Judith Valente and Brother Paul
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Judith Valente and Brother Paul Quenon: The Beauty of Simply Being?

Season 5, Episode 7 of Messy Jesus Business podcast, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh.

“We have more than one calling, depending on the will of God.”

– Judith Valente



In this episode of Messy Jesus Business, Sister Julia Walsh talks with authors Judith Valente and Brother Paul Quenon about their motivations behind the book they most recently co-authored. They discuss callings, how it’s possible to have several and how each of them came to know their respective callings.

They consider what it means “to be,” and how vastly that differs from our productivity-focused culture, which Judith says she knew all too well when working as a journalist, where the idea of simply being was a foreign concept. “More, more, better, better. You gotta work all the time you’ve got to be plugged in all the time,” she explains of the mindset.

That raises the question: what then, is success?

Brother Paul weighs in, “I think success is to be authentic; to live according to your true self, which is…to be a child of God.”

Top L-R: Judith Valente, Sister Julia Walsh. Bottom: Brother Paul Quenon.

Judith, Brother Paul and Sister Julia also explore the inherent messiness of living in community, how the pandemic has served as a spiritual teacher, and how Thomas Merton influenced both of them and the way they live their spirituality.


Book cover: How to Be: a Monk and a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship

Brother Paul Quenon and Judith Valente are co-authors of the books: How to Be: a Monk and a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship; and The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed.

Brother Paul entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky in 1958 at the age of 17, where Thomas Merton was his novice master and spiritual director. He sleeps under the stars each night and is an avid hiker and hill climber. Br. Paul is the author of the award-winning book In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir….as well as nine collections of poetry. He is also a sought-after and inspiring speaker.

Judith Valente is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism and is the recipient of many awards for her coverage of faith and culture for national PBS-TV’s Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. A former staff writer for both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, she has been a contributing correspondent for Chicago Public Radio, and her articles appear in U.S. Catholic and National Catholic Reporter. Judith is the author of four previous spirituality titles, she is a lay associate of the Benedictine monastery Mount St. Scholastica, and she speaks and leads retreats on living a more contemplative life and discovering inner wisdom. You can read more about her at her website: judithvalente.com/.

Copies of Judith Valente’s and Brother Paul Quenon’s books may be purchased at Gesthamani book store .

CONTEMPLATIVE MOMENT is a reading from Psalm 46.

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced and hosted by Sister Julia Walsh, and edited by Charish Badzinski.

Email us at messyjesusbusiness@gmail.com




Twitter: @messyjesusbiz



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