About Michelle Francl-Donnay
Michelle Francl-Donnay is the mother of two 20-something sons, a professor of chemistry, an adjunct scholar at the Vatican Observatory, and a regular contributor to Philadelphia Archdiocese’s CatholicPhilly.com, where she writes about the joys and struggles of trying to live a contemplative life in the midst of everyday chaos. Michelle blogs at Quantum Theology.

Joy Is the Surest Sign

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I came home early in the morning, the noise of my engine rippling the sleepy stillness of the neighborhood, the green leaves arching over the street like a gate to another world. The brick wall along the driveway glowed warmly in the sunlight of mid-September as I pulled the car up, and my two sons and spouse spilled out […]

Embrace Chaos

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. If I had a Latin motto posted over my office door it might be Conplecte abyssum—embrace chaos, or more literally, entwine yourself into the depths. At the start of each semester my students face what I imagine seems to them an enormous writhing mass of primordial information, which they must dive into, come to know, and ultimately recognize in […]

Spoilers in Prayer

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Six of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Lately, my husband and I have been watching Downton Abbey together for our Friday night pizza dates. Since Victor has been at conferences more weekends than not this semester, and I don’t want to watch it alone, we are now weeks behind everyone else on two continents. For the two months the show was airing, I tuned out students […]

Who Am I? Asked in Light of the Two Standards

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. What do I want to be? Who do I want to be? If my students could have read my thought bubbles this last week, I’m certain many of them would have been startled. Uh, don’t you know by now? I know that I am, to their eyes, old enough to be a grandmother— if not theirs, someone’s. Old enough, […]

Holding God Close at Hand

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I’ve been people watching all week—as prayer. Dan Ruff, SJ’s reflection on praying with the Incarnation suggested that we try prayerfully imagining how we might feel looking down with the Trinity “at the mixed, complicated messiness of the unredeemed human condition.” So I’ve been trying to see the crowds of people who move through my life as the Trinity […]

Mirrors of Dangerous Grace

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I have a favorite mirror, which thankfully is not in my house. In it, I see myself as I do in my mind’s eye: five inches taller, and maybe even 10 pounds lighter. Alas, the mirror is slightly warped, stretching reflections like taffy. The reality is that I’m five foot tall and my bad knee would be happier if I, and not […]

Speak, Lord

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I have a playlist on my computer called “Silence.” It’s not John Cage’s infamous 4’33”— four and half minutes of utter silence—or even white noise, though I admit to having a track of pouring rain tucked away in case I need to drown out the teenaged enthusiasm that on occasion finds its way from the basement into my study […]

Praying in Strange Places

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I have been traveling this week, eating and sleeping—and praying—in strange places. I spent the last few days at an exuberant and delightfully chaotic science conference. People struggled to capture what was happening, scribbling notes like mad in pocket notebooks, snapping photos, and recording videos. The strands of conversations wove back and forth, but there was no time to […]

Beginning My Ignatian Prayer Adventure

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I am standing in front of the chair in my study, the materials for this time of prayer close at hand: my Bible marked with a passage from Isaiah, a sheet of paper with the instructions for the day, and a cup of tea, its steam swirling up like incense, its bitter sweetness promising equal measures of courage and comfort […]

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