Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Flourishing Sisterhood podcast: ‘The saints next door’

Charlotte Berg and Ava Radosevich interview Sr. Julie Glaeser in Bobet Hall on April 2, 2024. Students taking “Documentary and Oral Histories” with professor Justin Nystrom are curating a podcast. Courtesy of Justin Nystrom

Loyola students are working with the Flourishing Sisterhood project to create a new podcast.

“Flourishing Sisterhood: Nourishing Communities in the Gulf South” aims to provide support and promote social justice for sisters along the Gulf Coast and is managed by Claire Gallagher through the Loyola Institute for Ministry.

Particularly, there is a focus on understanding the beauty and benefit of aging in order to acknowledge the older age demographic of the majority of the convents in this region.

Gallagher explained, “With aging comes changes and new ways of life, so it’s called Flourishing Sisterhood because we want to help sisters answer that question of, ‘How do we continue to flourish even with these changes?’”

In response to the subject of aging, Gallagher said there tends to be a misunderstanding in the sense that people have pity, but there is another side to that story.

The podcast addresses these misunderstandings by partnering with the Flourishing Sisterhood and connecting the sisters to students who hear their experiences and share them with listeners.

“One of the goals of the is to amplify sisters’ voices and give them a space in which they can tell their stories,” Gallagher said.

While the podcast advances the initiative of the Flourishing Sisterhood, it has also served as a learning experience and resource for students through a partnership with an oral history class taught by history professor Justin Nystrom, in which students taking the course were interviewing the sisters to curate the podcast.

“One of the things I love about this class is that students are actually producing an actual historical record,” Nystrom said. “They are contributing to an archive; their name is on it.”

Students have made meaningful connections with the sisters through the podcast, according to Nystrom.

“I don’t know how many times [the students] would come out of an interview and be like ‘Oh wow, that was really amazing.’” Nystom said. “One, I think, emerged in tears after an interview because it was so moving.”

Sister Judith Gomila, Marianite of Holy Cross, was one of the women interviewed for the podcast despite not actively being a member of the Flourishing Sisterhood project; she was introduced to the podcast by Sister Elvira Brown.

Sister Judith spoke of how the sisterhood was so unfamiliar to her in her youth, and how she witnesses this now with the younger generation, as well.

“They thought [the sisters] were other worldly, and I think I probably thought that of sisters myself,” she said.

However, she believes these misconceptions can be avoided by telling the facts, the true stories, the humanness, as well as the Holy.

“We are the saints next door,” Sister Judith said, quoting Pope Francis.

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About the Contributor
Chiara Faircloth
Chiara Faircloth, Assistant Worldview Editor
Chiara Faircloth currently serves as The Maroon's Assistant Worldview Editor. Chiara is a sophomore majoring in English and earning an education certification, and she is interested in traveling to Spanish-speaking countries to teach English. In her free time, she is usually with family and friends, watching TV, or reading. Chiara can be reached at [email protected]

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