This episode is dedicated to mothers — the physical and spiritual mothers in all of us. We celebrate the coming of Mother’s Day by first exploring the idea of Mary as a mother to us all. Then, in our conversation segment, I welcome author and editor of Catholic Digest, Danielle Bean – one of my favorite people — who discusses her new book and study: Momnipotent! The not-so perfect guide to Catholic Motherhood. This great new book is for Moms who are busy raising families.
As we celebrate the 50 days of Eastertide, I’m so happy to bring this new episode of Among Women to you featuring my interview with my dynamic friend, TJ, who shares her reversion to the faith and the powerful transformation that God brought about in her life… from faith in God as a young child and teen, to finding her faith slipping away when life’s sorrows mounted. Years later, an unplanned pregnancy brought her to her knees, and something powerful happened when TJ cried out to God.
I’m so glad that this episode finally got uploaded. It was pre-empted last Thursday by my pre-travel check-list that revealed my foible of a having a an expired passport. Yikes! I was flying to Canada the next day to give a retreat. The passport renewal process took all day and then I was gone for three days on retreat. On Monday I needed to drive to my parents’ home out of state and that brings us to today…
So this podcast has a free drawing for my book (in honor of St John Paul’s canonization) you’ll want to take advantage of — and its ending quite soon– tomorrow! And there’s some out of sync Easter greetings because I recorded this show last week. So I’m a bit behind the news curve, but what can you do? I’m glad that the Easter season is 50 days long!
I hope you’ll listen and be encouraged.
The long pontificate and life of St John Paul will have a lasting impact on the church until Jesus returns. Given his canonization today, I thought I’d share with you some of John Paul’s gifts to the church, and extraordinary accomplishments, that have held meaning for me through the years. He’s been an inspiration to me since I was 18, a college frosh when he was elected. I’m so grateful that in 1979 I was among the youth who greeted him in New York, as I chaperoned a trip to see him. (More on that below.) Decades later in Rome, I was, again, among the throng at a 2004 papal audience alongside my husband and daughter. Both experiences were unforgettable!
Today I woke up at 4am to watch the canonization. This, after giving a women’s retreat at Saint Benedict Parish in Halifax, NS, that highlighted our new Saint’s writings and teachings! But I could not miss it “live”. And as I sat there in my bed in my hotel room before I had to catch a plane home, all the fondness for this Saint flooded back to me. It’s not just who he was, but what he wrote and taught that has inspired me and helped to shape me as a Christian.
Here’s my Top Ten List of Inspirations from St John Paul II:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church - This was a monumental achievement, as it was the first update to the Roman Catechism in over 400 years. From my archives: some commentary on catechism trivia.
- His Marian Devotion, especially through his Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and his writings on Mary, including Redemptoris Mater and Rosarium Virginis Mariae. The latter gave us the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. I’ve been personally inspired by John Paul’s devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on his life.
- The feminine genius, as described in Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Women… and other related homilies and writings, such as Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). I truly believe these were the fruit of the Saint’s devotion to Mary, our Mother. These specific works also had a positive influence in my own life, and I tell that story in my book… which I’m giving away in a free drawing here.
- The Theology of the Body - a series of papal audiences and teaching given over several years on human love, sexuality, and anthropology. You can find classes in this area of study here. In the US, there is a Congress this summer.
- His Apostolic visits to 129 countries around the world — including 7 trips to the United States.
- The myriad of saints he canonized.
- Restoration of the Sistine Chapel.
- His books, outside of his magisterial teaching, that are now read in popular culture, especially Crossing the Threshold of Hope and Love and Responsibility.
- The Jubilee Year 2000 (and the years of preparation for the new millennium).
- World Youth Days (I never did get to attend one, but I was at a special gathering for youth in Madison Square Garden with JP2 in 1979.)Below is a favorite quote from WYD 2000.
It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
Dear young people, in these noble undertakings you are not alone. With you there are your families, there are your communities, there are your priests and teachers, there are so many of you who in the depths of your hearts never weary of loving Christ and believing in him. In the struggle against sin you are not alone: so many like you are struggling and through the Lord’s grace are winning!
Thank you St John Paul for your holy influence in my life! St John Paul, pray for us!
Yesterday I was happy to share some studio time with two of my favorite media guys from the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr Chip Hines and Dom Bettinelli. The show opens with film critic, Fr Chip, giving some of his thoughts on the new movie “Son of God”. And then I was introduced.
We talked about the church’s positive message for women as presented in my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious on the radio show “The Good Catholic Life”, produced in the studio at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.
It was a wide ranging discussion and I’m grateful for the questions that were asked.
Thanks to the blessed, beautiful, and bodacious, Johnnette Benkovic, the host of Women of Grace on EWTN, for a great week together of shows talking about the feminine genius and all it means for us as Catholic women…. knowing our dignity, gifts, and mission! Much of the conversation over the five days covers ideas from my book, and what I’ve learned of the positive message that the Church teaches regarding women. Please share these with women you know!
Again, big time thanks to Johnnette who offered an EWTN debut to a new author, giving her a shot at reaching a new audience. I am truly grateful.
Here’s a recap of the archived shows in case you missed them. It’s a conversation that builds over the course of each day, so you may wish to view them in order.
For more reviews or interviews regarding the message of my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, go to Ave Maria Press.
For more content from Johnnette Benkovic, including book resources, radio and television, go to Women of Grace.
My Among Women conversation with Joanne McPortland about her trip to Lourdes and other shrines in Europe.
A link to add your petitions to Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
Learn more about the Lourdes shrine in France.
Visit the Grotto at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD.
This week on Among Women we think about the coming of Christmas through the eyes of Mary, as told by St Ephrem the Syrian, a 4th century Doctor of the Church. We examine some of his Nativity Hymns, in a departure from our usual saint segment that typically profiles women saints — after all, he is talking about Mary and he’s a Church Doctor!
Our guest today 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!
My favorite quote from this apparition:
“Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”
(Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego)
Unrelated to Guadalupe, but now my favorite new Mary-related quote from Francis’ latest apostolic exhortation:
She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives.
(See Evangelii Gaudium, par. 286 )
From my Patheos archives, a cool post by Maria Johnson.
From the Among Women archives, going back a few years to Among Women 37: my Blessed are They segment features details about Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the “Among Women” segment features a little Christmas miracle that took place in a little boy’s life… one of my friend’s who will forever be “God’s Will” to me.
Photos and video of the Shrine to Mary in Mexico.
Book on the subject.
My new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, is on sale now!
Click here for links to find the book and BBB gift items!
The Back Porch is where I love to visit. Here it's coffee and conversation, and where the faith-sharing is often a friendly mix of catechesis and cannoli. It's a place where I can be unplugged... yet connected to the people and things I care about. It's also the name of my blog.
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