About the episode
Friends, it is the season finale of The Feminine Genius Podcast! This season, we welcomed 22 incredible women who shared their stories and unique ways of living out their feminine genius. I am so in awe of each of them and the ways in which they say YES to working with God in the particular way that He calls them! In this episode, I share some of the things that I've learned through talking this season of the podcast, as well as a little insight into what's next!
Listen to the episode
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.
00:31 RACHEL: Well friends, we have made it. There is no intro today, it is just me, it's just Rachel, and we have come to the season three finale of The Feminine Genius Podcast. How the heck did we get here? Oh my goodness, I am so, so excited to jump into this episode this season three finale to share a little bit about the journey that we've been on with 22 incredible women of God this season.
00:59 So we started this season six months ago. I'm recording right now at the midpoint of June here. So as I record this, we are on episode 85, which is mind-boggling to me, and as many of you know, June is a special month here at the podcast. It was on June 1 of 2019 that I started this podcast. I had no idea what I was doing. And I think to some extent I still have no idea what I'm doing.
01:29 And yet, we persevered. Like I said, we heard from 22 incredible women. Some were as close to home for me as my own Archdiocese of Vancouver, and some were as far away as Malaysia. I had my very first guests from outside of North America. So as many of you know, I myself am Canadian so technically, yes, all of my American friends, all of the American guests on the show, do count as international. But it was extra special to have someone from outside of the continent, like God is so good, and it was just incredible. Like all of these connections that we're making, either through Instagram or folks emailing and getting in touch, man it's just been incredible. And through that we got to hear a bunch of stories from a diverse group of women of all different ethnicities, abilities, ranging from musicians, visual artists, ministry leaders, athletes, moms of all kinds, and so much more. And collectively, like I said they've brought us here to our 85th episode and the close of season three.
02:38 The other thing that I wanted to share is that this season, we debuted a new look and sound. All of this is thanks to the brilliant work of two dear feminine geniuses. Now, I have shared with many of you that the whole purpose of the feminine genius, right, is to really celebrate the unique genius and dignity of each woman. And I think that that necessarily means to really identify, first off, yes, like what are your gifts? What are the gifts that we celebrate within ourselves? But also what are some of the things that maybe we're not so good at? And in turn the feminine genius means being able to make space for other women to shine in that. So I will be the first to tell you that I am by no means a graphic design wizard, nor am I, I guess, as solid or professional a musician as some of the women that I've talked to! So I wanted to give a big, big shout out to Mariel Pahayahay, who designed the new cover art and the social media graphics. So you may remember Mariel from last season, she is @marielsfieldkit on Instagram and just a joy, and such an incredible artist, so please check her work out. Again, that's @marielsfieldkit. And of course, our super funky theme music is by Theresa Ambat, who you may remember kicked off this season for us. She's also the co-host of a wonderful podcast, Clumsy Candid Catholics, and gosh, I love these two women, so, so much! So I am grateful for their work on this podcast, for taking on these respective projects and it was just so awesome to collaborate with them both, and really, like, they and all of the guests of the feminine engineers and even you, dear listener—unless you're a guy, of course, in which case, let me just say that each person has their own unique genius, and I think that's really like what has driven me throughout the past two years, now. We're entering into our third year, so we are a child who is starting to walk and maybe even run.
04:52 So, that's amazing! And I wanted to share some of the themes that kind of popped up for me this season, and I'll preface this by saying that it is so beautiful because truly, I did not plan out any of this, and I guess that maybe gives some insight into my process, or maybe lack thereof, because while it's true, like I do a lot of research and I kind of poke around and I have a running list of ladies that I would love to have on the show, like I mentioned, a lot of the guests that came together this season was a combination of sliding into people's DMs, receiving different emails, but also, I think, just by virtue of being in the right place at the right time. All of this was recorded remotely, because, as I've talked about I think a handful of times during this season, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, still, and it's crazy—although at the time of recording this things are seemingly looking better, I think they're improving, and by the will of God, we will make it out of here sooner rather than later! But when it comes to like connecting with these women, of course, like I'm here for their stories and I'm here for the different ways that they show exactly how it is that God has encouraged them and inspired them to be their unique way of the feminine genius. But truly, there is no way that I could have planned out, or even anticipated what some of these women would have said. And I think that this is really the beautiful thing is because really the Spirit has woven together so many of these unique women from all over the place, and has united them under the common banner of the feminine genius, but also three particular themes that I wanted to share with you.
