic spirituality and the female doctors of the Church. She then spent nearly a decade teaching religion and English to middle and high school students in her home state of Maryland. Today she stays home with her three young daughters and writes a monthly newsletter about the Catholic imagination called Wonder & Awe. Come say hi and find more of her thoughts on books and faith on Instagram:
ERIKA P. TATE
Erika P. Tate works in parish ministry and is a director of faith formation in Chicago. She has passion for feminist theology, scripture, and the saints. A native of Minnesota, she earned a BA in Theology at Saint Catherine Univeristy, and a M.Div. at Princeton Theology Seminary. She originally intended to become an ordained woman, but felt called to the Catholic Church as an undergraduate. She has two wonderful and fierce daughters, and enjoys reading (scandalous) historical fiction with a cup of tea.
Caroline has found herself in many ministries over the years, from helping her grandparents prepare donuts after Mass as a small child, singing in choir and playing the flute, and teaching in Catholic schools for ten years. Caroline received her bachelor’s in elementary education and history from Marquette University. While at Marquette, Caroline was on the Music Ministry Team with Rachelle Kramer. She received her master’s in educational psychology from UW-Madison and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Liturgy through the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. Caroline and her husband enjoy traveling throughout the US to visit new basilicas and breweries.
CLARISSA VALBUENA ALJENTERA
Clarissa Valbuena Aljentera is an author who also works full-time in faith formation. Her first book, ‘The Parish Guide to Social Media,’ was published in 2013 and second book ‘Wonderfully Made” was published in 2019. Her writing has also appeared in America Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, OSV Newsweekly and Busted Halo. She has a forthcoming essay on raising a Black and Filipino son in the era of Black Lives Matter appearing in an anthology published with ACTA Publications in 2021. She worked for 10 years in newspaper journalism before transitioning into ministry. Clarissa. She spends too much time on Instagram and misses performing improv comedy in Chicago where she lives with her husband and son.
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