Welcome to the Fruitful Hollow!
The Fruitful Hollow is a Catholic resource and community for those who struggle with infertility. Here we hope you will feel heard, find understanding, dive into Church teachings and be inspired by stories of fruitfulness in the wait. We pray that this space will help you to pick up your cross and carry it wherever the Lord calls you. As we walk this journey together, may we grow in holiness, virtue and wisdom.
Here at The Fruitful Hollow we publish weekly blog posts, create monthly resources, and host a mentorship ministry. You can subscribe to our email list to make sure you never miss a thing, and follow us on social media (@thefruitfulhollow on Instagram, The Fruitful Hollow on Facebook) to connect with the community. We’re so glad you found us.
Founder | Director
Lauren Allen married the man of her dreams, Sean, in Jan. 2020. They spent their honeymoon in Rome, Italy and were able to receive the Sposi Novelli from Pope Francis. Lauren is a born and raised Texan and public school choir director. Sean and Lauren have two beautiful sons through adoption, Peyton and Mitchell. She loves spending time with her family, pets (Tucker, and Trudy), singing, quilting, and witnessing about PCOS, LUF, and their infertility journey. She has a special devotion to Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Michael the Archangel, and is a fan of "Blessed Is She". On Jan. 21, 2021 while driving around listening to the Lord, she heard Him say "Your cross is meant to be carried." The Fruitful Hollow was born that day. Lauren is passionate about providing valid, Catholic resources to help those carry the cross of infertility with grace.
Managing Editor | Social Media Coordinator
Katie is a British editor and proofreader who specializes in Catholic and Christian publications. She married her husband in 2016 and is extremely grateful for the gift of their marriage. She carries the cross of primary infertility and is a proud aunt and godmother to many little ones who bring light to her life, and mother to a little saint in heaven. She loves to express her creativity through crafting, scrapbooking, sewing and baking.
Theological Editor | Writer
Chelsea Voboril married her husband, Matt, in 2014 in her little Kansas hometown. She holds a Master's Degree in theology from Rockhurst University and Holy Apostles College and Seminary with a concentration in bioethics. As God would have it, the cross of infertility has been with her for most of her marriage, and she has been encountering her own bioethical journey in real time. Her passion projects include learning about the grey theological areas of infertility, and how couples with infertility can find spiritual, mental, and financial support.
Communications Coordinator | Writer
Serenity Quesnelle married her husband Andrew in September 2017 with the hope and belief that they would be parents before their first wedding anniversary. Little did she know God would have a different plan for her. After countless doctors appointments, medications, and procedures she still has no explanation and is left with the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. As a Catholic convert, she’s fallen in love with the traditions of the Church and knows that her faith has been a pillar in helping her navigate the grief that comes with carrying the cross of infertility. A jack-of-all-trades but master of none, Serenity loves photography, floral design and is currently a learning coordinator for virtual learning.
Resource Coordinator | Writer
Ellen is an American girl now living in Canada with her husband. They have been married since 2016. With a career background in education and experience working in the Church, Ellen has a heart for helping students reach their full potential academically and to discover a love of Jesus and of living a life with Him. She is a lover of starting small groups to grow in faith and fellowship, and is passionate about finding ways to live out Jesus’ call to the abundant life, no matter what season of life you find yourself in (John 10:10b). Ellen is happiest when found with a good book, pausing to capture God’s creation with a photograph, or enjoying a hot cup of tea and dessert with family or friends.
Sisters of Hannah Coordinator | Writer
Kristin hails from Central New York but she is a Jersey girl at heart. She is passionate about her faith, family and the New York Yankees. She married her best friend in 2010 and after 7 years of infertility they welcomed their son through the blessing of adoption. Previously, she served as Director of Youth Ministry for her linked parishes, Pre-Cana Mentor, Hope for Bereaved co-facilitator, and Operations Supervisor for an emergency alarm central station. She has studied the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and introduced the daily examen and principles to adults and youth alike. She is devoted to accompanying others on their journey through infertility and discovering God’s graces in the ordinary moments of life. In her free time, Kristin enjoys cooking, writing, hiking and swimming.
