I was born in 1947, when the war was still fresh in my parents’ minds. At the age of five I fell madly in love with God and discovered the beauty of prayerful ritual and the mystical realm through the Catholic Church, where I attended school. The love affair continues today.
The saints, early Christian feminine mystics, the medieval Beguine movement, and sacred feminine wisdom inform my life and writing. European cathedrals and monasteries, labyrinths, the Rosary, illuminated manuscripts…these are the places and things that nourish my spirit and inspire my writing.
In 2008 I was ordained in Asemwald, Germany as the first woman bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in North America (now retired). I have served in ministry as a hospice chaplain, pastoral associate, spiritual director, and most recently as the foundress of The Sisterhood of Belle Coeur, a progressive, contemplative, lay-community.
In the early 1990’s I experienced a mystical vision about a 13th Century sisterhood of women in medieval France. That singular moment in time inspired my first novel, Ink and Honey, named the 2013 Independent Publishers Illuminations Book Award, Gold Medal Winner for General Fiction. I share the audio story of my twenty-two year journey writing Ink and Honey here.
My spiritual guidebook, The Way of Belle Coeur: A Woman’s Vade Mecum, offers prayers, journal reflections, practices, and inspiration for women seeking the sacred in daily life. Additionally, the concept and value of making a “sacred journey” has inspired me to lead pilgrimages to Chartres Cathedral.
The sensual world of nature and personal environment has led me to believe that our senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, and intuition are conduits to the Divine and portals to the sacred imagination. The senses, as well as, the value of ancient mystical wisdom, the merging of spirituality with everyday life, and the importance of creative expression, are central influences for my retreat offerings, and writing.
I’m the mother of two adult children and a grandmother. My creative passions include photography, fiber-arts (knitting and weaving), and the study of iconography. My huband and I currently enjoy life together in Texas.
A few personal mentionings:
- I adore rainy, foggy, chilly days.
- My favorite season is autumn.
- I prefer to write a first draft by hand in the pages of a journal.
- My work is ecumenical and I value the importance of diversity.
- I live by monastic hours…Early to bed (9:00 p.m.) and early to rise (4 a.m.).
- Candles burn in my workspace throughout the day.
- I am passionate for all things French.
- There’s nothing like a new journal to inspire my creativity.
- Uni-ball Signo pen, black ink, bold is my favorite writing tool.
- Classical music, especially Chopin and Eryk Satie and Gregorian Chant are my soundtracks.
- The paleo diet works best for me.
- Coffee first thing in the morning and red wine in the evening.
- Quiet evenings at home with friends/family are always a blessing.
- In a previous life I’m sure I was a nun in medieval France.