About Julianne Stanz
Julianne Stanz is the Director of Discipleship and Leadership Development for the Diocese of Green Bay and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization. Julianne infuses her talks, retreats, and seminars with humor, passion, and insights from her life in Ireland. A popular speaker, storyteller, and author, Julianne is married with three children and spends her time reading, writing, teaching, and collecting beach glass. She is the author of Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church, Developing Disciples of Christ, Braving the Thin Places, and co-author, with Joe Paprocki, of The Catechist’s Backpack.

Embracing Simplicity

We conclude our series on developing a space for grace by exploring the importance of embracing simplicity. Helping our students embrace simplicity for a positive and healthy life should be a part of our conversations about faith, mission, and the stewardship of all the resources that God has entrusted to us. Here are a few entry points for a conversation about this topic. Look at the witness of Pope Francis. When Pope Francis was elected, […]

Cultivating Radical Hospitality

As we continue our series delving into practices that can help us create a space for grace, let’s explore the concept of radical hospitality and receiving others as Christ would receive them. To do this, I want to share a few insights from my Irish background and culture that might be helpful. In general, the Irish are known for their effusive hospitality and the warmth of their welcome. Indeed, the Irish expression céad míle fáilte, […]

Authentic Availability and Acceptance

We continue our series on developing a space for grace by focusing on authentic availability and acceptance. These two related spiritual practices can help us as catechists to fulfill our mission to share the Catholic faith joyfully with those around us. Authentic Availability Leo Tolstoy’s story of “The Three Questions” contains important lessons for us in terms of how to be authentically available to God and to each other. The story outlines three questions with […]

Releasing Regrets to Rest and Reset

This article continues a series in which we are exploring practices that can help each of us and our students to develop a space for grace. My last article focused on growing in gratitude and listed some practices that can spiritually strengthen us. Today we will focus on releasing regrets so that we can rest and reset. Release Regrets Releasing regrets is one of the keys to interior freedom and peace. Making peace with ourselves […]

Growing in Gratitude

In this series we will explore practices that can help us to develop a space for grace in our lives. As I explain in my book, Braving the Thin Places, the acronym GRACE can help us if we: G—Grow in gratitude R—Release regrets to rest and reset A—Authentic availability and acceptance C—Cultivate radical hospitality E—Embrace simplicity This article will focus on the first practice of GRACE, which is growing in gratitude. Encouraging our students to […]

Cultivating Peace in Our Classrooms in an Anxious World

We live in a fast-paced and increasingly anxious world that is clearly affecting the social, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health of children. Studies published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics and based on data collected from the National Survey of Children’s Health indicate significantly increased rates of anxiety among children, youth, and young adults. Researchers found a 20 percent increase in diagnoses of anxiety for children ages 6–17 between 2007 and 2012. […]

The Saints as Missionary Disciples: St. Lorenzo Ruiz

This is part four of a series exploring saints who lived as missionary disciples. Jesus called ordinary people to become his disciples, and through the gift of faith, they accomplished many extraordinary feats. He transformed simple fishermen and merchants into men and women who utterly altered the society in which they lived. We might not think we are capable of the same kinds of miraculous deeds, but we are. If the thought of carrying out […]

The Saints as Missionary Disciples: St. Brigid

This is part three of a series exploring saints who lived as missionary disciples. Often called “Mary of the Gael,” St. Brigid of Ireland is one of Ireland’s most beloved saints and was an important part of my life growing up in Ireland. The parish church in my hometown is called St. Brigid Parish, and we celebrated her feast day on February 1 by making St. Brigid’s crosses and welcoming the coming spring. Much of […]

Disciples of Hospitality: Martha and Mary

In the Gospel of Luke, we hear the story of Jesus’ visit to two sisters, Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38–42). Martha and Mary are presented in contrasting ways, but are they two sides of the same coin? Let’s take a look by exploring their story and its implications from a discipleship perspective. Martha welcomes Jesus into her home. Martha’s sister Mary seats herself at the feet of Jesus to listen to him speak. Martha, who […]

The Saints as Missionary Disciples: St. Martin de Porres

This is part two of a series exploring saints who lived as missionary disciples. Amid all the upheaval that we have recently undergone and are still going through, we sometimes forget that the saints also lived during times of intense disunity, strife, and racial tension. St. Martin de Porres reminds us of the necessity of compassion, particularly during times of difficulty and division. What can his witness teach us about missionary discipleship? Let’s explore his […]

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