Lillian Fallon shares her “theology of style” with some members of St. Anne Parish in Pleasant Prairie in March during an outing to a mall. As a form of personal expression, style can help reveal one’s true identity and relationship with God, she said. (Submitted photo)

When Lillian Fallon lost everything she had dreamed of, she turned to prayer, but was still fervently angry with God.

Fallon was the style and beauty editor at Verily Magazine in New York City.

Obsessed with fashion from an early age, she consumed popular magazines and wanted to be special.

She traveled to Paris Fashion Week; photographers took her photo; black SUVs picked her up and people brought her food.

She watched her vision come to life while hiring models and photographers. She received beauty products and other gifts, and was on top of the world.

Then, the magazine laid off the editorial team and Fallon lost her job. She returned to her parents’ home in Pennsylvania and moved back into her high school bedroom. Angry, she struggled to maintain her NYC identity and applied for jobs in New York.

“This wasn’t how my life was supposed to go. It didn’t follow my plot line,” she said. “I was depressed, and my self-esteem was nonexistent. Most of my identity was this New York City girl. I didn’t know who I was without those things and hit rock bottom.”

“Life is not always what we envision,” Fallon told a multi-age audience at St. Anne Parish in Pleasant Prairie in March.

“It is full of disappointment and changed plans, but regardless of what happens, God is present and has a mission he is calling us to,” she said. “We are never forgotten, even amidst billions of people.”

Fallon, 31, is now a freelance style writer from Philadelphia and the customer experience manager at Litany NYC, a Catholic fashion-based label. She spoke to parishioners on the connection between the physical and interior of the human person as seen through personal style.

“There wasn’t a reward for the suffering I was put through and no consolation prize,” Fallon said. “This forced me to do internal work, as I realized that I had no sense of self-worth outside of what I did or how I appeared to others.”

Raised Catholic and home-schooled, Fallon remembered the St. Joseph Novena and prayed it. Soon after, she got a job with her favorite fashion label and began living her dreams in fashion, returning for Paris Fashion Week, and working with famous models and photographers. However, this time, she realized the work was unfulfilling and didn’t want to do it anymore.

“God brought me there to see that I didn’t find this lifestyle satisfying, and isn’t that how human nature is? We are never satisfied and happy until we have whatever dream or item we wanted,” she said. “I was in search of my true worth, and anything that can be taken away is no place to build self-worth. You were not created to be pretty, rich, smart, talented or successful, but God created you because you are wanted. There was no other motive.”

After intense prayer and reflection, Fallon realized God wanted to use her gifts to reach out to others, especially girls and young women. As an Ave Maria University graduate, she recalled a course she took in Theology of the Body with Dr. Michael Waldstein, the definitive translator for St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body lectures while pope.

“I planned to attend fashion school but thought that it might be too materialistic, so when I took Theology of the Body, I learned how the body is manifesting the soul,” she said. “The materiality of the body and clothes are important and can dignify, express and reveal the individual’s beautiful soul.”

Incorporating Theology of the Body and her love for style, Fallon has written her first book, “Theology of Style,” which Ascension will publish in the fall.

“Style can be a tool in aiding human personal expression and help us understand true identity and relationship with God,” she said. “We are made in the image of God, and if you can see yourself in God’s eyes, it helps you to understand how you are made and who God is.”

A section of her book covers modesty and addresses the core problems of self-worth as opposed to shame.

Lillian Fallon encourages followers on her Instagram account @lillian_fallon. Her book will be available through Ascension and major booksellers.

Day for Young Ladies

As part of her weekend in Pleasant Prairie, Lillian Fallon took a group of five high school girls and five adult chaperones for a day that included Mass at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Bristol, brunch, clothes shopping at Brookfield Square and dinner.

According to Jennifer Kinzler — who volunteers at St. Anne Parish with high school ministry, child faith formation, hosting a weekly high school women’s group, and working with youth during summer mission trip opportunities — the experience demonstrated to her what a beautiful role model Fallon was for the high school girls.

“I like how she showcased her worth and dignity as a daughter of the King through her personal style,” she said. “Lillian was sensitive to each girl’s fashions and helped them find clothing pieces they felt beautiful and comfortable in during our shopping trip.”

According to Kinzler, the girls felt comfortable sharing their likes and dislikes regarding various clothing trends with Lillian.

“This experience offered the girls a liberating and creative way to highlight and celebrate their unrepeatable beauty through a medium we each understand very well as women: clothes,” she explained. “I look forward to how each seed that Lillian planted in each girl will take root as these young women continue to mature into who God created them to be.”