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Caitlin Kennell Kim :
78 article(s)

Caitlin Kennell Kim is a full-time baby wrangler, writer, and ponderer of all things theological. She earned her Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She currently lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their four small children.
January 13th, 2014

Today, January 13, marks the Feast of St. Hilary of Poitiers. (Go ahead and say “Poitiers” a couple of times. It’s delicious. I’ll wait.) St. Hilary was born sometime around the end of the third century in the city of Poitiers in what is now France. The son of pagan parents, he possessed a profound longing to understand the meaning and purpose of human existence. Hilary had an unquenchable desire to contemplate life as a gift and to discover its Giver. His lifelong spiritual journey took him to the great philosophers and he became a Neo-Platonist. By what St. Hilary described as chance, he stumbled upon Sacred Scripture. Within those divinely inspired words, he encountered the Gift-Giver he had been seeking.…

December 9th, 2013

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12) is my favorite Marian feast day of the year! (I’m doing my happy dance. While typing. I don’t want to brag but that takes serious skills.) Who is Our Lady of Guadalupe? What does she have to do with Advent? What are some ways to honor her feast day? Your favorite convert and self-proclaimed Marian nerd here with some thoughts on how to grow in faith, make a difference, and have a fiesta worthy of Our Queen!
The Story…
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the name of a Church-approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which took place in Mexico in December 1531. She appeared on the hill of Tepeyac to Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Christianity. Juan Diego was on his way to Mass when

November 19th, 2013

Picture a 22-year-old Catholic college student. She is studying electrical and mechanical engineering. She has a loving family and many friends. She is pretty and full of life. She wonders hopefully about her future. She is like your friends, classmates, sisters, cousins. She is like you.
Can you see her?
Now picture her forced to hide in a three-by-four-foot bathroom with seven other women. Picture her healthy 115 pound frame whither to a skeletal 65 pounds. Picture her cringe in silent agony and terror as she hears her family, friends, and neighbors brutally murdered outside the bathroom’s thin walls. Picture her breathlessly cling to a rosary as she hears her name called over and over again by the same machete-wielding…

October 31st, 2013

In the last two years I lost both of my grandmothers. It is a strange and disconcerting reality being grandmotherless in this world. I feel their absence sharp and deep. As I sit with my grocery list planning meals for a family of six on a budget, I think of my Grammy Mary Louise who had a particular gift of making something out of nothing. When I am running all over the house like a madwoman trying to get ready for company, I think of my Grandma Pat and her effortless, artful hospitality. I think of how for so many years they were a simple phone call away and now — now that I am older, now that I am beginning to understand what it means to be the matriarch of my own little clan, now that I have swallowed my pride and realized that…

October 21st, 2013

Well, it’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, everything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored, and the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is starting in parishes all over the world. Whether you’re an inquirer (a person interested in learning more about the Catholic faith), a catechumen (an unbaptized person seeking to receive the sacraments), or a candidate (a baptized person seeking full communion with the Church), here’s a bit of advice from yours truly — a former RCIA participant and Adult Faith Formation parish minister.
1. Invest:… Let’s talk about some tools it would be helpful to have on hand as you begin your journey. First, I highly recommend having access to a Catholic

September 30th, 2013
Or, Everything I know about Adoration I learned from my 2-year-old

This year, for the first time ever in Kim family history, the two biggest pickles are in school. (Ok, I’m getting a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.) So, Thursday mornings the two littlest pickles and I have a standing “praydate.” With Jesus. Yep, that’s right. We go to Adoration.
What is Adoration, you ask? Adoration (short for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) is an opportunity for prayer that happens at almost every parish throughout the world. After each Mass, any consecrated host remaining after the faithful have received the Eucharist is placed in the tabernacle (the gold box on an altar in the sanctuary usually accompanied by a lit candle). During Adoration, the…

September 17th, 2013

I was waiting to see my doctor for my final post-natal appointment. And, because my doctor is kind of an awesome big deal obstetrical rock-star, I was waiting a long time. A woman and her mother sat down across from me. The mother began to chat with her daughter about a news story she had read about a woman in China who had been issued a warning for breastfeeding while riding a scooter. (I know it’s not polite to eavesdrop. Shame on me. I couldn’t help myself. I had read all of the magazines and I couldn’t watch another minute of early afternoon network television without causing myself serious psychiatric harm.) The daughter laughed. The mother remarked that the worst part of the whole story was that the baby was…

