My story is not all that uncommon. I was raised Catholic, but fell away from my faith. I would’ve probably called myself agnostic or atheist for most of my adult life. When I began my career, I became fascinated with meditation. It was the early days of Headspace, but I began using it regularly along with the other popular meditation app Calm, and though I liked them, always felt like something was missing – like I was being pulled towards something deeper.
I began to ask around and, to my surprise, began to discover the deep, meditative, and contemplative tradition within the Catholic Church – traditions that are hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Techniques like Lectio Divina, the Ignatian Examen, Carmelite Spirituality, Gregorian Chant, and Liturgy of the Hours. Methods through which you meditate on, instead of just the breath, words from Scripture, God’s presence in your life, or spiritual images or scenes.
I sat down one day, googled how to do Lectio Divina, opened up Scripture to a random page, and ended up meditating on the word “Hallow” in the Our Father. It changed my life. It brought me to tears, to the deepest sense of peace and meaning I’d ever experienced, and passionately back to my Catholic faith and to the Church.
This is the idea behind Hallow: to find a way to share the beauty, peace, and power of the Church’s spirituality with the world. We believe that this spirituality has the potential to radically change our lives. To lead us to real peace, purpose, love, and to a real relationship with God. And we believe that if we’re able to combine this beautiful spirituality with the world-class technology & design it deserves, it might not just bring peace to our lives, but to the world.
And what more important time than now? We are in a broken world. One of disease, division, anger, hate, stress, anxiety, death and suffering. After a long year we are tired and weary. We’re searching, now more than ever, for peace and for hope.
We don’t claim to have all of the answers, just that we’ve got a pretty good idea on where to start:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28
In December of 2018, by the grace of God, we launched Hallow: a Catholic prayer and meditation app. The app has over 1,000+ meditations with everything from meditations on the Daily Gospel or Rosary, to Bible Stories by folks like Jonathan Roumie to help calm your mind at night, to beautiful relaxing hymns and chant, to Bible Studies like Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year. You simply open up the app, pick your guide, choose your length (anything from 1 minute to an hour), press play, and close your eyes.
Over the last two years, but especially during COVID, we’ve seen extraordinary growth. Before the pandemic, a little over a year after our launch, we had around 500,000 prayers completed through the app, but over the last year that number has grown to almost 10 million. The pandemic has been such a difficult time for so many, and what we’re seeing is a ton of folks really searching for a sense of peace amidst all of the pain, and we’ve been humbled that the app has been able to help them find it in God:
“This app has been an answer for my weary soul. Tears pour as I try to impress on you how deeply I am impacted by the guidance into simply being with God. This is where my soul is finding peace for the very first time.”
“I hate quoting an old, overused cliche, but I’ve been very lost. And I think for the first time in a while I may be found.”
“Hallow has been a miracle in my life and has made returning to the faith so much easier”
We’ve also focused intently on how to build community into the Hallow experience. It’s incredibly important to journey through our faith lives together, so we’ve created things in the app like community prayer challenges that we all journey through each month together, and private Hallow family groups that you can create with your friends, parish, or Bible study to share intentions, reflections, and prayers.
The Hallow community is growing incredibly quickly and everyday we get a ton of requests from our Hallow community members for more beautiful prayer and meditation content, more ways to connect as a community, more partnerships with amazing Catholic creators, and for more language and guide options.
Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve partnered with Katherine Boyle, an incredible, mission-driven investor at General Catalyst, to lead a new round of funding for Hallow of just over $12M. With this new Series A funding, we’re thrilled to be able to invest in more Hallow content, to continue to build out a world-class, mission-driven team (we’re hiring!!), and to invest in reaching out to a broader audience of folks, not just those who go to Mass every week, but to everyone who’s searching for God – especially those who have fallen away from their faith.
Every decision we’ve made, from our public-benefit corp structure to this new round of financing, has been the result of deep prayer and consultation with our spiritual advisors, to ultimately land on whatever choice we thought would most aid our mission of helping the world to grow closer to God.
In building Hallow, our goal is to act as a tool for the Church’s mission. We’ll continue to rely heavily on our key partnerships with the Church, and especially on our growing group of advisors, led by Bishop Kevin Rhoades, to make sure that Hallow always stays 100% authentically Catholic and aligned with the Church.
We believe there are a lot more people out there just like me: searching for a connection to something bigger, for a deeper sense of peace, or for a closer relationship with God. If we can help just one of them to start a conversation with God – to discover His love and His peace – it will have all been worth it.
Some More Quotes from the Hallow Community
“I’ve felt closer to God than I ever have before”
“Life changing. Truly awesome.”
“This prayer app has been a godsend during my current Covid health challenges.”
“This app shares a fresh, new way to pray. It feels like a new friend to take my hand and pray with me. During this covid19 lockdown, it was just the thing I needed. It feels like a gift from God.”
“Hallow right now is bringing me back to my faith and I will see where it goes. I abandoned my Catholic upbringing because I struggle with religion being the root of so much division and war in our world. I have been meditating for the last five years and have a daily practice. I’ve just recently introduced Hallow into that daily practice and am taking great comfort in welcoming God back into my life. The last five years my meditation practice has brought great peace and purpose to my life but what I didn’t realize until I started meditating with Hallow is there was also a loneliness that I never notice or named until I started Hallow”
“I just wanted to thank you for bringing Hallow to my attention. I have been distant from God for many years, and even not believing in him for some of those years. I have been struggling to find my way back to him. Having used Hallow for the past three days has really helped. The first day was a little awkward and hard to sit through, but even with only three days in, I can notice it becoming easier and it is definitely helping me makke time to spend with God and it’s getting me back into a regular prayer routine. Prayer has seemed to be the hardest thing for me to get back into on my journey back to God. It’s good to see technology being used for good. Thank you again brother 🙏.”
“Hi Hallow team, I subscribed to the app a few months ago and love being led in prayer. My best friend’s brother was recently fighting leukemia for the second time. Their family is Catholic, but not practicing, so they called me to help them with contacting priests for anointing and what not. I gave my best friend the rosary I had on me and sent them the Hallow app to download to help lead them. They prayed frequently, especially in these last couple weeks. My best friend told me that she got to pray a rosary with her brother right before he passed away. I’m telling you this because not only has this app been amazing for my own prayer life, but it has had a profound impact on my friend, her brother, and their family. Thank you so much for what you do, this app has been so amazing since I first tried it.”
“By far the best app on my phone.”