Catholic Digest: What the World Needs Now — is Spiritual Mothers like YOU!

Catholic Digest: What the World Needs Now — is Spiritual Mothers like YOU!

So happy to see that Catholic Digest is putting more and more older print articles online! As a longtime lover of periodicals, I have to say, I’m loving the new and improved Catholic Digest! It’s blessing me each month.

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Here’s a little snippet from an article I had in Catholic Digest earlier this fall:

Spiritual motherhood means nurturing the spiritual, moral, emotional, and cultural life in others. Not all women give birth to children, yet all women are called to exercise a spiritual maternity in the world—giving care and nurture to others through their own maternal gift. (And, of course, spiritual mothering should be part of every physical mother’s care!)

To understand spiritual motherhood or spiritual maternity properly, we need to broaden our understanding of the gift of maternity. Growing up I considered maternity limited to nine months of pregnancy. Later in life, I read John Paul II’s 1988 apostolic letter,Mulieris Dignatatem (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”) and gained a new perspective.

The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way….This entrusting concerns women in a special way—precisely by reason of their femininity—and this in a particular way determines their vocation…. A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting… (par. 30.)

In this section of the document, John Paul describes the universal vocation of all women, not just women who bear children. God entrusts all women, by reason of their femininity—their design—to care for humanity. Maternal care, in a spiritual way, is not limited to childcare, but should be active in all phases of a woman’s life. Spiritual mothering doesn’t smother or infantilize teens or adults but loves and serves them according to the needs of the person one is caring for. It brings a motherly touch to our human relationships, and to our work—especially the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, is a powerful example. Mother Teresa displayed spiritual mothering in action. Her words, actions, and prayers mothered millions—not biologically, but spiritually.

Spiritual mothers in our midst

You might understand spiritual motherhood by answering the question: Who has spiritually mothered you?

Aunt Pat

My earliest memory of my godmother, whose name I bear, is when she took me into “the big city,” New York. As a child back then, it was a big deal. Aunt Pat made a fuss over me, giving me undivided attention. And I felt…special, doted upon, loved. Today Aunt Pat still remembers my birthdays and other occasions. Though separated by geographical distance, I immediately recognize the cards she sends by mail. Her handwriting on the envelopes is an unmistakably Catholic-schoolgirl-script from a bygone era, full of feminine flourishes. The messages inside are always warm and full of prayers. Her correspondence grounds me, and it reminds where I come from. She teaches me that love stretches over time and distance.

Paula

Paula lived in my church community when I  was growing up. A bit older than me, she befriended me in my teens and remained in my life after I married in my twenties. When I became a mother, I went through a time when I felt like I was drowning in the stress of it all. Paula, a prayerful wife and then mother of three, threw me a lifeline by re-introducing me to the Blessed Mother as a friend and guide. I needed to bring Mary out of the church and into my home. Decades later, I still have the prayer book Paula gave me. It helped me ask Mary to intercede for me, through morning sickness, sleepless nights, and a myriad of new mother woes. Paula taught me that prayer is critical to my vocation as a wife and mother.

Eileen

When our family moved to a new town, I met Eileen, another woman with a devotion to the Blessed Mother. With a quick wit and three boys of her own, Eileen’s door was always open, her coffeepot was always on, and she gave great hugs. I soaked up our many friendly conversations and the Rosaries we prayed aloud around her kitchen table. Like the older women described in the New Testament Letter to Titus (see Titus 2:3–4). Her example deepened my devotion to the Rosary and the desire to be that kind of friend to someone else. Eileen taught me the power of welcome and cheerful service.

Judi

I met Judi in the back of the church in 1996. She stayed after Mass to pray, but accidentally overheard my whispered conversation in a nearby pew. I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer and was expressing shock over it to a friend. Before leaving, Judi introduced herself. She had fought the disease years earlier and simply wanted to show me the face of someone who survived it. That was a holy moment for me. She was a godsend. Judi became hope incarnate to me. We stayed in touch and Judi helped me negotiate cancer treatment and recovery. She was a one-woman support group and mentor rolled into one. In time we shared our love of writing, books, and the Bible. Her favorite Gospel story was the Transfiguration when Jesus’ friends momentarily saw him glorified—a glimpse of heaven on earth! I think of her when I pray that Luminous Mystery of the Rosary. Judi was my friend for ten years until her death. She taught me how to suffer well and live joyously at the same time.

Read the rest. 

Better yet, subscribe to Catholic Digest for just $21.95!

10 Ways You Can Spot a Spiritual Mother! (Read it in Catholic Digest this month!)

10 Ways You Can Spot a Spiritual Mother! (Read it in Catholic Digest this month!)

Scan 132460001I’ve gushed before about my excitement over Catholic Digest’s new layout and renewal under Danielle Bean’s leadership. Let me say, again, I’m pleased as can be not only to pen the Year of Faith column on one of my favorite subjects — The Catechism! — but this month’s issue features my ode to the spiritual mothers in my life, including my Godmother-Auntie, several good girlfriends that God strategically placed in my life at different times, and Mary! Of course none of these gals replaced my own mother’s holy influence. It just goes to show that the feminine genius is not only inherent in women, but it can flourish with encouragement from others!

