by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
Dr. Knight: Tell us about your background and your conversion as you listened to the Holy Spirit.
Nancy: I loved my childhood Protestant Church. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I gave my life to Jesus at a youth retreat when I was 15. Three years later, when my father died suddenly, Jesus proved to me that he would always be with me. My life’s goal became marrying a devout Christian man and establishing a loving family. In college, I met the man of my dreams. Trouble was, he was a Catholic! After a short struggle, the Holy Spirit gave me peace in my heart, and we married in the Catholic Church. Three years later, I was received into the Church where I experience the fullness of Christianity.
Dr. Knight: What are some of the ways you proclaim the goodness of God? Did you ever hesitate?
Nancy: I proclaim God’s goodness by sharing stories of his love and mercy to me. These stories come from the journals I have kept about God-moments in his presence. In my youth I was so shy I didn’t share my conversion story with anyone for the first 35 years of my life, even in the family. It was personal and private. Since then, I’ve learned that our faith stories are personal but not private. They are given to us to give away to glorify God, as the Holy Spirit prompts us.
Dr. Knight: When did you begin to tell your story? How did your relationship with God grow in your life?
Nancy: By the time I was 35, my relationship with God had deteriorated so much that my husband and I were dragging the family to Mass strictly out of duty. At the lowest point, when our family relationships tanked, I cried out to God for his mercy. Soon the Holy Spirit brought our family into a renewal movement with Life in the Spirit teachings and Christian community. That saved our marriage, our faith, and taught us how to call on the Holy Spirit to give us everything we needed for our family and also in serving God and ministering to others.
Dr. Knight: Tell us about all the aspects of your Catholic ministry and why this is important to you.
Nancy: Serving in parish ministries groomed me to begin the Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story evangelization ministry. We equip and empower Catholics to evangelize through their faith stories, using the tools of journaling, writing, and conversing one-on-one. JoyAlive.net came first with all kinds of faith stories.. That was followed by a series of workshops, and eventually, the DVD and book, Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story. were published. All of these have worked together to support Catholics in evangelizing where they live. Evangelization has become an exciting lifestyle for me. God uses this ministry to transform me into the woman He created me to be.
Dr. Knight: Is social media important in regard to evangelizing? Does it cause you any concern?
Nancy: Social media works well in inspiring evangelization and promoting opportunities to learn how to share our witness as Catholics, which Saint John Paul taught is the most effective way to evangelize. But concerns for drawing haters and censorship are troubling. I avoid political and theological traps and entrust my activity online to the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Knight: Could you tell us about how you keep your website up-to-date (joyAlive.net)? What is the purpose of the website and how you use it?
Nancy: In 2012 JoyAlive.net began with inspirational posts and stories from my collection of conversion, renewal, and vocation stories, many of which ended up in Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies. I no longer try to post four times a week, but have plenty of blogs featuring media interviews, especially podcasts. I publish monthly promotions, post evangelization articles, and the stories keep coming in! Everything is about evangelization. We even have a new Facebook Group: Your Catholic Story for conversations and networking for those cultivating evangelization skills.
Dr. Knight: I have 5 grandchildren all under six who need a great deal of support from our Church. Please tell us about your Catholic Mom ministry.
Nancy: When I created JoyAlive.net, I immediately contacted Lisa Hendey, creator and founder of CathlicMom.com. She’s a dear friend and mentor. Lisa invited me to contribute three chapters in The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. Being a grandmother and a monthly contributor to CathoicMom.com gave me the wisdom and experience to encourage moms of all ages to persevere in their vocation. I love to speak to parish moms groups about journaling their experiences and using them to evangelize.
Dr. Knight: Your devotion to the Holy Spirit is sometimes missed by people. How did you nourish this devotion?
Nancy: To develop a relationship with anyone, we get to know that person, their characteristics, capabilities, and unique voice. I’ve learned to listen for that still, small voice. Discovering the Holy Spirit is an amazing and endless pursuit. From the beginning of my awakening to the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, I’ve frequently called on him with the prayer, “I can’t do this; come, Holy Spirit.” He always shows up and reminds me of everything he has told me about my faith, as Jesus promised in John 14:26b. The Holy Spirit is my secret weapon in everything from seeking guidance in the presence of chaos, consolation in times of grief, or overcoming my shyness while speaking to a large audience.
Dr. Knight: What are some of your hopes for the future Church? What gives you hope?
Nancy: I hope that fervent Catholics can see through the pandemic, politics, and civil unrest that God is faithful, and that’s the rock on which we rebuild our parishes. We can influence and encourage people to return by giving them hope through our faith stories, as St. Peter taught, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for the reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15,16)
Thank you for sharing your story with the 6000 readers of Profiles in Catholicism – we need to share our love with others and offer them hope.