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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Saint-Making Starter Kit: Parents Who Love God and Live It In The Home

Saint-Making Starter Kit: Parents Who Love God and Live It In The Home

Happy All Saints Day!

One of the key teachings of Vatican II — is the universal call to holiness — or more simply, everyone is called to be a saint. As I read and share many saint bios and hagiographies  in my writing and on Among Women, I often discover that would-be saints often start out in devoted Catholic families. Not all mind you, but I’d say most.

Vatican II called married couples to live the graces of Matrimony in a daily way… walking the talk — to make of their homes, a domestic church… specifically that parents are to be the first preachers of the faith.

Today in the Huffington Post, there’s a quote that echoes what Vatican II taught us, from University of Notre Dame Sociologist Christian Smith, lead researcher for the National Studies on Youth and Religion. 

“Parents, for better or worse, are actually the most influential pastors … of their children,” Smith said.

Just for history’s sake, let’s dial back 50 years to Lumen Gentium – the key document from the Second Vatican Council.

From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit received in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God through the centuries. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state. [LG, par. 10][Emphasis mine].

We’re a society that loves research and its findings. Today we have more data on faith and the family from the National Studies on Youth and Religion.

The HuffPo piece “No. 1 Reason Teens Keep The Faith as Young Adults” reiterates what the Church’s wisdom has been all along…

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: parents.

Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid-to-late 20s.

In contrast, 82 percent of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults, according to data from the latest wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion.

The connection is “nearly deterministic,” said University of Notre Dame Sociologist Christian Smith, lead researcher for the study.

Other factors such as youth ministry or clergy or service projects or religious schools pale in comparison.

“No other conceivable causal influence … comes remotely close to matching the influence of parents on the religious faith and practices of youth,” Smith said in a recent talk sharing the findings at Yale Divinity School. “Parents just dominate.

Parents, if you need a place to start, to recapture this calling to praying and living the faith in your home, here is an easy way to start: In the last 48 hours I posted the latest Among Women interview with Leila Marie Lawler, co-author with David Clayton of The Little Oratory: A Beginners Guide to Praying in the Home. Listen and start with what works for you. I highly recommend this book!

Here’s a few more resources:

Written by me:

Raising Them for Jesus, at CatholicMom.com

Raising Saints for Heaven (from my book Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious)

The Powerful Light of the Family Table, at CatholicMom.com

Among Women Podcasts:

Raising Saints

The Mom Podcasts

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H/T to Deacon Greg Kandra for sharing the HuffPo story that got me to the keyboard.

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Pray the Rosary… (Resources, and more on this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary)

Pray the Rosary… (Resources, and more on this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary)

Mary with the Infant Jesus, St Catherine of Bologna, 15th century. Source: wikipedia.

Mary with the Infant Jesus, St Catherine of Bologna, 15th century. Source: wikipedia.

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

I’ll go to Mass. I’ll have breakfast with a friend. Then I’m going to get my stitches out from some oral surgery that took place last week.

And I’ll pray the rosary.

In other words, its a typical day. And the rosary fits my life. It fits in my day anytime… morning, noon, or night. I often pray it in the car, or on my walks. Or with friends.

The Catechism calls the Rosary an “epitome of the Gospel (CCC 971).”

Here’s some of my favorite resources about this prayer that has shaped my life over the last thirty years.

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I’ve written about praying the rosary many times. About prayer in groups. About my grandmother’s rosary.

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I’ve got many Among Women podcasts about the rosary — about forming local rosary groups for mothers… plus interviews with several knowledgable guests like Rosary Army’s Jennifer Willits… and author Karen Edmisten with an epic primer on the rosary…  and the rosary and pregnancy with Sarah Reinhard. Plus one of my favorite podcasts of all time — the Among Women listeners sharing what they love about the rosary!

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My most favorite book to pray the rosary with is the Scriptural Rosary. 

The best advice about loving the rosary  and Marian devotion comes from the classic books of St Louis de Montfort.

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Finally, I’ve learned what St John Paul has long taught: the Rosary conforms us to Christ. Outside of the Mass, it is the most powerful prayer we can pray.

Christian spirituality is distinguished by the disciple’s commitment to become conformed ever more fully to his Master (cf. Rom 8:29; Phil 3:10,12). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Baptism grafts the believer like a branch onto the vine which is Christ (cf. Jn 15:5) and makes him a member of Christ’s mystical Body (cf.1Cor 12:12; Rom 12:5). This initial unity, however, calls for a growing assimilation which will increasingly shape the conduct of the disciple in accordance with the “mind” of Christ: “Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). In the words of the Apostle, we are called “to put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27).

