Among Women 177: Kitty Cleveland’s new Jazz album – Blue Skies

Among Women 177: Kitty Cleveland’s new Jazz album – Blue Skies

This special edition of Among Women features the vocal gifts of Kitty Cleveland. This week I’m privileged to share in celebrating the debut of Kitty’s new jazz album, Blue Skies. This ninth album covers great jazz standards and this show features several tracks from the album as well as Kitty’s commentary.

Kitty Cleveland is a popular Catholic artist and speaker. Many people have been blessed by her singing of the Divine Mercy chaplet as well powerful Catholic hymns and chants. Her life as a singer-songwriter has spanned many styles and genres and taken her many places to sing and share her Catholic faith.

Don’t miss this show celebrating the music and faith of Kitty Cleveland.

Lenten Almsgiving opportunity: support a Missions company with lay people and families in mission together

Lenten Almsgiving opportunity: support a Missions company with lay people and families in mission together

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 2.23.34 PMYou may remember my friends, Jonathan and Kristen Weiss? They are full-time missionaries supporting married couples, families, and single lay persons in mission work in five countries with Family Missions Company. Different than a missions outreach supported by the work of Catholic religious orders, this apostolate offers lay persons a temporary or permanent mission outreach opportunities.

Here’s a fast recap of the past year at Family Missions Company.

You may also want to listen to the podcast I did with Jonathan and Kristen back during the Bloggers with a Mission campaign for World Missions Sunday.

Donate directly.

Support a Missionary.



photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.

Video courtesy of Family Missions Company.

Among Women 175: An Appointment with God

Among Women 175: An Appointment with God

Allison GingrassThis week on Among Women, as the liturgical calendar brings us to the season of Lent, we talk about the centrality of having a relationship with Jesus. The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, almsgiving are designed to draw our attention to growing in our faith in Christ. I’m delighted to welcome Allison Gingras, a speaker and writer who loves sharing her faith in Jesus with others.  This show profiles Allison’s story of conversion and growth in ministry.

I also open up the Bible and talk about  St Mary Clopas – one of the contemporaries of the Blessed Mother and Jesus — a first century convert who found herself both at the Cross and as a witness to the empty tomb on Easter morning.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women.

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Among Women 174: Contraception is Contra to Our Happiness

Among Women 174: Contraception is Contra to Our Happiness

166556This most recent edition of Among Women finds us talking in detail about the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception with a moral theologian, Angela Franks, PhD. Dr Franks recently authored Contraception and Catholicism, which I endorsed. She is a wife, mother, and professor at the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization at St John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston. Dr Franks’ expertise and advice on this important subject is both pastoral and consoling. Her teaching is based on the truth that God really does want us to be happy, and that the moral life is always possible for us — with God’s grace!

I’ll also be looking at the life of St Mary of Cerevellon, a 13th century native of Barcelona, Spain and her ministry among slaves and others, earning her the nickname, “Mary of Help.”

Listen to this episode of Among Women.

You might also enjoy a previous episode with Dr Franks from the Among Women archives:  AW 158.



Among Women wants to know: What do you love about Pope Francis? Or, what have you learned from him?

Among Women wants to know: What do you love about Pope Francis? Or, what have you learned from him?

March 13 marks the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election as our Holy Father. I’d like to release a special edition of Among Women in honor of Pope Francis’ election, and I need your input!

Tell me, and tell the Among Women audience: Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 7.09.47 PM

What do you love about Pope Francis?


What you have learned from him?

Send me your comments via the combox below.

Or via my email for Among Women:

Or leave them on the Among Women podcast Facebook page. 

I’d love a short MP3 recording of your voice with your comments to add your voice to the special edition podcast! 

You can do this in two ways.

First, use your smart phone voice memo app to record your thoughts and send me the MP3 file to

Second, record your comments at the voicemail I’ve set up for this purpose: 206-339-8834

Thanks for your help!

Remember: I need your comments by midnight on March 11, 2014.

Find the Among Women podcast here, or via iTunes. 