Emily Frase is a south Louisiana native living in northern Virginia with her husband and two children. She founded the blog totalwhine.com in 2018, where she shares her deep passion for living all aspects of the Catholic faith in a joyful and honest way, especially marriage, motherhood, NFP and fertility awareness. She is the co-founder and president of the nonprofit organization FAbM Base, with a mission to make fertility awareness accessible to those of any age or faith. She has been featured in FemCatholic, Theology of Home, Vigil Magazine, Letters to Women podcast, and The St. Philip Institute.
Brandon Joseph Palmer
Brandon is happily married to his wife Anna and lives in Eastern Oregon. He greatly enjoys spending time in Our Lord’s creation and likes to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and snowshoe. He has been Catholic all his life but had a reversion in recent years. He enjoys a special devotion to St. Joseph, who embodies all the virtues of a faithful Catholic man.
Mary Thissen is a Catholic wife and mother to toddler twin boys. She and her husband suffered many years of infertility and pregnancy losses before finally giving birth. She is a healthcare data analyst, writer, and aspiring spiritual director. Mary desires to use the gifts she has been given to bring healing and hope to women affected by infertility and pregnancy loss. She lives in East Central Illinois with her family.
Marie is a born and raised Midwestern, having grown up in Des Moines, Iowa; then spending her college days in Kansas at Benedictine College, and immediately moving to Kansas City, Missouri where she and her husband have built a life together. After quickly learning that having children was not going to be an easy journey, Marie became a FertilityCare Practitioner to help others discover as much as possible about their fertility health. In 2022 she started Fullness of Life (fullnessoflifecoaching.com) which is a ministry for those going through infertility and/or pregnancy loss. Her mission is to bring others who understand these crosses together to support one another and ultimately find healing in our Lord Jesus Christ by living their life fully right now. After years of infertility, they have two little saints in heaven and a little boy on the way. In her free time she loves being outside with her dogs, doing anything artistic, and traveling with her husband.
Lauren is a cradle Catholic living in North Carolina. She has been married to her husband since 2013. She has lived experience with infertility and pregnancy loss. With the help of NaProTechnology, she welcomed a child in 2018. She has a devotion to St. Gianna, Fulton Sheen, and Our Lady. In her free time, she enjoys watching Fulton Sheen's Life is Worth Living.
Kimberly is a two-time graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mental health and counseling related fields and is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. She previously worked in pro-life ministries, volunteered in youth ministry programs, and served as a school counselor for 8 years. She now shares stories through her personal blog, Healed by the Hem (@healedbythehem_), helping others find hope and wholeness in Christ while navigating suffering and loss.
Katie Woltornist is a New Jersey native now living in Alexandria, VA. She is the founder of Behold Visio Divina, a ministry that helps women understand their dignity through pondering the feminine genius of Mary in art. Through books, group formation, online community and workshops, Behold gives women the opportunity to grow in their relationship with God and one another. Currently, Behold has seven published books and has groups within the United States and internationally. You can access Behold through their website, instagram, or facebook.
Gillyan is a New Yorker married to a former Marine from New Mexico. After living in 4 time zones over 5 years, they have finally settled their family in the Midwest where neither of them feels fully at home which keeps everyone on their toes. She is a Sisters of Hannah mentor, adoptive mama, sourdough bread enthusiast and lover of all written things. Her favorite Bible verse is John 3:17 (no, that wasn't a typo!) and you can usually find her dancing barefoot in the grass.
Erin Kinsella is a Consecrated Virgin currently residing in Ottawa. She has worked in youth, young adult and campus ministry for almost 20 years. Erin is one of the hosts of the In the Thicket podcast, which is a podcast about finding hope in suffering. She completed her Master of Theological Studies through St. Augustine Seminary in Toronto and wrote her thesis on the Theology of the Suffering Body.