September 3rd, 2013

Dear Miley Cyrus (and women in their late-teens/early 20s and the me of several years ago),
Hi. It’s me. At the ripe old age of 30-something, I consider myself to be somewhat of an elder stateswoman in the realm of young adult womanhood. After the debacle that was your performance at last Sunday’s MTV VMA’s (which inundated my Facebook feed on Monday morning, which we didn’t see live because 1) we’re old and don’t watch “the MTV” and 2) we have a gaggle of little people for whom that channel is — part and parcel — utterly inappropriate), I think we need to talk. Like right now.
I know you didn’t ask for my advice. Too bad.
Listen … I get it. You want to be seen as a grown woman. Fair enough.…

August 26th, 2013

I want to tell you a story. It’s a story contained in the pages of one of our children’s favorite picture books. It’s a true story. It goes something like this:
Once upon a time (c. 1200 A.D.) in a land far, far away (Italy) there was a town called Gubbio that was plagued by a ravenous wolf. The wolf attacked and devoured not only the animals residing in the town, but also the humans. The people of Gubbio lived in constant fear of the beast and all of their attempts to catch or kill it resulted in more villagers succumbing to the insatiable and terrible jaws of the wolf. One day Francis (St. Francis to you and me), a man renowned for his holiness and kindness, came to stay in the town. He saw that the villagers were held captive…

August 19th, 2013

The August 12 issue of TIME Magazine features a cover story entitled, “The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children.” Before this convert explores the values championed in this article relative to a Catholic worldview, she’ll endeavor to give you a brief summary of Lauren Sandler’s exposition on why more and more adults (and, in particular, women) are choosing to remain childfree.
Here we go: “The Childfree Life” examines the rise in the number of American women opting out of motherhood in pursuit of what Sandler calls “a new female archetype, one for whom having it all doesn’t mean having a baby.” The women she interviews express frustration with the constant questions…

August 5th, 2013

There is a healthy, beautiful newborn baby girl at our house. Glory Alleluia, y’all!
That being said …
Did you know that newborns sleep an average of 16-18 hours a day? Furthermore, have you been apprised of the fact that very few of these hours are consecutive? In addition, are you aware that newborns need to be fed approximately every two hours? (They’re kind of like adorable, significantly less hairy Hobbits in this regard.) Let’s do the math. That’s a lot of getting up at weird hours of the night for the person with the milk (read: me).
I love to sleep. I am (if I may be so bold as to brag) an awesome sleeper. When our first baby was born, the sleeplessness that comes with caring for an infant was a total shock…

July 16th, 2013

When we look at the genealogy of Jesus provided in the Gospel of Matthew, we find that it traces the lineage of Jesus from Abraham to Joseph…not Mary. Nowhere in the Gospels are we given an explicit account of Mary’s family tree. This being said, there are several issues to be taken into consideration. First, it was the usual custom that marriages take place within tribes so it is possible (though by no means certain) that Mary also belonged to the House of David.
Second, Luke’s Gospel describes Elizabeth, a relative of Mary, as belonging to the daughters of Aaron (the priestly tribe of Levi) so one could easily assume that Mary was of Levite heritage. Third, Joseph’s decision (with a little divine encouragement)…

July 11th, 2013

Question: If priests stand “in persona Christi” does this mean that nuns stand “in persona Maria”? Or in English…do Nuns represent Mary as Priests represent Christ?