Here’s a peak from one of the sidebars, from the Catholic Digest feature: “What the World Needs Now is Spiritual Mothers — like YOU!”:

10 Ways You Can Spot a Spiritual Mother…

She nurtures others to become who they are meant to be in God’s eyes.

She recognizes, affirms, and protects human dignity.

She performs spiritual and corporal works of mercy with maternal care.

She helps others by her encouraging words and charitable service.

She prays for and with others as an intercessor for them, especially priests.

She practices the arts of friendship and hospitality.

She passes on what she knows as a mentor when asked.

She is a joy catalyst.

She keeps Christ close in her heart by imitating Mary.

She is a woman of holy influence who helps to give birth to saints

Has someone been a spiritual mother in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the combox.

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Order your annual subscription to Catholic Digest here. You can event get a free trial issue!

4 Magazines for Women: Verily, Regina, Catholic Digest, and Radiant

4 Magazines for Women: Verily, Regina, Catholic Digest, and Radiant

Sara Kerens, Verily Magazine, First Date shoot, March 2013Tonight at 8pm Eastern, Verily Magazine is having a Twitter Party, according to their Facebook post celebrating their debut print edition. (Find it on Twitter: @verilymag, #VerilyParty)

I’ve been watching the growth of Verily, from an online dream to an in-print magazine over the past year, and I’m very happy to see it’s growth, and its beautiful sense of style and beauty that respects both the dignity and the intelligence of women. Their first print issue debuts now, and its cover is on the left. (Yeah, you bet, I’m subscribing, and getting one for my twenty-something daughter.)

Here’s the purpose and principles guiding Verily:

It is no secret that women today are more educated, influential, and affluent than ever before. Yet we report record levels of anxiety and decreased happiness. Is this what we were striving for?

In a world that seems to offer us limitless choices, somehow the modern narrative about women – what we should look like, how we should date, how to be successful, what should make us happy – can ring hollow. So Verily is starting a new conversation – one for those who want a fresh take on life; an honest message that relates to their experiences which is uplifting, affirming, and true.

STYLE

All women desire to be beautiful and alluring. Fashion can serve as an expression of that desire or it has the ability to betray a woman’s true worth. Verily will showcase current fashion trends – from street style to runway – for truly inspirational, wearable looks that complement women and enhance their dignity rather than compromise it.

RELATIONSHIPS

Women have made great strides in achieving educational and career advancement. Yet in their personal lives, many young women still face confusion as they navigate their relationships with friends, colleagues, family members, or romantic interests. Verily will combine empirical research, real stories, and a best-friend mentality for a holistic and positive vision of relationships to which women can aspire.

LIFESTYLE

From being effective at the office to making a house a home, running a marathon, or giving back to the community, what a woman does in her day-to-day life contributes deeply to her sense of who she is. Verily will offer fun, thoughtful articles to inform and inspire the woman who desires to set her own agenda for personal success without shunning her uniquely feminine gifts in order to get there.

CULTURE

No one is an island unto themselves – we are all engaged in the world and participate in shaping the culture. Verily will provide distinctive essays, reports, and profile pieces that highlight empowering stories of real women in the world. With attention to good writing and bold investigating, this section will feature articles on today’s most important issues.

-From Verily’s “about us” page-

 Subscribe to Verily.

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Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 11.55.18 AMHere’s another new magazine that has a growing readership, Regina. This magazine seems to have a more global approach, with stories that come from around the world, it is offered for free, so its production budget is different, but there’s good content on its pages.

Here’s some Q and A with the magazine’s editor, Beverly De Soto:

Q. What made you start REGINA?

A. Basically, I see so many GREAT Catholic real-life stories that are ignored by the media (both secular and religious, sad to say) that I just HAD to. It is unutterably sad. Many Catholics don’t know their religion OR their culture anymore.

Q. What is ‘Catholic’ culture?

A. That is a fascinating question. Fundamentally, since the Church is the foundation of Western culture, everything we think of as being ‘civilized’ ultimately derives from the Church.  What is called “Western” culture is actually based in the Church, which fused the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures and the accomplishments of Greece and Rome, then re-interpreted all of this through the lens of the Faith. Everything – the rule of law, science, technology, the very CONCEPT of a university – derives from the Church.

Q. How is Catholic culture passed on?

A. Through families, primarily women.  Through what is taught – or NOT taught – in a Christian home. Traditions, mores, values – a Catholic family passes these things down as easily as breathing.  However, today the twin threats of materialism and relativism have severely eroded both women’s security and our culture.

The result is what we see today – a landscape littered with broken families and Catholics who are really lost. It feels like a kind of widespread spiritual starvation.

Q. What is the significance of the name, “REGINA”?

A. LOL, well “REGINA” means “QUEEN” in Italian and I thought that ANY Catholic would recognize who THAT Is – Mary, the Queen of Heaven, of course. And one thing is for SURE — we need HER help with this project! This is why we have dedicated Regina to her.

