This episode had one goal: to blow your mind. Okay, well, it had another goal too, to help you fall steeply, deeply in love with Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day.
Our guest for this episode was Sister Maria Meza, a Marian Sister of the Diocese of Lincoln, who shared her vast knowledge, deep love, and amazing story about Our Lady.
First, Sister walked through the history and the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady. She emphasized the cultural and historical differences that existed in the 1500s that helped us to understand this story so much better.
Second, she explained what lessons Mary had to teach the native people of Mexico by the symbolism in her image.
Third, Sister explained the scientific wonders that researchers are still discovering today as they continue to understand the "Greatest Relic in Existence Today."
Finally, Sister shared her own story about how Our Lady saved and shaped her life all the way from her infancy until now.
You don't want to miss this episode or you will miss out on Sister's spunky, passionate, humorous, and loving take on this beautiful gift that God has given us in the tilma and in our Lady of Guadalupe.
Check out Sister's PowerPoint to see some of the images and explanations she used in this episode. Please do not use her personal photos for any purpose other than sharing her story.
Photo Credit: Thank you to Catholic News Agency for producing such a helpful image of Our Lady!
On this episode with Noel and Sara, they made a goal to make this the year their advent was intentional and focused. They discussed how it is so easy to get swept away with the business and planning of the season.
Sara laid out the three main things Advent helps us to prepare for:
1. Jesus coming at the Nativity in the context of salvation history.
This week we had the great privilege of speaking with a personal heroine of both Noel and Sara. Betty Vertin hails from Hastings, NE where Noel grew up and where she met Sara as her teacher.
Betty always stuck out as a model of persistence, joy, and faith. She is a mother of six and wife to a wonderful, joyful man. She blogs at weathered-storms.com. We highly encourage you to check out her beautiful writing and witness on her site. You won't be disappointed.
Betty spoke about suffering through her own testimony and the crosses God has given her. She shared about her troubled childhood where she was in and out of foster care and emergency protection. Suffering touched her in many ways during those years as she was a child with no sense of safety. As a college student she was able to try to lead a more normal life where she attended classes and ran track and fell in love with a goofy, attractive man who led her to entering the Church and to marriage.
Marriage has brought a new round and a new kind of suffering. But this time the suffering was in the context of a family and of deep, great love. Betty has three boys who all have a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It is genetic and always fatal. She shares the sorrow and pain she has experienced watching her sons "constantly losing things." Every skill they gain they then slowly lose as the disease progresses. But Betty and her family decided early on to respond to suffering with positivity. She shares with her children that there is always a reason for suffering and that they are one of a kind. Their suffering is not an accident, it is a chance to be extraordinary witnesses for God.
In her time with us she shared that even though she is not a stranger to suffering she still has those reactions we all have where we want to be angry, ignore the real world, and hide, but she always hears God's voice that urges her to keep going and to look for joy. She follows that voice daily, searching out joys and counting each one of them.
Betty shared early on that her favorite saint is Saint Mother Teresa who she always knew would have loved her as a foster child and in her suffering. She draws great inspiration from her quote: “Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
Finally Betty shared the difference her feminine heart makes in helping to relieve the suffering of those around her and how it so neatly compliments her husband's masculine heart.
This episode we had a long distance guest, Krista Steele, from Columbus, Ohio.
Krista is a counselor with a masters degree in social work. She has great insight on finding balance and happiness in our hectic American lives. She also is one of the hosts of another Catholic podcast called The Narrow Gate. Check it out!
In this episode:
Krista’s main topic is about self care and holy habits. She makes a great distinction between what self care is vs what it is not by saying: Self care is any act of prioritizing your own well being in a way that is not harmful to your body or soul. Self care is in moderation and responsible. Self care has been a trend lately in adult how to books likely because this is a stage in many peoples’ lives where they focus more on others (children, co-workers, parents, etc) than themselves. Many young adults are new to practicing decision making on what will make them healthy and happy and therefore self care can be difficult at first.
She also spoke about holy habits that are daily acts and disciplines that get us closer to heaven. This can be anything from quiet time in reflection or communicating clearly and honestly more consistently. These holy habits help us to build up integrity in our faith and can be attractive to those around us in this chaotic world. She mentioned how her dad’s holy discipline in always getting them to Mass no matter what influenced her faith as an adult.
Resources: Krista offered great resources that we are so excited to check out:
It’s a good thing we have a gap between each of our podcasts because this one is LOADED with homework you will actually be excited to do!
On this episode we welcomed Mary Cunningham to the studio to speak about how to inspire wonder in our daily lives through good literature and stories.
Mary is a mom of three and a former teacher with a degree in literature. She has always had a heart for reading and the conversation good books can inspire. She begins our podcast by speaking about the book clubs of which she is a part, including one from The Well Read Mom. Check out their many amazing resources here! If interested, contact them to join a study!
