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The Both/And of Catholic Coaching: The Story of My Own Transfiguration

On the Wednesday of Holy Week in 2019, my beautiful girl was born.  Both now and then, my family could say that our Easter came early that year. This year she turned three on Easter Sunday! This is truly a gift and a blessing worth celebrating for so many reasons.  

On the day she was born, two blood clots began to form. One was forming on the bottom right side of my neck and the other began forming in the frontal cortex of my brain. The pain points where the blood clots were located continued to progress, and I found myself doing all the rituals I knew could help with a kink in the neck and migraine. (Unfortunately, at the time we were unaware that the pain was coming from the blood clots.)  

After three weeks of enduring the aches alongside the regular postpartum adjustment of all-nighters and breastfeeding, I found myself celebrating my first Mother’s Day in the ICU.  Unfortunately, the blood clots had progressed causing my right arm to be paralyzed, my right leg to go numb, and the right side of my face to droop. So, I had my husband take me to the ER with our three-week-old. Sure enough, the cat-scan showed the two blood clots, and I was diagnosed with the rare blood clot condition called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).  

As someone who had been working in Catholic Pastoral Ministry and been relatively healthy my entire life, this was a bit of an adjustment – to say the least!  Prior to this, I had been looking to pursue a career in hospital chaplaincy. I did some volunteer work in a hospice house for a year followed by a summer hospital chaplaincy internship, in which I completed the first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).  I fell in love with healing ministry, but all of sudden found myself viewing the healing ministry from the perspective of the patients I had served. In addition, I had been living a pretty healthy life with eating balanced meals, exercise, and other healthy habits. So it wasn’t quite clear as to why this was happening from practical knowledge.  Nonetheless, I allowed myself to be attended to in the hospital for about a week. Thanks to the healing graces of the Sacraments of Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist, the healing hands of doctors and nurses, and our parish members who helped us take care of our little one, I found strength to endure it.

The stroke took out my right side for about six months and required some physical therapy and occupational therapy to regain strength and mobility. I even found myself having to learn to write again. Something I began to recognize in going through the physical and occupational therapy was that I was actually enjoying it! While I wasn’t thrilled about why I needed it, I actually looked forward to the sessions, and even took pictures of some equipment to purchase on Amazon, so I could do some of the exercises at home. I also grew fascinated with the connectivity of the body. Which made me think… I wondered if there was such a thing as a gym chaplain, and I began exploring that possibility.

I didn’t actually find a gym chaplain opportunity, but I did pursue my certification as a Health Coach and Life Coach from the Health Coach Institute. Then, I completed my certification for personal training.

All of a sudden I found myself with three wellness certifications from secular schools, yet knew that the Catholic faith values physical, mental, and spiritual health,  and I wanted to give my fitness coaching a Theology of the Body foundation. So, I began looking for Catholic Coaching.  

First, I wanted to see if it existed.

Second, I wanted to learn how to bridge that gap between physical and spiritual health. Sure enough, I saw a video of Matt and Erin Ingold talking about incarnational beings and Theology of the Body.  

They spoke my language and drew my attention. After connecting with them on the phone, I never looked back!

My experience with Purgative Way and Metanoia Catholic has been so fruitful! Every coaching experience I received or witnessed has had me feeling like I am on the mountain witnessing our Lord’s Transfiguration. While my own transformation is nowhere near completion, with the combination of Catholic Coaching and the Metanoia Daily Journal, I can admit to the growth and shells that are breaking.

This program has finally allowed me to let it go and collaborate with the Lord to help other moms get fit, so they can live out their vocation in good health, happiness, and holiness!