I’m a veteran journalist who has been published in dozens of Catholic and secular publications. More than fifteen years ago, I decided to leave behind the secular business world and my position as public relations consultant in order to focus my talents and energies on serving the Church and Catholic media. I’m a longtime contributor to a variety of Catholic and secular publications—including Our Sunday Visitor,National Catholic Register, Catholic News Service/Faith Alive! and Catholic Digest. I’m a columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. My blog, Catholic to the Core, appears on the Patheos.com Catholic Channel.
I’m the author of several books related to Marian devotion and Catholic family life. My titles includeWhen’s God Gonna Show Up? (Liguori, 2009); When’s God Gonna Call Me Back? (Liguori, 2009);Strengthening Your Family: A Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home (Our Sunday Visitor, 2011); andImitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom Ave Maria Press, 2013). My newest book, Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: Living the Novena (A Guided Meditation from the Holy Land) will be released by Ave Maria Press September 18, 2015.
Radio and Television
I’m a weekly contributor to Relevant Radio’s Morning Air Show, a frequent guest on EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show and have appeared on many others, including Conversation with the Cardinal with Cardinal Dolan, Register Radio, EWTN’s At Home with Jim and Joy, and Ave
Maria Radio’s Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo and The Good Fight with Barbara McGuigan. I’m also known for my guest appearance on EWTN Television’sCatholic Mom’s Café with host Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle and for my commentary on EWTN’s live broadcast of the Schoenstatt Movement’s 1ooth Jubilee events in Schoenstatt, Germany. I’m a warm and enthusiastic speaker, and have touched the hearts of audiences in a variety of venues.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a certificate in spiritual mentoring from Cardinal Stritch University. I also hold a certificate in Marian studies from the International Marian Research Institute and am a member of the Mariological Society of America, Catholic Press Association, andCatholic Writer’s Guild. I’m a consecrated member of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt and an instructor for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Permanent Deacon Wives Program. In May, 2014 I traveled with the Catholic Press Association to the Holy Land as part of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage there. In September, 2014 I completed The Church Up Close, an intensive training course for foreign journalists in Rome conducted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. I also am the recipient of the 2015 Egan Journalism Fellowship, which recognizes exceptional journalists who have demonstrated excellence in their reporting for Catholic media in the United States. I’m a life-long Catholic, wife, mother of four grown children, and live in the Midwest.
My husband, Mark, and I both are members of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt and assist in the faith formation of young couples in the movement. We have four mostly grown children who, combined with a rocket of a dog named Daisy, configure the fun-loving and sometimes outrageous Fenelon Clan. I’m not really a hobby-type person, but I do love to bake my own bread and take long walks along the shores of Lake Michigan. Road trips are a special favorite of the Clan. I’m usually reading at least three books at a time, and am partial – yes, this is a touch embarrassing – to animal stories. I’ve read the classics, but nothing lifts me up and out of the doldrums like a great pet tale (pun intended).
I’m a nationally-known speaker and have presented to audiences in a number of states throughout the country.
To find out more about my speaking abilities and how to book an engagement, click here.
On my social media profile, I describe myself as “Catholic to the core,” and that really sums up my spirituality. I always have, and always will, remain faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
Since childhood, I’ve had a special attachment to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has been my main inspiration and guide. For me, she is both mother and educator. As mother, she constantly seeks to nurture and protect all of her children, and I certainly have experienced her closeness and intercession countless times in my life. As educator, she leads me always to her Son, showing me how to deepen my relationship with Christ and how to better imitate him. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the Blessed Mother at my side.
There are a few other people who help me along, so to speak, with their lived examples.
One of my Catholic heroes is Servant of God, Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), founder of the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt. His unshakable confidence in Divine Providence and trust in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary led him to live an exemplary life of holiness, in spite of internment in the Dachau concentration camp (1942-1945) and a 14-year separation from his work (1951-1965). He has inspired many others to holiness, including several whose causes for canonization have been opened in Rome.
Another of my heroes is St. Margaret of Scotland (1050-1093), my patron saint. St. Margaret was a woman of strong character, determined to maintain the freedom to be herself, to love God, and to serve others. Having fled the cruelty of William the Conqueror, St. Margaret and her family were shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland and were befriended by King Malcolm. The King was captivated by the beautiful and gracious young woman, and in 1070, they married. Queen Margaret reformed not only her rough and uncultured husband, but also the entire country. She promoted the arts, education, and religious reform and with King Malcolm, founded seven churches. The King so valued St. Margaret’s wisdom, that he often consulted her on state matters. The couple had six sons and two daughters, all of whom St. Margaret educated herself. Privately, Queen Margaret lived an austere life of prayer, spiritual reading, and fasting. She went to great lengths to care for the poor and never ate herself without first feeding the orphans and beggars at her table. St. Margaret of Scotland died four days after learning that her husband and eldest son had been killed in battle.
Finally, I look to St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), the patron saint of writers, for guidance. In spite of his best efforts to coerce his son into the legal profession, St. Francis de Sales’ father finally conceded his entry into the priesthood. From the start, he was quite successful in converting others to the Catholic faith by distributing pamphlets that he himself had written. He became a bishop at age 35, preached, heard confessions, catechized, and quickly became known for his ability to win souls with his gentle character. His two best-known books are Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, but he also wrote many pamphlets and a vast correspondence. His writings are addressed to lay persons, and his primary focus is to help them understand that they, too, are called to be saints. He shared a chaste and heartfelt friendship with St. Jane de Chantal, with whom he founded the Sisters of the Visitation.