Hey, I’m Julie.

My name is Julie McElmurry and I live in North Carolina (I am from here but have been to 23 countries, lived in 8 NC counties plus FL, NY, MA and CT). Proudly, I never have been and never will be a suburbanite. I’ve chosen to live in cities (big and small) since departing from the culturally and physically wealthy Appalachian rural area where I grew up. If you’ve never visited the Smoky Mountains, log off your computer now and drive there.

Mostly, I make movies now.

If you want to watch some short films about women religious (aka nuns), I’ve got those, too. I’ve completed 7 short documentaries so far and my immediate goal is to complete three more in 2021. The reason I’ve learned documentary filmmaking is because I found myself over the years sitting around a table laughing at the hilarious stories of women religious (aka nuns) and one day, realized that filmmaking was a way to capture, preserve and share their stories. You can watch my movies for free here.

Most movies (and therefore people’s perceptions) about nuns comes from images put forth by some really misogynistic idiots. That’s why you’ll see them depicted in the same classical categories you see most women depicted: as ignorant, violent, or salacious. These are images created by dudes. I make movies where the women represent themselves. My movies are much better.

I’m an expert on the writings of St. Francis of Assisi.

If you’re looking for someone to give a talk (retreat, parish mission, presentation) on the writings of St. Francis of Assisi and his companions), I’ll do that for you. I can provide you with a hundred references from people who have invited me to speak on this. I taught a one-week “enrichment” class at the Franciscan Institute which is my crowning achievement academically. I had my name on a journal article about Francis’ Letter to Brother Leo and got to hang out with lots of smart scholars who had given 30,40,50 years of their lives studying this stuff. I learned a lot there and realized (finally, after years of struggle and wondering what the heck I was doing) I learned it so I could share it with others. Special shout-out to the Conventual Franciscan Friars (Immaculate Conception provice at the time) who gave me a scholarship to study there.

I earned the Master of Arts degree in Franciscan Studies from the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University. I am one of just a handful of people traveling the country to give talks on this subject. I earned the Master of Science degree in Religion from Fordham University (and just for good measure, I’ll tell you my undergrad degree was in Recreation Management which means I know how to plan an event and make it fun).

I created a book about St. Francis’ deathbed writing-his Testament.

In 2015, the book I assembled with writings from 40 young people who had volunteered among the poor through Franciscan ministries, Living & Serving in the Way of St. Francis was published. You can find it for sale online. I don’t sell it.

I work in Spanish.

I don’t call myself bilingual, but have given many talks on these writings in Spanish to large and small groups in Honduras and in North Carolina. In Honduras, I was a guest of Farm of the Child . I created and led several unique retreats while there including a big one for the American and Nicaraguan volunteers, for the Honduran House Parents, for the Honduran Franciscan sisters and for the Venezuelan Executive Director, all in Spanish.

Retreats for Catholic Volunteer Network programs.

Although my own year with Jesuit Volunteer Corps was an imperfect year riddled with challenges, I still think a year of service is the absolute best use of a year of one’s life. I served at a homeless shelter for teenage girls in CT. I have since created and led retreats for 10 different CVN member programs, traveling to CA,KY, CO, WV and OH.

Retreats for Secular Franciscans, Capuchin novices and more

I have created and led retreats for Secular Franciscans, for novitiates of the Capuchin Franciscans, staff of Catholic schools, for women in recovery from addiction and more. A highlight has been the opportunity to lead a retreat for the Glenmary Missioners who serve missionary areas in the US, including the tiny Appalachian parish where I grew up. It was like coming full circle when I got to stand before them and teach them about St. Francis’ writings. They were proud of me, too.