How a Catholic American is thriving in Secular France

I was recently on the Jennifer Fulwiler show to talk about my book, Alms: Your Definitive Guide to the Ins and Outs of Catholic fundraising.

To get a free copy of the book, jump to this page. (Warning: there is a LIMITED supply. So, first come, first serve.)

However, we spent most of the time talking about my experience as a Catholic American living in France. (I didn’t mind the detour because my extraordinary life is all thanks to having faith in God that writing this book was necessary.)

More than likely, if you don’t live in Europe, you may think France is predominantly secular and rapidly losing its Catholic heritage and culture.

Well, I’m happy to say that it’s not entirely accurate.

Catholicism is pressing forward and battling the countless heresies (secularism, relativism, modernism) we face.

And through my work of helping Catholic charities, parishes, dioceses, religious orders, and lay apostolates, I see first hand the good news stories of how Catholicism is still alive.

Here are four examples of how I am living a Catholic life deep in the heart of France.

1. I’m surrounded by Catholicism

I don’t need to jump in a car and drive 30 minutes to find something Catholic. Every morning, noon, and evening, the 15th-century church next door to my home rings the Angelus bells. The call to prayer is sounded throughout the village.

Also, I don’t even need a car to get to Mass or visit a chapel. I can walk within 15-minutes to about seven chapels and churches from my home.

#provencefrance passed Notre Dame de la Brume on my bike ride today

A post shared by Brice So-ko-low-ski (@bricesokolowski) on

In fact, I don’t own a car. Everything I need to live is within a .2 mile radius. That includes the grocery store, supermarket, baker, car shop, dry cleaner, and restaurants.

I also personally know the four priests of my village who organize a parish event most weekend. This weekend, I am traveling 30 minutes (this is far for me!) to the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque.

And a little over an hour from my home is the spectacular Basilica of Saint Marie-Madeleine which holds the relics of Mary Magdalene.

2. I’m surrounded by monasteries and convents

I already mentioned the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque. Though within a 30-minute radius of my home, I can visit eight religious monastic communities. Most of them are full of young religious, too.

I love where I live because in between work meetings I get to do sightseeing. #lovelife #hustle #vaucluse #provence

A post shared by Brice So-ko-low-ski (@bricesokolowski) on

The Cistercian Abbaye Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours: http://www.abbaye-blauvac.com/

Carmelite Retreat Center, Notre Dame de Vie: http://www.notredamedevie.org/

Cistercian Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque: http://www.senanque.fr/

Benedictine Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux: https://www.barroux.org/en/

Benedictine Abbaye Abbaye Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation: see the Barroux’s website

Monastère des Redemptoristines: https://www.redemptoristines-st-restitut.fr/

Clarists of Montfavet: http://www.clarisses-montfavet.eu/

Norbertine Canon Regulars of St-Michel de Frigolet: http://www.frigolet.com/

3. My day-to-day allows me time to have a spiritual life

When I worked in the corporate world, I would be working 60 hours a week, coming home late most evenings, and sometimes working on the weekends.

Today, I am not stressed by the constant demands of our modern culture to push, push, and push some more.

I’ve chosen a balanced life and benefited greatly from it. Yes, I’ve given up a few perks, but I’ve gained so many others. I have more time for daily meditation, spiritual reading, weekday Mass, and adoration.

Nature also surrounds me. With minutes, I can walk through vineyard fields and pray my rosary.

I can also connect frequently with religious people, giving me, even more, nourishment for my mind, body, and soul.

4. I can pursue my vocation 24/7 to help Catholics fundraise

I travel the world from where I live to help Catholics fundraise better so they can do more of what they do best: save lives and souls.

Next week I am going to Vienna for a fundraising conference with Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s charitable arm that is active in 44 countries. Caritas raises of $1 billion dollars a year to fund its charitable activities.

And two weeks later, I travel to Rome to prepare for a fundraising conference/pilgrimage later this year.

I highly recommend attending this pilgrimage/conference if you are a fundraiser for a Catholic diocese, parish, charity, religious order, or lay apostolate. You can learn more at this link: catholicfundraiser.net/rome.

The benefits of pursuing your vocation

I’m blessed to be an American living in France because, as St Theresa of Lisieux says, “confidence and nothing but confidence leads us to Love.” I didn’t know things would end up like this, but I had confidence God would take care of me.

You could call “confidence” faith, which is one of St Theresa’s key ingredients to her Little Way.

I’ve had my ups and downs, with my confidence and faith dwindling at times, but I’ve offered this to Jesus, and he’s helped me persevere to today.

Question: How is God blessing you today?

Alms Book Fundraising