Not necessarily. Many women religious consider the imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary an integral part of their spiritualty… but the same could be said of lay women and men, religious brothers, priests, bishops, and even our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Because the vows consecrated women take at their profession describe them as “brides of Christ,” it might be most accurate to imagine them as representing the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church. Scripture and tradition overflow with…

July 8th, 2013

Have you ever seen the movie Cast Away? When Tom Hanks’ character finally escapes the deserted island and is on a plane travelling home, he discovers that his friends and family — sure after so many years that he must have died at sea — have held his funeral and buried an empty casket to say goodbye to him. It’s kind of the same with the Tomb of the Blessed Virgin in Jerusalem. It’s a symbol of Our Lady’s passing from earthly life to heavenly life. We can visit it to show our gratitude for her life and our joy for her Assumption. No one is buried there. Orthodox Christians believe that Mary died (or “fell asleep”) and was assumed into heaven on the third day. They venerate the tomb in Jerusalem as the…

July 2nd, 2013
Four Ways to Freedom this Fourth of July

Hamburgers, hot dogs, sparklers, fireworks, fun with family and friends … that’s what the Fourth of July is all about, right? Well … kind of.
July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. This document declared the independence of a fledgling democracy from imperial rule. It declared that the people living on this continent were claiming the freedom to forge their own destiny as a sovereign nation. Every year Americans gather in backyards, national parks, and other places throughout the country to barbecue, watch fireworks, and celebrate this freedom anew.
In the Catholic Church we have a pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world called…

June 24th, 2013
Thoughts on bodies and liberation this swimsuit season

This summer marks a Kim Family first. We have a pool membership. So we go to the pool. A LOT.
All of this lathering sunblock on squirmy little bodies and finding a swimsuit that works for my nine-month pregnant body and keeping a wary eye on the aforementioned little bodies as they dare closer and closer to deep water and navigating a veritable sea of bodies in pursuit of the good spot under the big tree has got me thinking. About (surprise) bodies.
Our bodies are vulnerable. They unabashedly announce our fragility and dependence and glory all over the place. They are truth tellers. Like the slightly drunken family member at every Thanksgiving table everywhere, they tell pointedly personal stories about us. Our bodies…

June 22nd, 2013

The world’s major religions share a common commitment to promoting peace and justice for all people. Many have humanitarian organizations that provide relief services to countries ravaged by war. For instance, in the Catholic Church, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas offer humanitarian aid all over the world, including Syria. Throughout history, the pope has served as an arbitrator between nations caught in conflict. Because there are Catholics of every race and on every continent and in every nation, the pope is able to be impartial in encouraging the disputing countries to arrive at a peaceful and equitable solution that promotes the human dignity of all parties involved.
from Caitlin Kennell Kim…

June 21st, 2013

While the Church doesn’t have an official teaching on this topic, it is the policy of Catholic Charities to place adoptive children with single adults. Criteria taken into account include a person’s physical and mental health, ability to provide a stable and loving home environment, personal references, and extensive background checks. Although a two-parent home is the ideal, the Church recognizes that single people can offer children in crisis the love, stability, and support they need to flourish. Single folks willing to raise an adoptive child deserve our respect, encouragement, and prayers! If you are single (or married) and interested in learning more about Catholic adoption, check out Catholic…

June 10th, 2013
A convert’s guide to the month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Church dedicates the month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, one of the most popular Catholic devotions throughout the world. So what is the Sacred Heart, anyway? When Catholics talk about the Sacred Heart we’re referring to the physical (yes, blood and ventricles and valves … this is an unabashedly embodied faith, y’all) Heart of Jesus as a representation of his Divine Love for humanity. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus’ Heart was moved by compassion for the poor, the sick, the forgotten, and the grieving. Pierced by a sword on the Cross as an act of self-giving love and enthroned in Heaven for eternity, this same Heart still beats for us and yearns for us and overflows with mercy for us…

June 3rd, 2013
Swollen Feet and the Kingdom of God

Last Friday, amidst early morning preparations to get The Dude (i.e. our 5-year-old son who, to this point, has been known to Convert-sation readers as Sassy McSasspants) ready for preschool, it occurred to me that I couldn’t tie my shoes.
OK. That’s not completely accurate. It occurred to me that tying my shoes would involve balancing my enormously pregnant self against the footboard of the bed and hoisting my legs onto the bookshelf all while making a series of loud and unbecoming noises. I glanced at my sandals knowing full well that succumbing to their beaded and completely impractical siren song would cause my feet to swell beyond recognition. I glanced at my sleeping husband knowing full well that this…

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