Monday, November 4, 2013

Maggie's Story

Catholicism was something that was always forced upon my siblings and I. We often saw it in a negative way and as some sort of punishment. As the youngest of five, I looked up to what my siblings thought and believed, and they did not think too positively of Catholicism. Fortunately, I was introduced to a youth group at a church not too far from me. My two youth ministers (Franciscan graduates) changed my life and my view on religion. They made it fun and cool for me and started to become very involved in my youth group. It no longer felt like a punishment for me to practice my faith or go to church. Today, both of my brothers are professed Atheists and my two sisters are cultural Catholics. Although I still look up to them and respect them, I have very different views than them on religion. Franciscan was not necessarily a school I wanted to go to but it was the only one my parents would put money towards so I convinced myself to go. Since I have been here I have grown so much spiritually and have learned so much about my faith. There are many things about Catholicism that I am not familiar with but I am eager to learn and at Franciscan I have friends that are willing to teach me. I am looking forward to where my faith journey will lead me and I am excited for the relationship with Christ that I know I will form through my years here.

-Maggie C.

Kristen's Story of Faith

I enjoyed going to Church with my family as a child and didn't mind the various faith activities my parents took my siblings and I to. In eighth grade though my older sister started going to the youth mass at our church which was at 4:30 for high school students. I wanted to be with the older kids so I would join her each Sunday. She didn't want to sit with me and wanted to sit with her older friends so I would sit in the back of the church alone. Although it was hurtful at first, it really was a blessing in disguise. Each Sunday I would sit alone and was really able to give my full attention to the priest. I was able to concentrate on what was being said and what Christ was saying to me during the mass. I fell in love with mass and the Eucharist and knew that I wanted this to be part of my life forever. Throughout high school I got involved in anything I could with my youth group and met so many wonderful people. I knew what kind of person I wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to live. I learned as much as I could about my religion became on fire for my faith. Coming to Franciscan started to become a dream of mine in high school and I worked very hard to be able to go there. Being here is everything I have always wanted, being surrounded by people who believe in the same thing as me and being able to grow deeper in my faith everyday. I fall more in love with Christ and Catholicism everyday, but I know my journey is not done yet!
Kristen D.

Another Faith story!

Since I was born I've been raised Catholic and have gone to church every Sunday with my family. The rules and guidelines of the Church have been drilled and instilled into my head since I was a little kid. I went along with what I was taught and for the most part was very cooperative. When I was eight years old I went to Mexico and received the sacraments of first communion, first reconciliation and confirmation ( a practice I don't think is allowed anymore). I had received all the sacraments but was not necessarily spiritual, by that I mean I never really had a personal relationship with God. During high school I became involved in my youth group and became a peer leader for confirmation students. These things were forced upon me by my mother however. Senior year was when I really started to like and get into my faith on my own. I went on a mission trip to New Mexico and saw my religion in a whole new way. That summer I started attending daily mass on my own and started to work on a relationship with Christ. I've found that I get more out of things like mass when I am alone and not distracted by my family. I was not thrilled about coming to Franciscan but I have grown to love it and I know it's the best place for me to grown in my faith even more!

- Jack S.

The Journey of others...

After thinking about my own faith journey I started to wonder how my friends and family would describe their own faith journey. I emailed a few friends and got some awesome responses and learned things I never knew about them. The first to reply was my brother:

Faith and Catholicism have always played a role in my life. Attending private school I learned all about the faith but it was not until high school that I started to become on fire for my faith. After going on a few youth group retreats I really fell in love with being Catholic and that it was okay to think that it was cool. Even though I love my religion I was not too excited about attending Franciscan and made a deal with my parents I would only stay one year then transfer to Notre Dame. As you know, I stayed all four years and could not imagine my life without Franciscan. It was during my sophomore year at Franciscan that I was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to stay home for a year while I was sick. Although the disease was life threatening and the experience was painful and traumatizing, it was my faith that got me through it. My motto throughout my sickness was Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This was something I truly believed, no matter what happened I knew it was all going to be okay because I had Christ on my side strengthening me to get through the cancer. Not only did I have Christ but I had the love and support from of course my family but, the community of Franciscan University. I don't think I would have found such an amazing community of people to help me get through this time in my life at any other college. After my surgery I lost my leg and was forced to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg. This meant no more sports, but most importantly: no more rugby. But, it was my rugby team that helped me stay strong and keep the faith, they prayed for me and with me and were there for me every step of the way. Even though I had a strong faith before the cancer, my faith would be nowhere near what it is today without my experience of cancer. God is good and He only gives you challenges He knows you can handle. And I remind myself everyday that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- Peter Bremberg

My Faith Journey

I was born and raised a "cradle Catholic" and was the youngest of a big, Catholic family. Church every Sunday with my family was mandatory and every Sunday night my family would host other families at our house to pray the rosary. For eleven years I attended a small Catholic school and up through the eighth grade, my faith did not really mean too much to me. It was simply something my family did and something I was forced to practice. Growing up I attended with my family dozens and dozens of different Catholic camps, talks, events, retreats etc. Although I considered my family Catholic i never really looked within and looked at myself as Catholic. Praying on my own was not a thing done often and I seldom actually payed attention during mass.

