Jessica Mesman Griffith is co-founder and curator of Sick Pilgrim and a widely published writer whose work has been noted in Best American Essays. Her memoir, Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters, co-authored with Amy Andrews, won the 2014 Christopher Award for “literature that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” She is also the author of A Book of Grace Filled Days (2016, Loyola Press), and is at work on Eden Isles, a memoir of her Catholic girlhood in southern Louisiana. She is a cultural columnist for US Catholic Magazine. She writes devotions and prayers for Living Faith, those little books your mom picks up at the back of the church after Mass. She has also written for Elle, Image, America, Christianity Today, Notre Dame Magazine, and Busted Halo, among others. She was a long-time writer for the Image blog Good Letters. Jessica has spoken about spiritual writing and literary nonfiction at colleges and universities, the Festival of Faith and Writing, the Associated Writing Programs annual conferences, and the Neiman Conference for Narrative Journalism at Harvard University. She has appeared as a guest on NPR’s Interfaith Voices and on various shows for Relevant Radio and Sirius/XM The Catholic Channel. Jessica has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was managing editor of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction. She was one of ten scholars selected by Patricia Hampl to complete a post-graduate Fellowship in the Erasmus Institute for Spiritual Autobiography at the University of Notre Dame. Jessica is a member of Ink: A Creative Collective and is represented by the MacGregor Literary Agency.
Jonathan Ryan is co-founder of Sick Pilgrim an an author, columnist, and blogger. Library Journal called his debut paranormal thriller, 3 Gates of the Dead (Open Road Media), “a real attraction for fans of The Exorcist and the darker fiction of C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams.” Book two in the series, Dark Bride (Open Road Media), was released in April 2015, a book that New York Times Best Selling author, Robert Mosello recommended “For those who like to mix deep theological debate with full-throttle horror, there’s no better bet than Dark Bride and the works of Jonathan Ryan.” Along with his novel writing, Ryan has written for Christianity Today, Huffington Post and Notre Dame Magazine. In 2013, he started The Rogue on the interfaith site, Patheos, where he interviewed Kirk Cameron, Ken Ham, Vera Faminga, and director James Wan. He produced live coverage of the Ken Ham/Bill Nye the Science Guy Creation Museum debate that went viral with the hashtag “HamonNye.” Just recently, he was asked by the Charles Williams estate to write an introduction for the famous Inkling’s novels on e-book through Open Road, the first person since the renowned poet, T.S. Eliot, to introduce Williams’ work to the world. Jonathan received his Masters of Divinity from Covenant Seminary and was a pastor for twelve years before he was confirmed in the Catholic Church. He has spoken to a wide variety of crowds about writing, faith, religion, and the weird. His audiences have included The CCO Jubilee conference, Salt Lake City Comic Con, Teen Author Boot Camp, Get Inked Writer’s conference, Women in Publishing (Chicago), and the Festival of Faith and Writing. Jonathan currently lives in South Bend, Indiana, where he is an editor at Ave Maria Press. He is represented by Amy Jameson of A plus B Works Literary.
Matthew Lafleur is our associate editor and Cajun correspondent. He’s trudging through life in a variety of ways: dark and giddy, serious and funny, meaningful and preposterous. So he’s at home in the Catholic Church. His existential wandering got serious when he submitted to full-time wheelchair use at age 18 because of Friedreich’s ataxia, which you can read about here. He has a B.A. in English literature and a master’s in mental health counseling. You can find him brooding and musing on Facebook and Twitter.