Writer | Favor Fertility Ministry, Founder
Danielle Thompson is the leader and founder of Favor Fertility Ministry that the Lord has gifted her in the midst of believing for the miraculous in her womb. She is from south Louisiana where the Catholic faith is rich in its culture. She attended Louisiana State University where she graduated with a degree in Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising. Danielle and her husband, Terry, married in January of 2015. In October 2021, they became Mommy and Daddy for the very first time through foster care to two precious children, a daughter and a son, whom they will soon be adopting. Danielle is radically on fire for Jesus. Serving in the Kingdom of God has always been her deepest desire. Through what the enemy meant for harm, the Father has turned for his good and placed the calling of ministry over her life. Ministering and serving women in the fertility community has been her biggest joy and honor. Writing never was an interest to her in school. However, the Holy Spirit has inspired her words that she has shared over the last eight years, and it has become one of her most treasured, creative outlets. Nonetheless, writing is the very thing that led her to the ministry she has today.
Elise has been married to her best friend since 2016 and lives in rural Canada. She’s a polyglot who has studied 7 languages and uses 3 daily. Though she carries the cross of primary infertility, God has made her life fruitful in many other ways. She is a spiritual mother to many and is blessed with beautiful godchildren, nieces and nephews. In her spare time, she loves to read, bullet journal, draw and do calligraphy, play piano and bake.
Mary Bruno is an author, speaker, Creighton FertilityCare Practitioner and co-founder of FAbM base (fabmbase.org), a non-profit organization with an online fertility awareness database promoting fertility awareness education, access and solidarity. In 2022 she recently published "Twelve Stripes Deep: How Infertility and Other Suffering Delivered My Greatest Joys", a bestselling book that unpacks infertility, spiritual motherhood, authentic women's healthcare and more. She's been married to Chris for almost 10 years and they live right outside of New Orleans, Louisiana with their beautiful adopted daughter, Bella. Find her @WhiteLotusBlooming and @FAbMbase on Instagram.
Writer | Texas Right to Life
Rachel Bush was involved in pro-life activities from a young age. As she grew up, Rachel learned members of her family had chosen abortion, adoption, and parenting in the wake of unplanned pregnancies and could see that the life-giving options gave hope while the abortion experience only provided pain. While studying journalism at the University of Texas, Rachel was accepted into the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship with Texas Right to Life and helped establish the campus pro-life club. In 2014, Rachel was hired by Texas Right to Life to mentor students in the Fellowship as they teach their peers and their community the importance of protecting innocent human life from conception to natural death. Rachel is also a graduate student in the School of Counseling at Divine Mercy University.
Brittany is an enthusiastic advocate for a good book, strong coffee, and a hopeful heart. After battling years of infertility, she and her husband welcomed their first child on September 11, 2016. While balancing time between life with a preschooler and a husband who travels for ministry, Brittany dances professionally all over Southern California where her family currently resides. You can follow her journey on Instagram at @BritCal
Faith is a midwestern girl hailing from the suburbs of St. Louis, MO, where she lives with her husband of 5 years, their son, Joseph, and their daughters, Lydia and Junia, who was conceived after over a year of secondary infertility and related Napro-technology treatment, including surgical intervention. She graduated from Lindenwood University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and currently works part time for a local pregnancy resource center. She muses about all things Catholic femininity alongside one of her dearest friends at hersoulproclaims.wordpress.com. She is the lover of a good plotline, ice cream at any hour of the day, finding and creating beauty and the message of Divine Mercy. She encountered Jesus and immense spiritual healing in a new way in the midst of her secondary infertility and carries the hope that what God has done for her heart, He wishes to do for every beloved daughter, no matter their suffering or struggles
Fiona Furman is a British cradle Catholic with a devotion to Lourdes (having travelled there every year for over 30 years!), the elderly and evangelisation – especially helping other Catholics to understand and love their faith. She has been married to Martyn, a convert from Orthodox Judaism, since 2007 and lived with undiagnosed endometriosis since she was 13 years old. Diagnosed finally after 17 years, the condition’s growth eventually led to her needing a full hysterectomy in 2018. She works as a communications manager, plays the guitar and ukulele, sings in the church choir and just about everywhere! Having recently discovered sewing, her home office has been transformed into an overcrowded craft room! She dreams of owning multiple alpacas one day, but fears this too may not come to fruition!
