The Catholic Association
Ep. 259 Remembering Dr. Jérôme Lejeune & First No-Photoshop Women's Magazine!

Episode Description

As we mark 30 years since the passing of Jérôme Lejeune, we reflect on the legacy of the founder of modern genetics. In this episode, we chat with the president of the Lejeune Foundation in Spain, Mónica López Barahona, who also serves on the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Jérôme Lejeune was a staunch advocate for the protection of the unborn; his work achieved landmark strides to identify the cause of Down Syndrome and improve the lives of children affected by it. His global foundation continues its research to help those living with certain genetic disabilities.

Pablo Siegrist also joins us to discuss his work alongside Monica on numerous pro-life issues, including the cause of Lejeune’s canonization.

We also chat with Mary Rose Somarriba, Editor of Verily Magazine, who unveils a new era for the publication known for its “home content that elevates the every day.”

Father Roger Landry offers us an inspiring homily to prepare our hearts for this Sunday’s Gospel.


Mónica López Barahona is a Spanish biochemist, professor, researcher, and director of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation in Madrid, which promotes research to help patients with genetically based intellectual disabilities. Recognized as an expert in bioethics by Spain’s Ministry of Justice, the European Council, and the United Nations among many others, her research has been published over three hundred times and heralded in conferences around the globe.

Pablo Siegrist is the vice president of the One of Us Foundation, general manager of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation in Madrid, and an active proponent in issues pertaining to bioethics, right to life, and preservation of human dignity.

Mary Rose Somarriba is an award-winning journalist, editor, and speaker with a career spanning more than fifteen years in writing and editing. Currently the editor-in-chief for Verily Magazine, she previously served as editor for Natural Womanhood, managing editor of First Things, and managing editor of The New Atlantis. She has written over 150 articles and has been published in USA Today, National Review, and The Federalist among many others. She has appeared on C-SPAN, Al Jazeera, and Fox News.

Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and serves as Catholic Chaplain to Columbia University and the Thomas Merton Institute for Catholic Life. A graduate of Harvard and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Father Landry served as Attaché to the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York, and has been a pastor, newspaper editor, and high school chaplain. He writes for numerous publications and regularly speaks on radio and TV. Father Landry is the author of the book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God.

Episode 259 Transcript

Mónica & PabloThank you. Thank you very much. Grazie.
GrazieYou are joining us from beautiful Madrid. I see. It's a beautiful day in Madrid. I can see on the video. So thank you for making time for us. You are both important people. Monica, you are the president of the Jerome religion Foundation in Spain and also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, something both of these topics are very interested.
And Pablo, you're also a member of the Jerome, the Foundation, and also vice president of the One of US Federation, which we're not going to talk about this particular episode, but hopefully you'll come back soon and tell us about one of us, which is very interesting and something that I think our listeners would like to hear about further along.
But anyway, Jerome, the June. Tell us about Monica. Tell us about Jerome. Listen, why should all of us, especially Catholics and people who are interested in the pro-life cause, why should all of us know that name?
Mónica & PabloI believe that religion is really a reference not only for Catholics, but for science in general, genetics and medicine. He was the father of the genetics and he was also a very good Catholic and a close friend to jump all the second. So, as you know, Megyn was the one that discover the course of the Down's syndrome. He identified that people with Down's syndrome have in them in the 21st chromosome, three chromatids attract attention.
And once he discovered this was really an issue in the in the scientific community, he was proposed twice for the Nobel Prize. The first the sharing genetics at the Sorbonne University in Paris was just created because he said to to lead this we share and the hill is with him all his life with the idea of having discover something really crucial.
But at the same time, somehow the tool that that made possible to kill Down's syndrome people in the womb of their mothers because and this this tool, this identification of the of the three grammar dates on the 21st chromosome allows to identify the Down's syndrome during pregnancy. And that that supposes that that's that has a consequence that having the diagnosis of with Down's syndrome in many countries nowadays that the mother may provoke an abortion and leaves with these them with these sorrow especially because at the time in Paris the law of the regulation of abortion was this was being discussed and and it was being discussed especially for handicapped people.
So he live in parallel the scientific lives in order to go deeper in the discovery and to try to find out solution for Down's syndrome people. But on top of that, you really start a campaign in order to defend life from conception and to especially defend life of of Down's syndrome. He was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, and it was there in in a conference that he gave at the Pontifical Academy of Science where John Paul SIEGEL was attending this meeting.
And he found John Legend, someone really intelligent, really sharp approach to him in order to clarify some issues. So they started their are really, really special relationship on friendship and their organization proposed to the pope to start another academy, an academy dedicated exclusively to issues that have to do with life in specific times of life, where life is especially stable.
And that was the beginning of the pontifical Academy for Life. That jump on it started very quickly and the museum was the first residence. Unfortunately. A he passed away only three months later of being appointed as president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Well, his heritage now continues because this then this institution is this is the only life at the at the Vatican.
