On this episode of the Modern Spirituality Podcast, Stephanie Welter, Real Estate Broker with Keller Williams Success Realty, sits down with a special guest - Reverend Scott Donahue. Not only is Reverend Donahue the President of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, he is also the priest that married Stephanie and her husband, and baptized their children.
Good friends already, these two quickly get into conversation around Reverend Scott’s upbringing and how he found his way to priesthood. Growing up in Mt. Prospect, Reverend Scott paints a picture of an idyllic suburban childhood filled with neighborhood kids running around. By the time he reached 7th grade, however, his life took a serious turn with the sudden death of his father.
“I was really influenced by the Viatorian priests and the brothers and their commitment to education, but also their commitment in terms of lifestyle, taking care of people, being inquisitive, compassionate, good listeners, you know, and that stuck with me.”
While a student at Loyola University, Reverend Scott was on track to going to law school, taking the LSATs when, as he calls it, the “hound of heaven” that was nagging him inside.
“So have you thought about ministry? Have you thought about priesthood? And so truly it was very pragmatic. So I went to a fifth year of college and I took some more theology and some philosophy.”
From there, he tells his story of his love affair with the Church and how that drew him to make a commitment that has led him to 40 years of service to the Church this upcoming May.
“I think the great gift in life is journeying with people.”
The pair go on to talk about how important it is to align your thoughts and your behavior and how that is reaching true integrity - the opposite of cognitive dissonance. They also chat about Reverend Scott’s book, Years of Mercy, a collection of stories of ten children he’s worked with at Mercy Home. It’s a book filled with love’s remarkable power in changing traumatic and dire circumstances.
Join these two in a beautiful conversation about the power of love, hope, and living out the Gospel to truly help and inspire others on this episode of the Modern Spirituality Podcast.
Stephanie Welter is a Chicago girl through and through. Growing up in Jefferson Park with her siblings and neighborhood friends, everything about her upbringing, according to Stephanie, was pleasant. Her mom had a saying that always seemed to bring everything into perspective: “I know a bad day and this ain’t one.”
“She completely formed my mindset, which I call the deathbed theory. It's everyday I picture if I was on my deathbed, I would look back on today and, I’d just want one more normal day. One more day of my toddler crying and getting syrup on my good couch, you know?”
Stephanie has taken this positive approach she’s learned from her mom and applies it to all aspects of her life. Everyone has challenges, but for Stephanie it’s about maintaining empathy but not letting emotion control her and always coming up with a plan.
She also shares the beautiful story of how her and her husband came together. From growing up together as kids in the Northwestern side of Chicago never thinking they’d ever end up dating, to getting married, having kids and creating a beautiful life together.
As a person who has dealt with anxiety and panic attacks, Stephanie shares her own personal journey of how she’s been able to constantly remind herself in those moments to take a step back and shift her mindset in that moment. She calls her process identifying her three gorillas: black, blue, and pink or as she translates it: worry, guilt, and dopamine.