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Among Women 192: Finding God in Hollywood and where you are

Among Women 192: Finding God in Hollywood and where you are

Among Women is back!

This episode recaps my summer break from podcasting and returns with reflections on building a strong prayer life to help to keep us in God’s will. In it I unpack these themes in the life and writings of St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Christin Jezak, Official photo courtesy of IMBD.

Christin Jezak, Official photo courtesy of IMBD.

We also find them in the work of actress/producer Christin Jezak, who shares her unique calling to be a Pauline Cooperator, a lay member of the Pauline family with a special media charism. Don’t miss this latest show! 

A special shout to AW listeners Maria, Mary, and Tracey for meeting with me this summer and discussing new ideas for the podcast! Hear all about it on this episode. As of now, I’m going to upload a new show on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month. (This one is for the 30th.)  Listen for more details.

Also described in the podcast, are blog posts (with photos) of the mini-pilgrimages we made this summer to the National Shrine of St Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD, and the Cathedral of St Augustine in Florida.

Listen to Among Women!

Making God a Priority in Your Catholic Home: Resources to help parents be prayer leaders

Making God a Priority in Your Catholic Home: Resources to help parents be prayer leaders

Priorities, to-do lists, goals…. we all get it, we’ve all got so much time and we’ve got to budget it according to what we wish to achieve. The spiritual leadership in our homes must be a priority.

As Catholics, our priorities are directed by the two great loves that could summarize the Ten Commandments: Love God and love our neighbor. And we must be deliberate about that — especially in our families. We must be in relationship with God — that means we pray — and we must share that relationship with our families. Parents need to be prayer leaders in our home. When my children were small we taught them prayers both formal and spontaneous. That and more! (I give real examples from our home in some of the articles I list for Catholic Mom and in the Among Women podcasts.) (Also, if you are a woman reading this, I also give a framework for spiritual motherhood in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.)

Here’s a few resources I suggest.

Three great books:

First, a new book: A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day.61eiluMcKxL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_

Last month on National Review Online, Kathryn Lopez interviews Sr Jane Laurel, OP, editor of the book. Sr Jane Laurel says…

Praying as a family helps us to see with the eyes of faith. We see others and the tasks of daily life in a different light, a light that sets us free from unrealistic expectations about ourselves, others, our time, and “the way things should be.”  Faith also helps us to see all the blessings the Lord gives to us.  As we see His providence and His presence at work in our daily lives, we are filled with gratitude and love.  And, we begin to invite Him more and more into our daily plans and decisions, to see as He sees, and to love as He loves.  Receiving His love for us inspires us to go out in love to the members of our family with this same love.  When family members love one another, they become more respectful towards and attentive to one other.  What we could really say is that they affirm one another’s existence, saying to one another in effect by their attitude and actions: “It is good that you are.” Everyone loves to be around people who love and appreciate them.  So, when family members love and appreciate one another, they are happy.  Thus, when a disagreement or a misunderstanding occurs, the foundation of faith and love are already there, and so opening the lines of communication and reconciliation comes more easily.

To be absolutely honest, it really is a matter of priorities. The things that are important to us are those for which we make time. God and family should be our top two priorities; but we are all weak, we can easily allow other things — technology, sports, social media, and entertainment — to crowd out our time for God and our time for family. We can allow ourselves to get on to the hamster wheel, keeping ourselves so busy that we never stop and take time to think about where we are placing priorities in our lives.  We don’t have to live on the hamster wheel. The Lord wants to show us a simpler way. So the Scriptures tell us, “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The more cares we have, the more we need to rely on God. He can reveal to us where we are off with our priorities and pursuits. He knows those things that will not truly make us happy and the things that will.  Prayer is the way of entrusting our lives to Him and accepting His guidance.  He shows us the things that only create anxiety and frenzy.  He shows us also the things that lead to communion and communication, the things that genuinely refresh us, versus the things that only drain us of energy. His way is much simpler. Making prayer part of the fabric of daily life leads to peace. Through it, parents can also teach their children how to find peace. For instance, if a parent picks up a child from school and realizes that the child is preoccupied with something, the parent would most likely try to encourage the child to talk more about what he or she is thinking and feeling.  After listening and responding to the child’s answers, the parent could say, “Let’s pray about this together.” They can then pray together, and allow God to give them light and peace.  By making prayer the priority, they hand things over to God and this almost instantaneously makes life less stressful. It’s not about what we can do; it’s about what we can let God do in our lives. [Read it all. ]

Second, a book from last year that I’m still recommending, The Little Oratory: A Beginners Guid to Praying in the Home.  by David Clayton and Leila Maria Lawler. Look for the Among Women podcast I list below with Leila Lawlor — one of the most popular downloads in the last year!