Mónica & PabloSo, I mean, there is always little time in order to to talk about a figure that really accomplished so many things. But I will point out, especially the top level of science, that you develop very close to fidelity to the teaching of the church, especially defending life from conception to real, add to natural this, and especially focusing the in the life of the people with Down's syndrome or other diseases related with them, genetic alterations in them in thank.
GraziePaolo and Monica. There's there's I have here a beautiful quote from Jerome Lejeune about about prenatal diagnosis. I imagine him Dr. Lesion, as somebody who felt that he had opened a Pandora's Box. Right. That with his scientific with his wonderful scientific talent, that God had given him this this wonderful research talent. He had opened the door to prenatal testing, which all of us know is used to eliminate undesirables in a sense.
Right. That children that are not desired by society because they come with a disability or and I've seen I'm a radiologist as people, as people who follow the show know, and I do prenatal ultrasound. And I know that some of the children that I diagnosed with things as simple as a cleft lip or a cleft palate are eliminated because they they don't they don't come up to the standards of of our society.
Who is we are so focused on on perfection as though perfection is something that we could achieve. So he wrote a chromosomal racism is being waved around as a flag of freedom. They will kill the abnormal ones in utero since they can recognize the abnormal chromosomes by a simple amniotic sample. The fact that this denial of all medicine, of all biological fraternity that unites human beings should be the only current practical application of the knowledge about Trisomy 21 is more than heartbreaking.
Pablo, do you feel that with those words he expresses the the terrible door that that was open with prenatal diagnosis into our culture?
Mónica & PabloOf course he does, yes. Well, what I feel is that really this this sentence synthesizes the drama of life, because here really was best of science. And and he was very confident on on on the development of science. So he really it worked for that. He was very positive on on the future scientific development after the discovery of Trisomy 21.
So he really was more than upset because he was really shocked seeing that he's his colleagues in science and and governments and that politicians were using his discovery. Yes. To that to put this people in the in the center of of of of being of being killed. So not not solving the problem associated to the trisomy 21. So looking for a solution for intellectual disease and intellectual disability and how to improve autonomy and how to improve all these pathologies set out many times associated with these intellectual illnesses.
But focusing on diagnosing pregnancy and eliminating. So he was really shocked about these. And as he was doctor, because he was really a doctor, he was he did this research because of being a doctor, because he so engaged with his patients and was always looking for their best quality of life. It was because of being an engaged doctor that he went out of the of the consultation to to defend them in parliaments in the all the forums where he could.
And these he knew very well would cost him the recognition of the scientific work in fact, and during the studies for the and for the the costs of canonization of the organization, it was proved that at least twice he was nominated for the Nobel Prize, but he didn't receive it. The price of medicine because of his. They thought they would give him a political power for his fight.
So which is something he really didn't want at all. He wasn't that politician. He didn't want that. He only wanted to protect his patient as well. So really, this was his drama. But on the other hand, these arise them. And we could say that in his whole humanity. And he dedicated his whole life to protect the weakest of the weakest, as he would say, No, the child with an intellectual disability in the world, but from mother who is completely unprotected, if it is, the mother doesn't protecting.
After that, he was committed to protect all the weak people. So to his advice, seeing many, many different forums, public forums and notably the Catholic Church in scientific issues related to the protection of life, life of the illness, people, the life of the of the elderly. So he was really he was really engaged. And this made him one of the fathers of mother bioethics, really, and a reference to all of us which has been recognized, in fact, by the Catholic Church by declaring him venerable.
So by declaring he'll leave the the virtues in a heroic sense, at a heroic level, you say so.
GrazieSo his life after when when he started defending nascent human life, especially those with disabilities, his life became a kind of white martyrdom, I suppose, is what we're supposed to understand, is that he he knew what he would face when he came, when he was so strong in defense of life that it wasn't just the missing of a Nobel Prize that which he obviously deserved, but the contempt of other scientists.
Right. And the and the and being pushed out of the scientific establishment. I wonder if that was he pushed out, Monica, of the scientific establishment in a sense, Yeah.
Mónica & PabloYeah. He was named Nnimmo. Something that is really important to note is that science needs financial support in order to get developed. So when he first discovered that not only that, they also Down Syndrome, but all other genetic diseases sustained other genetic diseases, he had a lot of financial support. He had a magnificent laboratory with a lot of collaborators.
And he really he will be able to develop really science in May, not in a very nice way, but from the very moment that he is start to defend life, to be found life in front of the parliament, in front of society, in front of the of the scientific community, little by little, he was put in a bar.
He was kind of rejected. He lacked financial support and he lived really in the very small laboratory with a few collaborators in order to continue develop in science, but not in the way that he will be able to develop if if, if he was not being rejected. And he knew that he perfectly knew that he was invited to many international meetings.
Top level, he was invited and consulted by presidents of often different countries. Say you are a you are as is at the moment, ammonite as we say, the Kennedy Prize. I mean, he had the either rational explanation, but he never refused to say what he had to say in front of, however, and that really had a cost for him, a real cost.
