Hello, you guys. What’s up. Welcome back to another episode of Hear and Now podcast. I am so excited to be talking to Radiant Magazine’s chief editor, right, Ava?
Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. I’m so excited to chat with you.
Of course. I’m excited to be on.
So why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience?
My name is Ava Lalor. I am, the oldest of four kids in a Catholic family, have been Catholic my whole life. Went to college for writing and figured out pretty quickly that I wanted to work within the Catholic sphere. Um, I just knew that that’s where God wanted me to be. I’ve always had a love for stories and, hearing about people’s passions. And so God definitely led me down that path to help other people share their stories. I currently work as Sophia mentioned, as the editor of Radiant magazine, which is an online platform for young Catholic women. Just encouraging them to figure out, you know, first of all, their identity in Christ and also what mission God has placed on their hearts, and trying to get those resources to pursue the life that God has for them.
And so, yeah, I worked as the editor for, that platform. And it’s just been such a joy over the last few years to really discover both, you know, where God wants me to be in what He wants me to do. So, yeah, I guess that’s the very, very short summary of who I am and what I do.
*Laughs* The abridged version. So how did, uh, Radiant get started? Why don’t you give us a little backstory on that?
Yeah. So I am not actually the founder, I guess you could say of Radiant. It was passed on to me in my current job. So Radiant was founded a few years ago. I forget exactly what year, I was still in college. Um, and I remember seeing these ads on Facebook’s like this Catholic women’s magazine.
I was like, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.” And so I kind of tucked it away at the back of my mind at that point, I was like, “Oh, I’m a cheap college student. I’m not going to buy this.” You know, I’ll wait until I graduate type of idea. But at the time, the woman who created Radiant, her name is Rose Ray and she, yeah, she just has this, had this desire to create a Catholic magazine for young women.
And so she, and a team of, I think like three or four other women, they got together and created this beautiful magazine. And it was really, really beautiful. And so about the time that I started my job at Our Sunday Visitor, which is a Catholic publishing company, we do a lot of different things. And at that time we were working with Rose on the publishing side of Radiant.
And so we were in collaboration with her. I jumped on board, with the paper that OSV publishes. Being a young Catholic woman, myself, they asked if I would be interested in just helping read, edit the copies of Radiant before we put them across. And so I was able to get to know Rose a little bit through that, and just see Radiant in motion: articles of anything from young Catholic women who have a business or an initiative that they’re sharing about, or, you know, someone’s journey and stuff like that.
To fashion and trends that even Catholic women can jump on board with. There was a bunch of things that the magazine featured and it was really cool to dive in and just read all of these stories before everyone else in the world got to read them. And so I started my job with Our Sunday Visitor back in 2018, summer of 2018.
And so for about a year, I was helping just proof the copies as they were coming out and had like, three issues during that timeframe. And then may of 2019, um, made the decision to quit printing it as a physical product, uh, which a lot of people were really disappointed about, but we just didn’t think that it was, it was reaching the audience in the best way that we could.
And we just didn’t think that the print, uh, magazine was the best way to share the message that all of these women were able to share through the magazine. So Rose Ray just passed off Radiant completely to Our Sunday Visitor, and right around that time, my boss went on maternity leave. And so she was kind of like, “Hey, over the summer, just, kind of try to keep it going.” I was like, “Okay, lovely.” That summer, um, between me and we had an intern at the time, we just kind of really got to know, okay, social media, this is the platform that exists. Let’s try to keep that going. Let’s see what the audience wants. What are the articles that we can start planning for fall to figure out what are young Catholic women looking for?
There’s a bunch of other blogs out there, but what is something that we can, um, focus on? What are the things that they’re coming to us for? And so that was just a full summer and into fall of, just experimenting, trying to figure out what Radiant was, as a print product and what it could be as an online platform and resource for young women.
