God is at work exactly where we don’t expect him: in quirky characters, unexpected changes of plans, and the brokenness of the human condition. Even when we don’t have all the answers and don’t know where to go, the path is made by walking.

-Jean P. Kelly, Author




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About Jean

Portrait of the author when she had all the answers.

Jean P. Kelly believes in the power of stories, both hers and others, to give hope, build faith, and improve communities. 

Over the last 30 years, her essays and feature articles have been published in local, regional and national publications and websites.  She regularly contributes essays, cultural commentary, and stories to both the online and print edition of U.S. Catholic. She often explores in her work the intersections of faith, intellect, and writing and reading as forms of prayer.

Jean considers herself a “lectio-divina evangelista,” who teaches in the award-winning podcast, Read. Pray. Write. that spiritual reading is sometimes the only prayer that works, especially in times of desperation. The ancient monastic practice of slow reading and contemplation saved her from destructive and co-dependent relationships by offering easy access to peace of mind. In a heart-centered space even the suffering can listen, heal and accept insights that come from a loving God through words, music, and life experience.

She is Associate Professor of Journalism at Otterbein University in Central Ohio where she teaches writing, branding, graphic design and podcast storytelling. Together with her students, Jean puts faith in action through community-based research and service learning projects in urban neighborhoods and student-directed production of her podcast. She teaches community leaders and students alike how storytelling can change the world for the better.

Rising & Converging
Wishing Flannery would walk out that porch door so I could tell her what an inspiration she is to me as both a writer and person of faith.

Jean earned her Ph.D. in mass communication at Ohio University where she was a Scripps Howard Teaching Fellow. She also holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting, and a master’s degree in journalism.

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Recent Writing

About Social Justice

How St. Hildegard inspired this nurse’s care for the dying

Finding Family in Unlikely Places, Sojourners

An Artist Finds His Calling Painting a City’s Forgotten Faces, U.S. Catholic

About Faith

On a pilgrimage to Brian Doyle’s hometown, I encountered joy

A Real-Life Refuge, U.S. Catholic

Companion in Exile: Flannery O’Connor, U.S. Catholic

Finding Lenten Answers with Lectio Divina, Columbus Catholic Times

Retreat from Loneliness, Columbus Monthly

We Need More Women in the Lectionary, U. S. Catholic

An Avid Reader? Consider the Practice of Lectio Divina, U.S. Catholic

The Value of Irreverence, Made for Ordinary Time blog

What My Dad Taught Me about Holiness, U.S. Catholic

Eileen Egan: The peace advocate often cropped out, U.S. Catholic.

Sr. Simone Campbell: A nun on the bus, U.S. Catholic.

A Communion Conundrum for Catholics with Celiac Disease, U.S. Catholic

My Daily Bread-lessness: A Celiac Sufferers Prayerbook, Sick Pilgrim

About Family

Schooled in Family Cooking, Columbus Monthly.