Sr Gabriela belongs to the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (COLW) which was established in 2004 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. This community is part of a new form of consecrated life called an “ecclesial family” which invites sisters, brothers, priests and laity to share in its charism. Drawing on the spirituality of Walsingham, Mary’s Annunciation, their charism and mission has vocational and incarnational character. COLW has been referred to as a “vocational maternity ward” as they strive to help those who come to them, especially the young, to find their vocation and live it out with all the fullness of life and love.
Laura Golden grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, the oldest of six kids! After graduating from University of Nebraska Medical Center with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing she served for two years as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary, where she met her husband, Tyler. She now lives in Warren, Minnesota, with her husband and two daughters, Ellie and Harlee. She is passionate about educating and empowering women and couples with knowledge about their cycles as she works as a Creighton FertilityCare Practitioner during her kids’ naptime and after bedtime! You can follow Laura on Instagram at @holyfamilyfertilitycare
Elizabeth (Liz) Miller, LMSW
Elizabeth (Liz) Miller, LMSW, is a social worker by trade, but a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend first. After experiencing the bumpy road of infertility in multiple ways since she married in 2014, Liz appreciates the NaPro Technology trained doctors in this world and the friends and family who have supported her and her husband along the way. Her two sons are a testament to God’s miracles and the perseverance that the Lord gave her in searching for answers to her ongoing fertility struggles. She is passionate about encouraging women with fertility concerns to seek help and learn about the effects endometriosis, PCOS and other diagnoses can have on fertility. Liz is an advocate at heart, previously serving teenagers in a Midwest urban ministry and now working with the elderly in senior care. She considers spending time in the sunshine and drinking decaf vanilla cappuccinos part of self-care and would do just about anything for family.
Jennifer Nelson is the founder of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Relics. She is married to Derek, a man with an abundance of patience who puts up with all her crazy ideas and they have six beautiful “Gianna babies” aged 14 to 2. She holds an MA in Systematic Theology from Seton Hall’s Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. She loves the saints and figuring out which saint can help pray for various dilemmas. She does not consider herself a writer, but her friends tell her otherwise and the Holy Spirit keeps making her do it against her will!
Dana Nygaard, LPC
Dana Nygaard is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker,
wife, and mother. Nygaard is a down-to-earth, cradle
Catholic with a heart for the New Evangelization. Her unique
blend of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, authentic
Catholic spirituality, and a splash of humor provides her
clients and audiences with practical solutions that have lifechanging effects. Inspired by the desire to help individuals
and married couples seeking emotional, psychological, and
spiritual healing from a Catholic psychotherapy perspective,
she earned her counseling degree from Dallas Baptist
Read more about Dana here.
C. J. Parke
C.J. Parke grew up in Florida but has called DC her home for the past 7 years after moving there for college. She works at the Catholic University of America, DC where she got both her bachelors and masters degrees in History and Library & Information Science. In between helping students navigate their own college experience, C.J. enjoys reading with an iced chai latte or watching the latest Marvel movie. She also volunteers at the Kennedy Center and believes that often the closest way to listen to and learn about God is through all forms of art, and both ordinary and unexpected little encounters throughout the day.