Q. Who are REGINA’s readers?

A. Regina is mainly aimed at women, though about 20% of our subscribers are men. These are people who consider themselves to be serious Catholics, about half of whom attend the TLM (the Extraordinary Rite). There are many who have NEVER attended a TLM, however – whether because it is not available near them or simply because they have never been exposed to the beauty of this Mass.

Q. What is REGINA all about?

A. As you will note from the Winter and Spring issues, we are aiming for the center of Catholicism and seeking to evangelize with beauty, taking as our starting point the topics women care about — ie how to live a beautiful life. We cover Catholic culture in each article, in a humorous, interesting and non-confrontational way. So many in the West have never really been educated or exposed to the true beauty of a ‘Catholic’ lifestyle that we need to go slow, and show them the beauty.

Q. Why is REGINA covering fashion?

A. Fashion is a sore point in the culture, as it has become increasing coarse. TV shows and so-called ‘women’s magazines’  feature actresses and models wearing low-cut or very tight clothing, as well as hair styles and tattoos designed to garner as much (positive or negative) attention as possible.

This hunger for attention is more evidence of what I call ‘spiritual starvation,’ and women imitate these negative role models in daily life – in offices, for example. This results in all kinds of bad situations, including ill feeling among spouses, friends, co-workers and customers.

Years ago the Catholic culture was strong enough to blunt the impact, but now women take their cues from the media.  For them it’s a business — it is all about selling cheap sex, let’s face it. It’s a downward spiral, too, as girls spend money they don’t have on more and more provocative clothing, which brings diminishing returns in terms of male attention and respect.

Regina covers fashion from a classic point of view. The Faith has always known that women’s beauty is a great good, to be prized, not abused. St Thomas Aquinas even wrote about this, from a moral point of view. Fashion is also a great art, and a global industry and it is important, therefore, to cover.

Q. Why is REGINA covering food?

A. Food — what you eat, where you eat, if you cook – has also become politicized. Regina covers food because the Christian table is the core of Catholic families and friends – our table culture, if you will. This has long been known in Europe, but America’s ‘fast food lifestyle’ has all but killed this – taking our health with it

Q. How is REGINA doing?

A. Well, I must say that Our Lady is an EXCELLENT patroness! Regina is growing exponentially, thanks to the help of some committed Catholics like my husband Harry Stevens and our webmaster Jim Bryant. Our readership list has grown 500% since our first issue, which was first emailed as an attachment Feb 14. The Facebook page now reaches 30,000 people per week and we are publishing in German and Spanish too.

Q. Any plans to charge for REGINA?

A. No. Regina is free and always will be.

Q. Plans for the next few issues?

A. I’m SO glad you asked! The Summer issue of REGINA will focus on Catholic England and the Autumn issue is all about Catholic America!

-From Regina’s “our story” page-

Subscribe to Regina.

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photoLongtime readers of mine will know that I’m a contributor to Catholic Digest magazine, and I’ve profiled it in a recent blog post. Catholic Digest, though not specifically aimed at women alone, editor-in-chief Danielle Bean has brought the magazine to a new era where it’s content is concerned. She has also worked to make the magazine  beautifully displayed. The most recent cover is at left.

Subscribe to Catholic Digest.

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Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 12.30.42 PMFor  younger women and teens, you can’t go wrong with Radiant magazine. Targeted for 15-25, this is a great magazine with short to-the-heart articles and resources for young Catholics. A few years back, as Radiant was launching, I interviewed editor and founder, Rose Rea on Among Women. I’ve been pleased to see this magazine distributed at Catholic events too!

Subscribe to Radiant. 

Props for the re-tooled Catholic Digest magazine

Props for the re-tooled Catholic Digest magazine

One of my favorite writing assignments during this Year of Faith, besides my columns online, has been the opportunity to write a 12-month series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for Catholic Digest magazine. These are short 500-word digestible pieces designed to introduce readers to the benefits of becoming more familiar with Catechism, as well as imparting its timeless wisdom.

But more than the shameless promotion of my own writing, I’ve really enjoyed my subscription. Yes, I’m subscribed even though I’m a sometime-contributer — so that says a lot! I was a longtime fan of Faith and Family magazine while it was under the leadership of Danielle Bean, and when I heard she was on her way to become the Editor-in-Chief at CD after Faith and Family left the marketplace

photoI just knew that the Catholic Digest was going to get a deserving make-over both in content and aesthetics. I haven’t been disappointed. Each issue looks better and better.

The latest issue for Feb/Mar 2013 has several good articles on the liturgical season of Lent, plus content on infertility, 20 ways to teach children to pray, how to deal with difficult people, book and movie suggestions, tips for meatless Lenten meals, and ideas for a memorable Easter with your family. There’s even a dedicated section for the men in the family. This month issue’s cover story describes a new made-for-TV Bible series created by Roma Downey and her TV-exec husband.

Let this be one of your family investments for the Year of Faith. Get subscription details here. You can sample some articles that are online under the tabs on the landing page. This might also be a neat gift idea for Easter, birthdays, or Mother’s Day.

Finally, a special stand-alone tribute edition for Pope Benedict is also planned, so you might want to place your order for that as we pass through this history-making abdication of our pope.