In this episode I am so excited to welcome Meg Hunter-Kilmer to the show!
Meg has been on the road as a “Hobo for Christ” since 2012. She has spent her time travelling the country (and world!) To share the love of Christ wherever he calls her to.
We sit down to chat about the saints, how they can help in your every day life, and a couple of married saints that you may have never heard of before!
Ann Losinski 0:04
Welcome back everybody to the Catholic brides podcast I am super excited to be joined by Meg Hunter-Kilmer today. Welcome to the show, Meg!
Thank you so much. I’m really glad to be with you.
Ann Losinski 0:17
I’m really excited to talk to you a little bit today. Why don’t we start by you just telling us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what you do, that sort of thing.
So my name is Meg Hunter-Kilmer and I am a hobo missionary. So I live out of my car and I drive around the country and I fly around the world and I tell people how much God loves them so I originally from outside DC got a couple degrees in theology from Notre Dame taught middle school and high school religion for five years, and I have been on the road for eight and a half years, 50 states 25 countries. It’s been long And I’m tired you know, hoboing in a pandemic is a whole new ballgame. So I’ve been carrying that out, which has been good for sure.
Ann Losinski 1:07
So have you been staying kind of in one place. during this time or still travelling?
So when that things were super locked down I was I actually God it just really good to me and I had really felt led to clear my schedule, and find a place where I could just stay by myself and write for a while. And basically, the week that I moved into the house where I was like okay I’m just gonna be here for the next couple of months. Everything shut down. And I was like, Oh, well that’s convenient. So I was in Oklahoma for a couple of months and then since then. I have been moving because I. It wasn’t an option to stay where we’re saying anymore. I just kind of been moving like trying to stay someplace for two weeks so that if I do get the virus I only take it one place and I’m not spreading it, you know, like asymptomatically, spreading it to dozens and dozens of people because normally you know I’ll stay, I might I might sleep in a different bed every night for 10 nights in a row, you know, so that is not something that I’m comfortable doing during a pandemic. Yeah, so I mostly I’ve been saying, places for two weeks or so, just to slow that a little bit.
Ann Losinski 2:23
So I know you’re super passionate about saints and different things I’ve seen a lot of things on your Instagram and I know you’re writing a book about Saints for children. How did your passion for Saints start.
You know, I, it feels like a very recent thing to me still and I guess it’s probably been about five years. But you know, saints are sort of the last Catholic thing that I jumped on board with right everything else. You know I had my conversion when I was 13 and I was like, Great God wrote one book, but I’m gonna read it. The church has one book, I’m gonna read it, you know, and I saw I was like, into scripture already and I started praying the rosary and that was a daily communicant and all of these things and the saints I was kind of like, Okay, well that’s not blasphemy. And that was about to say for the saints, you know, I was like, I don’t get it, but because I say so ways that the way that I’ve seen devotion to the saints practice was sometimes just actually problematic you know people who would say, Well, you know, when you can’t go to Jesus, you can and I was like, No, that’s not true. You never can’t go to Jesus, but I didn’t understand but sometimes it may feel that way you know like sometimes there are struggles that you’re experiencing, where you just feel like, yes I know that God loves me in this but he doesn’t understand, you know, he didn’t experience addiction and he didn’t experience miscarriage, and he didn’t have to, you know, give up on breastfeeding when it was something that he had longed to do, you know like, and the saints do have those experiences you know but the way that people said it was kind of like, Oh, you know, well I I kind of like St. Anthony better than Jesus and I was like, Okay. It was never. It was never the way that it was presented to me it was never a relationship that was drawing people deeper into love of Jesus and inviting people to holiness, and then, about five or six years ago I stumbled across the book modern saints by Anne ball. And I opened this book I’m like okay whatever like saints book, it’s gonna be a bunch of boring stories about, you know, these sort of immaculate saccharin people who have no flaws and no brokenness. And that’s just not what that book was I mean this woman knows how to tell a story, and I have always been a storyteller and I’ve always been very, I have found stories. Well told very very compelling and I saw these stories and I was like, oh. Oh, hang on. The reason I’m not into