06:44 And guys, what this tells me is that the Spirit is at work, and God really wanted us to hear some or all of these truths, and I can tell you that I record these episodes and then maybe they air a couple months later, so I have a couple months apart from the conversation. So what I found time and time again is that in the moment when I'm having that conversation with a woman, I needed to hear what they had to say. And then maybe a month or two later when I'm editing the conversation and I revisit it, it is re-nourishing and it just re-educating me so that's so beautiful.
07:23 But first, the very big theme that you may have noticed across all the episodes, was this concept of the greater glory of God, or ad majorem Dei gloriam, right? St. Ignatius [of Loyola], for the greater glory of God. I mean, you could say that this theme was present across every single episode of this podcast, not just the season but every single one. But I have to say that this season in particular, it was palpable! No matter what these women did, whether it was starting a ministry, powerlifting, creating beautiful art or lectoring at mass, it was incredibly moving to hear the variety of responses to how these women desire for nothing more than to ensure that God is glorified through them, and their work. And for many of you who have been following me on Instagram for quite some time, you may know that a verse that I've really been meditating on, probably shortly after I started this podcast, was Matthew 5:14-16, and it talks about salt and light, and in particular, I've always been so drawn to that idea of letting our light shine so that others may see our good works, and then glorify God. And I think it's so beautiful like all of us as women in particular, when we think about Mary, for example, for her she bore the Saviour of the world, the light of the world, in her womb. And all of us, you know, men and women of course, are called to be bearers of God's light. But in particular women have a very unique way of doing it. And what I loved is that in hearing all of the different ways that these women serve, many of them are incredibly talented, incredibly good at what they do, but they're also so, so humble. And I found that time and time again that they kept saying that it's really all for God.
09:22 And I think I want to make a clear distinction here that they were not, and never did they ever take on like a false humility, like, 'you know my artwork isn't that good' or 'sometimes I don't bench as much as I want to.' Like, they owned their gift, and I think that that's really key here! That's the document from Vatican II in Gaudium et Spes, right? "Man only finds and understands himself by being a sincere gift of self." And I'm totally paraphrasing there but it is true, like John Paul the Second takes that language of 'gift of self' and puts that into Theology of the Body. And we understand the gift that we are going to give the other people are, and through that—through our bodies through our work—we glorify God. So again, this whole theme of all for the greater glory of God was certainly palpable all throughout and I think it was a powerful reminder for me because even with this podcast I need to remind myself that as much as my voice is associated with it, as much as my face, sometimes, is associated with it, this is not mine. Right? This podcast, whatever work that you do, whether you're a visual artist or a musician, or you have like an Instagram account that has a gazillion followers, that is not yours! This is not mine! Everything for God's greater glory. So there you go.
10:42 The second theme that I love—and again this is so, in line with John Paul the Second in his whole theology, was impacting the culture. And I found this one to be pretty profound and it's something that I reflected upon often especially after those different conversations, because it's so clear that so many of these women have such a heart for mission. And of course, the ways in which that God is calling them to make an impact on the world, and I've witnessed the incredible ways that these women have spoken up for different social issues. So we talked about some pretty hard and challenging things this season like racism, mental health and mental illness, sexual violence, being able to stand up and defend the pro-life movement and other folks who are on the margins, and so many more things. And like I said, John Paul the Second, throughout his papacy, he wrote and spoke extensively on the dignity of the human person. And I think that, as I've reflected on the past 5,10, 15 years, and probably even longer than I've even been alive, we've seen that our culture, our society, has been under attack for many, many years and in many different arenas, and it's devastating, I would say because, certainly for us as women, it has a profound impact. So I'm thinking of the sexual revolution, right? And then of course the rise of feminism. I think that a lot of the conversation, in varying degrees, has come back to this idea of can you be a feminist and Catholic? Can you stand up for women's rights and be Catholic as well? And certainly, like, I have to say that all of these things that we're grappling with, they are truly human issues that I don't think are isolated to just women, but to really look at things from the lens of Theology of the Body, for example, and understanding our inherent dignity, that is what I see in each of these women.
12:46 These women have proven that in impacting the culture, God is also calling them, not in generality, but in particularity. And this is very important for all of us to remember, because I think that we can get really bogged down—and I'll be the first to admit—that I feel this way a lot of the time! We get bogged down by the fact that maybe someone else is doing what we're doing, or what we want to do but better. Because of that, maybe sameness, or the comparison between what we're doing versus what someone else is doing, it may feel like, okay well by can't be calling me to that because it's almost exactly the same as someone else. But I can guarantee you that if God has placed a desire in your heart, and it is towards the pro-life movement or natural family planning or the New Evangelization or music or art, the transcendentals, whatever it might be. If God has placed that in your heart, there is a reason for it, and He will continue to tend to it, as you work through whatever it is that you need to work through. It's very important for us to remember that He calls us in particularity and not generality. What will set you apart, even if there are so many other people who are doing what you think that you want to do or they're doing what you're doing, the key difference—and this is not to be cheesy, but it's true—that the defining factor is going to be you, your voice and your experiences. So again, it's been such a joy to see how these women through their unique feminine genius have come to impact the culture and further prove this idea of that God is calling each of us, but He calls, very specific, very unique and very individually, not in general.