GrazieAnd this is a cost that scientists today and people in general, people today face when they when they come out in defense of life, especially especially when when they say that science ought to be confined within ethical margins. Right. Because there's we live in a world of scientism where science remains absolute as though science had any moral applications or implications, which it doesn't.
Right. Science is science is a kind of measuring tool and an investigative tool that we have to understand the natural world, but it doesn't tell us how we should act in the natural world. So Jerome Legend, I think all of us should be very thankful to him that he he puts that the ethical limits of science in a way that he bright lights it right And in a way that all of us, whether we're involved in science or not, should be should be admiring of Pablo, What is the what is it that the Jerome, the Joan Foundation do now, besides besides highlight the beautiful life and works of the venerable Jerome religion?
Mónica & PabloWell, the Jonathan Foundation tries to continue the the the all the the the mission we could say of Jonas in. In fact, it was created immediately after his death because the families of their patients asked the family of Jonathan to continue working and fighting for them. So his wife created the foundation with some of his sons and daughters.
And what we do is we organize it in three missions. So we could say, first of all, the taking care of people with intellectual disability, of genetic origin with only Down's syndrome. But most of our patients have it, but also people with other intellectual resources we have for medical consultations. Two in France, the main one in Paris, although he meant and another in Argentina in Cordoba, and the last one was opened in Madrid last year and where we care for people with Down's syndrome from the very first moment of being diagnosed and to the last moment of their life with a very specialized medical care, very near to research.
So very updated. The second mission is research itself. So we do research, we promote research, we fund research all around. So we work with most of the of the teams working with intellectual disability just to look for the way to improve autonomy of people with intellectual issues and also to improve or help to diagnose as early as possible other diseases associated with these genetic disorders and improving general quality of life of people with intellectual disability.
And last but not least, is the also the defense of vice defense of the weakest. So in this sense, we have this international chair on bioethics, which is recited by Dr. Lopez about it. And we educate, we inform, we do campaigns to well make people aware of the importance of human dignity, human life, and the importance of of engaging for that and protecting human life.
GrazieWhat a wonderful set of foundational principles for a wonderful foundation. And, Monica, before we run out of time, I wanted to ask you about your work at the Pontifical Academy for Life. First, tell us it for our listeners. I don't know what what that is. Tell us what the Academy does and where where it exists.
Mónica & PabloWell, the Academy, as I mentioned before, was at the suggestion of John Legend to hold on for a second. And he really understood the pope, the needs of the church or having an institution inside the Vatican devoted to defend life in its fable and period of time, meaning the beginning and the end especially. But all all over life.
There are specific issues and specific moments of which life has been that has to be defined. So the aim of the Academy was this one is an institution that is where a different kind of people is appointed. There are medical doctors, basic sciences, philosophy, and they all are team answers. Jurists, you know, so it's like an interdisciplinary institution from many different countries.
Originally, the ideal religion was the academy needs to be preceded the president to be a layperson. What happened with him and with the second president that was the president of the Catholic University of Chile, was a medical doctor, also virtually a hundred years we go career and later on you have at any has not longer be preceded by a layperson right now as we tell you the one that that is the basic and normally the work of the academy consists in them doing some research study on topics that are either resolved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or even for the pope.
What happened at the time of Temple second and also and and the Academy organizes annual Congress General Assembly that these dedicated to are an issue that is considered important for life in in the days, for example, we lately have been working before the pandemic on artificial intelligence and also in elderly care of elderly, for those have been the two last big issues that that we have.
GrazieThat one very that's very important issue with with the graying of the population. Right as as people have stopped reproducing almost stopped reproducing, elderly care is going to be more and more I think the temptation will be to deny the elderly care or to offer them euthanasia or suicide. I don't think that far away from us. So the Pontifical Academy for Life, it focuses on all these times in a human being's life when they're most vulnerable.
Right? They so the elderly, the unborn and everything in between. Like everything else these days, there's controversy around that, even within the church. And Monica, you've experienced some of this controversy recently. You spoke out about some changes or some implied changes in the church's teaching on contraception. Tell us what happened there. Have you, if you can do that in a in a couple of minutes.
Mónica & PabloI really do not think that the reason and mean a contradiction in the church teaching itself, the church's teaching is expressed by encyclicals. As as we all know, this issue is very well addressed in humanity and this is the teaching of the church. But on top of that, it is true that there have been meetings, Congresses and different places where this issue of contraception has been discussed even inside the academy, because in a working group year ago, a little bit longer than a year ago, that has published the conclusions in the Vatican.
But it is very important to remark that this is not the teaching of the church. The discussions that people have in in the inside of the academy, even if it is a political academy for the different meetings or Congresses that people develop, is nothing much there. It's not the teaching of the church and the teaching of the church in contraception so far is in Humanae Vitae and is extremely clear.
GrazieAnd I suppose in your meetings and in the academy there is open discussion of all sorts of different viewpoints and ways of approaching things. And as you say, they don't really touch upon the, the teachings of the church were which are not, are not something that can be magically changed by a conference.