the things is because they’ve just been so badly presented to me you know I only ever saw them, as, as the plasters statues and I had tried to be that kind of holy and realized that I just that wasn’t who God made me to be and I saw St. Teresa of Avila and I was okay well she was sassy. Fine. You can be sassy and be a saint and, you know, kind of moved on and was like, I want to be a saint but I’m not going to have relationships with people and I started reading these stories and I was like, Oh, wow. So the point of the saints, is not to be like, oh here’s somebody magical that you’re never going to be as good as it’s to say, here’s what a broken life looks like when it’s shot through with glory. Here’s what holiness looks like with mental illness. Here’s what holiness looks like with abusive parents, here’s a whole enough look like when you really love sports. Here’s what oilless looks like with a temper. And I began to realize just how much the saints, the witness of the saints can invite people to drop their nets to let go and to say, Yes, she does I will be all in for you, you know, because you talk to people who are like rare right but you don’t know my path, and I’m over here like, Oh honey,
Alonzo was a satanic High Priest, St Mary of Egypt was a nymphomaniac and a rapist saint although Kiev was a mass murderer and they wonder is literally killed. So I just, I’m not going to be impressed. I’m not going to be impressed by your past like your past does not disqualify you for holiness or people who are dealing with suicidal ideations and to talk about, again, lots of virtual as long ago with a suicidal ideations Dorothy Day serving of God, who had multiple suicide attempts, and to say, Look, that’s, it’s so hard. It’s awful. It’s really miserable and you feel alone, but you aren’t, and your experience of despair doesn’t indicate that you aren’t holy enough. So just to see the way that people light up when you can speak that truth into their lives and I remember I was talking to a now priest friend of mine, he was a deacon at the time father Maliki is he’s a CFR, and he said, you know, the most important moment in evangelization is when you can name somebody’s brokenness and tell them that God loves them even there. And I was like, that is why I love the saints, because I can name your brokenness, without you having to be totally vulnerable right like we don’t have to reach a point of intimacy, where I’m saying, look, I see this in you. I can just tell you about somebody else who’s had that experience and you can feel seen and feel known by the father, without having to let your walls down and let me in. And so, just seeing and even, even like the ordinary things, the fans who live these very ordinary unremarkable lives and saying to people. Okay so, so you don’t struggle with horrific shame, over your terrible adolescence and you aren’t an absolute genius and you’re not a martyr, but you can be. You can be a saint to in the ordinariness of your life God can consecrate that and so it’s just been, it’s been huge for me the last five or six years, just the the research I’ve done and the stories I’ve told and I love matchmaking people, let’s say, and so I’ll hang out with people and they’ll kind of tell me their deal their story, whatever. And, and I’ll, I’ll give them a fake friend, and sometimes I’m like, Oh, I know this person is going to fit because like here all of these connections and all of these parallels and you’re going to love them, and sometimes I’m just like, I know. I don’t know why, but I think I need to give you this person, and I’ll start talking, and occasionally, they’ll say oh my gosh yes I didn’t tell you this but like here are all of these connections that you didn’t know about. And sometimes people just burst into tears and they’re like, I don’t, I don’t know why that has nothing to do with my life that saint has nothing in common with me. But I love her I love her and it’s just so beautiful to me to get to be a part of the beginnings of these relationships because I know that there are saints who have been loving people from heaven, just loving them from heaven, and the person has never heard of them and I get to facilitate that relationship becoming reciprocal and recognizing that some of these things like they’re gonna pray for you your whole life and you’re never going to know about them but what an incredible honor to get to be the one to make the introduction for you.
Ann Losinski 9:48
That’s beautiful. I really liked how you said about kind of how Jesus didn’t have those experiences but he gives us people that did have those experiences and so that we can still like be brought closer to him through those people who did like holy things and were able to obtain holiness, even with all of those broken things and those things of this world that Jesus, like entered into this world but he didn’t have those experiences because those experiences were a result of that sin, but like being able to work through that and see examples of people like that.