Among Women Podcast 173: Reflecting on Rwanda, with Lisa Hendey

Among Women Podcast 173: Reflecting on Rwanda, with Lisa Hendey


The 2013 Egan Journalism Fellows at the Media High Council in Kigali, Rwanda. Lisa Hendey on far right. Credit: Photo by Kim Pozniak/CRS

The 2013 Egan Journalism Fellows at the Media High Council in Kigali, Rwanda. Lisa Hendey on far right.
Credit: Photo by Kim Pozniak/CRS 

This week on Among Women we explore the reflections of author and founder Lisa Hendey as she talks about a troubling subject:  the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Although this conversation is challenging, in terms of the devastating horror of genocide, and its continued threat in the modern world,  it is also one of hope and the grace of forgiveness amid deep sorrow. Lisa explains the opportunity she had as a recipient of the Egan Fellowship  from Catholic Relief Services, to visit Rwanda last fall. She details the effect the mission had on her, and the seeming miraculous graces she found there amidst pain and heartbreak.

I’m also happy to share a short selection from Lisa Hendey’s 2011 book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, and I’m featuring the story of St Elizabeth of Portugal, a Catholic wife and mother, matriarch and noblewoman from the 13th century.

Listen to this episode of Among Women.

Saving Mothers

Saving Mothers

“The Pro Life Movement has to be about saving mothers.  We need to focus on the women to try to understand what they are suffering.”

-Cardinal Sean O’Malley-
Homily, Vigil for Life, Washington DC, January 21, 2014

It’s an easy equation: save the mother and you’ll save the child in the womb. You might even save a whole family.

I spent a lot of time writing and speaking about motherhood last year, and how the gift of maternity — be it physical or spiritual — is found at the core of what Catholics are coming to know in the last twenty-five years as the feminine genius. And I will do it again in the weeks and months to come.

A woman’s dignity is predicated on the dignity of the human person, and exalted in the gift of maternity. But the bottom line is that respect is the basis, the foundation, of love. All love is build on respect. It is a friendly disposition — this respect — a mutual understanding of another’s right to life and the freedom to flourish. And many times the way we need to do this is woman to woman…. or as I wrote in Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, we need to be about spiritual mothering in action.

Spiritual motherhood allows us to lovingly serve others, not for what they can do for us, or because they love us back, or help make us feel good. It is doing for their sakes. It is doing it for the sake of God, as if God himself personally asked it of us. Spiritual motherhood involves a willingness to suffer, be inconvenienced, be hurt, or taken for granted—and serving anyway.

From a logical standpoint, it will never seem fair. But God’s economy operates with a different scale of values, where giving with no thought of getting makes us better. It makes us more like Jesus.

Then [Jesus] said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” (Lk 9:23–24; cf. Mt 10:38–39; Mk 8:35; Jn 12:25)

Spiritual mothering responds to the lover we cannot see but who is found in the face of our neighbor. It loves for the sake of someone and something –the truth — we hide in our hearts. So it seems crazy, at times, by the world’s standards.

A spiritual mother is a yes…  She makes room in her person, in her heart, in her life for other people because she welcomes them as God’s plan for her for the short term or the long term. She trusts God and opens herself to his plans and his people. He initiates it, and she receives it. She leaves the results, or what she may come to bear, to him. In doing so, she brings forth life more abundant than she could ask for or imagine.

This is about becoming a woman of holy influence, being a life-giver to others. It’s about finding creative ways to love the generation that’s coming up behind you (and maybe your own peer group), through your feminine gifts of receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity. One friend describes it as giving others a soft place to land. It also means leaving someone better off for having spent time in your company.

This is how we will save mothers… by mothering them and befriending them in a myriad of ways. This is what a new feminism looks like. We need to act with concern both personally and corporately in order to renew our culture. And we need to find new models of concrete support for all women, especially those facing pregnancy.

This is why I’m so encouraged by what I see as a new vision for pro-woman, pro-life efforts in the work of The Guiding Star Project. Last summer I interviewed founder Leah Jacobson on Among Women, and have been keeping her and her team of colleagues in my prayers.

Just this week Guiding Star announced a fabulous project in collaboration with Abby Johnson.