Book clubs may not be an option for you, so how else can you begin instilling reading into your life and why should you? Mary used a quote from Saint John XXIII, who stressed that it is important to devote 10 minutes a day to reading because good literature is food for your soul. Anyone can find 10 minutes somewhere in a day, instead of getting on social media pick up a book or hit that iBooks app instead. Mary reminds listeners that good reading is really critical to our mental faculties because it is true recreation.
When you are truly recreating you are re-created, energized, and ready to go. Reading is truly recreational because it is a creative act. We bring ourselves to what we read. Our brains have to do a lot of work and imagine instead of passive recreation which has become the norm today.
Next, Mary shared the beautiful short story The Student by Anton Chekhov linked here. We encourage you to read this story and reflect on the effect of telling and hearing a good story on our own souls and the souls of others and to feel your connection to the past and present!
Mary also shared a golden resource called the Read Aloud Revival. a podcast that is based on the idea that reading aloud to the children in your life is one of the most powerful ways to connect with them. We spoke about one episode that features an interview with Katherine Paterson, the author of the Bridge to Terabithia and other classics. “Good literature allows you to eavesdrop on the soul of another person.” This dynamic of literature allows such rich understanding, empathy, and beautiful conversations.
Next, we discussed Sursum Corda: Lift Up Your Hearts written by our wonderful shepherd, Bishop James Conley (Lincoln, NE). This bullseye of a resource will inspire and convict you toward making time for good literature in your life. He speaks of it as a remedy to recreate a sick culture. He speaks of how our modern methods of media have produced a culture of flat souled experience. Haven’t we all felt that way before??? He also reminds us that literature should lead to wonder!
Mary reminded us that energizing our imaginations increases our ability to hope. It retrains our brains and stocks it with holy, creative, and heroic images to draw upon. Your imagination is limited to the things you access and expose yourself to and as Sara said, "Mediocre media makes us hope for mediocre things."
We had a very crucial conversation about how Google has greatly injured our ability to wonder, come up with imaginative ideas, analyze, theorize, etc. in our conversations with each other. We no longer sit around and wonder. We just Google it. Literature acts as a rehabilitation for this injury.
CHALLENGE: We issued a challenge in this episode. Go one week (or try more!) without allowing yourself to Google anything. Instead allow wonder to move back in to your conversations and to reawaken your imaginations. Give priority to other wise women instead of seeking practical advice from the internet right away. Share and challenge other women to try this with you! Comment on our Followers' Field Forum how this challenge changed your week! Wrestle with questions. Call another woman for advice instead of Googling an important question. Consider what Mary said, "I don’t want to know what YouTube has to say, I want to know what my friend thinks."
Scaredy Cat Readers? We know you are out there. Noel used to be one. So did Sara. Mary has great advice for you. Know yourself. Know what you enjoy. Read around things. Read about the author. Set the scene. Sometimes, for certain books, read the synopsis of the story first so you aren’t bogged down by the plot and can go deeper. Don’t be afraid to put a book down!
Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for (drum roll please!)...Mary’s faves:
Book: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, a true Nebraskan girl at heart! Share your favorites and find out what other wildflowers love to read on our Followers’ Field Forum for this episode (scroll down to the second posting)!
Saint: Edith Stein, a woman author who Mary wrote an extensive essay on in college during a class that was full of sometimes dark femininity. (Dear Mary, we want that paper! Love, all the Wildflowers)
WoW moment: Did you know that John Paul II wrote poems and plays?! Look him up as an author to find beautiful poetry (there were too many links so we will give you permission to Google this one).
We were privileged to interview Meghan Moser for the Way of the Wildflowers episode this week. Meghan is a Speech and Language Pathologist with the Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska and is also is a blogger who has gained recognition for her deep insight into Mental Health. She has experience with her own mental health sufferings as well as experience with others who struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, and more. We highly encourage you to check out her work at http://meghanrachael.com/.
Meghan began our episode by sharing her favorite Saint, Mother Teresa, who, herself, struggled with dryness and darkness similar to many Catholics. Meghan shared the book Come Be My Light as a great resource to learn more about Mother Teresa.
Meghan then shared her personal journey with mental illness starting young as a child and moving into adult life. Key descriptions she used to describe mental illness included:
Meghan then shared tactics to feel emotions including a prayer that Sara explained called the Feeling Prayer.
The Feeling Prayer
Start with affirmations and understanding that:
The feeling prayer is beautiful because it takes all of your greatest fears, let's go of control, and completely exposes yourself to the Divine Physician Who will heal your wounds, and untwist demons that are harassing you.
