I’m an ex-barfly, a former lawyer, a divorcee, a Catholic convert, an author and a nationwide speaker who has been sober 32 years. I live as a single, childless contemplative laywoman and celibate in the middle of LA. I have written memoirs on, among other things, my alcoholism, converting to Catholicism while working as a lawyer in Beverly Hills, my spiritual “walk” with St. Thérèse of Lisieux during a particularly tumultuous year of mid-life crisis, healing from abortion, surviving breast cancer, bringing God into my "money life," food as Eucharist, prayer, and my experience of womanhood in the Church.
I’m a 1977 graduate of the University of New Hampshire and a 1984 graduate of Suffolk Law School, but my real education began in 1996 when I was confirmed and made my first Communion at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, CA. For years I’ve written a monthly column for Magnificat called “Credible Witnesses” about a notable Catholic who has died but not (in some cases yet) canonized. Since 2014 I’ve also written a weekly arts and culture column for Angelus News (formerly The Tidings), the archdiocesan newspaper of LA. I’ve received numerous awards both from the mainstream press, the Catholic Press Association (CPA). Holy Desperation (Loyola Press, 2017) was named Book of the Year by the national Association of Catholic Publishers. I’ve given keynote talks at the San Antonio Women’s Conference for an 1800-person audience, at the CPA’s annual awards ceremony, and at a Notre Dame Catholic literary conference at Notre Dame, Conception Abbey and to the cloistered Carmelites in Alhambra, CA. As well, I speak and give retreats nationwide to parishes, universities, and women’s groups.
I don't have a brand, a schtick or a ten-point bullet plan. I assume my audience consists of people of reasonable intelligence and good will who have embarked, as I have, on the adventure of a life-or-death stakes relationship wtih Christ. And who have a sense of humor.
PARCHED: ADDICTION AS SPIRITUAL THIRST
The story of my own journey through low-bottom alcoholism that eventually led me to Christ and the Church. Discussion of addiction as a misplaced search for God and of recovery as a kind of resurrection.
REHABILITATING ST. THÉRÈSE OF LISIEUX
Far from being a namby-pamby lightweight, St. Thérèse achieved her desire to be a martyr, a missionary and a saint—all from her obscure Carmelite convent in France and without an atom of social media. Her spirituality is deeply relevant to our contemporary culture, and perhaps especially to women.
OUR ONGOING CONVERSION: A RADICAL ADVENTURE
Highlights from my story as a recovering alcoholic of quitting a high-paying job as a Beverly Hills attorney to come into the Church and to embark on the precarious life of a Catholic literary writer, followed by divorce and annulment, breast cancer, unrequited love and the development of my prayer life as a contemplative laywoman in the midst of Los Angeles.
THE WORLD WILL BE SAVED BY BEAUTY
What does it mean to be Catholic? What does it mean to live out the Gospels? One mark of the follower of Christ should be an expansive, wide-ranging curiosity. A discussion of how I’ve come to my own way of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth through the Sacraments, my blog, books, photographs, weekly arts and culture column, and daily walks.