14:49 The last thing that I'll talk about here in terms of like a theme, a unifying theme, has been journeying to wholeness. And I have never, never talked about wholeness as much as I have in this season. Like, I think maybe prior to coming into 2021, I don't even know if I had a concept of what that meant. And I think that, you can define it in a couple different ways and there have been a couple different guests who have talked about it to varying degrees, but truly this idea that we are people who find ourselves in a variety of different arenas, right? And a lot of people aren't holistic health, for example, right? So wellness in body, mind and spirit, being able to have good relationships with your family, your friends, your spouse, your children, whatever state of life you're in. And then of course, having that solid foundation and relationship with God. And maybe other things like your work, your financial situation. Are you receiving fulfillment in different things? So I think it's been so beautiful to talk to different women to see how they've achieved or they're on the journey to wholeness and how they desire for that.
16:04 On a deeper level, I think this is why I've started to include this idea of not just gifts that are attributed to the feminine genius, but also crosses. You know this is like the early stages of me fleshing out this idea. But over the past couple months I've had so many opportunities to speak to different women and speak to young adults, and it has been such a blessing. And I've been making a point to talk more about suffering and crosses in the context of the feminine genius, because I think that as much as it's absolutely so so important, like I mentioned earlier, ad majorem Dei gloriam, bringing God all the glory, through the work that we do, through the gifts that we have. Of course, that is a major part of the feminine genius and I don't think that we should ever shy away from that. But the flipside is also true, where God has given us unique gifts and charisms, but has also in our own lives given us unique crosses. And there have been countless examples of that this season, whether it's been miscarriage or divorce, blindness, cancer, all of these difficult things that no matter who you are in this world, you know, you probably may know someone who has gone through this difficult crosses, or maybe you yourself
have gone through those difficult things.
17:33 And yet, how many times do we hear how incredibly transformative these stories are of people—and in the context of this podcast—hearing how women have overcome these challenges and these struggles, and then have come out, by the grace of God, with the strength of God, even more victorious and how that, too, is us bringing glory to God. How that too is a manifestation of the feminine genius. Because I think about all of these women's stories and some of the difficult things that I've heard what women have had to endure. And I think like, man! I would not be able to go through something like that or I would not be strong enough to endure something like that. And I think that's the point! The point is not to covet our neighbours' suffering—and that might sound really crazy! But I think back to a previous season, there have been a couple times where women have said, you know, we'll be having some candid conversations, and, you know, many times a woman will say to me, it's like, "Well I don't have the crazy, overwhelmingly, incredible transformations story or conversion story. I don't have that 'Saul to Paul, getting knocked off your horse story!'" And I have to remind myself but also other people that that is totally okay! You know, your story, written by God, is sacred. And it is something that, as we walk along this road to wholeness, to bring it back to that theme, we can start to see where God has been present in our lives.
19:22 So of course, like in the joys and then the beautiful gifts so we have, but even the sufferings. And it doesn't even have to be great or difficult trials and sufferings. It doesn't have to be disease, it doesn't have to be a war or famine, but it could even be, you know, some of the maybe like the smaller difficulties that we have to go through, like broken friendships or a breakup or like a difficult job or a difficult assignment that we have to do. All of these little crosses that we are called to bear faithfully, and as we allow for God to permeate all these different parts of our lives, we allow it for Him to really like wrap this up together in this idea that we are truly whole beings, body and soul composites together, I think we can start to understand ourselves a little bit more. And not only that, when we as women especially, when we understand ourselves as whole beings who are so uniquely and intricately woven. We can also understand men better and how we relate to men better. By virtue of that we're able to call men higher, and also women, of course. We're able to encourage one another, call men higher, and ultimately make a difference in society. Truly it is women who will, you know, make that happen, of course, by the grace of God and with the cooperation of men. But I just wanted to get that out there that as whole beings, I think when we are able to surrender that and then understand that for ourselves, God is able to do some incredible things with us.