Third, also from a year ago, still offers more: Six Sacred Rules for Families: A Spirituality for the Home by Tim and Sue Muldoon.

Articles from my Catholic Mom archives:Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 6.34.10 PM

Raising Them for Jesus

Spiritual Growth in a Catholic Family, Part One, and here’s Part Two.

Make sure you are familiar with Catholic Mom. It’s one of the best guide to family resources out there! For example, 3 Ways to Create a Prayerful Home, or this, Dear Young Family at Mass. Bookmark CatholicMom.com!

Among Women Podcasts:

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 7.09.47 PMAW 186: On Faith, Grace, and Prayer in Marriage and Family Life with Leila Marie Lawler talking about The Little Oratory.

AW 76: Raising Saints for the Church with blogger Laura Lee Richard

AW 104 Little Ones in the Domestic Church, Part One, with blogger Melanie Bettinelli, and here is its Part Two.

Finally, some strong encouragement and straight talk from School of Love in Kansas City.

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PS: (Oh yeah, that vintage photo of me above in the banner photo? That’s the 1989 baptism of my daughter, my middle child.)

 

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

Among Women Podcast 191: Jenny’s IVF Story — a powerful story of loss, healing, and redemption

This is a very important show for the Among Women audience since it is first time we’ve discussed in-vitro fertilization, both in relation to Catholic teaching, AW-1400x1400-logo-300x300and within the life story of a guest. For many years I have searched for a guest who would dare to talk about this subject in a reasonable and faith-filled way. In this special expanded edition of Among Women, I am suspending our normal format in order that I can bring you this important conversation in its entirety. Our focus today is on one woman’s story, Jenny Vaughn, and her personal journey through IVF, in vitro fertilization, and her conversion to a deeper relationship with Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Parental Programming Note: This program is rated PG-13. It contains mature subject matter, not suitable for children.

Go listen now.

There is no quibbling about Catholic teaching on the part of this show, but as we will hear, our guest took a while, for a variety of reasons, to come around to the truth of this teaching. I understand that this is hard subject for many to discuss. We have friends and relatives, who may be Catholic, who have built their families using IVF. There are some people we may love who have left the Church over the Church’s teaching that prohibits the use of IVF. There may be others who have never heard that IVF is prohibited. No matter where we may be on this subject, I humbly offer this testimony of teaching and sharing for your prayerful consideration.

This podcast is also a story of growth in understanding in the life of Jenny. For when we come to know Christ deeper, and ultimately encountering the truth of the Father’s love and forgiveness for us, we can own the truth of knowing our sins and repenting of then. So, dear listener, pay attention to the progressive faith journey that Jenny and her husband undertake, as she talks ever so candidly about the healing she has received in the face of the traumas she and her family sustained as she underwent IVF.

The Catholic perspective is that the use of IVF ignores the dignity of human persons and the dignity of marriage. IVF replaces the marital embrace with invasive third parties, and removes the unitive and procreative means of the conjugal act from the married couple. Plus, the process reduces the dignity of the human person who is created in the petri dish to a commodity, a product of reproduction, rather than being begotten or generated procreativity.

This episode of Among Women also mentions resources to help you learn more about this subject and the teaching of the Catholic Faith with regards to it.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women!

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Among Women Podcast 190: Cultivate your faith in a garden – with Margaret Rose Realy

Among Women Podcast 190: Cultivate your faith in a garden – with Margaret Rose Realy

I’m pleased that my Among Women guest is Margaret Rose Realy, author of A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac and my longtime friend from the Catholic Writers Guild. We discuss the new book and the intersection of faith and the beauty of creation. Margaret is not only a blogger and author, but she’s a Master Gardener. Enjoy this conversation from the Among Women podcast!

The latest Among Women podcast also introduces four new saints canonized by Pope Francis earlier this month — four religious women. (After all, this is the Year of Consecrated Life.)

Don’t miss the newest episode of Among Women! 

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In the wake of Divine Mercy, a powerful testimony from Kitty Cleveland.

We are still in Divine Mercy’s wake.

Here’s a powerful testimony from my pal, Kitty Cleveland, and the answer to prayer that her family received during the Divine Mercy novena.