Abby Johnson, Founder of And Then There Were None and former Planned Parenthood Director, and the Guiding Star Project, a pro-woman organization committed to giving women Life-Affirming health care, are set to announce that the Brazos Valley Guiding Star Affiliate will begin serving the women of the Brazos Valley [Texas] in early 2014.  “I left Planned Parenthood because I realized that I wasn’t helping women there.  I wasn’t empowering them.  I became pro-life but I have never stopped being pro-woman. The Guiding Star Project, with their vision for community based Guiding Star centers, has finally given me the opportunity to do what I have wanted all along – to help and serve women, while respecting their dignity and the dignity of the unborn as well,” says  Johnson, President of the newly formed Board of Directors for the Brazos Valley Guiding Star Center. “Everyone knows the Planned Parenthood here in Bryan/College Station has closed, but this doesn’t mean that our work here is finished,” she said, speaking to the strong prolife community there, “ this means our work is just beginning. Women in the Brazos Valley were concerned that without the Planned Parenthood they wouldn’t have access to women’s health care.  We are here to meet their need – in a life affirming and truly ‘Pro-woman’ way.”

The mission of Guiding Star is not only going to save mothers, it’s going to affirm them by understanding what’s at the heart of a woman’s angst and concerns.

According to Leah Jacobson, Founder of the The Guiding Star Project,“The Guiding Star Project is about bringing together organizations in a community under a shared philosophy and vision to provide women with real alternatives – real health care, real support, in every stage of their child bearing years.  Whether they find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy and needing support or a home, or whether they struggle with infertility and need help, whether they need a lactation consultant or want to learn how to work with their body’s natural cycles to avoid a future pregnancy, Guiding Star is there to meet their needs in a way that affirms their feminine dignity and empowers them to live their femininity fearlessly.”

“Guiding Star Brazos Valley, which will be the first of its kind, is expected to open in 2014 and will go through three phases of development,” explains Laura Ricketts, Executive Director of the Guiding Star Project who works closely with the Guiding Star Project’s Affiliates in Development, “Phase One will see the Guiding Star Brazos Valley offering a host of Pregnancy Care and Resource services and will focus on the renovating and readying of the Guiding Star Brazos Valley Maternity Home.   Phase Two will include the opening of the Maternity Home.  Phase Three will be an expansion to coordinate services beyond pregnancy support to include lactation consultation, child care classes, fertility care and instruction, birth support and comprehensive women’s health care.  Guiding Star Brazos Valley is designed to be places where women can come and have their needs met in a concrete, pro-active, empowering atmosphere. We don’t make empty promises. We offer substance; something every woman can appreciate.”

Read the whole Guiding Star press release.

Please pray for this need, and if you are so moved, donate!  Find out how you can get involved.

Among Women 172: Good grief, God!

Among Women 172: Good grief, God!

Has a recent death or loss left you grieving? In this latest episode of Among Women I interview Cheryl Amari of who helps us learn about why we need to grieve well — and how our faith helps us to do that. Also hear the words and wisdom of one of the newest Church Doctors, St Hildegard of Bingen, as I share her prose, poetry, and music. Listen here.

Among Women — 2013 in review

Among Women — 2013 in review

Top 5 “Most Downloaded” Episodes of 2013:

 159 Faith-filled Women at Work (With Mary Wallace, PhD)

Mary Wallace, whose dissertation looked at faith in the workplace, shares her findings and her faith. I also share some of Edith Stein’s writings before she entered the convent. We know her today at St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

161 Catholic Pediatricians Make a Difference (With Kathleen Berchelmann, MD)

I also chat about one of my favorite modern-day saints, St Gianna Molla, who, as it happens, was a pediatrician besides her vocation as wife and mother. And it leads into an animated discussion about some of the hot topics in pediatrics – especially in the life of teen girls — with Dr Kathleen Berchelmann.

160 Mary’s Astonishing Motherhood (With graphic designer Katherine Robinson Coleman who designed the cover of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious)

Katherine shares her hopes and struggles as a mother to an autistic young adult, and I share about the relationship of St Joseph and the Blessed Mother – and talk about Mary’s astonishing motherhood—being found with Child, conceived by the Holy Spirit!

158 Greeting Our New Pope plus meet Theologian Mom (With Angela Franks, PhD).

In this episode I reflect on the early days of Pope Francis’ pontificate and his love for Mary – by exploring his visit to the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, immediately following his election. I also have an enlightening conversation with moral theologian, Dr. Angela Franks of the Theological Institute of the New Evangelization.

155 “Woman, you are a Gift!” – A Look at our Feminine Genius (With writer Rebecca Ryskind Teti)

I couldn’t ask for a better topic to help launch my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, than to converse with the ever-thoughtful Rebecca Ryskind Teti – writer and wife and mother.

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United Kingdom



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New York