Mónica & PabloExactly. That is very important. That is very important to know. And yes, of course, in the academy there are open discussions are there are different issues that are advocacies by small groups. It really depends on how it's necessary to work for it. Is you. But is the same person that something that is published. The attitudes about the economy may may be a source of of of conversion of that that happened last year.
And I myself I wrote and I did some interviews in order to say what I'm what I'm saying right now. The discussion that is taken in the evening days inside a pontifical academy is not a change in the teaching of the church. And until now, the teaching of the church. In fact, deception is a sin. The clear inhumanity.
And we have to follow that. That's it.
GrazieAnd for our and we have to follow it for our own good, I might add.
Mónica & PabloThat.
GrazieGood in the good of all the culture in our society.
Mónica & PabloAs a matter of fact, humanity that is is really a beauty to live, a response life according to the teaching in humanity that I'm from the Chair of Bioethics. We have had a meeting last May in Rome in order to really analyze and rediscover the beauty of humanity then. So I'm believing it is of stream actually. And there we had the possibility to listen to the testimony of different couples that either have been living in of since they were engaged or before.
And like the opposite couples that really were not believe in humanity then, then they discover and they start to leave. On how that changed his life. He's much more he's their family see their so humanity that is actual is really beautiful is worth it to believe and is the only teaching of the church on contraception.
GrazieHumanae Vitae for our listeners, is something you can easily find online at the Vatican archives, but also anywhere you can Google it and it'll come up. And it is a very beautiful document and is prophetic because it was written, it was written before before the logical conclusions which we have seen of of a contraceptive mentality and an abortive mentality have taken had taken root in our society.
But we are living now in times when we can see those conclusions and and the warnings and humanity of what would happen have actually come true and I think have have have exceeded the worst possible. The worst possible expectations are fears now of of of the contraceptive craze that that has taken over our world. So it's definitely worth reading.
And Pablo, before we go, please tell our listeners where can they learn more about the Dr. Jerome religion, the venerable doctor?
Mónica & PabloWell, they can learn more about it in the site. So there is information that we have several sites in English. In the States, you have a Religion Foundation USA, which is Religion Foundation dot org, and there they can find many information. They can also go to site in Spanish for example, which is from the condition that. Yes. Or in French for French speakers.
So yes, and we will be very happy if they want to contact us to provide them more information. And there are very, very excellent books, biographies of genres. The most remarkable is one written by the Postulator of the cause of beatification is a lady that really writes very, very easy to read. It's a very nice book, which is called A John Legend The Freedom of the Weissmuller and the Right Choice of Books.
So, yes, that's a great title.
GrazieThe Freedom of the Wise One. That's a very good title. Yes. So thank you for sharing your wisdom, both of us, both of you, to our sharing your wisdom on our on our show today. And we look forward to learning more about Dr. Jerome Lagoon. And we look forward to more wonderful work from the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Mónica & PabloThank you very much.
GrazieJoining us next is Mary Rose, Samad Riva. She's the editor in chief of Verily magazine, which is a wonderful women's magazine. What every women's magazine should be, one that elevates and inspires. It's back in a print edition after being just online for some time. Although the publication has been around for ten years, it's it's one of my personal favorites and also of Ashley's my co-host co-host, I should say, since we're talking women's magazines.
So welcome to the show, Mary Rose.
Mary RoseThank you so much and so great to chat with you all.
AshleyMary Rose We are living in what I think most people would agree are not healthy or maybe the right word is toxic times for women and girls. When it comes to media, we live in sort of a tick tock hellscape and you are the editor in chief of Verily, which tries to provide something entirely different, something that's uplifting, positive, wholesome and authentic.
Tell us what it's like managing a women's magazine in a world that's so toxic for women when it comes to media things?
Mary RoseYeah, no, it's really actually lovely. I love working for Beverly. I've been working over the ten years. I didn't found Beverly. It was founded by Kara back and Janet Easther, but I was culture editor the time of the founding and was for many years and and it's just been so lovely to pull out the good little bits of stories that, you know, the good, the beautiful out in the culture.
And it's been really lovely to develop the magazine as a whole. Now is I love print media. I used to work at first things in Print and the new Atlantis before that, and I just do love to hold a magazine in my hands. And so it's really fun to put it together. It's got a bunch of beautiful photography and art and as well as women's stories, articles, pieces of journalism, relationship advice.
So I find it super uplifting because to do this, I just have to be talking with different contributors and artists and photographers and ladies. We have real woman photographed and and it's just as well as models, you know, for fashion shoots occasionally. And it's really fun. It's just a really lovely experience. I think that the world out there I love your phrase, ticktock, hellscape, it's crazy out there.
I do think it's like Olivia Rodriguez says, it's brutal out there. I remember the first time I heard that and I thought, Wow, this girl's on to something because it's out there and tick tock and whatnot. It's an Instagram. And throughout media, especially women's media, and we see so many images of girls that are sexualized and just objectifying imagery and just leading girls to a sense of like you have to look a certain way to be worthy, to be relevant, to be noticeable.
