With a child on her lap and a rosary clutched in hand, Kristin Reilly opens her Instagram phone app at 6:45 Central time each morning to pray with hundreds of people she has connected with online.
The full-time banker and mother of seven runs an Instagram account @manyhailmarysatatime, which has almost 30,000 followers.
Every morning from her home in a suburb of Chicago, Reilly invites her followers to pray with her online, starting each day with a special intention as requested by her followers.
“I truly believe the rosary can work miracles in your life, if you acquire the daily habit of praying it,” Reilly, 37, said. “Your soul will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and you will recognize God everywhere and in everything. As a result, your life will become more peaceful.”
Reilly, who is originally from St. Paul, Minn., was first introduced to a life with the Holy Spirit when she was in her early 20s and in college. Though she grew up in a Catholic home, like many cradle Catholics, she fell deeply in love with the faith when she fell in love with the Holy Rosary.
“In my late 20s, I was married, and when we were expecting our third child, we bought our first home, and my husband lost his job,” Reilly said, explaining that her family was having financial troubles and couldn’t pay its mortgage. “My mom suggested we pray the rosary during Lent because she knew how stressed out we were. That was almost eight years ago … and it’s the only habit that has truly stuck with our family. It brings us peace and direction.”
Now Reilly talks about prayer life, mental health, spirituality and discernment on her blog and YouTube channel. She interviews Catholic speakers and influencers on the faith, and shares Marian reflections and stories about the healing power of prayer.
In 2016, Reilly launched her blog and Instagram, initially targeting Catholic moms juggling work and family life.
“Please know that I am in no way an expert at finding balance as a working mother,” she writes. “Every day is a struggle. And I want you to know that you are not alone in the struggle.”
As her popularity grew on social media, Reilly began one year ago to use Instagram’s live-stream feature. The views increased, with people posting their prayer intentions in the form of emojis and public comments, and Reilly invited guests and friends to pray on both Instagram and YouTube with her.
Reilly realized that virtual prayer groups can foster genuine communities — from working moms to those in classrooms, nursing homes and hospitals.
She features priests, nuns and laypersons who are “experts in spiritual living,” asking them how to improve spirituality and prayer life.
As for the 6:45 a.m. prayer time, Reilly wants to start each day in prayer and in close relationship with the Blessed Mother.
“The Blessed Mother to me is the ultimate human example of living a life of sanctity. She is not God; she is us,” Reilly said. “If families acquire this habit, they will unify their hearts and grow to love God.”