And so during that time, just kept thinking and planning of like, okay, this could be what Radiant is. At that point. I wasn’t like officially in charge. I was just kind of helping with the transition and someone to just continue Radiant’s mission and come fall of 2019, I was just talking to my boss and she’s like, “Would you want to take this on at least for a trial run and just see where it goes?”
And I had been kind of hoping she would ask that I do that, but I wasn’t very bold at that time, still trying to work on the confidence aspect, but it was just such a great opportunity for her to see that I had this desire and to ask me to pursue it. And so, yeah, fall of 2019, I kind of jumped on board as the editor, um, just as a trial run.
And then we never really had an official followup conversation except that we kept going. So I’m still the editor, I guess, but it’s been really, a beautiful journey for me to figure out what is Radiant. And we’re still trying to figure out a little bit of what that looks like since it started off as a print product, and now it’s online.
So there are some differences, but ultimately what our goal is, is to be the platform that encourages women as daughters of God in their identity in Christ first and foremost, encourage them to dive deep into their relationship with Christ, because from there they can figure out like, what are the desires of their hearts?
How do I embrace the struggle in my life? How can I pursue those passions that God has given me? All through the lens of faith in the world we live in. And so the last year I’ve just been continuing that mission of Radiant of getting more women on board as frequent writers so that we have new content all the time, growing our social media platforms so that more women can hear this message.
Um, All of those things. So it’s been a kind of a crazy journey that I look back on and I’m like, wow, a lot has happened in, you know, year and a half, two years, however long you want to say, it’s actually been, but it’s been beautiful. And I’m very grateful that God has like placed this mission in my lap, because it’s not something I probably would have actively gone after.
I do have a love for sharing, like, my own stories and helping women share their stories. And so it just happened so perfectly in a way that I couldn’t have expected.
That’s awesome. So beautiful. And I just love those little moments where you can look back and you’re like, “Hey, this is not what I expected, but I’m so grateful that it came in the way that it did.” And, so that’s awesome. Kudos to you. So what does a typical day in the life look like for you as an editor of a magazine?
So, as I kind of mentioned, my job has two parts. I was hired by Our Sunday Visitor to work on the paper, Our Sunday Visitor weekly publication, for Catholic news analysis, faith-based, stuff like that.
And it goes out across the country. And so that was what I was hired to do as an editor. Just, just again, edit the content, work on the articles that we have for the weekly issue. And so now on top of the physical print Catholic weekly paper and also doing all the stuff for Radiant. So I’m reaching out to authors too, for them to write, going through our — the submissions we just get from women wanting to share their stories and what God has put on their heart, editing those, figuring out when we’re going to even put them online.
Anything from — I don’t do the content on the website, we have another woman who does that — but, you know, prepping it to go online, getting all the images and stuff like that. And then, yeah, social media, interacting with our followers on Instagram and Facebook and getting, we have a new– a newsletter every Saturday, so putting that together. One of my favorite parts is honestly, of my job is every Thursday, more or less, I go through and just check all the other Catholic women blogs that kind of relate to our demographic. And I just read through a bunch of things. I listen to a bunch of podcasts and then I just, take about five from the web for that week.
And then I get to share it in our newsletter. So it’s kind of like a quick collaboration from all these other different platforms for young women to be like, hey, you might enjoy this too. And it makes it easier, so they don’t have to do a little work themselves, but I get to, and so that’s a lot of fun.
So yeah, it’s kind of, a very flexible schedule. I don’t have a typical, “this is exactly what I do every day,” but there’s always some sort of editing involved. There’s always some sort of writing, whether that’s an article or that’s an Instagram post, or even just talking on Instagram and the story and just sharing something that’s been on my heart or that other people have been bringing up to me, stuff like that.
So it’s, there’s always something new happening and yeah, it never gets boring.
I can tell you just like, genuinely love your job. I would, I would, too. If, you know, I get to spend time looking at what other people are doing and contributing to the world as well, and then being able to help women and share their stories. I feel like that’s so incredible. Um, and you guys have such a good thing going. So how did 2020 impact your business, whether that was positive or negative?