And, you know, everybody does want to be noticed and appreciated and and everybody wants love and relationships. I mean, we're made for relationships. And so that's where the damage can really be really problematic, too, with the distortion of, of things that we see on Tok and elsewhere on social media. And the health effects are impossible to ignore. Now it just keeps getting worse.
I mean, it was there at the time when Beverly was founded. There was a Dove study that showed after 3 minutes of flipping through women's magazine, women feel worse about themselves and now it just keeps getting worse and worse. Now it's just social media and online imagery that's all altered and filtered and not real or relatable is just making people feel worse about their real bodies, their real selves, and can make it hard for people to feel themselves and get back in touch with who they are.
And we are trying to help women to feel to get back to who they really are. And all these images can really take a toll, can really hurt one's own self image, one sense of self-worth and also one's expectations in the world and relationships that that aren't helping women as we can see.
AshleyMary Rose You and I have both recently had babies, and Gracie has also given birth four times. And one of the things that I just still find flabbergasting is with all this talk about women's empowerment in these magazines that you see in the checkout aisle, there is this constant like, this celebrity bounced right back and it's somehow a celebrity who probably is a personal trainer and a chef and eats like 200 calories a day looking like they haven't given birth two weeks after giving birth.
GrazieAnd also, she has a day nanny and a night nanny, Right. So that she can get plenty of rest and get her bags under her eyes taking care of.
AshleyAnd I just I just can't believe that there's still this absurd pressure. You know, I'm just talking about where I am personally in my life. And moms to, you know, look like they haven't had a baby right after they had a baby. And, you know, you just talked a lot about images and distorting images. And am I right that barely doesn't Photoshop.
And if so, how do you actually do, you know, images that are interesting and appealing and esthetic without those distortions, What are the kinds of things that you're trying to pull out or prioritize that make it still, you know, a visually appealing thing because people do love beauty. How do you present it without distortion?
Mary RoseYeah, no, I mean, I really do think, you know, we do have to just showing women as we are, as our beautiful selves and there are ways to do that with different are different sizes of different stages of our lives. And the key is, you know, some will say like a confident woman is lovely, you know, is beautiful, and someone who doesn't feel as confident or feels insecure, that's where it can be harder for them to feel beautiful.
And and so we do really think we've got to build women up. We don't want to have these expectation is that are unrealistic or unhealthy, such as to get back down to your pre-baby size like two weeks after birth or even a year after birth, frankly, or basically ever your knee. So, you know, your body changes, you know, and in some ways, in some ways, my body goes up and down since babies have come in, you know, until in my life.
But then and then I remember after the second one, I was living in Texas and I was definitely enjoying the food there and driving a lot more than walking than I had before in the cities that I lived in. And I was like, my gosh, I've never been quite this size in my life. But of course I was way far away from my family and like nobody saw me.
And but my mom visited after the baby and she was like, okay, I really appreciated that. She was just, you know, not that judgmental at all. I mean, she's my mom. She had four kids and here I was like, okay, here's my Texan little boy. And and but, you know, then after my breastmilk was gone, it just it just all fell off.
So in some ways, I felt that was a relief because it was hormonal and I couldn't blame myself, Although even if I, you know, I just think that we just it just taught me that it is it is really Mother Nature, you know, or our bodies, you know, as women, we really have a magical and beautiful supernatural ability to bring life into the world.
And we we need to take it with what it comes naturally, comes with some sacrifices. And and I wrote a piece for verily after that how having babies are my post having been postpartum after having a baby helped me to appreciate my body more. And so even if my weight wasn't my favorite thing, I felt at that time, it wasn't all of me.
I was much more than that. I was doing a lot of things and I was trying to be my newborn. And so the whole purpose and and that gives us a sense of they're truly beautiful. And when it comes to fashion, there's always something for every woman. I think that what I really love is this philosophy. I recently in the last year interviewed a French designer, clothing designer of heroines.
It's a store called Heroines in France, in Paris, and it's her name is Aurélie Cohen, and she has a remarkable philosophy. When I went in her shop, I looked at one of the the clothing and I went to see the size and it had a little tag that said, you are so much more than a size. And I thought, what?
Who is this lady who's behind this? This is an interesting thing to be confronted with. And then she said, no, no, yeah. The clerk said, we are. We help you find the right thing for you, and the clerks will help you and you don't have to worry about your size because in France, apparently, and it's probably true here too, there's a sense of, well, is this a size I forget the number in France, but in the United States, is this a size four or two or zero?
She says in France that some woman won't even buy the thing. They won't even try it on if it's not a certain size. And she's just trying to help women in all their sizes to feel and whatever stage of their life there and to feel lovely and beautiful and they really succeed. I mean, I wish we could have it over here in the U.S. Hopefully one day they'll come over here.
