Young alumni from Notre Dame realized that in a hectic world, a modern tool can help us with an ancient prayer.
Once upon a time the work day ended at 5 p.m. and weekends were for personal time. Anyone in the workforce today quickly learns this is too often no longer the case.
But thankfully, there are apps and other tools to help restore a sense of balance to a work-heavy life. And one app offers a bit more than others.
Hallow was created by a group of Catholic friends and Notre Dame alumni. The app is inspired by the secular meditation apps available on the market. Unlike those apps, Hallow goes beyond just helping users relax and be mindful. Hallow helps users have a daily conversation with God.
Alessandro Di Santis, one of the of the group of friends behind Hallow, told Aleteia that when his seven-day work weeks at a major financial firm started weighing him down, he tried a secular meditation app called Headspace.
“It was physiologically helpful,” he said. The sessions helped him relax and feel calm. But after a few weeks of using the app he started asking, “What do I do with that now?”
Di Santis discovered many of his friends were struggling with the same issue. With those friends, he started exploring the ancient Catholic prayer practice of Lectio Divina –– slowly reading the Gospel and letting the words seep in and lead to a resolution to change. Inspired, the friends worked together to create an app that could guide them through daily sessions of Lectio Divina.
The friends felt the app was responding to their own needs, so they decided to share it with other friends and relatives. They distributed that app to about 100 people and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. One friend even discerned a religious vocation thanks to daily Lectio Divina.
In Spring of 2018 the friends “got serious” about their app — quitting jobs to dedicate themselves to full-time app development. In December of 2018, Hallow launched publicly and was downloaded 5,000 times in the first month.
The public version of the app, which is available for iOS and Android, features guided Lectio Divina sessions using the Gospel of the day, guided meditations, and a guided Examen — a daily examination of your day and your self.
Users can pick from a five-, 10- or 15-minute prayer session. The app also includes a guided Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
For those who include journaling as part of their prayer, there is a daily Spiritual Writing session that starts like all the other meditative prayer sessions, but includes prompts to direct your journaling. For those who might be new to this style of meditative prayer, the app includes a series of TedTalk-style talks about meditative prayer in the Catholic tradition.
Hallow is a paid app, but offers a 14-day free trial. Like other apps the experience is somewhat customizable: there are two narrators’ voices to choose from and background music can be customized. Users can also set up a daily prayer reminder.
Hallow comes with a ringing endorsement from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who says, “Hallow is an excellent resource for people searching for deeper spiritual lives, especially the younger generation of Catholics today. It helps make clear that a relationship with God is and can be extremely personal and can be a great source of peace, joy, and strength.”