Yeah, that’s a good question. So, because Radiant is online only, like the marketing business side of it has definitely taken a step back where we don’t have a product we’re selling as much as just trying to get our, our mission, and our message, and our articles out there because we think they’re worth reading.
And so it’s because, or, you know, when the pandemic hit at the beginning, like in March of last year, um, everyone in my company went remote, and we started working remotely and for the most part we still are. And at first, I was kind of like, okay, this is going to be really weird, but it’s been such a gift in the way that I’ve actually had more time to devote to Radiant because beforehand, you know, we’re all in the office.
And I had my team with, the newspaper that, you know, we were in constant collaboration and we still are all the time. We have meetings every day and just, you know, virtual now. But because now I’m in my own space and I might have a bit more ownership of my time. I’m able to really devote the time that Radiant deserves instead of worrying like, oh, are my other priorities with the paper and my coworkers who are visibly in front of me, like, do I need to devote time to that?
So I’m able to figure out the balance as each product deserves, which has been, really beautiful. It’s also encouraged myself, and my manager and the other people who help me with Radiant. I do most of the content and editing, but I have a few other people that help with the website side of things and just vision side of things.
And it’s given us an opportunity to really stretch ourselves and figure out, are there different ways that we can not only just share our message, but collaborate with different businesses, different platforms? So that’s really been, I think one of the biggest blessings of 2020 is having more time and the flexibility to really devote to Radiant, and figure out what that looks like.
And, getting more creative with how we are sharing our message. I would say before 2020, I was very hesitant on social media. I am not naturally the type of person who wants to share, not only my life, but my face on social media. And so it was definitely an opportunity to be like, well, I am in my apartment by myself, I can make these social media posts and try them five, 10 times before I’m confident than okay, that actually made sense this time.
So it’s been a lot of flexibility and creativity throughout the entire year. I’ve been so blessed by so many other Catholic women platforms that have either reached out to me or, like, like yourself or, um, I’ve reached out to them and just have been able to create some really unique collaborations, you know, anything from a live event on Instagram to interviews with different — like we do instead of an interview on a podcast, we do like interviews via blog and, um, share just the different initiatives that other women have been able to pursue on their own time.
So there’s definitely been a lot of graces of 2020 that I wouldn’t have expected.
Absolutely. I’m sure a lot of people can attest to that, for sure. I mean, you know, my podcast, my blog kind of took off this year because I’ve been able to devote more time to podcast interviews and just hopping on Zoom and having a conversation.
Everybody knows how to use Zoom now. So it just makes it ten times easier. But no, I mean, I think there’s, there are people without a doubt that took a hit from the last year, but it’s been kind of cool to see the other people that have gotten to flourish and have unexpected graces and just mercy in general, we can all use a little mercy every now and then. But, but yeah, no, I think it’s been really cool to watch people kind of just grow and be grateful for what they’ve been given and kind of just be flexible with what they have.
So that’s really cool. So do you guys have any long-term goals and plans for Radiant that you want to share about?
So I guess the biggest thing I can say is we’re just doing some updates with the website. *Laughter* Our old website it’s, it does a great job, but, you know, we just wanted to have a fresh feel to it. So we’re currently in the process of revamping that by the time this episode comes out, hopefully it’ll actually have been launched. So I don’t think I’m spoiling anything, but yeah, we’re just trying to figure out what is the best way that we can service our audience. And then there’s a lot of different platforms out there that do an awesome job with a very similar demographic. I think from the Young Catholic Woman, The Catholic Woman, Blessed is She, Catholic Women in Business. There’s so many great blogs initiatives already out there. And so, you know, we’re just trying to make sure that everything that we have to offer at Radiant has this just very genuine, beautiful, clean, honest approach.
And we want people to resonate with our content. And so the website’s something we’d been planning for a while. And we really had the time, a little bit more to devote to it, last year and into this year. So that’s been definitely one of the blessings, that we were like, well, we might as well start thinking about this now instead of putting it off.