But I shared it in the interview just to sort of get this idea across. And actually we then we had a little raffle and we're doing it again this year where anyone who subscribe to Variety before the end of the year is in a raffle for us to ship them over to France with their best friend or like a girlfriend and get a little shopping spree at heroines.
And so we're doing it again. But when we did it this past year, the ladies showed up. It was two sisters. It was so fun. And they showed up and one of them was pregnant. One of them was eight months pregnant. And and even though it's not a maternity store or really was there and she was she was able to find some lovely outfits that work that worked with Rebecca's shape at that time and also postpartum.
And Rebecca was like moved to tears. She was so emotional. She was so thankful that there was a place that they could appreciate that. So and we did photograph it is in the summer issue of barely those photos and you can see that they're beautiful. So no matter what size a woman is, whatever stage of life she's in, we we truly believe and we will show it.
We'll show, we'll tell you. But we'll also show you that women are beautiful at all stages.
GrazieThat's very lovely. A very early magazine, because I'm raising daughters and I know that the what they see reflected back at them from the culture is this this idea that their self-worth or their worth in general is very tied to their appearance. And then the the threshold that they have to cross not to be worthy at all is very, very high and also completely false and artificial.
So how fabulous that you're combating that and taking and making your mark and you're taking your space in a culture which has been hijacked entirely, right. By by that other way of looking at at women. But also in you also concentrate on relationships. And I think that's just as important for women's self-worth to to really understand, as you say, that we are made for a relationship and and not to not to breathe in from the culture, what the culture is telling us, the general culture, which is really telling us toxic relationships and and competitive relationships, but that there are relationships that are true to our to our best selves where we can being right, like
growing an ennobling in our relationships with people. How do you see verily and the way that you reflect back to to women what relationships can be like?
Mary RoseYeah, a big part of that is that we aren't participating in the silly games like manipulative relationship tricks or only male pleasing stuff. You see it all over women's magazine cover lines. It's so sad, you know. Please, your man this X-Y-Z Z way or you know, I joke with ladies like we don't have the article. It says how to get back your X in like ten days or blow his mind, etc..
It like things that are really unhelpful and unhealthy for real, lasting relationships. The kind of relationships that women survey saying they still want commitment and yet the magazines out there and outlets all over the web are not really giving the kind of advice that would help to foster healthy relationships. So we've been blessed over the years with really great relationship editors and content, really great writers, you know, some Gottman certified therapists who contribute to our site, who have shared, you know, these healthy tips on relationships that has stunned us in our our number of viewers.
We have a half a million viewers monthly from search to our relationship articles. And it's basically because we are we are answering some questions we're looking for answers to on a regular basis with another outlet for an answering. So we're so happy we could be that light for them to new readers to reach out to our pages and see a different kind of answer that actually can fulfill that.
But we are really hoping to grow as well because we can see their comments and we see comments on these articles that show that there's still a lot of questions, there's still a lot of confusion out there. You know, like some woman will say on a comment, you know, I'm really interested in this guy who says he's interested in me, but he's not yet divorced from his wife.
And it's like, lady, we need to. Yes, let me help you. Let me help build you up and help you to see where you want to go here. And and they're really looking for answers. And so we want to just connect women. And so it's not just like relationships in terms of romance. We're also trying to connect women with each other because girlfriend relationships are really important to women's mental health.
And I think a study showed 1 to 2 times a week is the ideal amount of times that you'll get together with another woman. And so now just to because sometimes that that's the kind of person who's going to understand what you're going through, but also you want only just one romantic relationship. You're not only defined by just your romantic status.
So we just think that that's important to see the integration of our entire selves with our communities, with our family, friends. If we're called to, you know, a romantic relationship and we try to cover all those bases in our relationship section, it barely. And also it just reminded me since you said tick tock earlier, there's a super silly trend I've seen where of like flinching at your partner, like sort of like looking at them like you're going to go at them and like, attack them and then see how they respond and record it.
That's just to me. Like, of course, at first it's like really silly and can be humorous to see responses. People have like, What are you doing? Or like hitting them back or just being surprised and shouting at them. But I think it's just a reflection of how we just becoming more me centered like this is entertainment for others.
This isn't about a mutual relationship between two people and we need to just reorient ourselves back to seeing each other as people and not as just opportunities for attention to ourselves. And we've realized that instead of killing ourselves for ads, we need to just keep pushing the good work out there to help women, not compromise our values, and to reach more women and girls who are looking for better content.
And are we? We have a lot of exciting goals this year, such as in the coming year to reach people in the places where women read women's magazines already. So like salons, nail salons, hair salons where people spend hours each, you know, each month we're thousands of women. You know, hundreds of thousands of women are sitting down and voluntarily picking up what's there.
But there's not much great stuff there. And wherever we've been going, I've been going to some women's conferences across the country the past few months. And just like thousands of women, there were one in Philadelphia, one in Austin, Texas, and they come right up to our booth and they say, my gosh, no Photoshop of women. And they still get emotional.