Meghan then shared tactics she used to help her anxiety. Mainly she shared that she needed to be open to the things that she already had in front of her and to commit herself to the process of therapy. She also included that vulnerability with those around her was important. #Virtuethroughvulnerability for the win!
What is the Role of Therapy in a Catholic Woman’s Life?
Meghan explained that therapy is basically someone on the outside listening to what you believe about yourself. Therapists point out where the lies are or the contradictions lie. They help you to see what is the reality. Meghan said that a huge game changer for her was when she was told, "You don’t have to believe everything you think." She reminded women that sometimes it takes a while to find a good fit as far as a therapist goes, which is normal and okay. She also recommended being open to group therapy as she has found it to be incredible!
What about Medication?
Her answer, it definitely has its place! It's a process to find one that works for you. Use the people around you to help you identify if a medication is helpful too.
Women don't forget your thyroid, hormones, etc.!
Meghan, Noel and Sara have all had issues with these affecting their mental health and understanding their levels has helped their mental health improve. Make sure you listen to Meghan's suggestion on which levels to check since many clinics don't check them all!
Meghan shared that she has been to over 20 convents to visit! Go nun runs!
If you have more questions don't be afraid to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Followers Field Forum!
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On this week's episode, we are welcoming Morgan McCullough onto the show! She talks all about the need for women in men-dominated work fields and how to be a missionary in our daily lives.
Morgan first wanted to be a pastry chef but quickly learned that God had other plans for her life. She discovered that she had a gift for problem solving, and found a fit for herself in engineering.
She discerned being a FOCUS missionary, but heard God call her to be a missionary to those in her day to day job as an engineer.
Here's the prayer we shared from CatholicAllYear.com-
St. Margaret of Scotland gave birth to 8 children,
the Virgin Mary to just 1.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton was a widowed, single mother,
St. Helena was a divorced single mother.
St. Margaret of Cortona had a child out of wedlock,
St. Anne was a stay-at-home mom
St. Zelie Martin was a mother & worked from home,
St. Gianna Molla was a mother & worked outside the home.
St. Clotilda had a happy marriage,
while St. Rita had a difficult one.
...and yet each one of these women is held up to us as a model of Catholic femininty.
Resources suggested on this Episode! (Please use our links to support The Way of the Wildflowers!)
Our third podcast is in the books! And what a beautiful one it was! This episode is powerful, real, and very important.
Our guest today, Miss Ashley Montag, graciously and selflessly agreed to speak about sexual healing and vulnerability, a topic she is passionate about herself.
Ashley, originally from Arizona, moved to Nebraska as an answer to the call to serve as a FOCUS missionary. She ministered to many college students during her four years at UNL and hopes to continue being a source of love and hope as she applies to graduate school to be a family and marriage counselor.
Ashley has a great love and devotion to St. Teresa of Avila, the great woman mystic and doctor of the Church. She shared how she connected with St. Teresa so well because she was a woman of great passion and was not afraid to struggle. She shared her favorite story of St. Teersa in which St. Teresa struggled and complained to God that He was not treating her very well by allowing so much suffering. Jesus replied to her struggle by telling her this is how he treats His friends (he shares His suffering) to which she responded, "It's no wonder you have so few!" Ha! She IS a woman of passion but also of sass!
St. Teresa, knew struggle, and so does our guest who opened up with us about a common struggle that she an many other women have that is hidden in silence and shame. This struggle is sexual sin in the forms of pornography and masturbation. Ashley shared that a key aspect to healing in this area is to be vulnerable and allow God to get to the core of who we are and who we are made to be because that is precisely what gets damaged when we are exposed to the lies of these sins.
A huge moment of healing that Ashley shared with listeners was when she chose to go to confession, face to face with the priest, and confess her sexual sins. The priest, instead of being disgusted, looked her in the eye and she felt like her wound was finally embraced and Jesus' light of love shone upon it. Ashely shared how important confession is in learning to be vulnerable with God.
She also expressed the importance of being vulnerable with other women. Often, as most of us probably could relate to, these sins are seen as "man sins" and very shameful, opening up about our own struggles and even just bringing this up as a topic together with our women friends opens the doors to other women realizing it is okay to talk about sexual temptations. It breaks down shame, banishes loneliness, and builds up accountability.
Ashley has so many resources to provide our listeners! View them below. She also wants to offer herself as a resource. Ashley leads a group of women who all need support in this area and is happy to offer personal help to women who just need someone to start a conversation about this topic. Her email is email@example.com .
Resources (please use the links above to support The Way of the Wildflowers):
Harvest USA: Awesome resource with many articles, books, etc.
Integrity Restored by Peter C. Kleponis PHD
Anything with Audrey Assad, listen to her talk at FOCUS SEEK conference here.