And being able to see like What does holiness look like if I am struggling against my temper, every day, you know like, you can’t, you can look at Jesus and be like, I know what I want to be like, but I don’t see in Jesus somebody who always wanted to punch everybody right to Rome, really did you know and to see the struggle and to see. You know what it looks like for different personality types to pursue holiness you know there’s a lot a lot that we don’t know about the personality of Jesus but the personality of Mary and that’s very deliberate. I think on the part of the Holy Spirit working through the evangelists, so that we don’t canonize a certain personality type right like they think of Mary as being sweet and soft spoken and gentle but she may have been loud and brazen, you know, like there’s nothing in Scripture that really indicates one way or the other. We know that St. Elizabeth compares her to Judith and jL who used a machete and attempt peg, respectively, to chop off and then pay all the heads of the generals at the enemy army, so you know it’s it’s entirely plausible that Mary was the kind of person who was always the loudest one in every room right but scripture doesn’t tell us, so that quiet people don’t think they have to become loud, right, and they don’t tell us that if she was quiet so that loud people don’t think that they have to absolutely mute themselves and the same thing with Jesus like we don’t know. There’s so much that we don’t know about their personalities, but we can look at these saints who have very similar personalities to us and say, okay, like, I see this st was naturally. Really, really loud and really vicious and then she became a cluster. So what does that, what does that look like right What does that balance look like for her and what could it look like for me.
Ann Losinski 12:18
Yeah, I think that’s really cool about how you mentioned, but it doesn’t give us like a full description of their personalities of Jesus and Mary, but we can also like look at that in the lens of. We can see ourselves in them and like they represent like who we are as a person as well so not only like wondering about who they are but also like not putting them in a box like you said, to be able to be like holiness can be obtained in my personality. I’m like, through the reference of the saints, I think that’s a really cool perspective. Yeah. Oh, that’s Yeah, awesome. So, as far as like different scenes. This podcast is mainly for like Catholic brides and people kind of in that role of like wives and mothers, what are some of your favorite scenes for people in that role.
Unknown Speaker 13:06
Well I have so many
like that for the next 10 hours about different things that I love, but particularly looking at saints who were married couples because we have quite a lot of saints who are married to one another, you know, and I remember when St Louis and Sally got canonized and was like, Oh my gosh, it’s the first married couple ever to be canonized together like that was a huge deal and like that was cool but they’re not the first canonized married couple. So just the first one to have a canonization ceremony and to be canonized at the same one, right, so we’ve got tons of early murders, we just weren’t ever canonized because the canonization process is only 1000 years old. So, like, here are these like whole families who were, who are saying, but like technically they don’t fit in that category so I just I think it’s great that Louis and zelie were canonized together, but I think that the way that we talked about it kind of makes it sound like they are the only couple that is thinks and that’s just not that’s just not true. So my favorite married st couple is it’s Timothy and Maura and they were very beginning of the fourth century. Beautiful, beautiful young couple. So, Timothy are probably coming up on 20 years old, and they just got married and Timothy was a lecturer in their community which at the time was not like just the person who stands up at Mass, and reads the gospel, but a person who was sort of in charge of, like, diversity and tech he says like he was really a catechist as well. And it was during a time of persecution and so he was arrested and the governor who was, you know, having him tortured, it was like we need you to give us the vulnerable Gospels and he was like absolutely not and they torture them and he refused and so they went and that his wife Maura, and they were like oh my gosh you guys have just gotten married. And, like, three weeks earlier had gotten married. Okay, so like brand new newlyweds have been married for three weeks and they dragged her and, and they were like, Hey, you need to convince your husband to give up the basketballs, and she was like no and they’re like oh my gosh. But don’t you want to do you want to have babies and don’t you want to live together to a ripe old age and like, you’re gonna get to have this beautiful life together we won’t even make him deny his faith, he just has to give us a bushel of apples, and then you guys can leave, you can go somewhere else, we will not follow you, we will not persecute you, like, just, just do it and here, here’s a bunch of money and so they’re like bribing her and so she’s like, Okay, fine. So she goes into her husband, and the story is towards different ways. There’s one story that says that she tried to convince him that he stood fast but I think what happened is she went in and she said to him, you know, this is what they’re saying they’re saying that so let us go and we can run away and we can live together and we can be happy and he’s sort of nodding wide eyed like okay and she said But I say to you, and this is one of the ancient accounts, she said. But I say to you that if you deny Jesus by your words or by your actions I will have nothing more to do with you. And he was like, Okay, let’s