And I started to pull some some people's words in a Google form, too, because so many women came up and this would have changed my life if I had this earlier. And so we really do want, you know, for our daughters to provide something better. And we're even talking about creating a Beverly teen. So that even younger women can can we can reach them sooner before a lot of this distortion of beauty and ourselves gets worse.
So so we have some exciting plans ahead and we are we are looking for support. And as we have just this year, been approved by the IRS as a nonprofit. 523 So we're just thrilled to be jumping in and and working to change the culture.
AshleyWell, thank you, Mary Rose. We are out of time. But for our listeners, Christmas is around the corner. What better gift for women in your life than a subscription to Verily? Thank you for joining us, Mary Rose and we wish you the best.
Mary RoseThank you, Ashley and Gracie.
GrazieEvery morning the Catholic Association reviews all the latest news and sends our subscribers a carefully curated collection of the most important news of the day. Items are specifically selected for a smart Catholic audience like you. Don't let the world take you by surprise. Subscribe to our daily media roundup at the Catholic Association dot org. And now Father Roger Landry offers us, as is customary, a short and inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday's gospel.
Father Roger LandryThis is Father Roger later. It's a joy for me to be with you at the end of the Easter octave. So we enter into the consequence of conversation, the original, which is one step with each of us. This Sunday as we enter into the scene of two dramatic dialogs, one that took place in the night Jesus triumphantly rose from the dead in the second a week later.
Both have so much to teach us about growing in faith this Easter and Easter night. Jesus walked through the closed doors of the upper room where the apostles were huddling together out of fear and first said to them, Shalom, peace be with you. Jews had come down from heaven, earth, and given his life in order to give us peace.
But it is a special kind of peace one the world can't give or take away. Not as the world gives peace. Do I give it to you? Jesus had told us during the Last Supper The peace Jesus leaves and gives is not the mere absence of war or conflict, but harmony with God to the forgiveness of sins. Without this type of peace, no other form can endure because it's sin that destroys interior peace.
The peace of the home, the peace of friendship, the peace of communities, the peace of nations, as we're seeing throughout the Middle East and the Holy Land in Ukraine and beyond. And so Jesus wasting absolutely no time to set the next stage of his peace plan in motion on the night of his resurrection, divinely empowered the apostles as his peacemakers to bring that gift and the joy in which it leads to the ends of the earth.
Important for us to pay close attention to the steps Jesus took so that we can understand better the Divine foundation of the Sacrament of Mercy, which is at the foundation of peace, and better explain it to those who claim they can confess their sins to God alone without the sacrament. Just begin by saying to the Apostles, just as the Father sent me.
So I send you. We know that the Father had sent Jesus as a LAMB of God to take away the sins of the world. Jesus was sending His apostles to continue that saving mission of mercy. Since we know that only God can forgive sins against God. Jesus needed to impart to the apostles that divine power, so He breathed on them as he said, Receive the Holy Spirit.
He gave them Godly Spirit so that they might forgive sins in God's name, just as we hear every time the priest pronounces those beautiful words in the Sacrament of Penance, God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His son, has poured out the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. And then Jesus did something that refers to the essential structure of the sacrament of reconciliation.
He said, Those who send you forgive their forgiven. Those who send you retain their retained. Since these didn't give the apostles the capacity to read hearts and souls. The only way they and their successors and priestly collaborators would be able to know which sense to forgive or retain would be if people told them. And that's what happens in the sacrament of confession.
It's so fitting that Jesus established the sacrament of his mercy on Easter Sunday night because he wanted to link the joy of, his resurrection, to the joy of forgiveness. It pointed to the connection between the two when he gave us the unforgettable parable of the prodigal son. When the lost son returns to the father to give his rehearsed speech of repentance.
The father erupts with happiness because, he says his son was dead and has been brought to life again. This parable, which is about what happens in the sacrament of Penance, points to the truth that every reconciliation is a resurrection. In every good confession, a son or daughter who was dead comes to life again, healed of sins, both mortal and venial, and made fully alive once more in Christ Jesus.
That's why it's so fitting as we conclude the Easter octave that we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Back in 2000, Saint John Paul, the second establishes feast for the Sunday after Easter, so that all of us could thank God for the gift of his merciful love that led him to stop at nothing in order to save us from our sins through the eternal death to which our sins lead.
Saint John Paul, the second, announced the establishment of this feast during the canonization of Saint Faustina Valeska, the humble Polish sister to whom, in a series of profound, mystical experiences during the 1930, Jesus had revealed the depths of his merciful love for the human race. His desire for all people to recognize our need, for his mercy, to trust in it, to come, to receive it, and to share it with others.