I started high school however and everything changed. For the first time in my life I attended public school and this was a huge transition for me. Although it was hard at first I ended up loving it. As high school started so did joining my church's youth group. I slowly but surely became more and more involved within the youth group, but this was mostly forced by my mother. My sophomore year I was able to join the youth group "team" and that was when I was able to truly become passionate about my faith. I think it was because I was among kids my own age and not with my family. I started to help plan retreats and started to fall in love with my youth group and my faith. The people on the team became my best friends and we were there to help each other grow in our faiths. Even though I had been in catholic school for eleven years, it was not until I joined my youth group that I really started to learn and understand my faith. Mass, adoration and bible study all of a sudden started to become "cool" for me.

By the end of my junior year I was one of the main leaders on my youth group team and felt that I had become a strong leader among my peers. I was extremely excited for my senior year on the team, finally the oldest members, my friends and I knew this was going to be a great year to lead others to the faith. But, things did not work out as planned and my youth minister surpised us by saying she would be quitting her job to become a teacher. We were all devestated to lose her and even more devestated when our parish showed a lack of motivation to find us a new youth minister. After my youth minister left, the youth group was never the same and after awhile I stepped down from my position as a leader as I refused to participate in a youth group that taught and preached things we as Catholics do not believe in. Instead of a time where teens could come together to learn and share about their faith,  youth group became a place where teens came to watch movies and eat food. This deterioration of our youth group left me with a senior year without any kind faith formation. I started to stray more and more away from the church and at the end of my senior year I was completely faithless. I questioned almost everything about Catholicisim, including the existance of God.

Throughout the summer I dreaded the upcoming school year of attending Franciscan University. Five out of my eight older siblings attended this university and I grew up coming to this school every year to visit. This was not the school I had in mind of attending but I was told it was the only school my parents would pay for so I had no choice. In August I came, still questioning my faith and not entirely sure I still wanted to be Catholic. But, after the first week, I knew this was where I belonged and that this faith was where I belonged. It no longer was my families decision, it was mine, and I chose Catholicism. I can honestly say that my relationship with the Lord is the best it has ever been and I only have this University and my family to thank for that. There are so many oppurtunities here for me to praise and become closer to the Lord. I lived in a predominantly Jewish town and therefore my Church was the only place I had to grow in my faith and after I left my youth group, I had nothing. But, I was wrong, God was with me all along even if I wasnt going to youth group. Retreats, praise and worship or eucharistic adoration are not the only way I can grow in my faith, personal prayer and alone time with God can help my relationship with him as well. And that is where I am right now in my faith journey..I am working on setting aside time to be with God and work on my relationship with him. I have come along way and I have a long way to go but I know that it is a journey worth taking.

Church and New Media Intro

The Church and New Media by Brandon Vogt is a book that discusses the media's role in evangelizing others to the Church. Communication has shifted and millions are using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram etc. This book discusses how the church is adapting to these new forms of communication and how these new outlets can potentially be very beneficial for the Church to preach its message.  Various contributors add to the book with their own experiences with media. Some chapters include: Blogging the Faith, The New Apologetics, Building a digital Movement or Sharing the Sprititual Journey. This last chapter named was a chapter that impacted me the most. Because...really, what is my faith journey?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bachelorette Weekend

SO Much to share - - but here is a lil glimpse!! 

To be Continued...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thoughts during Lent.

I've been thinking a lot lately. I have a lot of friends with very different opinions than mine. Some more liberal. Some more crass. Some more sexual. Some more inappropriate.

Typically, I enjoy hearing others' opinions, as long as they're not on a freaking soap box acting like theirs is the only opinion that matters or is correct. I like the challenge in the conversation that differences in opinion bring. Hashing it out..having an organized and adult conversation..what I don't like is feeling judged or silly for my own opinions.

But I should own it. All the time. Embrace my views and lifestyle and opinions and hold true to them.

It's hard sometimes...don't you think? When did we all get so bossy and opinionated that we feel the need to force our views on others? What happened to loving the person, supporting them, and being kind and temperate?

This is something I struggle with, and has become my focus this third week of Lent.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.-- Mother Teresa

Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.-- William W. Watt

Faith is courage; it is creative while despair is always destructive.-- David S. Muzzey

Faith is not a delicate flower which would wither away under the slightest stormy weather.-- Mahatma Gandhi

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.-- Saint Augustine

Faith makes the discords of the present the harmonies of the future. -- Robert Collyer

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.-- Philip Gulley

and this is my personal favorite...

Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.--Hardy D. Jackson

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Operation Beautiful!

A friend passed this along to me today! All over the world women are realizing how much power and change are put forth when we stand together! NJ is gonna get blown-up with some Post-It's this week!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Are More..

My Mom shared this video with me (thanks Mom) & I really liked it. I think we all have guilt or feel broken from time to time - and it is good to be reminded that we are loved any way..

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Very Own Own iT Girl: Wins "Best Start-Up" Pitch at Entrepreneur Expose'

Kathleen won! Not only is she a single mother who constantly inspires those around her... She can BAKE! :) Look at what they're saying about her at  So Proud of you Kath!! xo

Bundt Blessings wins "Best Start-Up" Pitch at Entrepreneur Expose'

Published:Tuesday, December 07, 2010, 9:27 AM  by Melissa Gasnick Cloeter and Linda Wellbrock/Business

For some attendees, our last Entrepreneur Expose´ proved to be an eye-opening experience to their businesses. One such entrepreneur is Kathleen Fitzpatrick of Bundt Blessings from Morristown, NJ, winner of “Best Start-Up Business” category. 
Kathleen Fitzpatrirck and her mother, Co-Founders of Bundt Blessings
 Bundt Blessings started four years ago when Kathleen's life as a single mother left her searching for extra-income opportunities during the holiday season. To her surprise, she found that her products were in demand regardless of the holidays as people requested them to celebrate many milestones in life. Recognizing an opportunity, Kathleen has since grown Bundt Blessings into a successful year-round business, emphasizing quality and personalization. Kathleen explains, “It is our mission to bring an exceptional cake product to the market while adding a meaningful touch through the customized blessing messages attached. We feel it is our privilege to provide a product that not only perpetuates goodness but also guarantees quality.

While she still struggles with the difficulties associated with growth, Kathleen is determined that Bundt Blessings will continue to be present for the most important celebrations of people's lives. It appears that her customers agree, as Bundt Blessings continues to grow even in this weak economy. As Kathleen notes, “Thankfully, the economy has not impacted our business. Being that our product is geared primarily toward celebrating life’s big events (new baby, new home, teacher’s gifts, gets well, holiday gifts, sympathy); it seems to be a priority in our client’s lives. People who were buying our Bundt cakes were buying them for the belief in both the quality and the blessings; a combination that can’t be beat!
A role model for single mothers with an entrepreneurial spirit, Kathleen impressed both judges and attendees with her story and her fabulously tasty Bundt cake. Once you taste her wonderful creation, you will see why Kathleen and Bundt Blessings won “Best Start-Up” pitch. We encourage you to support her business this Holiday Season and order a Bundt Blessing. You will LOVE these cakes!

For more information on Bundt Blessings, please visit their Facebook page at For more information about Entrepreneur Expose events, please visit our site at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Taking "Stock"

Thanksgiving being just around the corner I find it only appropriate to thank God for so much in my life! This holiday always takes me by surprise in it's "depth". When I start my list of things to be grateful for I realize it could go on for pages! But this year I find myself writing down new things. Things as simple as having a home... when I have lived along side people who did not. Things like running water- electricity- and health care. Working in Pediatric Oncology now things like "healthy" cells... eyesight...and a working Immune system. FAITH- and the knowledge and a relationship with a God who loves me unconditionally to name a few.

On my Dad's side Thanksgiving is our holiday! Ever since we were young we all gathered in Upstate NY with 50+ Uncles, Aunts, Cousins- and of course My Grandpa & Grandma, as they looked out at the sea of people their love created! Many a memory- piece of advice- and so much love has been experienced there! In light of losing my Grandpa a few months ago- this is our first Thanksgiving without our patriarch- and oh how much I now see the role he played! His long winded "grace" before the feast- his pockets of time with all 28 Grandchildren- 5 sons and 5 daughters-in-law...this is his legacy.He taught us at each moment...this was his way of continuing our family. I am so grateful for a man who taught us that God and Family are something not to be taken for granted. I thank him for teaching us early on about these truths so that the week before he died I was able to sit with him and tell him I have no regrets. I KNOW he knew how much I loved him... he was able to see it and experience it way before his deathbed, and he in turn told me the same. What a gift!

Let's not wait until last minutes or last chances or even holidays to "take stock" and realize how much we DO have. I know I have more then a few pages! So Happy Thanksgiving!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Issue of Radiant Magazine

Radiant's Holiday Issue was just released!

About Radiant: Radiant is a chic and classy Catholic magazine distributed nationally to women ages 15 to 27. It features Catholic news & articles on issues affecting young women today: health, beauty, politics, love, style and difficult life circumstances.

Check it out & share with your family & friends!

Or check out all their online issues here!