Wedding Planning | Catholic Destination Weddings

 

A quick Pinterest search of “destination wedding” will offer countless images of beaches and mountaintops. For the bride and groom who desire to be married in the Catholic faith, a destination wedding will look a little different.

Simply, a destination wedding is when a wedding and reception is held in a city other than the bride or groom’s hometown or current city of residence. If the location of your wedding ceremony is still in question, benefits of and considerations for a Catholic destination wedding are listed below.

Benefits of Catholic Destination Weddings

The Universal Church

One beautiful aspect of the Catholic faith is the universality of the Church, liturgy, and sacraments. Regardless of your geographical location or language, the Order of the Mass is consistent worldwide. This is also true for couples receiving the sacrament of Matrimony. In a special way, a destination wedding celebrates the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic church by celebrating the significance of the sacrament despite location.

Meaningful Location

Several Wedding Features on Spoken Bride have highlighted international weddings which highlight both the location and the sacrament of matrimony. See this Buenos Aires wedding or this Vatican City Basilica Wedding for beautiful images and testimonies of weddings in meaningful, international locations. Other couples may choose a destination wedding to revisit a city with a significant history, such as where they first met. Bringing friends and family into the special location on a special day is a powerful way to share the intimacy of the day with your families, wedding party and guests. Finally, choosing a location for a specific church may also be an inspiration for you and your beloved.

Meaningful Date

Perhaps there is a date on the calendar which offers significant meaning for you and your fiancé to tie the knot. Whether it is a feast day, a favorite number, or a specific weekend on the calendar, options for churches and venues in your hometown may be limited for that date. If you and your fiancé are determined to join in covenant on a specific date, a destination wedding may offer an opportunity to bring that desire to fulfillment.

Collaboration with a Priest or Deacon

Some couples have a personal relationship with a priest (or priests) who touched their lives in some way. If you and your fiancé desire to join in the sacrament of matrimony with a specific priest who resides in a different location and is unable to travel to you, perhaps the best option is to bring the wedding to him. Collaborating with a priestly friend or mentor on your wedding day is a powerful and intentional way to begin the vocation to married life.

Convenience for Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

When the bride and groom are from different hometowns, went to school or currently live away from their hometown, or frequently moved throughout their childhood, hopeful wedding guests may be spread far and wide. Choosing a location central to the majority of your traveling guests may provide a means for a greater number of people to join you on your once-in-a-lifetime day. There will not likely be another day in your life when a communion of people who care deeply for you and your fiancé are all celebrating in one place together.

 

Special Considerations for Catholic Destination Weddings

Proactive Preparation for Pre-Cana

If you are considering a destination wedding, an extra level of planning and communication is required for acquiring appropriate Pre-Cana, or wedding preparation. Be sure to confirm the Pre-Cana requirements with your local diocese and the diocese where you will be married. The wedding coordinator at your church should be able to help you begin the appropriate process for completing and transferring paperwork.

Saying “I do” in a Church

”Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church.” Celebrating your sacrament within a church, rather than on a beachfront or mountainside, is an important visible expression of the triune unification between bride, groom, and God in the sacramental reality. Despite feedback from Pinterest, the significance of the our holy churches is a beautiful aspect of our Catholic faith. This testimony shares additional insight into why it matters for Catholics to be married in the church.

Planning for Travel, Accommodations and Food

When traveling to a destination city for a wedding weekend, It is vital to plan for accommodations and food for a crowd. AirBNB may provide creative options for families or bridal parties to stay together throughout the festivities, and hotels nationwide offer group discounts for weddings. In consideration of the wedding budget, be mindful of the costs of travel, accommodation and food for your destination wedding.

Did you and your beloved profess your vows in a destination location? What was your motive for choosing a city outside your hometown or city of residence? Share your experience with our community on Facebook or Instagram.

The Sophia Series | Katherine

KATHERINE REAY

 

We invite our longtime married readers to share the experiences that have marked, refined, and anointed their marriages; months and years that, by grace, transform the mundane, the bitter, and the incomprehensible into the fruits of holy wisdom. A purification and a clear vision for the path to heaven that lies ahead. The Sophia Series.

