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On Leadership, Motherhood, and Changing the World

An Interview with Erin Monnin

Erin surrounded by her lovely family.

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We lately connected with Erin Monnin, a Catholic wife, mother, entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and social media influencer. Erin is a former FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary, a Tepeyac Leadership graduate, a Bible study leader, and co-host of the “Catholic Leadership for Civil Society” podcast. As a dedicated Catholic leader and professional, her faith permeates every aspect of her life, and she sees the times we live in as a great opportunity to evangelize through our words and actions. Here’s what she shared with The Catholic Professional.

We love your book! Tell us about your involvement with this project. How did it come about? How did it unfold?

First of all, I must say that all the glory goes to God. I am extremely honored He chose me as one of two vessels to spread the important message of Catholic Leadership for Civil Society. God’s other vessel, Cristofer Pereyra, was working on this project and realized that this book needed to be in the hands of the laity quickly. So, in December 2020, Cristofer invited me to write the book with him. I am a writer and had actually spent several months managing and writing for Tepeyac Leadership Inc.’s blog. Because of these things, Cristofer believed I was a great person to partner with on this project. And I was honored to do so!

Two months after saying “yes” to being Cristofer’s co-author, I found out I was pregnant, which made things on my end rather difficult and slowed me down a lot. But, in God’s perfect plan, the project continued to unfold over the next year and a half. Cristofer and I split the chapters evenly and wrote most of the book in 2021. It was not easy by any means, but the Holy Spirit guided the whole thing and made this book what it is today. We ended up self-publishing the book on Amazon, which was the right decision, but definitely no walk in the park. After months of editing the book and getting it to its final state for publishing in both paperback and Kindle, we finally pressed “Submit for Publishing” and put it into the Lord’s hands. He is never outdone in generosity and has seen to it that this book get published and that its message reaches far and wide. Cristofer and I are in constant awe of all that He has made possible through this project!

What has it meant to you as a wife, mother, and a professional to publish CLCS?

To have published Catholic Leadership for Civil Society has meant something special in each area of my life. Writing this book really challenged my husband, Joe, and myself to work as a team and support one another through the process. There were several days, nights and weekends that I dedicated to writing, both while I was pregnant and postpartum. While I was pregnant, it was a sacrifice of time that Joe and I could’ve been spending together. During my postpartum season, Joe would take over watching our daughter while I completed each phase of the book in its final stages. He certainly supported, loved and encouraged me throughout the process, and I strived to do the same for him. To have published a book in the early years of my marriage is something I am proud of and will forever be grateful to God for. To have a loving husband who empowered, supported, loved and encouraged me through the writing and publishing process is also something I am deeply thankful for. God has been good to me in my marriage and in all the things He’s called us to in the short time we’ve been married. Publishing this book is one of the many ways God has asked big things of us. Being the Lord’s disciples as a married couple has not been easy, but I know He is making good things come from our sacrifices and our commitment to glorifying Him.

Catholic Leadership for Civil Society: A Practical Guide on Authentic Lay Leadership.

Publishing Catholic Leadership for Civil Society as a brand-new mom was wild, to say the least. Being pregnant with my first child while writing the book, and then publishing the book while learning how to be a parent is an experience I’ll never forget. Aside from the difficult parts of the experience, though, what publishing this book means to me as a mother is quite extraordinary. I’ve always endeavored to be the best example of Christ’s disciple that I can be for those in my life. But, when I became a mother, that intensified exponentially. The reality is Joe and I are responsible for getting each other and our children to Heaven. And that doesn’t start when our children are “old enough to understand.” Rather, being an example of Christ for your children starts the moment (or dare I say before the moment) they are conceived. All that said, I take raising my daughter and our future children (God willing) very seriously. To have published this book as a first-time mom is so special to me. Not only did I write this book while carrying my daughter in my womb, I finished writing it and self-published it while beginning to raise her. There were countless hours spent working on this book while sitting on the floor of her bedroom and watching her, while I was nursing her, and while she took her naps. After publishing the book, she accompanied me during book signings, podcasts, and other book marketing experiences. My lifelong dream was to be a mom. And you know what else? It was one of my dreams to write a book. God made both of those dreams a reality simultaneously. One final thought: to the women who believe that having children will destroy your dreams, that is the biggest lie you can ever be told. Babies and dreams can happen at the same time!!! I’m living proof of that. And you can be too.

As a working professional, to have published Catholic Leadership for Civil Society has probably been one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. At this stage in my career, I’m always looking to make connections and find new opportunities for collaboration with others in the community. This book opened the floodgates for new connections and opportunities. It’s been overwhelming in a really good way! All the glory goes to God. I continue to be in awe of all the blessings He’s made possible in my life because of this book.

What is the central message of your book and why does it matter?

The central message of the book is this: As lay Catholics, it is not an optional prerogative to be a leader in civil society, but our duty as baptized children of God. True lay Catholic leadership is meant to be lived in secular society by infusing it with the Truth of the Gospel.

This message matters because all too often, we see lay Catholics camping out at their parishes, but not taking their faith outside of church walls and into the world. The Catholic Church has so much knowledge, wisdom and a wide variety of resources to offer its members. As faithful Catholics, it’s our duty and responsibility to educate ourselves on the Church’s teachings—teachings based on the Truth that Jesus proclaimed while on earth—and then infuse secular society with the Truth. Instead of going to secular resources for answers, we must turn to the Church to inform our consciences and our worldview. This message is urgent and necessary for all lay Catholics. We are standing on the ruins of Christendom, and it is our duty to reclaim this world for Christ!

Erin and Cristofer during the book signing event.

What have you learned from this experience? What would you share with other young Catholic women who want to balance professional aspirations with family life?

Through this experience, I have learned my limits. Writing and publishing a book is no small feat. And it’s especially no small feat writing and publishing a book while pregnant and going through the season of postpartum. God is good and He made sure this project came to fruition through His all-powerful will. But He definitely asked a lot of me. I’ve learned an even deeper meaning of the phrase that goes something like this: “nothing in life worth doing is easy.” I’ve also re-learned that with God, all things are possible.

To young, Catholic women desiring to balance professional aspirations and family life, I would say this: Know your limits. Pray unceasingly for the strength to do what God is asking of you. Know when to say “yes” and when to say “no” (or pray to know when to say these things!). Always put your family first. No professional achievement or success will ever come close to the joy, happiness and fulfillment you get from being a spouse and a parent.

What is next for Erin Monnin?

What is next is whatever the Lord wants. Although, to be honest, I hope what’s next is not a lot. I’m exhausted and ready for a break. The Lord has asked a lot of me lately, and of course, I want to do His will. But I’m tired, and I just want to slow down and make the most of the time with my daughter in her infancy—time that I’ll never get back—and just put a halt to the craziness and busyness of life for a while. There are dreams I’ve had for many years that I keep getting a taste of, but that have been pushed to the side when other, seemingly “once in a lifetime” opportunities have fallen into my lap over the past few years. The Lord knows the desires of my heart and I know He has a plan for granting them. I hope what’s next is Him granting me those desires. I’m putting it into His Hands and praying the prayer I’ve prayed for much of my life (so much so that it is tattooed on my wrist): Jesus, I trust in You.

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