Cycling with Sisters prayer pilgrimage rolls out September 11, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (September 3, 2020) – Next Friday morning, September 11, ten cyclists will set out on a journey with miles of prayer. During the 60-mile ride in northern Indiana, they’ll stop to pray for the needs of the world, inviting people from across the globe to join them via livestream.
The ride begins in Chesterton, Indiana, at 6:15 a.m. Central Time and ends in South Bend, Indiana, at 4:30 p.m. Central Time. The riders include Sisters from three different religious congregations and lay men and women.
There will be five prayer sessions during the ride, and each will be livestreamed on the Cycling with Sisters Facebook page, with Sisters from the U.S. and Canada serving as prayer leaders. Assistance with the livestream will be provided remotely, from a Carmelite monastery with expertise in online prayer.
Throughout the day, updates from the road will be posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The schedule of prayer times, the prayer booklet, profiles of the cyclists, and other information are available on the Cycling with Sisters website.
Cycling with Sisters is co-sponsored by A Nun’s Life Ministry and the Communicators for Women Religious, with grant support from the GHR Foundation. The next Cycling with Sisters event is scheduled for October 3, 2020, on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The purpose of Cycling with Sisters is to raise awareness and encourage action on behalf of pressing issues in the world today, such as homelessness, the environment, human trafficking, and violence.
“Catholic Sisters around the globe work every day on issues such as these, issues whose impact is greatest on people living in poverty,” said Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, Executive Director of A Nun’s Life Ministry. “Many Sisters live and work alongside the people in areas of immense hardship,” she noted, “and during the bike ride, we’ll share some of their stories.”
“The bike ride is a way to go forth and share the social justice mission of Catholic Sisters with others,” said Ms. Ginny Hizer, Executive Director of the Communicators for Women Religious. “We welcome everyone to join the ride online, participate in prayer, and follow along with the cyclists on the pilgrimage path.”
Hope and Resilience
The theme for the ride is “Hope and Resilience,” qualities that propelled the project forward after Covid-19 derailed months of planning by the Cycling with Sisters Committee.
The ride was originally designed to be a multiday event with dozens of cyclists, with stops along the way for prayer at Catholic schools and parishes, and at Catholic Sisters’ places of ministry. In March, however, the plans came to an abrupt halt, as the coronavirus was spreading quickly, and many states began to implement quarantines and other measures to try to slow the progression of the virus.
In April, after careful consideration, the committee opted to redesign the project, creating a “Covid-compliant” event. The ride was redeveloped to not only safeguard the cyclists and the support team, but also to offer new features for a compelling experience of the ride and the prayers for people joining by way of the internet. Among the many changes were a steep reduction in the number of riders in light of changing limits on the size of group gatherings and a one-day ride vs. multiday ride.
The committee chose one of the original ride dates, September 11, for the new ride, connecting with another event in history that challenged the world and called forth a deep spirit of resilience and hope.
For more information about the ride on September 11 and how to join the livestreaming prayer, visit the Cycling with Sisters website.
Cycling with Sisters takes to the road with a COVID compliant bike ride
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (July 22, 2020) – The Cycling with Sisters initiative is pleased to share its COVID compliant ride is on track in northern Indiana for September 11, 2020. Cycling with Sisters is a series of bike rides in which Catholic Sisters, friends and neighbors share a pilgrimage of cycling, friendship and prayer.
When COVID hit, Cycling With Sisters moved quickly to revise its ride plans and adopted a theme of Hope and Resilience for this ride. Keeping in mind CDC recommendations, this inaugural ride will start in Chesterton, IN and end in South Bend, IN where plenty of outdoor space will allow for supporters to welcome the riders. Each Cycling with Sisters ride includes stops along the route for prayer and conversation about the urgent needs of people and the planet. The prayer stops for this inaugural ride will occur at county parks as cyclists travel through the beautiful northern Indiana countryside.
Cycling with Sisters encourages everyone to participate – even if they are not riding the bike themselves. During the ride, there will be many activities including live streaming of the prayer stops and live tweeting from the road so that people at a distance can join via internet. Cycling with Sisters is present online throughout the year on major social media platforms as well as its website at www.cyclingwithsister.org.
Cycling with Sisters is a project of A Nun's Life Ministry and the Communicators for Women Religious (CWR), in partnership with the GHR Foundation.
A Nun’s Life Ministry announces new members of the Board of Directors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Toledo Ohio, February 25, 2020) –– A Nun’s Life Ministry welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the board are Sister Jessi Beck, PBVM, Mrs. Julie Brown, and Sister Jan Cebula, OSF.
“Our new board members exemplify the spirit of A Nun’s Life,” said Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, Executive Director. “They bring great energy, expertise, and insight to our mission of helping people discover and grow in their vocation, wherever God is calling.”
The new board members will help guide A Nun’s Life into the future, building on over a decade of growth at the internet-based ministry. A Nun’s Life engages with people in 175 countries and all walks of life through the aNunsLife.org website and social media.