Each domestic Church practices the faith differently at home. My husband and I are both cradle Catholics, yet our families of origin practiced the Catholic faith differently at home. And that’s okay.

After high school, I spent  a year at a Catholic Charismatic Bible School and became actively involved in youth and music ministry. My husband quit attending Mass for roughly 11 years, until just before God’s divine intervention finally brought us together.

How we met is a crazy story of God’s absolutely perfect timing, bringing all the puzzle pieces together. My husband and I quickly knew we were meant to be together and didn’t waste any time. We were married six months after our first meeting, and our oldest child was a honeymoon baby.

 Life was grand until we realized we liked to practice the faith differently. That’s when a new, controlling side of me came out. I didn’t understand why my husband couldn’t see things the way I did, and wanted to fix that. Trying to force things on people never goes over well, particularly if that person is your spouse. It started to affect our relationship.

When our oldest was a baby, my husband stopped receiving the sacraments. He was undergoing an  inner struggle I didn’t--and still don’t--understand. It was upsetting to me, heavy on my heart. It made me feel like a failure as a wife. Bringing up the issue only upset me more.

 

The most upsetting was yet to come.

I still remember the day my husband admitted he was struggling with addiction. I remember where I was sitting. I remember where he was standing. I remember what he said. I remember the tone of voice he used. I remember my heart shattering.

I was in complete and utter shock. I mildly knew he’d struggled before we were married, but I never expected addiction to show its ugly, destructive face in our marriage--which, in retrospect, was pretty naive of me. Getting married doesn’t fix problems. Addiction doesn’t just magically go away.

I spent almost the entirety of the next day in tears, all the while trying to hide it from our daughters and, of course, from my husband. I was numb. The rest of that week was spent in and out of tears. My parents came to watch the girls for a couple hours, during which time I journaled and sobbed in front of the Tabernacle.

Once again, my controlling side came out. I need to help him, I thought. I want to fix it. What can I do to make sure it never happens again? I wanted, unknowingly, to control the situation. It somehow ended up being all about me--only me!

I didn’t want to ever feel like that again. And in my pain, I forgot it was also about my husband.

I read stories of people whose spouses were struggling with the same addiction; one in particular stood out to me. Through that story, I realized it wasn’t up to me to fix everything. If I tried, I would probably make our situation worse and drive my husband further away.

 I decided not to push. I still occasionally tried to encourage the sacraments, but again, it didn’t help anything--it only upset me. I tried my best to surrender the situation to God. The trouble with my surrender though, because I was affected so deeply by this, is that I kept taking it back. It’s my job as a wife to get my husband to heaven, I’d think. I can’t just drop it.

It wasn’t until recently that I came to a (rather obvious) realization: my husband is a child of God.

He is one of his sheep. The love I have for my husband is so great I sometimes think my heart might explode. And even so, God loves him infinitely more. He loves him more greatly and more perfectly than is humanly possible. His love is overwhelming, never-ending, reckless. He will leave the 99 to go after him. If I, who am his wife, do not want to give up on him and want heaven for him, how much more does God want this for him?

Oscar Wilde wrote, “every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

Though it’s still not easy, and I’m still imperfect, our God is perfect. When I have a moment of heartache, or discouragement, I surrender my husband. I offer him back to our Lord, who loves him infinitely more than I do; who desires heaven for him. It has made my life all the easier and more joyful. I know our Lord will not abandon him and will fight for him.

Katherine’s Advice for Brides:

We can do nothing apart from God! In times of despair or heartache, surrender your husband to God! Offer him back to our Lord, who loves him infinitely more than you ever can or will. Let him fight for him, and trust that he will!


About the Author: Katherine is a Catholic blogger, stay at home mom, and soon to be homeschooler. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband Steven, and children Sophia, Olivia & Dominic.

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Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

My husband and I are currently in the midst of a season of work-inflicted separation. His professional travel will keep him away from home for about five months, though we will be able to communicate and visit each other periodically during that time.