The sun is an opportunity for us to thank God for the gift of His mercy, to come to receive it in the way he himself established, to be transformed by it such that we should seek to share it. It's a good time for us if we don't already know it, to take up the five practices. Jesus revealed to Saint Faustina Kowalski to help us to grow in trust of His mercy, to pray every day at 3 p.m., to venerate him in the image of divine mercy, to pray the chapel to divine mercy, offering God the Father Jesus in the Eucharist, and begging Him on account of the Son, his son's passion for mercy on the
whole world to pray. The No vision of Divine mercy, which finishes on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday, and finally Divine Mercy itself. When Jesus had that dialog with the Apostles. However, one apostle was famously absent when the other apostles told Thomas, We have seen the Lord Jesus. He. Thomas replied that unless he saw and probed the nail marks and Jesus hands inside, he wouldn't believe Jesus appeared to Thomas and the other apostles the following Sunday, wished them Shalom once more and invited Thomas to put his finger and hands into his wounds and not to continue unbelieving, but to believe how great a pity it is that Saint Thomas, who left everything to follow the
Lord Jesus, who gave his entire life for the Lord and would die and witness to the faith. It's called doubting Thomas as much as is called Saint Thomas. He's the most famous doubter in history. But his doubts weren't unique among the first disciples and apostles with the exception of the Blessed Mother, none of the early disciples believed after the resurrection, the women went to anoint a corpse.
The disciples on the road to a mass thought they were talking to an anonymous wayfarer, or about a Jesus whom they thoroughly believed was dead. When Mary Magdalene and these amazed disciples went to inform the other apostles that they had seen Jesus, the Apostles didn't believe them. That's why Jesus, when he appeared to them a saint, Mark reminds us through Saint Peter, rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believe those who saw him after he'd been raised.
Faith, as we know, is a belief in something on the basis of a belief in someone giving witness. And the apostles had a double distrust that led to their lack of faith in Jesus resurrection. First, they distrusted the witness of Mary in the disciples in the road to a mass thinking that they were just too gullible. But more importantly, they trusted, in Jesus words, that he would rise in the third day.
Thomas's distrust was not qualitatively different at all, just quantitatively. Thomas was willing, unwilling to accept the testimony of the other apostles, too, as if they, the women and the disciples from a mass were all together in some collective hallucination. But it wasn't a general incredulity. Thomas said, obviously have been struggling about their criteria to accept that Jesus had risen from the dead, almost certainly because he had been pondering Jesus words about his resurrection in the third day.
So Thomas had come to the conclusion that the criteria to recognize that the resurrection that truly happened would be Jesus wounds, which were the sign not just of Jesus death, but of His love and of the connection between Jesus risen body and his earthly body. Thomas had somehow intuited that after the Resurrection, Jesus would be recognized not by his face, but by His wounds.
Jesus physical appearance might be different. His voice might be different. Almost everything else might be different, as we would see in some of his appearances. When his disciples wouldn't recognize either his face or his voice. But Thomas grasp that the wounds would have to be there. That's why he said what he did. Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger to the nail marks my hand to his side, I will not believe.
And when Jesus appeared to him and rather than castigating him, lovingly invited him not just to see his wounds, but to put his finger into his hands and his hands and to his side. Saint Thomas dropped to his knees and burst out with the greatest theological confession of Jesus divinity recorded in sacred Scripture. My Lord and my God.
Normally, when we focus on that expression, we focus on the titles of divinity. But six years ago, when I had the privilege to celebrate Mass with Pope Francis and Divine Mercy Sunday in the Vatican, the Holy Father looked at this phrase from another angle and focused on the adjective My, which he noted was a possessive adjective. She says, Not just the Lord in God, but Thomas as Lord and God pointed to the personal relationship between the two.
Totally. Father said, Jesus wants us to to relate to him as my Lord in my God, to belong to us as we belong to him. That's what Saint Thomas, he says can teach us. Just finishes the consequence of conversation with doubting turned confessing. Thomas by stating, Have you come to believe because you've seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen but believed.
Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus told the disciples, Blessed are your eyes that see what you see. Saint John, the Evangelist in his first letter, announced that he had seen with his eyes. There's indeed beatitude and seeing God, because in order truly to see Him, we need to have faith. Because Jesus taking on our humanity looks similar to other human beings.
We need faith to be able to see behind the human face, to peer beyond the human body. But Jesus indicates a greater beatitude to one who doesn't see but still believes. The ultimate test of faith is when we don't see with our physical eyes or probe with our index fingers or hands, but make the same act of faith in Jesus.
This is what led another Thomas Saint Thomas Aquinas, the seventh and 50th anniversary whose death the church marked a month ago to write in his famous hymn A Daughter to Vote Wounds like Thomas, I do not see. Nevertheless, I confess you, my God, to be make me always more and more believe in you. Have hope in you and love you.
That's what Saint Thomas, the Apostle is interceding for us to do, to confess Jesus His God, just like he did to grow in faith, hope and love in Jesus. And on this divine mercy Sunday. To trust in His mercy forever. God bless you.
GrazieThank you, Father Landry. To hear more from Father Landry, check out his website on Catholic priest And you can also catch his writings at EWTN on National Catholic Register. A big thank you to all our listeners for joining us. I hope that this show was helpful. I hope that it gave you more peace and more hope and more joy.