In the spiritual journey of the Rosary, based on the constant contemplation – in Mary’s company – of the face of Christ, this demanding ideal of being conformed to him is pursued through an association which could be described in terms of friendship. We are thereby enabled to enter naturally into Christ’s life and as it were to share his deepest feelings. In this regard Blessed Bartolo Longo has written: “Just as two friends, frequently in each other’s company, tend to develop similar habits, so too, by holding familiar converse with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary and by living the same life in Holy Communion, we can become, to the extent of our lowliness, similar to them and can learn from these supreme models a life of humility, poverty, hiddenness, patience and perfection”.

In this process of being conformed to Christ in the Rosary, we entrust ourselves in a special way to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin. She who is both the Mother of Christ and a member of the Church, indeed her “pre-eminent and altogether singular member” is at the same time the “Mother of the Church”. As such, she continually brings to birth children for the mystical Body of her Son. She does so through her intercession, imploring upon them the inexhaustible outpouring of the Spirit. Mary is the perfect icon of the motherhood of the Church.

-St John Paul II-
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 15
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Emphasis mine]

Among Women 185: The Life of Ryan, with Mary Ellen Barrett

Among Women 185: The Life of Ryan, with Mary Ellen Barrett

This latest episode of Among Women may require a box of Kleenex handy. My most wonderful and gracious guest is  Mary Ellen Barrett.

This week we look at the difficult subject of losing a child to death. Blogger and Long Island Catholic columnist Mary Ellen Barrett reflects on the fifth anniversary since the 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 some time, and many, including myself, were glued to the internet for news of him during that search as prayers stormed heaven.

Listeners or blog readers familiar with this event will be encouraged by the musings and memories of Ryan’s mother, Mary Ellen. Those uninitiated will be blessed by the faith of this Long Island family who suffered the keenest of losses.

Since this is Respect Life Month, my goal with Mary Ellen is to talk about the beauty and dignity of Ryan’s life — his Christian devotion even as a young boy with special needs — as well as the ups and downs that he faced in family life and elsewhere. Finally, we discuss the outpouring of support from near and far for this grieving family, plus offer tips for helping others facing a similar grief.

In our saint segment, I once again look at the life of St Anna Schaffer, whose life of prayer and acute physical suffering offers a witness to us for how to make our heartaches and pains a path of redemptive suffering.

If you’d like to read a little bit about Mary Ellen’s life with Ryan, you might enjoy this recent article in Seton Magazine, or this one from Catholic Digest. I’ve left a few more, plus blog posts from Mary Ellen’s blog, over with the episode notes for Among Women 185.

Listen to Among Women 185 right now!

If you enjoy Among Women, kindly leave a rating and a review over on iTunes!

 

Among Women 182: The Power of Forgiveness

Among Women 182: The Power of Forgiveness

Set FreeIn this latest episode of Among Women  my guest, author Genevieve Kineke and I discuss the thorny problem of forgiveness and making it happen in our lives, as related to Genevieve’s book,  Set Free. You may recognize Genevieve Kineke’s name from her writings about the feminine genius, and Among Women listeners may recall our previous interview on the silver anniversary of St John Paul II’s Mulieris Dignitatem. Together we unpack the need to make an concerted act of the will to forgive another, or to forgive ourselves. Such resolve brings freedom and healing, and Genevieve serves up some practical lessons on the subject.

I’m also profiling St Paula, a 4th century saint from Rome who eventually traveled to Bethlehem and assisted the work of St Jerome. Plus you’ll hear where I’m speaking next in the next few months, as well as find links to Catholic sources that are helping bring compassion to those most needy in our troubled world.

Among Women 181: Spiritual Muscle for Life’s Curves (with Jennifer Fitz)

Among Women 181: Spiritual Muscle for Life’s Curves (with Jennifer Fitz)

I’m happy to be back with a new episode of Among Women after an unplanned hiatus due to family obligations and spiritual direction school. In this episode I unpack seven spiritual weapons found in the writings of St Catherine of Bologna (with the help of Pope Benedict). This subject is especially helpful to all of us in a struggle as St Catherine is well acquainted with the spiritual warfare and difficulties that increased as her faith and love for Christ increased. Indeed, struggle and suffering plus grace equal spiritual muscle. My guest on this episode also has some wisdom to share about that.AuthorPhoto1

The Among Women guest segment finds me conversing with my colleague from Patheos and the Catholic Writer’s Guild, author-blogger Jennifer Fitz, the Guild’s vice-president. Jennifer shares her life as a blogger-catechist-author and the good work of the Guild, plus she opens her heart describing how her past experience as a competitive cyclist enlightens her faith today as she powers through suffering when it comes.

Listen to this new episode of Among Women!

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The MOM podcasts: 12 “Best of” Among Women episodes on Motherhood – Bookmark these!

The MOM podcasts: 12 “Best of” Among Women episodes on Motherhood – Bookmark these!

Mother is another word for LOVE! Motherhood is call to raise saints for heaven. (<–this link has an except from my book.)