Delivered by Matt Fradd
Sexual Sanity for Women by Ellen Dykus of Harvest USA
Prayer we prayed for women in moments of sexual temptation, written by Sara:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Help me to know my desires to be loved, known, touched, and beheld are good even if I won't act. Help me to believe that only you will fulfill my deepest desires. I give you my hands to kiss. I give you my body to snuggle back to safety. I give you my heart to overwhelm with your love. Teach me that I am good. Teach me that I am loved. Teach me that I am safe.
Teach me that I am yours.
Finally, our WoW moment today was provided by Sara. Did you know that when St. Francis of Assisi struggled with sin and impurities he tried to throw himself into a rosebush to distract himself. Jesus, so merciful, so gentle with us in our sins, upon impact, took away the thorns and the roses immediately bloomed. You can still see this rose bush in Italy to this day. Isn't it comforting to know that Saints, themselves, had intense temptations! We can turn to them always as another support system!
Suggested Resources from this podcast! Buy them through our links below to support The Way of the Wildflowers!
Welcome to our first podcast with a guest! Miss Megan Abbott!
We started the podcast with the quote below that reminds us that we are all ordinary women with a divine mission!
Then we learned about our guest, Megan.
Megan is a senior Human Resources major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is active in her sorority, Chi Omega, and serves on the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) executive board. She is originally from Chicago.
Megan shared her favorite Saint, which happens to be ours too, and the patroness of our podcast, St. Therese!
We then jumped into our topic: Catholic Feminism!
According to Meg...
Catholic Feminism IS NOT: It is not bending the rules/doctrines of the Catholic Church because it is easier for women, and ignoring the rules instead of learning why they're good for us. It also is not thinking that we are better than men, rather thinking that we are equal. It is not about putting down our bodies, saying that we are weak.
Why she loves it and thinks it is important: Through us realizing the beauty and purpose of our bodies through Catholic feminism, we can become saints. It gives women freedom to be themselves and follow God's "yes" for their lives. It also raises men up to a higher standard and gives them the opportunity to be masculine.
How she suggests we practice it: Read books, listen to podcasts, talk to other women about the struggles and beauties of being a women in the Catholic faith and women in the world.
Podcast: The Catholic Feminist hosted by Claire Swinarski
Books (Buy them through our links above to support us!):
Breakthrough Catholic Women Speak for Themselves by Helen Alvare
My Badass Book of Saints by Maria Morera
Our Saint for Catholic Feminism:
St. Edith Stein/St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross
Read her amazing book: Essays on Women
Meg wowed us by telling us that CS Lewis was converted from atheism to Christianity by JRR Tolkien!
Sara wowed us by telling us that St. Edith Stein is considered a Jewish martyr as well as a Catholic one! Read more about her here!
We ended with a beautiful prayer written by the author of the blog The Evangelista. Check out her amazing and beautiful resources here.
A Woman's Prayer
Please help me become the woman you created me to be. Expand my soul so that nothing human is alien to me. Prompt me to search for and bring home the hidden treasures and burdens which rest in every human soul. Send me to the souls who most need what you have given me.
Quiet my soul, so that no weak flame of faith, hope, or charity may be extinguished by stormy winds. Let my soul be a place where the weak and suffering may find refuge and solace.
Make my soul warm with the heavenly fire of your divine love. Consume and purify the worldly, chaotic fire within me so that I may be a clear sign of your love in the world. With clarity, grant me simplicity of heart that with Mary, I will always choose the better part, which will not be taken from me.
Empty me of my agitated, unredeemed self, so that I may have room in my heart for others. Help me to remember that you are the only one who is capable of receiving me completely so that I may joyfully surrender to you.
Give me the grace to be self-contained, to be mistress of myself as the handmaid of the Lord, prepared to serve all whom you desire me to serve, and to submit to the authorities you have placed over me.
Above all, help me to realize that my natural desire to give myself completely to someone can only be fulfilled in relationship with you.
St. Edith Stein, pray for us.
Welcome to our first podcast where we introduce ourselves, our mission, and hold our first WoW challenge!
First things first, we want to make sure you know how to connect with us! Follow us, like us, favorite us, subscribe to us, and keep up with us using the information below:
iTunes: Search "The Way of the Wildflowers"
Second, meet your hosts by clicking here. We quizzed each other over our favorite things, weird interests and more.
Read about our mission and what this podcast is all about by exploring this website!
Finally, Sara took on the first WoW challenge and asked Noël who the patron saint of beards is. She was successful and Noël and listeners were WoWed by the answer. Read about the amazing, bold, and courageous St. Wilgefortis here and here. She is literally legendary...because she may just be a legend, but she still is worth a read.
Finally, tune in on May 20th for our next podcast where Meg Abbott will be joining us to speak about Catholic Feminism!
With your hosts-