These circumstances, though frequent, are never ideal. And they are certainly not easy. The distance and separation have challenged our methods and means of communication and have stretched our hearts’ capacity to desire union with one another.

Communication is key in any relationship. Honest dialogue serves as a building block to any kind of intimacy: spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative, or emotional. Though if you and someone you love are in a long-distance relationship, effective communication is the primary building block to maintaining and building a foundation of trust, honesty, intimacy, and unity.

Successful communication requires honest reflection, both of the circumstances and of your heart’s desire. If you and your partner—whether in a dating, engaged, or married relationship—are in a season of separation, I encourage you to be intentional about planning your communication in a proactive way.

The logistics of current circumstances must be taken into account. First, determining the best time of day to communicate is vital; considerations for conflicting schedules or time changes are significant variables. Second, discuss the best method for communication: an online messaging provider (such as Facebook messenger), text messages, phone calls, or emails each offer various benefits and obstacles. Each method can be an intentional means to a specific, desired end.

For example, for a quick check in, online messengers are simple and efficient. Oftentimes, the response rate is rapid. In contrast, an email platform offers greater length and depth for sharing, though the wait time between responses is generally slower.

Beyond the logistics of the situation, both parties must be honest about their personal needs for communication over time and distance.

In many ways, men and women differ in their need for communication. Where women generally engage in conversation as a means to build emotional intimacy, men often engage in conversation to accomplish a productive end. Being realistic about your partner’s predisposition to communication will create an environment for trust, collaboration and fruitful compromise.

Differences in communication are also specific to each individual’s mind and heart. In order for both individuals to be satisfied, each must introspectively recognize their needs, then clearly admit what they desire.

For example, my husband is content with a brief message to check-in, confirm we are alive, and to catch up on the generic happenings of the day. Meanwhile, I desire a thorough email thread to share the intimate thoughts and reactions of what happened over the previous days.

Neither of our preferences are inherently “good” or “bad,” but they are drastically different. Sharing a dialogue about how we are willing and able to compromise has enhanced our long-distance communication with greater understanding, peace, and intimacy—though our journey to creating long-distance intimacy is ongoing.

In authentic, loving relationships, both individuals are called to surrender some of their own desires for the fulfillment of the other’s needs. This kind of daily dying-to-self for the good of another has the potential to eliminate frustration or fear and enhance intimacy and love in a relationship. What are your needs for communication in relationship? If they differ from your partner, where are you willing to collaborate to achieve a greater good?

Have you ever experienced challenges or success in building intimacy through communication in a long-distance relationship? Please share your experiences, advice, and questions with our Spoken Bride community on Facebook or Instagram.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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“The Artist of Love” | A Young Bride’s Reflection on Writings by Alice Von Hildebrand

KATE THIBODEAU

 

This post contains an affiliate link. All opinions are our own and those of the vendors featured in this piece. We believe in authenticity and honesty, and only recommend products and services we would buy and use ourselves. For more information about our disclosure policy as required by the FTC, please see Spoken Bride’s Terms of Service.

A young bride faces a number of choices when it comes to defining her role within marriage. The conflicting worries and joyful surprises of marriage may become overwhelming when trying to establish a new role as someone’s wife and partner towards salvation.

PHOTOGRAPHY:   HER WITNESS

PHOTOGRAPHY: HER WITNESS

I remember the first few months of marriage—working a new job and attempting to prove myself as a career woman, while also attempting to set up house, learn to cook and patiently maneuver through the transition. I found myself pulled in different directions while trying to solidify a mission statement or role for my new responsibilities as James’ wife. I pressured myself to strive for perfection in every field, while feeling limited by my inexperience.

The joy of my union to my wonderful husband was challenged by my personal expectations for perfection. In the tension, I lost sight of the sacred nature of being a wife.  

A gift from a friend offered a new lens for me to comprehend my stress and pressure. By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride, a novel by Catholic authoress Alice Von Hildebrand, spoke to the many fears, questions, and experiences of my newlywed life.

This little book is filled with letters by a long married widow to her newlywed goddaughter, Julie, who faces trials and questions in her vocation. The daily struggles and triumphs of Julie and her husband mirrored many of my own. I read through pages thinking to myself, “My James does that!,” or “We have had this conversation!,” and “I, too, am guilty of this mistake.”

Von Hildebrand offers powerful spiritual advice in each letter, encouraging marital relationships for self-giving love and mutual respect. She paints a vision of marriage as it should be: learning how to love and lead one’s spouse to heaven through sacrifice.

Julie’s experiences reflected many of my own struggles, from trying to balance work with being a homemaker, to accepting the habits of a permanent roommate, my spouse. I marveled how through her godmother’s writing, she discovers her true role as a wife—despite both internal and external pressures—as “an artist of love.”

Von Hildebrand explains the meaning of this title by describing her love for oriental rugs, and how their complex beauty is made through tiny snippets of fabric. This image is a symbol of the many small acts and deeds of a wife, the artist, as she weaves together her sacrifices, efforts, and decisions to benefit her husband and family.

I take this message to heart as my mission statement as both James’ wife and a child of God. My vocation calls me to regard every challenge and duty in life with deference to my marriage. How will this decision impact our relationship? Does this word or action detract from my mission as the artist in our home? Does this contribute to the art of our marital love?

Regardless of the field in which I may be struggling, I need only simplify my motivations and focus them towards my vocation. My beginner’s errors and the fear of unknowns matter so little when I realize each sacrifice and trial, suffered with love, is an addition to the “quilt” I weave for the good of our family. In this truth is an ever present joy.

Being “an artist of love” is applicable to every role I may take on as a wife, as a working professional or a stay-at-home mom. As we age and mature in our marriage, so will our metaphorical “quilt”.

As a young bride-to-be searching for a peace in the daunting new territories of marriage, I am grateful to know of Hildebrand’s novel. Her simple words help me find purpose and meaning in each new trial and experience.

In the transitions of marriage and family life, I encourage every woman to not be overwhelmed by the stress of a new role. Do not pressure yourself to be excellent in every new undertaking, but have patience in every little action and sacrifice. Accept each challenge and make every decision in the confidence of your new mission: to be an “artist of love.” May your marriage be joyful in this pursuit!


About the Author: Recently married to her best friend and partner towards salvation, Kate Thibodeau is learning how to best serve her vocation as a wife while using her God-given talents. Mama to angel baby, Charlotte Rose, and soon-to-arrive Baby Thibs, Kate has an English degree from Benedictine College, and strives to live in the Benedictine motto: that in all things, God may be glorified. Kate loves literature, romance, beautiful music, pretty things, wedding planning, and building a community of strong Catholic women.

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What is a Culture of Encounter? Creating One on Your Wedding Day + Beyond

STEPHANIE CALIS

 

What can 21st century brides learn from a priest and sister who lived one hundred years ago?

Encounter is a gift women uniquely are able to give.

Blessed James Alberione and Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo, two founding members of the Daughters of Saint Paul, recognized the mediums of film, music, radio, and literature as goods that can share with the world what is true, good, and beautiful. Against the odds of transatlantic travel, the Great Depression, limited resources, and simply fear, Father Alberione and Mother Thecla’s conviction in the Father’s call ultimately led to the establishment and development of a thriving, faithful order of sisters.

The Daughters of Saint Paul travel the U.S. and worldwide using media to evangelize, and have hubs in several cities across the country. In these cities, the order’s materials and publications are sold in stores known as Books & Media Centers.

On a recent visit to the sisters’ Provincial House in Boston, I was struck by one of Father Alberione’s thoughts on his mission and took a picture of a plaque expressing them: the order’s book centers, he said, “are not places of business, but centers of light and warmth in Jesus Christ. The book center is not like any other book store. It is a ‘church’ where the Word of God is distributed...it is sacred...Light, holiness, and joy are the goals sought. The counter is a pulpit.”

The counter is a pulpit. This idea echoed a deep desire I feel to help those I encounter throughout the day--however briefly or extensively--to feel seen and heard.

Making meaningful eye contact with someone, conveying sincere interest in him or her even in the answer to the simple question how are you?, wishing them a good day; all these actions reveal a Christ-like love and tap into something essential: the human heart’s longing to be known.

In the nature of femininity and womanhood, I see a particular ability to help others (even including strangers) feel valued and known. To create a culture of encounter--one that seeks to acknowledge and respect another’s dignity, to push past surface-level interaction, to look up from our phones. The word encounter conveys a true seeing and a dissolving of walls. That’s a dynamic--a culture--I want to help create.

Saint Edith Stein wrote, “the destiny of every woman is to be bride and mother.” Your personal pulpit might not be a store counter, but in the workplace, in your family, on your wedding day.

The sister hosting my visit described how the order’s centers are true their name; genuinely, she said, they are centers of conversation, trust, and faith. She described how passerby coming into the store quickly sense they’re in the presence of those who will truly listen to them. Frequently, these guests will share past or current struggles and pour out their stories.

When we, as women, receive another’s story with respect and attention, we give a gift of encounter. Every woman, no matter what her vocation, career, hobbies, or personal style, is called to receive love and let her love be received as a gift. She is called to be a shelter for others’ hearts, a refuge. She is called to a rich interior life--Our Lady herself, an ultimate example of womanhood, “kept all these things” at the birth of her son, “reflecting on them in her heart.” In moments of transcendence and of the ordinary alike, as women our gifts of receptivity and interiority allow us to communicate love and attention to all we encounter.

What does encounter look like on your wedding day? It looks like letting your love speak for itself, drawing your guests to enter into the Mass. It looks like a few moments to hug or shake hands with guests during your reception meal. It looks like showing attention and care to your bridal party and families. It looks like total receptivity.

All of it points to an encounter with the one is love himself. Like Our Lady in her joy at the Visitation, let your soul “magnify the Lord.

Not every encounter you engage in will be profound or lengthy, nor should it create a spirit of moral superiority or righteousness. Developing habits of attention and receptiveness to others, though, is an embodiment of who we are: brides, women, with a particular genius for interaction and encounter.

Consider what it is you desire to embody and reveal to others with your unique strengths. Aim to reveal the love of God: a love that is particular, unconditional, all-encompassing, abundantly merciful, and forever faithful.


About the Author: Stephanie Calis is Spoken Bride's Editor in Chief and Co-Founder. She is the author of INVITED: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner (Pauline, 2016). Read more

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Cultivating the Spirit of Newlyweds Across Time

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

Just weeks after our wedding, my husband and I were introduced as “the newlyweds” to a visiting priest at our local church. To our surprise, he turned his attention back to us during his homily that morning. By emphasizing the qualities of newlywed life, he encouraged us—and every married couple in the sanctuary—to embody the spirit of newlyweds through every stage of married life.

Oftentimes, the first weeks of marriage are defined as a “honeymoon phase,” when the innocent novelty of married life outweighs the demanding responsibilities of daily life.

As time passes beyond the wedding day, small transformations begin to unfold:

The honeymoon pictures collect dust in an album.

The groom’s ring acquires its first scratch.

New friends only know you by your married name.

You notice the idiosyncrasies of your spouse for the first time.

The laundry piles up, bills come in the mail, and careers gain momentum.

In Beginning your Marriage, a ‘Catholic marriage manual,’ the author observes, “Familiarity between wife and husband can dampen enthusiasm. Daily routine can clog lines of communication.”

Although familiarity and daily routine can pull couples out of newlywed enthusiasm, building deeper intimacy through a growing familiarity over time can be an invitation for infinite joy.

Establishing an attitude grounded in prayer, gratitude, and a sense of humor can help create a foundation to maintain the spirit of newlyweds throughout the monotony of routine and the emotional ups and downs of family life.

Prayer

Every detail of your vocation is a gift to you from God. Prayer is a means for God to speak into those details of your life, showing you the beauty he has in store in every cup of coffee, speck of dust, idiosyncrasy or load of laundry. If routine has clogged intimacy in your marriage, turn your heart to prayer and ask for renewed enthusiasm and connection through the gift of vocation.

Gratitude

Adopting an attitude of gratitude turns our hearts to receptivity. When we can look at our lives and say, “thank you,” we receive all life’s circumstances with hope. The virtue of hope renews our strength, trust, and joy. Whether you bring gratitudes to mind independently or in conversation with your spouse, a grateful perspective has the power to reignite the newlywed spirit of joyful surrender in your marriage.

Sense of Humor

A sense of humor and the ability to laugh with your partner is a gift, a skill, and a tool for authentic joy. We most easily laugh at ourselves when we don’t take life too seriously because we surrender our hearts to trust in God’s providence. Of course, this does not include decisions or circumstances which must be discerned with prayer and thoughtfulness. Create opportunities to be playful with your spouse, give yourself permission to laugh at the little surprises of daily life, and celebrate the many transformations of your shared lives with a light-hearted joy.

To embody the spirit of newlyweds beyond the honeymoon phase is an outlier is our communities. Where many couples become bogged down by life circumstances, husbands and wives united through the sacrament of marriage are called to faithfully participate in and receive the mysteries and fruits of vocation.

In what ways do you and your beloved cultivate the spirit of newlyweds as a living testimony to the joy of marriage? We hope you will share your experience with our community on Facebook or Instagram.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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The Bookish Catholic Bride’s Guide to Good Podcasts

MARIAH MAZA

 

Wedding planning can be a stressful time for a bride. After all, engagement is a unique era of intense excitement, anticipation, and preparation, all at the same time.

The temptation to live constantly in the future, in that blissful time when you and your beloved are finally living your vocation as husband and wife, is strong. I experienced this, and I watched the engaged women in my life go through it as well.

One unexpected resource that helped me recenter my heart and my focus during the year and a half I was engaged was a newfound technological affinity: podcasts.

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My love for podcasts began at the end of college, when I was in the middle of wedding planning and trying to finish my degree program. I was insanely busy, and I needed something “restful” to break up my day and refocus me on the Lord in the cacophony of assignments, full schedules, and wedding checklists.

Even if it was just on the car ride home or walking between classes on campus, I discovered inspiration for my upcoming vocation and encouragement as a Catholic woman in several podcasts. And, every once in a while, a little treat for my bookish heart--at the time, there was no free moment to conquer my to-read list!

And so, here are my top five podcast recommendations (and two honorable mentions) for the busy, bookish Catholic bride who is looking for rest and inspiration for her upcoming vocation, femininity, books, or simply living the beauty of our faith in the midst of everyday life:

01. Daily Readings from the New American Bible by the USCCB

I’ve intentionally ranked this one first on the list. If you don’t already read the daily readings in some form: through daily emails, a missal, or through an app, download this podcast today. This resource, provided to us by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), helped me make a habit of listening to the daily readings, even if I felt like I had no time to sit and read them.

Each daily podcast is only around five minutes, and they post other days ahead of schedule. If you want to get ahead on reading next Sunday’s readings, just find it in the list of episodes! The daily readings are a beautiful gift from the Church that allow us to connect everyday with Scripture in a way that reflects the current season of the liturgical year (and, often, the current season of your heart). Discover this ancient tradition of the Church through your podcast player.  

A good place to start: Today’s readings!

02. The Gathering Place by Blessed is She founder Jenna Guizar and Beth Davis

In The Gathering Place, Jenna and Beth invite you to “come chat with us about Jesus, prayer, community, and life.” In true Blessed is She style, the two co-hosts talk like you’re sitting in their living room having a conversation about the love of Christ, joyful sisterhood, and how it touches the everyday struggles of the Christian life, whether you’re married or living the single life. They bring guests on the show as well, like BIS writers, Ike Ndolo, and several of their closest priest-friends to drop some major truth-bombs--yes, including Bishop Barron! Each episode ends with an extemporaneous prayer to lift your heart to the Lord.

A good place to start: “Remember His Tenderness// TGP Episode 11”

03. Abiding Together Podcast by Heather Khym, Michelle Benzinger, and Sr. Miriam James Heidland

Abiding Together brings together three amazing Catholic women: two wives and mothers and one religious sister. Together, they provide diverse perspectives on what it means to live authentic womanhood and vocation in the Church. Their mission is to provide “a place of connection, rest, and encouragement for women who are on the journey of living out their passion and purpose in Jesus Christ.” Another fun aspect? They do book studies on spiritual books and Church documents! If you ever wanted three cool Catholic ladies to guide you on a spiritual read-along or encourage you in your feminine vocation, Abiding Together is a refreshing place to begin.

A good place to start: Check out their four-part series diving into JPII’s “feminine genius,” starting with episode 5 on receptivity.

04. Among the Lilies by Cameron Fradd

Cameron Fradd is the wife of well-known Catholic author and speaker Matt Fradd. In fact, they both host their own podcasts! (You may have heard of Matt Fradd’s popular Pints with Aquinas series.) Among the Lilies is Cameron’s little corner of the world for “ladies who are tired of pretending and are ready to be real.” I think of Among the Lilies as the “real talk” of Catholic podcasts for women. Cameron doesn’t shy away from difficult or challenging topics that can affect any Catholic woman, and she handles them with grace, spunk, and infectious humor. I have cherished her episodes on infertility, sex and marriage, sisterhood, and brokenness, to name a few. She also hosts some pretty amazing guests (including her husband) like Leah Darrow, Crystalina Evert, and Jackie Francois.

A good place to start: Check out episodes eight and nine, a two-part series on intimacy in marriage and intimacy in friendship with Elisa McLaughlin.

05. Fountains of Carrots by Haley Stewart and Christy Isinger

I have saved this gem of a podcast for last. Over the past two years, I have listened to almost every episode (there are over 100) of Fountains of Carrots, a show for “chats about faith, books, culture, and whatever strikes our fancy.” Not only have I received all my best book recommendations from Haley and Christy, they also began my obsession, for better or worse, with BBC period dramas. But it’s not all about good English literature and TV shows. These two Catholic mamas talk about marriage, kids, homeschooling, homesteading, and liturgical living. No other podcast helped me through the last stages of wedding planning and the early, emotional transition into newlywed life the way Haley and Christy did. Their voices have become familiar friends to me, and their discussions are downright charming.

A good place to start: Try any bookish episode (especially earlier episodes) where they discuss book recommendations and underlying Catholic themes in literature. Or check out episode 57: “From Catholic Single Life to the Altar: Relationship Wisdom with Christina Grace Dehan.”

Honorable Mentions:

01. Simple by Tsh Oxenreider

Although Tsh is Anglican, not Catholic, that doesn’t stop her from regularly inviting Haley Stewart from Fountains of Carrots to come on her show and discuss Catholic liturgical living for each month, as well as good books. Simple is a show all about “living well and ignoring the rest.” Tsh talks about Christian themes like cultivating silence, fasting, feasting, marriage, and family. But she also has great interviews with women about their interesting careers in her work series. And throughout the whole show, she gives tips on how to cultivate a beautiful, simple life.

02. A Good Story is Hard to Find by Julie Davis and Scott Danielson

A podcast on books and good storytelling hosted by two Catholic friends? Yes please! A Good Story is Hard to Find talks about “books, movies, and traces of “the One Reality” below the surface.” If you’ve ever wanted a “book club” feel in a podcast and the opportunity to discuss Catholic themes in pop culture books and movies, join Julie and Scott in their reading and watching adventures. They’ll review and discuss anything from Dante’s ancient Divine Comedy to 2018’s A Quiet Place.

So, as you plan your wedding, anticipate your marital vocation, and strive to find God in the busyness of everyday, remember the importance of refocusing your heart and soul in the present moment--the “now” where God lives.

May you’ll find a little rest, inspiration, and joy in these podcasts, like I did—and still do! Let that joy flow into a strengthened prayer life and encouragement in your journey towards marriage and, through the graces of the sacrament, sainthood.


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About the Author: Mariah Maza is Spoken Bride’s Features Editor. She is the co-founder of Joans in the Desert, a blog for bookish and creative Catholic women. Read more

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