I’m pleased to look back to the Among Women archives to bring you some of the most memorable conversations I’ve had the joy of hosting. I hope you’ll be blessed.

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AW 179 Momnipotent with Danielle Bean – Don’t miss this most recent podcast dedicated to the feminine virtues that make Moms great! With author and editor Danielle Bean. Plus I discuss Mary’s spiritual motherhood in our lives. Listen!

AW 119 The Interior Life of Mothers - Make no mistake motherhood matters! Join me for a lively conversation with author Dorothy Pilarski about her book that explores that vital truth. Listen!

AW 71 Small Steps for Catholic Moms – They are the dynamite duo behind the book of the same name: Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss. These married women and longtime writers have eight and nine children respectively and give us a glimpse into the meaning of it all. Listen! 

AW 178 New Life in Christ – My guest describes how an unplanned pregnancy in her successful single professional life brought her to her knees and back to the faith. This is a joyous testimony. Listen! 

AW 56: CatholicMOM.com Founder Dishes – Catholic Mom.com founder, author, and social media maven Lisa Hendey takes us through the pages of her first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Listen! 

AW 163 A Name for Eternity – A perfect podcast for mothers and mothers-to-be! Learn all about naming your baby from author Patrice Fagnant MacArthur. Listen!

AW 15o The Rosary and Pregnancy – perfect together! - Hear author Sarah Reinhard’s loving advice from her book, A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy. Listen!

AW 104: Little Ones in the Domestic Church, Part One, and Part Two – A rare gem for mothers getting their bearings in building up a Catholic home. Blogger Melanie Bettinelli  offers sage advice for starting to share the faith with the very youngest members of the family by creating an environment that naturally communicates the faith over time.  Listen to part one! Then: Listen to part two! 

AW 90 The Icing on the Cake - Got little ones? Need some cool — and simple!– ideas for growing your domestic church at home? Meet blogger Lacy Rabideau whose blog Catholic Icing is a favorite! This podcast offers great Lenten ideas, but make sure you check out her blog year round! Listen! 

AW 160 Mary’s Astonishing Motherhood – I teach a bit on Mary’s life with Joseph and her miraculous pregnancy, then I’m joined by Katherine Coleman who talks about her life’s joys and sorrows as she looks back on raising her autistic son, Matthew, to adulthood. Listen!

AW 121 Each Life is a Masterpiece - Moms of special needs children will be encouraged by the life and writing of Leticia Velasquez as she unpacks the wisdom from her collection of stories found between the pages of A Special Mother is Born. Listen!

AW 5 How to Form a Mothers Prayer Group – I am joined by Colette Crowley and together we both share our experiences in founding mothers prayer groups in our locales. My experience with my Mothers Morning of Prayer was a powerful aid to my spiritual life and my mothering. Don’t miss this very early archive from the early days of Among Women! Listen! 

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Summer listening from Among Women’s “Best of” archives — Kitty Cleveland, Sarah Hart, Daughters of St Paul

Summer listening from Among Women’s “Best of” archives — Kitty Cleveland, Sarah Hart, Daughters of St Paul

From the Among Women archive vault: Here’s some great music-laden podcasts featuring a variety of Catholic artists!

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AW 177 with Kitty Cleveland - I love this podcast because I’m a jazz lover and because I’ve been blessed by this “musical missionary.” We’ll sample some of Kitty Cleveland’s earlier religious-themed albums, as I happily feature this breezy new jazz album. Listen for Kitty’s cover of “Summertime” and “Blue Skies”! Listen!

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AW 134 with Sarah Hart – Sarah’s music is perennial in my house – I’m always listening to it! Listen as Sarah opens up about some of my favorite songs, including her Grammy-nominated “Better Than a Hallelujah”, and the song I love to play at BBB retreats: “Wonderfully Made”. Listen!

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AW 96 with the Daughters of St Paul - Listen to the making of a recording as I go behind the scenes with the sisters in the only convent I know with a recording studio in the basement! Listen!

 

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Getting more familiar with the Bible — Among Women podcasts to help you dig in!

Getting more familiar with the Bible — Among Women podcasts to help you dig in!

Summertime = down time for many people. If you enjoy having a summer reading list, consider upping your time spent reading God’s Word — the Bible!

Here’s a few podcasts, drawn from my archives at Among Women, that might inspire you along the way.

AW 92: The Bible and You – listen as Among Women listeners share their favorite bible verses, and I share resources for your bible study.

AW 70: The Professor and St Paul – Professor Mary Ward, a PhD in theology, shares her love of St Paul.

AW 8: The Gospel of Mark – Professor Mary Healy, a PhD in theology, shares her love of Scripture. Dr Healy is one of the key developers and editors of the Catholic Commentary on Scripture. Dr Healy’s book on Mark is here. (You might also get a kick from knowing this is one of the earliest AW podcasts – dating all the way back to 2009)

A few more articles and resources:

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