In the wee hours of the morning, while her husband and children peacefully slumber, Leila Miller sits bent over her computer, tapping out her latest blog post. LittleCatholicBubble.blogspot.com has thousands of followers all over the world, and not a few of them are atheists.
Parish: St. Joan of Arc, Phoenix
Apostolates: Motherhood, FOCCUS mentor couple, LittleCatholicBubble.blogspot.com
The glue that holds her faith together: It has to be the Eucharist. At the end of the day we are Catholic because the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life; Jesus is the center of all. You take your eyes off Him or off the Eucharist, and what do you have? Nothing.
What she loves about being a Catholic: There’s no existential angst in being a Catholic. I know who I am. I know why suffering occurs in this world. I know where I’m going. I know who made me and I can put it in a context that is coherent and cohesive, so there isn’t any turmoil interiorly. Even with the turmoil outside, I know I live in a cohesive, beautiful tapestry of truth. It makes sense, so life makes sense to me.
So how did a mother of eight children wind up writing one of the most widely read Catholic blogs on the Internet? Miller, who graduated from Boston College with a degree in English, co-wrote a twice-monthly column in the Arizona Republic back in the mid-1990s.
“It was a Gen X editorial column about objective truth,” Miller said. “In some ways, it led me into the Church.”
Though raised Catholic, Miller said that her catechetical formation was weak. In her mid-20s and raising three children, she decided she would become an Evangelical. Her mother — a convert to Catholicism — gave her a bit of advice.
“She told me that I needed to find out what I was leaving before I left,” Miller said. She also gave her Karl Keatings’ “Catholicism and Fundamentalism.” Miller, a self-described “revert,” never left and eventually became an RCIA instructor. Her husband, a Jewish agnostic, later joined the Church, as have numerous friends and relatives.
Fast forward to 2010, and the circle of contacts she’d made on Catholic Internet sites encouraged her to begin her own blog.
“They knew I understood doctrine and could explain it in simple ways,” Miller said. “They said, ‘We need you to be out there teaching the faith.’ I did it kind of for them.” The blog developed a following.
One fateful day, she posed a question to atheists. Traffic on LittleCatholicBubble began to mushroom.
The blog, she said, is a way to evangelize an increasingly secular world.
“I get many emails from around the world and from around the country,” Miller said. “Many of them are atheists, many of them are lapsed Catholics, and many emails confirm for me that this is helping people come to Christ.”
A portion of the blog is devoted to teaching the basics of the faith. Clicking on “Little Teachings” takes surfers to a listing of topics such as knowing God’s will, Mary’s perpetual virginity, indulgences, purgatory and doctrine versus discipline. There’s even a link to a newsletter for those who suffer from scrupulosity.
“My passion is to teach the faith in very simple ways, so that everyone can understand that it makes logical sense,” Miller said. “And it seems to be working.”
With eight children ranging in age from 22 to 4 years, Miller said her kids have taught her a few life lessons of their own.
“They have taught me over the years to let go of a lot, which is wonderful,” Miller said. “It’s a great spiritual exercise to let go of control all the time. You’re forced to when you have eight children.”
One blog post about parenting garnered 12,000 shares on Facebook.