I had heard of Sister Anne Flanagan (who’s @nunblogger on Twitter), but until I started this interview process, let’s just say I thought she was a pretty normal person.
As it turns out, she is amazing and inspiring and engaged far beyond what I knew about. Not only is she a fully-fledged Daughter of Saint Paul (those letters after her name, she tells me, are their community initials in Latin: Filiae Sancti Pauli), but she’s into social media at a level that makes my brain sort of explode.
But wait, there’s more! For her community in Chicago, she’s involved with the Pauline bookstore blogs here and here. She’s the one behind the Theology of the Body study groups under various forms for a number of years, too, which you can learn about at the study group blog, the ustream channel, and the Facebook page.
Did you think I was done? Nope. There’s still more. You can check out the Daughters of St. Paul choir (with a live “Choir Cam” during recording sessions in the studio!), the Pauline Spirit (anything related to their founder, community history, spirituality, etc.), discernment, Catholic faith and life, and even Facebook covers for download (she has an artistic side, in case you hadn’t noticed).
Tell us about yourself in five words or less.
Enthusiastic Daughter of St Paul
Of your pursuits, what’s your favorite?
The most life-giving for me is singing, but I really have three top hobbies:
- Tinkering with technology
- Singing (when I die, I have already requested that my memorial card say, “In the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise” from Psalm 138)
When you think of the New Evangelization from your approach as a “Catholic Techie,” what excites you? What makes you want to continue?
New Evangelization: The thing that drew me to the Daughters of St. Paul is still the aspect that thrills me the most: That there can be a whole life in the intersection of Jesus and media.
Our Founder (Blessed James Alberione—Sr. Helena is right now doing some of the final work on the documentary film about him) got this from an insight into the Gospel phrase, “Come to me, all of you.” He thought in terms of that “all”: all of you, as in “the whole world” and also “the whole of you”: the whole person, so that no aspect of life would be separated from the Gospel, and no part of the world left without the Gospel light. Even in the early part of the 20th century, he realized that media could enter in and influence every aspect of a person’s life, just as they could take a single message to the ends of the earth.
And now we have media that reach the ends of the earth in real time! No geographic boundaries whatever! What’s not to get excited about?
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
The most rewarding thing for me is the realization that what I am doing in my community is really just a kind of “bush-whacking” exploration of social media, and that I am helping to prepare the way for sisters who will be using these media a million times more effectively than I. (Sister Helena Burns, for example: I mentored her in Twitter–@SrHelenaBurns–and she uses it so effectively!)
In your spare time, what are we likely to find you doing? Do you have a gadget in hand or do you go native and screenless?
I love to read (non-fiction), but it’s a toss-up whether I will do it with paper or a screen.
When I am cooking something (say, Thanksgiving dinner), I will be plugged into an iPod to either pray with music or listen to some instructional podcasts. (I can’t listen to music when I’m attempting to do any “real” work because the music pulls me right in.) Currently I am preparing to sing in the Daughters of St. Paul choir Christmas concert series, so that’s the current playlist.
Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard