Episode 70 — We are a People of Story


Ava Lalor is the editor of Radiant magazine, a ministry of Our Sunday Visitor.

About the episode | Listen to the episode | Meet Ava Lalor | Episode transcript


About the episode:

This episode features Ava Lalor, the editor of Radiant magazine. Our conversation features Ava's faith journey, her love and interests for writing, telling stories, and editing, how she came to work for Our Sunday Visitor and add Radiant magazine to her portfolio, and the encouragement she has to all people to share the story that God has written on their hearts.

Listen to this week's episode:

Meet Ava Lalor

Ava Lalor (pronounced Law-ler) is the editor for Radiant magazine and assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor. After graduating with majors in Creative Writing and Spanish from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, Ava moved to Indiana for her job with Our Sunday Visitor to work on its weekly, national Catholic newspaper. About a year later, she began helping with Radiant, which began as a print magazine and is now an online resource that encourages Catholic women in their 20s and 30s to accept their identity in Christ and embrace the mission God has entrusted to them. A few months later in the fall of 2019, Ava stepped into the role as editor. Ava has a heart for helping women tell their stories, especially sharing how God has moved in their lives, and most days she can’t believe that God has entrusted her with this ministry. When she’s not working from home, Ava is invested in her young adult community and striving to live with her eyes fixed on heaven. She is a Jane Austen enthusiast, chai tea addict, amateur painter and gal pal to St. Thérèse.


Links:

Radiant Magazine online: radiantmagazine.com

Instagram: @radiant_mag

Twitter: @radiant_mag

Facebook: facebook.com/radiantmagazine

Our Sunday Visitor: osv.com

Episode transcript

00:00 MUSIC

00:10 RACHEL WONG: This is The Feminine Genius Podcast, a podcast that celebrates all women of God and their unique genius. I'm your host, Rachel Wong.

00:20 MUSIC

00:31 RACHEL: Ava Lalor has always been attracted to listening to and sharing stories. As she worked through her time in college, Ava found her voice not only in the writing that she did, but in helping to edit and work with other writers. She took this passion into her job at Our Sunday Visitor, where by chance, she found yourself working behind the scenes at Radiant magazine. Now, Ava is the editor of this online publication, working with women all over the United States to share their stories and perspectives on topics such as God's love, femininity and beyond. In this episode, Ava and I talked about her love of stories, how she became the editor of Radiant magazine, and her conviction in the fact that everyone has a story to tell—even you!

01:28 RACHEL: Hi Ava!

01:30 AVA LALOR: Hello!

01:31 RACHEL: How are you?

01:32 AVA: Doing well! I know you're a few hours before me, so it's morning for you, it's afternoon for me!

01:37 RACHEL: That's right, I know I come to you from the past as I always tell people! [laughs]

01:41 AVA: Love it!

01:43 RACHEL: Yeah, but thank you so much for joining me on The Feminine Genius Podcast today. I was wondering, maybe to start off if you could share with listeners who you are and what you do right now.

01:52 AVA: Of course! Well, first of all just thank you for having me on this is very exciting just an honor for me to you know get to talk with you and, hopefully, speak to some of your listeners. So my name is Ava Lalor. I am a young adult Catholic in the midwest, here in the United States. I grew up in Illinois, went to school in Iowa, ended up in Indiana. So my joke is, I can only live in states to start with "I"! I don't know what that is but it's what God's led me to. So I work as an editor for Our Sunday Visitor and Radiant magazine, which I know we'll talk about later. And yeah, I just have a heart for helping people tell their stories, share what God has done for them and, yeah, I'm just really grateful to be here today.

02:34 RACHEL: Wonderful! I'd love to hear a little bit of your faith journey and how you came to know Jesus in the way that you do now.

02:40 AVA: For sure! So I grew up, cradle Catholic, beautiful Catholic family. Both of my parents have been practicing my whole life. And my dad's a theology teacher at one of the local Catholic High Schools near where I grew up, my mom has always been involved in retreats in music ministry at our parish. So the faith is always just very present. I do not have a very questioning personality, I accept what is given to me and I'm grateful for that because I've never really doubted the truth of the faith. I've never doubted that God exists, that He loves me, that He's good, none of that. True, I've had, you know, times in my life where it hasn't been as easy to believe it, but that truth has always been there.

But it really wasn't until high school and college and even more recently that it's really sunk in and become such a present reality in my life. In high school I started getting involved in our youth group at my parish. I was a very shy kid for most of my life, but going to youth group, a lot of the people there to help draw me out of myself, just with the community, seeing other people who were living the faith that were my peers who loved God and wanted other people to love Him as well was just so beautiful and inviting. So I really invested in that community, and helping other people to experience the love of God that I knew existed and had felt in my life, even if it was just like that present knowledge.

I went to a Catholic college, I knew that I wanted to have that present community throughout those four years that are so fundamental. And so, I really thrived in the Catholic community at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, a small liberal arts college there. And over those years I grew a lot—again, this Catholic community, this group of friends that I found really helped me come out of myself and the people who really drew me outside of myself were those that I were able to have really, really good, deep conversations about God and truth and beauty and goodness, all of that.

All of this is really good, but I think my relationship with God really started to hit its stride going into my sophomore year of college. I had done a summer of missionary work in my diocese for program called Totus Tuus. A lot of college students will sign up to do this in their diocese where they traveled from parish to parish hosting, kind of like a Vacation Bible School for all the grade school and high school kids. And I done it the previous summer and I was doing it again, and both summers were amazing. But what really helped me just go to the next level with my relationship with God was the house that we would stay at on the weekend, it was a house that hosted missionaries at a university in the diocese. And in the bathroom of the woman's house was this prayer, called "Be satisfied with me," that's attributed to St. Anthony of Padua. Whether or not he actually wrote it, I can't seem to find any, like, evidence sorta thing and it's very much disputed. But either way, I found this prayer, and it just spoke to me immediately that our hearts are designed to be satisfied with God alone. Yes, we can experience happiness here on Earth. Yes, our relationships with other people are good and beautiful. But they are meant to draw us to God, like God is the end goal above anything else.

So I found this prayer and I started praying it every day. And I've pretty much prayed this prayer since that time, which is like 5, 6, 7 years, I don't even know how many years it's been since then! But this was one of those prayers that I've just taken to heart and made part of my daily life, because it speaks to me. And so that was really a big moment in my faith journey and the Lord just calling me deeper and being like, I want you to know that above all, I can satisfy you. That you are created with a desire for me, above everything else. Now whether or not I lived that well is completely different! But at least I got to this point where I realized, "Okay, this is how I need to shift my mindset." So I think my college years was really a discovery of that and deeper and deeper ways. Whenever I look back on my faith journey, I just see how cyclical it is, of like, "I think I get it and then I don't, I think I get it and then I don't." It's just learning over and over again the same lesson deeper and deeper and deeper.

And so, yeah, I just feel like a lot of my journey with God was just like this dance of Him drawing me closer and closer to him and helping me realize, over and over again and deeper and deeper, that as much as I want and need to invest in my earthly relationships, it doesn't matter unless He's the center of them. It's not going to truly satisfying me if I'm making idols out of these other relationships, no matter how good they are, because they're not God. They're not who my heart was created to love for eternity. And so that was really again this cylce of learning over and over and over again! And even post- college really having to struggle and learn that on repeat every day, every year, however long it's gonna take—which will be the rest of my life! That's really the summation of my faith journey is just the Lord calling me closer and closer to this truth that He alone can satisfy, that everything else needs to be oriented with Him in the center. Yeah, so there's so many things such as like really good relationships, but they're never enough unless God is at the center of them.

08:17 RACHEL: Yeah, and what a beautiful metaphor that you use as well! Like just how it's a dance right? Like it takes two people to really come together and trust one another to make that dance maybe not clunky or awkward and as graceful as it should be, but like you're saying how God continues to draw you deeper and deeper and I think that obviously our faith, our love for God and the way that God loves us, it really is a mystery and it's a paradox, so different from what the world gives us. And like you're saying you know we get it and we think that okay I've got a handle on this God thing! And then suddenly, we're gonna knock down a peg. And it's not out of spite from Him or it's not because He needs to like keep us down but it's because we sometimes get ahead of ourselves. So I really appreciate how you described it, and you know it's just a good reminder I think for me and I know for listeners as well, that this is something that as you're saying, we're going to spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out, and it can be frightening but at the same time it's extraordinarily beautiful that He wants to journey through this with us!

09:29 AVA: Yeah, I think something that I realized recently, I think pretty much in the last year, is just like how little of my life has happened so far! And I'm not even just talking about my earthly life, I'm talking about like eternity, like we have immortal souls, you know? We are going to live for eternity and we hope with God and that as much as sometimes yeah we can get ahead of ourselves, following the cultural or even Catholic narratives of "hey, my life hasn't necessarily met these standards that I expected to in this timeline"—realizing that this is just the beginning of the eternal story, our story with God. It is such a small portion of it, but everything here on earth is to draw us closer and closer to God so that by the time that He calls us to Him, we're ready to jump in headfirst forever!

10:21 RACHEL: Absolutely, yeah! And that's so beautiful, like you talk about writing a story and I feel like this makes a perfect segue into what I'm about to ask you! You know just earlier you were mentioning how you have this heart and passion for sharing other people's stories. And I could tell that that's something that we could bond on and have a whole episode on its own! But I'm curious to know whether that was always a part of your life, you know, this curiosity for sharing other people's stories, talking to them and ultimately sharing them in the way that you're doing now with Our Sunday Visitor and of course, Radiant magazine.

10:56 AVA: Yes, stories have always been a part of my life. I have to give a lot of credit to my mom. She'll be very embarrassed if she ever hears this! But she is one of the most amazing storytellers I've ever heard. And not telling even her own stories necessarily but telling other people's stories. She actually works at a library and loves doing storytime with the kids. And so growing up my siblings and I were completely spoiled to have someone who's able to do voices for any character in any book for however long they wanted her to read. And so I was always just drawn in with stories from a very young age, and even with that I just had this desire to dive into stories in my own way, whether that was, you know, playing with dolls or even before I had dolls I had this weird thing where I would play with candles and assign characters to them! And that was how I was entertained myself!

And as I got older, you know I just dove into reading and stories and novels, and that was how I spent pretty much every waking moment of my life. And eventually just having this desire to imitate what I had already seen. A lot of times I have a hard time calling myself a creator, because I feel like I'm just an imitator. And I don't necessarily save this out of like self-deprecation of like, "Oh, I'm only an imitator, I'm not that good." But I think as I've thought this through it's more of realizing like God is the ultimate creator and anything I do is just revealing what He has already created in a new way or in a way that other people can see it in a new way. And so that's really been my journey with stories is realizing that nothing I create is ultimately new, because God's already revealed it. I just needed to show it in a new way.

I ended up going to college for creative writing as my primary major, focused on fiction and nonfiction. And during those four years, I went in thinking fiction was gonna be my thing, that's what I had always played with in high school and just any other fun writing I had ever done. And then I had a few nonfiction classes, and my advisor was the nonfiction professor, and I just really learned that I liked telling my own stories that were just about me and my life, and I'd never really had thought before that I had much to say about myself. I didn't think that had an impressive life or that many interesting stories to tell. But through the classes I had, I really realized that that was false, that everyone has stories to tell. Some people are gifted with telling stories in a way that it makes it seem like they've had a very interesting life, and other people are really good at just looking at life and realizing the deeper truths that just come through the every day. And so I really dove into nonfiction in that way. I ended up doing my thesis, my final project in fiction. I think the reason I did that was it was the easier decision to make, because I couldn't figure out what nonfiction I would want to focus on because there's so much!

But about halfway through college—well, I went into college knowing that I wanted to go into editing, and I had actually had an interview for a scholarship. And I remember telling the people that were interviewing me like they asked, "Why do you want to do editing? Usually people want to go into writing." And the reason was I wanted to help other people tell their stories I wanted to be a part of the process of helping them share what's on their heart. I was able to get involved in like the college newspaper on campus, and a few of the other publications that we put out just helping with the editing side of things and a little bit of writing. I kept just going down that path and by the time I was a junior-senior in college, I just knew that I definitely wanted to go the path of editing, but I wanted to do it in a way that also related to my faith. A lot of people that do editing you think book editing or you think, you know, secular newspapers, both of which I just didn't think would be a right fit for me just because there's... not that there isn't anything good about that, but I knew where I stood when it came to my faith and I knew that my values and what I wanted, that what I had a passion for wouldn't often align with the secular press. And so I just really wanted a job in the Catholic Church in some way or other, didn't know what that was going to look like, but that's what I wanted. I figured okay God will make it happen if that's His will.

So come my senior year of college, I really only applied to the job I have now! [laughs] Like, I had one other very tiny application that this other press just needed someone right away and so I couldn't fill it because I still had most like half my senior year of college to go! But in the spring of my senior year I applied for the job at Our Sunday Visitor for the assistant editor position for the paper. I... honestly, I thought I bombed this interview. I don't think I've ever told my boss that but I thought I bombed it! But then within two weeks they'd offered me the job, and two months later I was moving a state away from where I grew up, two states away from where I went to college, to a lace I didn't know anyone. I had met my co-workers once when I quickly came out here to look for an apartment so I actually had a place to live, and that was about it! But it was just one of those moments where God was obviously saying "Yes this is the path I want you to go down because this is where I want you to minister." And I couldn't have expected everything that has happened in the last two and a half years to happen at that time. It's been an abundance of God's goodness because I signed up for a job as an assistant editor for a Catholic newspaper. That was the flat out description, more or less, and I'm doing a lot more than that right now and a lot of what I do is things that I wouldn't have..I didn't even know I wanted to do!

16:32 RACHEL: Wow, that's incredible! And you know just praise God for your own openness and just to quickly talk shop for a moment, dear listeners, if you would bear with us! Just as you were saying that, you know, most people do set out to be writers, but you had that very keen interest of being an editor. And at the moment that you said that, I was just like, you're right! You know when I was growing up I also loved writing, and for a period of time like I wanted to—and I think there still is that desire in my heart—to be an author and to write and to put out stories. You know, truth be told, I hate the editing process, you know I hate editing my own stuff! But the moment that you said that you wanted to help people tell their stories and to really be part of that process, once you've described that I'm like okay, this makes a lot of sense and it's also beautiful reflection of how God wants to work with us, in a way, that's just what it makes me think of is not that He wants to overwrite what we've written. But really, it's like a guiding hand to help us maybe move the story along, or you know it's like, oh, like I'm helping to reveal something

new for you to see or new to discovering that I'm sure what you do with a lot of the authors and the writers that you work with. So that is very cool. I really love that.

17:55 AVA: Thanks! Yeah, that's...I love that reflection. It is very much how God works with us, where He's never telling us what to do. He's just always guiding us to be the better version of ourselves. The person that He has created us to be.

18:09 RACHEL: Absolutely, yeah! And so from there, you were working as the assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor. How did Radiant magazine come into your portfolio?

18:20 AVA: Yeah, so that's kind of an interesting story because I didn't expect it to happen. It just kind of happened, I guess, is the short of it! [laughs]

18:27 RACHEL: As it does!

18:28 AVA: [laughs] As it does, as God likes to do with us! So I knew about Radiant when I was in college. I remember seeing just ads for it and I was like, "Awesome, it's a Catholic women's magazine, that's amazing." And then I got my job, moved to Indiana, realized that Our Sunday Visitor was in collaboration with Radiant. At that time Rose Rea who founded Radiant, she was working with us to do the publication side of things. So she did all the content and then we helped just publish it. And that's what it was a print magazine. And so I, when I started working on Our Sunday Visitor the paper, I helped do a little bit of the editing for Radiant, just kind of a quick last free before it kind of went to the press. And so I was just like, kind of really overjoyed with that because, more or less, it was just getting to read fun things on the job, and, you know, edit a little bit because they're pretty clean by the time they got to me.


Then, about, let's see, about a year after I moved there, Rose just discerned that her time with Radiant had passed and she gave us full ownership of Radiant. We have to discern at that time that us doing the print product just wasn't working. It wasn't working with our readership, that we needed to just focus on an online platform and go from there. So while we call Radiant an online magazine, you know, it still is pretty much a blog-type format. But summer of 2019, my boss went on maternity leave, and at the same time asked me and our summer intern to just kind of keep reading it moving now that it was fully in our hands.

And so, myself and our intern we just focused on the social media aspect of it which hadn't had much activity in the months leading up to that time. That was kind of just me getting my feet wet, like okay what was already there, what do our readers want to hear, because pushing any of the content from the last print magazine online so we have your content. And come fall of 2019, I had all these ideas of what we could do with Radiant and I brought it to my boss. At that time we were thinking of hiring someone on to just keep reading and going. And I was like, "Okay I have this idea of what this person could do. These are some things that our readers seem to really like, not like, stuff like that." And I wasn't bold enough to ask "Hey would you be willing to interest this to me, at least for a time to see if I can just keep it going." But luckily my boss is very perceptive and trusting, and she asked me if I would want to go on like a trial run of just being the editor for a few months and go from there, and it's been over a year now.

And so, come last fall I started reaching out to some of our previous writers, other people that I had encountered Our Sunday Visitor, as a whole as a company OSV publishes books as well. And so I know the book editors very well, they pointed me in the direction of a few other women that have written books for us. And so I was just all of a sudden just you know try to reach out to a number of people, build up who could write for us. So over the last year that's what I've been really doing, is trying to get more writers get more content, figure out what is Radiant now that we're not just the print product, because making that transition from a print product to an online resource, you know, there's obviously a difference—first of all, who we can reach and what that means for the type of content we can put out. And so there's definitely been an adjustment over the last year, not only of me just trying to figure out what I'm doing because it's just beautifully planted in my lap, but also trying to figure out, okay, what do women need? What do they need to hear, what stories do they want to hear to inspire them to encourage them? What narratives are they hearing in the culture, both secular culture and even church culture that, you know, are good or might need to be reframed?

I've been just really grateful for all the women that have said yes to writing in the last year, and especially those who reached out to me directly and be like, "Hey, I have heard about Radiant, I would love to contribute," because some of those have been just spot on to people that we needed. So yeah, God's been so good! I didn't ask for any of this really. I knew, based on what I liked reading about when it came to faith. And I started doing that right around the same time that Radiant transitioned to be solely a part of Our Sunday Visitor. Around the time I was also just starting to write more articles for Our Sunday Visitor, the paper. And so between that and other things I had just written on my own time, I've definitely found just by love for young adults and young adult women and the struggles that we face and the joys that we face. That's just moved so beautifully into my ministry with Radiant of sharing these stories, helping other women share their stories, because the narratives that we hear in our culture, they're not always false but often they're twisted just off enough. Even in Catholic culture I know I talked earlier with my when it came to my faith journey how this struggle of recognizing idols in my relationships with people, even just friendships and how we tend to just idolize so much in our world and how that takes away our focus from God or does it help us to invest in those relationships that are beautiful in the way that we're called to.


And so that's what I see a lot with Radiant, of just speaking the truth of what is the most important thing in our life. It has to be God. But it's not just out of a, you know, well I want to get to heaven, I want this nice reward. It's no we need to know Him as a person, and how does that transform our lives? How does that transform our relationships? How does that transform how we view the world? So that's what I used to do a Radiant and that's what a lot of the women touch on even if it's not directly talking about that. A lot of the themes, they just kind of all come from that perspective of where are we hurting? Where are we joyful? And what does that look like as Catholic women?


24:31 RACHEL: That's so beautiful and, you know, having read some of the many pieces that have come out from just a diversity of voices, one thing does remain is how do we come to know Jesus as a person and not just, you know, an imaginary figure in the sky, or a historical figure who lived way beyond the time that we're in right now. How do we look at Him as someone who is just as relevant now as He was 2000 years ago when He was walking the face of the earth. So, it's really incredible and given the fact that now Radiant, obviously, has a very big online presence and you all have a wonderful Instagram account and, you know, you're doing so much on social. What has the response been now that you're able to reach a lot more people, maybe even a diverse cross-section of people not just in the United States but all over?

25:27 AVA: Yeah, it's really interesting because since I came in after we had ceased to being a print product. I came in when there was a lot of changes happening. And so, we've definitely had people reaching out, being like, "Oh, I miss the print magazine." And it's like "Yeah, we get that, we completely understand!" But, it's been really nice to be able to interact with people a bit more, whether that's directly on social media or through the newsletter that we put out. Just easier to figure out what do they want? There's a quicker response time, I guess you could say, to get feedback of does this topic relate to people? Does this not?


I remember when I first started, what I thought was going to be the more popular topic was relationships, whether that's friendships, romantic relationships, discernment, all of that. And I found very quickly that everyone's like, "I'm done with that, I've learned enough, don't talk about discernment, I get that everywhere else!" And I think that was just really interesting because it's not what I expected. And so it's been really nice to have that quicker response time of seeing okay, what do people engaging in? What do they really want to hear? What inspires them to strive for more? That's like the quirk and the blessing of social media. Sometimes you're like, "Okay, I thought that was gonna... people really gonna like that!" And then it doesn't! And then sometimes you're really surprised. It's like, "Wait, it was that post or that article that everyone really loved? Awesome, praise God!" And so it's been a huge learning curve for me because I didn't have necessarily the direct experience going into it, I've just been learning as I'm doing it all. Between the women who interact with us on social media, and the women who come forward saying these are the stories I want to tell, the consistent themes that come up with that are really beautiful to see.


27:25 RACHEL: Yeah, and as you know, having that opportunity to work with those people, it's real voices and it's real stories and I think that that's what's so special and unique publications such as Radiant, where we're able to not only engage with those real stories but then like you're saying, you're able to engage with people as they're reading them, as they come across it and hear what it is that stands out for them or what it is that strikes them or moves them and there's a great sense of community and power that can come from that. So, it's just exciting to watch unfold and it really just goes to show the power and the strength of media especially when it is used for good.

28:09 AVA: I would completely agree.

28:11 RACHEL: Yeah, I can imagine that sometimes, a lot of people in general, both men and women, may sometimes feel like they have a story that they want to tell, or they have something that's on their heart. But they may feel like because they don't have a certain platform or expertise, or even they may feel like, well I'm just an ordinary person. Like what story could I possibly have to tell, or why would people want to listen to me? What encouragement do you have for people who may want to share their story but are maybe afraid to take that first step to do so, in whatever platform it might be.

28:47 AVA: Yeah. I think the first thing is realizing that, just as humans we all are people of story. We experienced that in different ways, but the fact that the story of creation, the story of salvation is all like given to us in this story context within scripture, and the stories that we have passed down through generations, our family, like we live through stories. So everyone has a story, everyone is living their story. I think the big thing to recognize is just because everyone has a story to tell doesn't mean everyone has to tell their story the same way. Whether that's different mediums, so like, I'm a writer, I'm an editor. Those are the ways that I communicate with people and tell my story. Also, heart to heart conversations with friends, that is telling your story. Photography, that's a story. Even giving of yourself in other jobs such as being a nurse or a doctor, you're showing the story of life, you know, through your actions in that way.


There's so many ways to tell your story the story, the story that God has put in your heart, because it all comes from what you're passionate about and the truth that God has revealed to you. And those go hand in hand. Yeah, you don't have to tell your story the way that you see everyone else doing it. I think that's something that can be can really easily fall into with comparison, especially with social media, as good as it can be. Comparison is a big struggle.


But even if you're only telling your story to God, that's also telling your story. Even if that's just bringing to God your day or your passions, your dreams, looking back on your life in journaling and trying to figure out, you know, what were those things of those struggles. All of that is your story, and maybe He'll ask you to share it in some way down the road. Maybe you're just not called to share it right now. But growing in self- knowledge and learning to understand your story and own it, and yet realize that God is asking you to take initiative with your story. I think that's where to start. Just again, acknowledge that you have a story, that your story is unique because God's created you uniquely. That you don't have to share it in the way that everyone else shares it that you don't have to follow the narratives that everyone else follows, 'cause we're unique!


31:25 RACHEL: Thank you. Yeah, it's such good encouragement and you know, I appreciate you sharing that and just to reiterate too how unique we all are and how different we all are. So because we were created so uniquely, you know, we would be remiss if we tried to really copy or take after someone just because we see that that's how one person is successful at it. But who knows like God might be calling us to do something entirely different and that's okay too. So I appreciate you sharing that!