You may remember my interview last year with singer-songwriter, Kitty Cleveland.

Go listen to that Among Women episode.

Among Women 189: Leading with Humility — talking about “The Prodigal You Love”

Among Women 189: Leading with Humility — talking about “The Prodigal You Love”

In this latest episode of Among Women, I discuss the unscheduled hiatus of the show in the last couple of months, as well as my forays into the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. I also welcome my guest, Sr Theresa Aletheia Noble FSP, author of a new book from Pauline Books and Media, The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. St Theresa is a former atheist who returned to the Catholic faith after encountering Catholics whose authentic faith and joy won her over. In this conversation Sr Theresa offers three tip for helping us invite our loved ones back into the Church… the most important of which is to lead with humility.

Finally we explore the life of a 14th century saint, St Dorothy of Montau, whose humility and gentility won the hearts of her husband to Catholicism, as well as many others. Don’t miss the return of Among Women with this newest episode.

Listen now. 

The Top 5 Among Women Podcasts from 2014

The Top 5 Among Women Podcasts from 2014

Here’s a list of the most popular episodes of Among Women from 2014.

1. AW 186 with Leila Marie Lawler: “On Faith, Grace, and Prayer in Marriage and Family Life”

This episode of Among Women looks at keeping good company with Jesus in marriage and family life. After passing my 32nd wedding anniversary, I opined on some of the wisdom I’ve gained from the graces found in the Sacrament of UnknownMatrimony. In keeping with the gift of the home and family life, I’m thrilled to share an extended conversation with author and blogger Leila Marie Lawler about the book she co-wrote with David Clayton, The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the HomeWe discuss making prayer the center of your family life by establishing a home altar, or little oratory, as a place to daily celebrate the liturgical year in our families.

This episode also introduces the inspirations from the little known mystic-saint, St Umilta (or St Humility). Listen. 

 2. AW 185 with Mary Ellen Barrett: “The Life of Ryan”

Maybe one of the most poignant Among Women episodes… where we look at the difficult subject of losing a child to death. My guest, blogger and Long Island Catholic columnist Mary Ellen Barrett, reflects on the fifth anniversary since the30440_409147118913_1842833_n-540x285 death of Ryan, her 14 year old son who died during a camping trip. The search for Ryan, who at first was thought to be lost, went on for many hours. Many, including myself, were glued to the internet for news of him during that time. Listeners familiar with this event will be encouraged by the musings and memories of Mary Ellen, his mother. Those uninitiated will be blessed by the faith of this Long Island family.

Mary Ellen and I celebrate the life of Ryan — his Christian devotion even as a young boy with special needs — as well as the ups and downs that he faced. We discuss the support from near and far for this grieving family, plus offer tips for helping others facing grief. In our saint segment, I look at the life of St Anna Schaffer, whose life offers a witness for how to make our heartaches and pains a path of redemptive suffering. Listen here. 

3. AW 179 with Danielle Bean: “Momnipotent”

This episode is dedicated to mothers — the physical and spiritual mothers in all of us. I start by exploring danielle_beanthe idea of Mary as a mother to us all. Then in our Among Women conversation, I welcome author and editor of Catholic Digest, Danielle Bean, who discusses her new book and study: Momnipotent! The not-so perfect guide to Catholic Motherhood.  This great book is for Moms who are busy raising families. It’s perfect for personal reading or group study!

Listen to this episode of Among Women.

4. AW 181 with Jennifer Fitz:”Spiritual Muscle for Life’s Curves”

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This Among Women podcast finds me conversing with author-blogger Jennifer Fitz. Jennifer shares her life as a blogger-catechist-author and discusses the good work of the Catholic Writers Guild. She also opens her heart describing how her past experience as a competitive cyclist enlightens her faith today as she powers through suffering when it comes.

Also: I unpack seven spiritual weapons found in the writings of St Catherine of Bologna — especially dealing with the spiritual warfare that increased as her faith and love for Christ increased.

Listen.

5. AW 177 with Mary Wallace: “Working Women, Leadership, and the Devotional Life”

She’s back… Mary Wallace, PhD, from Louisiana State University — Mary, for the second year, makes Among Women’s end of year list of “most downloaded” shows. Together we discuss the feminine genius, and the particular leadership mary-300x205strengths of women in the world, and list suggestions for strengthening the devotional life in working women. In this episode, rather than focus on one particular saint, I offer commentary on adoration of the Blessed Sacrament drawn from the writings of several women saints. We’ll explore the thoughts of St Jeanne Jugan, St Therese of Lisieux, St Elizabeth Seton, St Bernadette Soubirous, St Catherine Labore, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Listen now.