do this. And she went back out and she was like yeah he said now and they’re like okay, well you try it into this oh no I did not try. I’m a Christian too. And if you’re gonna kill him, you need to kill me. And so he tortured The both of them they put them on crosses facing each other. And they spent 10 days, hanging on these crosses facing each other. And when one of them was weak the other one would be strong and they would pray together and they would sing together and they would encourage each other and and strengthen each other in the face of this desire to apostatize to save their lives or just to end this suffering, so they ended up, they had a month long marriage, and basically a 10th of that was being crucified facing each other. And I just think it’s such a beautiful witness of what the call of marriage is right it’s, it’s a call to suffer well together. It’s a call to take turns being strong for each other and just to see that witness of two people who understood their marriage as being in the service of eternity. So, so beautiful. So that seems to Timothy and more I want to say they were killed around 303, but I might be 20 years off. So they’re my favorites. But they’re also a very extreme example right i mean they’re only married for a month, and they’re like 19 years old. Right. And so I think that most people hear that and they can hear a very important parable, in that story of their marriage but it isn’t necessarily going to be the witness they need of the ordinary struggle. And so for that I love what Luigi and Maria quattrocchi, was alluding to my core chokyi, or a 20th century Italian married couple, they have no kids. That’s it. That’s the story. They did nothing remarkable. They want mother but they weren’t stigmatise, I mean they hid Jews during World War Two, which was kind of a common thing,
prayed together as a family, but they were just profoundly holy in very ordinary ways and it’s actually really beautiful. Because when he was not practicing the faith. When he and Maria got married, and it was not that that she dragged him along. It was the grace of the sacrament her witness but also the grace of the sacrament that really transformed, you know he wasn’t beatified on her coattails. He was beatified in his own right because in there very ordinary loud fun that family life, they lived such joy, and such grace and such beauty with the people around the world transformed there’s a great story of an atheist Freemason at the funeral of Luigi going up to one of his sons and saying essentially you know your father never preached to me. But he lived. Such a beautiful life that I have come to believe that God is real. And the man converted. And I think, so two of their sons became priests and that one of their daughters became a religious and then the fourth child was also a daughter and she was just a single woman living in the world she lived to be. I mean, she only died I think in the last 10 or 15 years and her cause for canonization is also open. And so just sort of to see the generations of ordinary holiness, and they, they also had regular struggles My favorite is Maria. God love her. She had a really hard time with pregnancy. And she seems probably to have had a hyperemesis gravidarum but she had a really rough pregnancies and actually was devastated by like every positive pregnancy test that she does. So we have letters that she wrote her husband, where she says, How can I possibly care for another child in the state that I’m in I am close to despair. And I think that’s so beautiful because that’s not before she was a saint. That’s what holiness looks like for her because feelings are not sin, you aren’t a bad Christian. If you feel awful about someone you are a bad mother. If a positive pregnancy test plunges you into the depths of despair and so for so many women I know so many women who have had unexpected pregnancies particularly marrying women before using it for whom it hasn’t worked out perfectly because NFP doesn’t always doesn’t always give us the results that we hope for and that’s sort of part of that school
of living in depth Providence
right and so I’ve known so many women who are really devastated by finding that they’re pregnant. And then that’s compounded by this enormous guilt. Right, so I’m an MSP a bad mother and clearly not addicted to it don’t have empathy and then God forbid, we lose the baby and just the shame and the guilt they feel, because they had been so upset about the pregnancy, and to hear that from, from upenn and they to hear this woman who had those same struggles and I had a dear friend, who has had a number of unexpected pregnancies. And she has become really good friends with Maria quattrocchi and said that her last, baby. When she was not expecting and she was really quite angry when she found out that she was pregnant really angry with God, and through the intercession of Maria quattrocchi was able to find such joy in the prospect of having another child, even joy in the pregnancy. It’s been beautiful to see women. recognize that they have permission to have feelings, right that we don’t have to. We don’t have to be ashamed of our feelings we don’t have to confess our feelings. We can we can feel our feelings and recognize that like this is not who I am and this doesn’t have to
Unknown Speaker 22:43
the defining feature of my relationship with this child of course right I’m obviously not saying, if you’re upset that you’re pregnant, you should hate that baby forever but like Maria came to rejoice in all of her children and came to love them in such beautiful ways that they experienced the love of God so profoundly that all of them gave their lives completely to Jesus, you know like, and that was in and through her experience of suffering and fear and anger and despair. God, God consecrated that because she handed it over to him.