31:54 AVA: Of course!


31:56 RACHEL: So maybe just as we kind of wrap up here, like obviously you have this wonderful opportunity to work with and help to tell the stories of so many different women, and it's it's so clear that you know you spoke of self-knowledge so you're in your own journey you're able to grow as a woman of God and grow in that relationship with Him. And I would love to hear your own reflection on your personal feminine genius and how you've seen that grow and develop through the work that you do, as well as your own faith journey.

32:31 AVA: Yeah, so I think the word that comes to mind is nurturing. I am not married, I'm not a mother, but I... within my friend groups and I think even within my mission now, I have a position where I've always been able to be there for others. In my friend groups, I was always dubbed 'the mom' of the group. And people always just kind of came to me to tell me their struggles, what was going on in their heart, in their life. And I love that and I, you know, I hope I was able to help them in those times! And I definitely see that through my writing, whether that's the direct connection I have with the woman who writes for Radiant. Whether that's being able to engage with the women who follow Radiant. Even just like praying for them, just being able to have this nurturing presence to help them recognize that God loves them... that, because it, like there's a safety in that. Helping them, again, recognize their own stories, recognize that they're not alone in their own story. I think a lot of times we fall into isolation so easily now, because of comparison. I think that's a huge factor into it. We see everyone else living one way, and when we don't fall into that pristine narrative, we feel like we're doing something wrong, instead of realizing that no, like your story is beautiful and God has something so beyond what you can expect for the rest of your life. He is the divine creator, He definitely knows what he's doing.


And so just like nurturing the women that I either work with as an editor for Radiant or even the opportunities that I've had in my own young adult community here in Fort Wayne [Indiana] my relationships with other women with young adults. Even at my parish in able to share something I've written that resonates with other people and discussing it has been a joy to just encourage people to go deeper in their faith to accept what God has put on their heart, and to recognize that unique call, even if it's just, you know, the unique call for today.


34:43 RACHEL: Yeah, and Ava, I just want to thank you for being able to be that witness and be that real like guiding hand and nurturing different women and different people that you come across, whether it is within your mission and ministry with Radiant and Our Sunday Visitor or, you know, just the people that you meet. So, again, I thank you for coming on and for sharing a bit of your story. It was just such a pleasure to connect with you!


35:11 AVA: Well, thank you so much Rachel! It's been a lot of fun. Again, I'm obviously passionate about stories, so I was grateful to share a little bit of mine.


35:20 RACHEL: Thank you! And Ava, would you be able to lead us in a closing prayer?


35:24 AVA: Of course! In the name of the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit. Amen. Come Holy Spirit. Lord, we thank you for how infinitely creative you are. You have asked us to reveal your goodness in our own lives in a unique way. You have all given us a passion and mission and a dream of how to reveal you to others, and how to come to know you more deeply. I just ask that you bless anyone who is listening to this, that you just encourage them to step into the mission that you have set before them. That you invite them into a deeper relationship with you above all things. Lord, I just thank you again for your creativity, with everyone that you placed on this earth. And I ask Mother Mary to just intercede for us, always just bring a nurturing presence to us, guiding us closer to her son so we may be with Him forever in eternity. Amen.


In the name of the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit. Amen.


36:39 RACHEL: Thank you again Ava! It was a pleasure to meet you and chat with you today!

36:43 AVA: Thank you, Rachel! It was so much fun!

36:55 RACHEL: Thanks again to Ava Lalor for joining me on The Feminine Genius Podcast today! As mentioned, Ava is the editor of Radiant magazine, a ministry of Our Sunday Visitor. You can read some of the incredible stories and writings of other Catholic women by checking out their website, radiantmagazine.com. Be sure to also sign up for their weekly newsletter for a roundup of great Catholic woman's content to inspire you. Finally, you can follow them on social media for daily inspiration! They're @radiant_mag on Instagram and Twitter, and Radiant Magazine on Facebook. I've left links to these in the episode description below.

You can stay up to date with The Feminine Genius Podcast by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we're @femgeniuspod. And you can listen to this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher and many other platforms. All this information can be found on our website, femininegeniuspodcast.com.


We'll talk to you soon, and God bless always!