Sister Jessi Beck is Vocation Director for her congregation, the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Dubuque, Iowa. Based in Chicago, Sister Beck also serves as Technology Teacher at Our Lady of Tepeyac Catholic Grade School. She is currently in studies for certification as a spiritual director and retreat director. Sister Beck recently served on the Core Team of Giving Voice, a national organization of younger Catholic sisters.
Mrs. Julie Brown is the System of Care Project Director for the Family Resource Center. Based in Findlay, Ohio, she leads the Hancock County initiative to create state-of-the-art behavioral health services for youth and their families. She has extensive experience in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and accounting. Mrs. Brown became acquainted with A Nun’s Life in 2015 and later served as Director of Philanthropy. She is active on a number of local and county nonprofit boards.
Sister Jan Cebula, OSF, is the President of the Sisters of Saint Francis, in Clinton, Iowa. She previously ministered as a legal aid attorney, a liaison for Global Sisters Report, and a teacher. She is committed to living and promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, which is her community’s corporate mission. Sister Cebula has been a long-term advocate for social justice and part of the Catholic Worker movement.
A Nun’s Life Ministry celebrates one millionth podcast download
TOLEDO, Ohio (April 13, 2018) - There may not have been ice cream and cake, but the team at A Nun’s Life Ministry is celebrating nonetheless. During the overnight hours of April 4, someone downloaded A Nun’s Life podcast for the one millionth time. It was a milestone nearly a decade in the making.
Since 2009, A Nun’s Life has produced more than 1,000 podcast episodes of programs including Ask Sister, in which the nuns take listeners’ questions on everything from faith and God to tattoos and sports. The ministry uses the internet and social media to encourage people to explore God’s call in their lives.
“The best thing about podcasting is people – our listeners, visitors we talk with in the chatroom, and the many Catholic Sisters who join us on podcasts,” said Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, executive director of A Nun’s Life and host of Ask Sister. “Along the way, we’ve worked with audio engineers, theologians, musicians, technologists and many others. For us, the one million mark is a celebration of all these relationships, and we are deeply grateful.” Sister Kollasch added, “Although our analytics can’t tell us who had the one millionth download, we know that the most downloads that day were from the U.S., Ireland, India, Nigeria, Australia and Canada.”
Other programs include the livestreaming weekly Praying with the Sisters, Random Nun Clips, and the popular Motherhouse Road Trip series, where the team travels to congregations of women religious across the United States to host livestreaming podcasts. The In Good Faith podcast, the ministry’s first interview-type show, ran from 2010 to 2015 and featured a wide range of guests such as Sister Sandra Schneiders, Sister Elizabeth Johnson, Father Robert Barron, Father James Martin, Sister Barbara Reid and many others.
The podcasts are heard by people in 150 countries.
The ministry has been based online since its founding in 2006, beginning with a blog and adopting new technology as it developed. “We loved podcasting from the moment we began,” Sister Kollasch said. “Our mission is supported by individuals and organizations seeking to encourage people in their faith life and in service to others. This includes the GHR Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.”
A Nun’s Life was founded by Sister Kollasch and Sister Julie Vieira the year they both professed final vows with their congregation, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Monroe, Michigan. Grateful for their vocation to religious life, they began the ministry to help others discern where God is calling them.
The ministry had a website and was on social media when the Sisters sought new ways to reach people and interact with them. The initial thought was to do a radio show, but neither Sister had any experience in broadcasting and they decided to start elsewhere instead. Live podcasting, still quite new at the time, was the answer. A Nun’s Life built the mobile studio that is used for the Motherhouse Road Trip series and the full studio in the Toledo, Ohio, office.
“Our mission from the start was to encourage people to discover and grow in their vocation,” Sister Kollasch said. “We wanted to draw upon the tradition of religious life, in areas such as prayer, discernment, and community, and bring it into conversation with people’s everyday lives.”
A Nun’s Life podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, on Libsyn, and in the near future on Spotify. They’re also permanently available at aNunsLife.org.
A Nun’s Life Ministry appoints Kelly Zlatic as Development Officer
March 6, 2018, Toledo, Ohio – A Nun's Life Ministry, a pioneer in the use of Internet technologies and social media for online ministry, has appointed Mrs. Kelly Zlatic as Development Officer.
In the position, Mrs. Zlatic is responsible for leading a variety of programs to foster relationships and support for advancing the mission of A Nun’s Life Ministry. For the past four years, Mrs. Zlatic has served as a consultant to the ministry in the areas of accounting and online metrics.
“Mrs. Zlatic brings significant experience to her new role in support of the mission of A Nun’s Life—helping people discover and grow in their vocation, wherever God is calling them,” said Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, Executive Director. “Her professional expertise and deep commitment to the mission will assist the ministry as it continues to grow, touching the lives of people in 150 countries worldwide.”
Prior to joining A Nun’s Life Ministry, Mrs. Zlatic served for several years as a staff accountant at Market Day Corporation, a fundraising firm, and at ATC Wegge Accounting, both in the Chicago area. Mrs. Zlatic has an MBA in Finance from Illinois State University and a master’s in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University.