21:05 So, yeah, I just wanted to share those three themes there: for the greater glory of God, impacting the culture, and journeying to wholeness. That's really what I've learned this season: what it means to really be a light to the world, to step aside and let God have His moment every single time. And also the fact that, as a woman, as someone who is still on the path to embracing her own feminine genius, I think maybe the last thing that I'll say about all of this is just the fact that there is no timeline to figuring it out. We are on this path with God, and as a priest said to me one time, we are co-authors in this story. Each of us have a unique and specific function in this world, and it is through that feminine genius that we will impact and make our mark on society. So the more that we're in tune with what it is that God is saying to us, and how it is that He moves and works in our being, I think that it will be so much smoother for all of us in being able to live that out.
22:23 But of course, easier said than done! I find myself struggling with this constantly. So what I can say, and maybe my encouragement for anyone listening to this right now, is to remember that you have purpose and meaning and dignity. It is something that no one can take away from you and it was something that has been endowed upon you from the moment that you were conceived. And we're not just like this collection of body parts and limbs and organs, but we are a full human being with a specific purpose. So not only did Jesus, when He died on the cross and He bought us for that ultimate price, not only the just give us life—which, let's be clear, life is a gif, in and of itself—but He didn't just give us life, He gave us life with purpose. And if nothing else, I hope that you're inspired by each or all of these women, no matter which episode you choose to tune into that, yes, they are beautiful and they have their purpose. They have their feminine genius, but you have your own. This podcast was never meant to kind of just tout these women, these 22 this season and over 70 women over the course of the past two years, as the way, right? There is no one way, there is your way, and that is what matters.
23:53 So with that, I want to turn it over to looking at what is ahead. On a personal note, there are a few things that I am currently in the of middle of right now, and I don't think that I can share too much more beyond that, so I do apologize for kind of just dropping it and then not saying anything! But I would just ask, very humbly, if you could pray for me during this time. I'm going to be taking a bit of a break for the next couple of months. I kind of have an idea as to when I'll bring the podcast back, but I am not too sure at the same time so I'll let God be the judge of that and I will kind of follow His lead there. But please stay tuned, like I have sent some feelers out for some new episodes and some new interviews. So all of that will happen at some point, and I will definitely let you know when The Feminine Genius Podcast comes back for a season four! It definitely will be before the end of the year, probably mid-fall but we'll see where the Spirit leads, because He's been doing some work lately, and yeah, like I hope I'll be able to share more soon but yeah if you could please pray for me, that would be great!
25:15 And the other thing that I want to do before we close off this episode is to thank each of this season's guests by name. So in order of appearance, a big, big thank you to Theresa Ambat, Karna Lozoya, Meesa Estuar, Dom Almario, Olivia McCarthy, Sister Desiré Findlay, Monét Souza, Ava Lalor, Elena Murdock, Regina Boyd, Julia Strukely, Ogechi Akalegbere, Samantha Stephenson, Raisa and Renai Jose, Corynne Staresinic, Sarah Ku, Madison Tanczos, Amanda Lee, Meghan Ashley Sokolowski, Kiki Rocha, Bridget Busacker, and Kate Crohan. Y'all, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your stories, sharing your vulnerability with me. I have to remind folks that sometimes like with these conversations, this is the very first time that I'm meeting these women, and every single time I am so blown away by how much they're willing to share with me and of course with all of you. So again, thank you so, so much to each of you for being such a beautiful witness to the feminine genius. And of course, a big thank you to all of you! It is truly, truly a joy to do this podcast, and I know that I will be away for some time, so please know of my prayers for you. And again, I would just ask for you to pray for me! I cannot wait to be back with all of you very, very soon!
26:57 As we close off this episode today, I would love it if you could join me in prayer. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Lord, I thank you so much for giving us this concept of the feminine genius. I thank you that you made me a woman. I thank you that you made us female. That you've given us inherent dignity. You've given us our unique genius, and you've endowed us with truth, beauty and goodness and just a life meant to be lived to its full. I pray that we're ever folks are listening to this today, that you inspire them to really seek out what their unique genius is, what their unique way of being a woman is, and that you continue to inspire them to chase after truth, to seek out your heart, and to be a light to the world. We pray this through the intercession of our patron, Pope Saint John Paul II, as well as our Blessed Mother, who is the highest expression of the feminine genius, as we say, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
28:31 RACHEL: Well, that's it for this season of The Feminine Genius Podcast! Again,
thank you so much to all of you for your continued support and love and prayers. I know I say that a lot but I truly, truly mean it, so I am so grateful to have this God-mission, and to be able to bring you stories every week of incredible women.
So like I said, we'll be taking a break for a little bit, and we'll be back soon! So to stay up to date with The Feminine Genius, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we're @femgeniuspod. And you can listen to all of the past episodes of this podcast wherever you listen to your podcast, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other platforms. All of this information can be found on our home on the web, femininegeniuspodcast.com.
We'll talk to you soon, and God bless, always!