Sister Christina Neumann is a soft-spoken North Dakota nun whose insights into religious life reach a global audience thanks to the blog she launched in 2015.
The 36-year-old from West St. Paul, Minn. is an alumna of St. Catherine University, which houses National Catholic Sisters Week. She was inspired by Pope Francis' Year of Consecrated Life to raise awareness of her beloved religious community, the Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen, by blogging about their life, an endeavor she began in February 2015. Sister Christina named her blog "Our Franciscan Fiat."
"Here, I hope to share with you some of what it means, on a day-to-day basis, to be a Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen in our Hankinson Pronvice," Sister Christina wrote.
Her simple approach is powerful, documenting the rhythm of daily life, including her work as a receptionist and aide at a senior-living facility in Grand Forks, N.D., her responses to daily Scripture, her childhood influences and her observations on fellow Franciscans.
"I got done mixing cookies together with two of our resident ladies before lunch this morning," one blog post began. "This being done, I had 20 minutes before I was needed at the front desk. I took advantage of this little window of time and stepped into the chapel." And hence ensued a poignant reflection on not rushing the rosary. (Another post shows Sister Christina baking cookies in a blue-and-white checkered apron.)
Sister Christina writes spirited headlines and leads each post with a photo. Her sense of humor shines through, whether she's leading bingo or chasing after men. "Humor is the spice of life," she wrote.
One popular post was a guest entry from her dad reflecting on first bringing his daughter to the Hankinson convent 11 years ago.
Publishing a new post every few days would be challenging for many, but maintaining the blog has not been an issue for Sister Christina. "I just pray to the Holy Spirit for inspiration and mull things over during the course of the day as my next posting time approaches," she said. "It really doesn't take a lot of time to write them."
Since its launch two years ago, the blog has steadily picked up more daily visitors. When New Advent published a link to the blog, Sister Christina's traffic skyrocketed.
The spirit of the blog, she says, reflects the goal of National Catholic Sisters Week: raising awareness of women religious.
"Anything we can do to promote religious life and get young women to consider the beautiful possibility of a vocation as a sister is worthwhile," Sister Christina said. "It is such a wonderful vocation, and it's a shame that more people aren't aware of it as a possibility for their lives."