Dr. Lauren Peterson, PT, DPT
Dr. Lauren Peterson, PT, DPT is the clinical director and co-owner of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of Oklahoma City. She specializes in pelvic floor, vestibular and orthopedic physical therapy. Dr. Peterson is one of four CAPP* certified practitioners in the state of Oklahoma. She wants you to know that there are treatment options for your pain and pelvic floor dysfunction, and that you don't have to go it alone. If you are unsure about your pelvic health, or you want to see the FYZICAL Difference for yourself, schedule a free consultation today.
*Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association
Jana Zuniga Pingel
Jana Zuniga is a Catholic artist and designer based in Colorado Springs, where she resides with her husband, Tim. She is the founder and owner of January Jane Shop, an online boutique for Catholic art and goods that started in 2020. Jana is a former Catholic art teacher, pregnancy counselor and missionary. She earned her BA in Studio Art from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana in 2016. Her favorite pastimes include cooking, hiking, folk concerts and planning themed parties.
Sr. Philomena, Daughter of Mary
Sr. Philomena, Daughter of Mary was born and raised in Michigan, USA. In 2010, she discerned a call to religious life and entered the Queenship of Mary Community in Ottawa, Canada. In 2016, she professed perpetual vows. Sr. Philomena enjoys reading, writing, spontaneous adventures, quality time with friends and loved ones, a good cup of tea, and most recently is discovering the beauty of nature in a new way. Currently the Queenship of Mary Community is in the process of building their motherhouse on the outskirts of Ottawa. To learn more about the Sisters or how you can support this project, visit www.queenshipofmary.ca.
Fr Christopher Shackelford
Fr Christopher Shackelford is a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas. In 2021 Fr Christopher will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. During these many years of ministry, he has served in eight different positions of ministry. He is currently based at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Channelview, Texas, where he is proud to have been pastor of this bilingual Catholic community for over 17 years. He uses his ability to communicate in both English and Spanish to better pastor people from a variety of backgrounds. He is truly a spiritual father with great compassion for those who are suffering and has a gentle way of speaking directly while giving advice or teaching. Fr Christopher has a great passion for God and for the Catholic faith as well as an obvious joy in serving other people. He is also proud of being a native Texan and uncle of eight nieces and nephews. In his love for his parish family (as well as his biological family), Fr Christopher always has a way of making everyone feel part of the family of God and reminding us that we are all created and saved by a loving God.
Rebecca and her husband were married in 2018 and have been journeying through infertility ever since. They conceived and quickly lost their precious baby on the feast of St. Anthony in 2019, naming their baby Antoine after this patron of the lost. They are currently pursuing adoption but, in the meantime, are practicing the virtue of patience thanks to their fluffy Shih Tzu puppy. Rebecca is an aspiring academic and self-confessed political nerd who loves to play piano, take walks with her pup and bake desserts that can accommodate her extended family’s dietary restrictions.
Brittany Wahhab married her best friend and soulmate in August 2016 with the hope they would be pregnant by the end of their first year of marriage. God has taken them on a different journey and their marriage has borne fruit in other areas of life. Brittany spent many years working in the travel industry after studying abroad in Southern Spain and graduating college with a BA in Global Communications, and is now pursuing a MS in Clinical Mental Health with a special focus on trauma-informed care. She currently works alongside her husband, managing marketing and events for their café and catering company in Wisconsin. She is a Catholic convert who is passionate about the intersections of Catholicism, science and psychology. In her future work as a therapist, Brittany hopes to support people from all walks of faith, specifically helping the most vulnerable in the refugee, asylum seeking and immigrant populations to own their right to be treated with human dignity as people created in the image and likeness of God. Her greatest Catholic influences are St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena and Pope Francis.
Katie Wood lives in Virginia with her husband of 10 years and their 5-and-a-half year-old son. She is a special education teacher turned Catholic school librarian who loves to read, knit, and bake just about anything. She is also the author of Waiting with Mary: a Seven Sorrows Devotional for Catholic Women facing Infertility and the editor/some-time contributor to the Springs in the Desert podcast. You can connect with her on Instagram @TheJoyfulLeap.