Honorable mentions:

AW 177 with Kitty Cleveland: “Winter Chill Gives Way to Blue Skies”

1688392_601752809894102_357447804_n-393x285Who doesn’t love great music? A truly enjoyable podcast spotlighting the release of Kitty Cleveland’s jazz album, plus inspiring conversation about Kitty’s life in Christ. Listen! 

AW 171 with Sr Grace Remington, OCSO: “The Joy of the Incarnation”

This one ranks among the most listened to Among Women podcasts of all time, but since it was released late in December of 2013, many more downloads occurred into 2014. In this episode, I discuss Christmas through the eyes of  Mary, as told by St Ephrem the Syrian, a 4th century Doctor of the Church. Our guest is a cloistered contemplative nun — Sr Grace Remington OCSO, a Cistercian Sister of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, Dubuque, Iowa. Together we discuss the life of a Trappist nun and Sr Grace’s portrait of Mary and Eve (below)… as well as the abbey’s candy-making endeavors! Listen now! 

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Note: The Top 5 Popular Among Women episodes are determined by “most downloaded” in 2014.

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Other “best of” collections…

Best of Among Women 2013

12 Podcasts for Moms

7 Podcasts On Prayer

7 Podcasts About Conversion

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Among Women on iTunes – Subscribe and never miss an episode!

Among Women website – Subscribe and never miss an episode!

SQPN’s post-Christmas Podcast Marathon This Saturday!

SQPN’s post-Christmas Podcast Marathon This Saturday!

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A podcast Marathon? Yes! Among Women listeners and others may enjoy this fun fundraiser for SQPN, the Star Quest Production Network– a day long event hosted by many of the SQPN podcasters and affiliates. Tune in from 8am-8pm Eastern at SQPN.com. Among Women is an affiliate and I’m happy to ask you to kindly support the mission of SQPN.

Details here. 

Among Women 188: Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood and Ours

Among Women 188: Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood and Ours

This new episode of Among Women discusses Mary’s spiritual maternity, her spiritual motherhood of the Church, and of us! The recent Marian feasts of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception gives the perfect liturgical setting to call women to go deeper with Mary. Not only that, I give my summarization of spiritual motherhood — an aspect of the feminine genius that all women are called to exercise in imitation of Mary, our mother.

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.41.32 PMAlso in this show, I enjoy a conversation with Mary Matheus, this year’s Treasurer of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW). Together we talk about how the NCCW shines the light on the leadership of women in the Church and in the world.

As a special additional feature of today’s show, I’m sharing my keynote address from the NCCW’s 2013 annual conventional — “What the World Needs Now are Spiritual Mothers.” Be sure to listen to that talk after the interview with Mary Matheus.

photoThe theme of spiritual motherhood is very dear to my heart, and I spend a few chapters on this subject in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood. This show features an opportunity to win a free copy of the book in a random drawing I’m having now until Dec 21. Listen for more details on Among Women 188.

Listen the latest show, Among Women 188, or choose a show from our archives. 

Among Women 187: Saintly Models for Charity, Diligence, and Temperance

Among Women 187: Saintly Models for Charity, Diligence, and Temperance

This week on Among Women, I interview author and Catholic Fire blogger, Jean Heimann. We discuss her blogging life and her new book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues. This new book profiles saints who model the virtues we all need. Traditionally, Catholics have trusted there are seven heavenly virtues that help defeat the seven deadly sins — the root sins responsible for all our sins and mistakes in life.

UnknownOn this episode of Among Women, we focus on Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, St John Paul II, and St Augustine who shine in the areas of charity, diligence, and temperance. Charity, diligence, and temperance are virtues that help Christians fight the vices of pride, sloth or laziness, and lust or lack of self-control (especially when it comes to sex, food, drink or any other over-indulgence).   You might want to know what saints and virtues the rest of the book covers.

They are:

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Model of Charity
St. Agnes, Model of Chastity
St. John Paul II,  Model of Diligence
St. Joseph, Model of Humility
St. Catherine of Siena, Model of Kindness
St. Monica, Model of Patience
St. Augustine, Model of Temperance

Listen to Among Women today!

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