A Nun’s Life Ministry bids farewell to co-founder Sister Julie Vieira
November 10, 2017 – Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, who co-founded A Nun’s Life in 2006 and served as co-director with Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, has announced that she will be leaving the ministry.
“My 11 years with A Nun’s Life Ministry has been deeply fulfilling,” said Sister Vieira. “It has been amazing to walk with people on their journey as they discover and grow in their vocation. I have loved this mission. I have also loved working with Catholic sisters and nuns from across the world and envision continuing that in the future.”
“I am deeply grateful for all the years in ministry with Sister Julie and for the significant contributions she has made,” said Sister Kollasch. She will serve as Executive Director of A Nun’s Life, building on a strong foundation infused with a spirit of innovation, hospitality, and joy.
In her role with A Nun’s Life, Sister Vieira has been a pioneer in innovative uses of internet technologies and social media on behalf of vocations and religious life. She has also been a great advocate for Catholic sisters and nuns in the public sphere and has worked tirelessly to counter stereotypes and present authentic images of religious life. Through the ministry, Sister Vieira has collaborated widely across religious communities and across many sectors including spirituality, technology, and media.
Sister Vieira authored the ministry’s first blog, describing daily life as a sister with insight, joy, and humor. It was among the very first blogs ever written by a Catholic sister, and on it she encouraged people to engage with her, one another, and the lived tradition religious life.
She helped to create the ministry’s social media presence at a time when Facebook, Twitter, and other major social platforms were just beginning to emerge. Sister Vieira also helped to create a variety of podcasts that made use of new technology for livestreaming on the internet. A Nun’s Life podcasts were the among the first livestreaming podcasts to be entirely created, hosted, and produced by Catholic sisters.
A Nun’s Life from the start has been a place where people around the world can connect first-hand with Catholic sisters. In this way, the ministry continues to bring the tradition of religious life in areas such as discernment, prayer, spirituality and community into conversation with people’s everyday lives.
“I will miss being at A Nun’s Life and I am delighted that the ministry is flourishing and growing in new ways,” said Sister Vieira. “A Nun’s Life will always remain close to my heart.”
A Nun’s Life has been featured in the Associated Press, National Public Radio, TIME, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Global Sisters Report, VISION Vocation Guide, Catholic News Service and many more. Click the links below to see what people are saying about the ministry!
- "Motherhouse Road Trip lands in Green Bay" by Sam Lucero, The Compass (May 16, 2018)
- "Landmark study identifies new opportunities for Catholic Sisters to use the internet for vocation outreach." Press release and Executive Summaries of the study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and commissioned by A Nun's Life Ministry (April 18, 2017).
- "Whittemore native pioneers internet ministry," by Joanne Fox, The Catholic Globe, Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa (October 20, 2016).
- "Sisters take to the airwaves: A Nun's Life Ministry visits Dubuque for a live podcast," by Rhonda Miska, for Telegraph Herald Online (March 12, 2016)
- "Bucking a Trend, Some Millennials Are Seeking a Nun's Life," by Penelope Green for The New York Times (September 5, 2015)
- "The Medium is the Message" From ABC radio in Australia, Rachael Kohn, host of The Spirit of Things podcast, interviews Beth Doherty, author of the book Tweet Others as You Wish to be Tweeted where A Nun's Life is mentioned as an example of how to create a pastoral presence online (August 23, 2015)
- "The Future of Catholic Sisters" The GHR foundation interviews Sister Maxine about the future of religious life (May 14, 2015)
- "Internet is mission territory for founders of A Nun's Life Ministry," by Laurie Stevens Bertke for Catholic Chronicle, Diocese of Toledo (April 3, 2015)
- Morning Air on Relevant Radio -- John Harper interviews Sister Maxine about the Year of Consecrated Life (March 20, 2015)
- "Sisters offer pastoral presence through social media," by Kris Berggren for Global Sisters Report (February 26, 2015)
- "Online door never closes on discerners," by Heidi Schlumpf for VISION Vocation Guide (2015)
Articles by A Nun's Life
Over the last ten years A Nun’s Life has written a number of articles for various publications (both in print and online) including Global Sisters Report, HORIZON, Vocations and Prayer Magazine, and many more.
- "Of laptops and Lent," by Sister Maxine Kollash, IHM, for Global Sisters Report
- "Taco emojis and the catacombs of the early church," by Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (January 26, 2017)
- "Finding constancy when change happens in an instant," by Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (September 5, 2016)
"Young people flock to the convent in search of Pokémon," by Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (July 21, 2016)
- "Making a prayer space--online," by Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (June 27, 2016)
- "If you're not in person, you're not real," by Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (June 1, 2016)
- "Running the good race together," by Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (May 2, 2016)
- "Holy Week: The art of remembering," by Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (March 21, 2016)
- "Drawing life-giving water from the well of the Internet," by Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (February 29, 2016)
- "Using technology to find your way home," by Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, for Global Sisters Report (January 26, 2016)
Sister Maxine Kollasch is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, Michigan. She has master's degrees in theology and in advertising and extensive experience in corporate communications. A co-founder of A Nun's Life Ministry, she became Executive Director in November 2017.
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