Julia Walsh is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and part of a new generation of Catholic Sisters. She’s often writing about the messiness of following Jesus and being Catholic and doesn’t hesitate to ask important questions. This joyful, wild Jesus-lover can be found visiting jails, leading retreats, companioning spiritual seekers, advocating for peace, teaching about social justice, praying in the chapel or camping in the woods. Her writing can be found in National Catholic Reporter/Global Sisters Report, America, The Christian Century, Chicago Sun Times, Living Faith, Good Letters (the Image blog), MessyJesusBusiness.com and elsewhere. She is @JuliaFSPA on Twitter.
Sister Julia is at your service and available to serve you or your organization in several ways:
- Workshop Presenter
- Retreat Facilitator
- Spiritual Director
- Spiritual Writer
Julia Walsh grew up on a goat farm in a small community in Northeast Iowa with her parents, Kevin and Elsie, and three siblings. As a child, she enjoyed gardening, reading, and spending time in the woods. She attended college in Iowa, starting at Wartburg College in Waverly, then ultimately transferring to Loras College to discern her vocation. While a student at Loras, Julia studied abroad in South Africa and realized her passion for social justice, equality and Gospel living.
In 2003 she graduated from Loras College magna cum laude with a BA in History, Secondary Education and Catholic Studies. After graduation Julia interned with the Iowa Catholic Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, and then moved to California and joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. As a Jesuit Volunteer, Julia worked with young parents and their children transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficiency at Tubman House in Sacramento, California. Her experiences in South Africa, as an intern with the Iowa Catholic Conference and in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps helped her to develop her passions for Gospel-centered systemic change.
Then, in 2006 Julia entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, (FSPA) based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She entered the novitiate and received the name Sister in 2007. She professed first vows in 2009 and perpetual vows in 2015.
Sister Julia began her teaching ministry at Catholic high schools in Chicago where she lived and served from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, Sister Julia moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin to be closer to her community’s motherhouse and minister at Aquinas High School, where she served as a theology teacher until 2016.
In the fall of 2016, Sister Julia joined the staff of Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center on Trout Lake in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she presents programs and retreats and serves as a freelance writer. In August 2017, Sister Julia graduated from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies.
Sister Julia returned to Chicago in August 2019 and became a certified spiritual director though the Claret Center in May 2020. In addition to writing, serving as a spiritual director, facilitating retreats, and managing Messy Jesus Business (the blog and podcast), Sister Julia also ministers at Kolbe House, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Jail Ministry Center.
Sister Julia lives in community with other Franciscan Sisters in Chicago. Sister Julia enjoys hiking, camping, good movies, gardening, art, cooking, traveling and spending time with her community, family and friends. On a sunny day in Chicago she can be found riding bike throughout the city and writing poetry about her relationship with God.
Sister Julia may be reached through St. Rose Convent:
912 Market Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Email: jwalsh @ fspa. org