Last week, we released our anticipated CATHOLICISM companion study program for middle and high schoolers — The CATHOLICISM Pilgrimage Journal. The program encourages cross-generational conversation and faith sharing between adults and their students or children, all the while moving everyone closer to Christ. Presenting the material in an engaging, compelling and digestible way, author and blogger Amy Welborn tackled the writing of the Journal, which is has benefited greatly from her knowledge, understanding of and enthusiasm for CATHOLICISM the series and Catholicism the faith. We asked Amy some questions about working on the Pilgrimage Journal, and today we share her thoughtful answers with you.
What is your background? How did you start writing professionally?
My background is in education, writing, and parenting. I have an MA in Church History from Vanderbilt University. I've taught theology in Catholic high schools and been a parish DRE.
I started writing over twenty years ago when I had a column in The Florida Catholic newspaper. I moved to a Catholic News Service syndicated column specifically for youth, then a general spirituality column for Our Sunday Visitor. I started writing books in 2000 - The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints was my first book, followed by the Prove It series for Our Sunday Visitor. Since then I have written many books for adults and young people, and I have an online presence on my blogs. It's all just a form of communication and teaching, which I enjoy.
What was your familiarity, if any, with Father Barron and/or Word on Fire before you were tapped for this job?
I had been familiar with Father Barron's work long before he produced the Catholicism series. His book, “The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path,” has been very helpful to me. I worked with Word on Fire a couple of years ago to produce the discussion guide for the Conversion series and was delighted to be asked to participate in this project...
Sometimes a book discusses tragedy with grace and courage. "Wish You Were Here" is just such a book. Ellyn von Huben reviews Amy Welborn's newest work, which explores her courageous endeavor to cope with suffering.
The written word is conducive to a certain intimacy; we read with the feeling that we have been given something of an open door into the not only the mind but the life of the writer. The immediacy of written word on internet blogs is even more of a direct line, with the potential for instant updates and the casual dispensing of random thoughts.
The written word is conducive to a certain intimacy; we read with the feeling that we have been given something of an open door into, not only the mind, but the life of the writer. The immediacy of the written word on internet blogs is even more of a direct line, with the potential for instant updates and the casual dispensing of random thoughts.
When I read a blog over a period of time, I begin to feel a real connection with the writer. Being party to day-to-day joys and aggravations, sharing in casual photos, and hearing news long before it would be published in any Christmas newsletter forges a uniquely 21st Century bond—a bond with a certain sense of personal investment. I start to feel that I know these people who are offering these slices of their lives.
One of the first bloggers I followed with regularity was Amy Welborn. Her blog (which continues to this day) touched on all the things I was interested in: Church news, spiritual matters, family life. Because of this attachment, I, along with a large number of readers, was so shocked and saddened when I read of the unexpected death of her husband Michael Dubruiel in February, 2009. In fact, we heard of his death in a distinctly modern way. Casually checking in to her blog on the day of Michael’s death, there was not the usual Church discussions or family chat. Instead I found simply a picture of Michael, with the words “Michael Dubruiel 1958 to 2009” written underneath. Stunning.
Amy was open to sharing her struggles in the days and weeks following Michael’s death. People around the world mourned and prayed along with Amy and her family. It was with this sense of investment that I felt free to respond (though not online) to her announced plans to pack up her high school-aged daughter and two very young sons and take off for a Sicilian adventure just a few months after her husband’s death: “Is she out of her mind?”...