Ann Losinski 23:20
Yeah, that’s really beautiful about like how you said that we don’t have to apologize and don’t have to like confess our feelings because feelings are like things from God. And, like, we can give them back to God and God can consecrate them and like make us holy through them yeah
yeah and my feelings, obviously are not from God right like we can have very negative feelings that are problematic but not sinful, right, like if every time you see
Unknown Speaker 23:54
your sister in law,
you feel utter revulsion like that, that’s not a sin that the thing that would come in your
response to that right
so like anger is not a sin, the sin comes when we choose to recite a litany of the things that make us angry so that we can make ourselves angry or so, you know like, yeah, so just recognizing that, like, we can feel you can feel bad about an emotional reaction that that you have to something but it isn’t a sin, until you choose, it isn’t a sin, until you act right and so if you choose to wallow in despair. Okay, yeah, now we’re now we’re talking about, about something that is proceeding from the free use of the well. But if in that moment you just cannot see any possible hope that can’t be a thing because it’s not something you’re choosing.
Ann Losinski 24:46
For sure. So, when you’re talking about these things and finding the saints, how do we work on developing a devotion to them or our relationship with them. Yeah, I
think it’s kind of it’s gonna be different for every person and really for every state. Sometimes, so no I saw a picture of what the trial to Foucault and I was like him I love him I love him and and I love him, but like it really was just his face, like, I want to be friends with that man, look how beautiful He is my niece, Mary Claire loves blessing Marie Clementine I’m already getting a paycheck. So Mary Claire is eight years old, and she just has this like profound love of a Congolese woman who was murdered in resisting, a rape attempt. Right. I mean of course of course you do like why would you not. But for her it really was like she just saw a picture of her, and illustration from my book that will hopefully be out soon. And she was just like her I love her, seven times, it’s because you hear about one aspect of their lives and you’re intrigued by that, for me it usually involves a lot of research, like I hear about a saint and I’m like that’s kind of cool. Let me learn everything there probably is to know about this person on the entire internet. But then I’ve got like St. Barnabas is my one of my best, best st friends. And it really was just recognizing St. Barnabas was Paul’s traveling companion in the book of Acts. I’m a lot like I’m extra like Paul, I’m intense and passionate, like Paul I love it like Paul Ryan we both had this itinerant thing going on, and Barnabas loved Paul, Paul was a hard person to love, but Barnabas loved, Paul, and just recognizing that Barnabas Les Paul and Barnabas loved me. And, you know, it wasn’t something that I really put I did any research into because you know what was that as the book of Acts and that’s it. A long time ago. It’s not like anybody was tweeting about this man. But it really was just, you know, spending time with him on occasion like on his face day, chatting with him. And, you know, when I had when I had a particular need for intercession asking him to pray for me and it’s okay if your relationships with saints are not emotionally driven right like my relationship with a Barnabas is very emotionally driven and it’s really you know I was friends with him, like really good friends with him. And then I was praying one day on his feast day and I was just absolutely overwhelmed by how much he loved me like sobbing in the chapel. Totally floored, I have never in my life, felt that love by anyone putting God Himself. And I know that Mary loves me more than Barnabas does right because she has more capacity for love but but I’ve never felt that, like, and I felt that with Barnabas that day. But then I have other st friends who I’m just like, Oh, like, You are awesome, like my buddy wants to Peter Kobe has traveled all the way from Japan to Rome, including 3700 miles on foot, you know like that like, it’s not very it’s not like a, an emotional relationship, it’s just like when I’m having a pity party. I know that he’s out there and haven’t like I walked 3700. I need you to walk to the back of the church and try the other door, but it’s not that hard. And so some of these things for me really are, like, the coach who’s like no suck it up, keep going and some of them are the best friend, who I believe on their shoulder and some of them are the person that I really aspire to be like. And so just recognizing that the way that you’re gonna develop a relationship with a fade generally is to try and learn things about them right and sometimes, maybe not sometimes you’re just going to be like oh my gosh I really love this thing. I don’t know why, but I would really encourage people. If you don’t know the same picture well if you don’t have a great relationship with the states to check out, and both the modern phase this comes in two volumes two of my top six silver books. You can also go on my Instagram I have a ton of stories on there and my story highlights at that particular highlights for things of different ethnicities, I think, representation in the face is really really really important. And so I’ve got highlights for black saints and Asian saints and Latino saints and indigenous saints, so that you can get to know some of these stories that we don’t hear that much but if you love tourism, for instance, that’s great. I love that you
love tourism for instance I hosted you know actual tourism for instance and not the second caricatures of Francis hugged a bunny and Torres holds a bouquet of roses I’d like their little more hardcore than we usually paid them to be. But I think that when we get to know some of these more obscure saints, we would get to see elements of the body of Christ that haven’t been highlighted, and it gives us permission to be ourselves fully alive for Jesus.
Ann Losinski 30:09
For sure. One other question I had for you that’s not really related to any of that is a question I asked all of my guests, is what is your favorite Bible passage or verse and why.
Okay, verse, 12, one through four, which says, Therefore, since we’re surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us, and persevere and running the race that lies before, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and protector of. For the sake of the joy that lay before him endured the cross, despising of shame and has taken its place, at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider all handled in opposition to sinners in order that you might not grow weary in your struggle against sin you have left to get the system to the point we’re setting
Ann Losinski 30:55
the ladder. That’s really,
I mean it’s got it’s got everything. So, in the beginning it’s the same, right like so rather than any cloud of witnesses what they’re always pointing our eyes, back to Jesus, the leader perfecter of faith and then it says For the sake of the joy that lay before him which you were that choice right and thinking about Jesus, on Calvary meditating on you and knowing that you were worth all of that suffering and recognizing that everything that he adored, there wasn’t because that was the only way you could say to like we had to grieve that much he had to suffer that much it had to be that awful. No, like, Hebrews says they’re all hindered in opposition from sinners in order that you might not grow weary and just the idea that Jesus, carrying the cross at Calvary wasn’t gritting his teeth and saying this is necessary, he was using cash I just don’t want and to be overcome by discouragement. I want her to be able to bear up under suffering knowing that I suffered first knowing that
Unknown Speaker 31:59
I suffer alongside her
and then just that little Mic drop but the engineers struggle against and you have not yet persisted to the point of shedding blood, you know, the autovoice that he really put in there like, I know that you feel like you’re running really hard at the holiness. But are you striving to bleed. No, your skin in
Ann Losinski 32:23
the whole thing it’s
Unknown Speaker 32:23
so it says consoling and it’s so challenging and
Ann Losinski 32:29
of what it is to be a follower of Jesus.
Ann Losinski 32:34
That’s awesome. Well thank you so much for coming on the show Meg if people want to find you How can they do that.
The easiest thing to do is Google hobo for Christ and you’ll find my website and you’ve got all of my buttons for socials over on the side. I do not blog, super often I do have a podcast that is that I also haven’t updated in a really long time but I’m really good about Instagram, and Facebook and Twitter so you can follow me on there, and stay apprised of everything including I’ve got two books on sale coming out this year so you’ll get tons of information about those if you follow me on social media.
Ann Losinski 33:09
Well Awesome, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show.
My pleasure. And thank you.
Ann Losinski 33:16
And thank you everybody for joining us and I will see you again in the next episode.