So yeah. Look for our new website coming out soon, you know, in the next month or so hopefully early 20, 21. And that’s really the biggest initiative at this point. Again, we’re still trying to figure out the nitty-gritty of what else can we provide that maybe another platform hasn’t or doesn’t provide for young Catholic women. Our tagline, that we’ve kind of settled on a little bit more. Well, I guess I should backtrack the Bible verse that Radiant is named after is Psalm 34:6. Um, those who look to Him are Radiant. And so we’ve tried to really incorporate that mission that started, uh, again, keeping our eyes focused on God. And what does that look like?
It means having a head in first perspective, like how do we thrive on this side of Heaven since Heaven is our ultimate home, but we are given this beautiful life to live. And so that’s really our mission and our hope, for the people who encounter our content at Radiant is that they are encouraged that there is so much goodness in this life, that we are meant to encounter and pursue, but it doesn’t make sense unless we have the overarching view of Heaven first Heaven forward. And so what that looks like in the future with, with sharing our content, you know, it does that mean different approaches. We’re always trying to experiment. Does that mean different products again?
Who knows? We’re kind of, once the website is out, I know we’re going to do some more brainstorming of what does this look like? What different platforms, different approaches, different messages can we contribute? So, yeah, we don’t have anything specifically in store, but yeah, just really encouraging women to thrive on this side of Heaven. That’s, that’s our goal right now.
That’s the goal everybody needs to have. So I think that’s perfect, but no, I think it’s super important because you know, you look at things like People Magazine or uh Teen Vogue, or I’m just throwing out random ones that it’s just almost so degrading to people that there is, there is supposed to be hope and things that are of this world. And of course, we’re not made to be in this world, but while we’re here, why not enjoy the time we have and get to know ourselves and our identity in Christ. And so I’m glad and thankful that there are things like Radiant to kind of lead you there.
So other than I guess the obvious part of being Catholic, what kind of sets you apart from other magazines that you see on the shelves?
Um, well, again, since we’re not the physical magazine, you know, it’s kind of this interesting, we’ve retained “magazine” as our name because that’s how people know us, but what does that look online?
That’s that’s the question. So again, really trying to create this just really easy to encounter, approachable platform for young Catholic women that, you know, they encounter us and they think, “Oh, like that sounds like a struggle that I’ve experienced or a joy that I’ve experienced” and that, that hooks them.
Because again, I think there there’s so much comparison that women go through. There’s so much despair that the world feeds us, that we buy into. And it’s so important to have platforms that are not positive in the way that is fake, but positive rooted in, you know, authentic joy and what it looks like to live in authentic Catholic Christian life.
And so relying on the experience of the saints — we just had an article posted like earlier this week about St. Hildegard of Bingen, who like a thousand years ago was a revolutionary woman doing pretty much anything you could imagine under the sun. What does that look like for us, today? How can we draw from the experiences of Saint Hildegard and other saints?
How can we draw from the experiences of the women right around us? Again, we do interviews with different women and we just did an interview with Veronica, from Litany, the new clothing line. So encouraging women to, look at these good experiences, these good examples that are already out there. Again, there’s so much goodness in the world, you just kind of have to weed through the different messages.
And so that’s our, our hope is to help, to not only just, you know, share the messages of the women that write for us, but to also promote the different messages of women that are doing other great things out there. So with this past summer, we did a series on different, you know, Catholic artists and promoting their artwork that had themes of anything from like a Marian theme, to saints themes, you know, and just helping them share their message through our platform.
So that’s, that’s one of our goals is to help not only individual women in their own lives, but also to be a resource that can help promote the other platforms that are already out there, because it’s not about competition, it’s not about, “Oh, this person or this platform is doing this thing. How can we be better or do the same thing?”
That’s not, that’s not what we’re about. We’re really trying to just promote our own individual stories through encouraging people through our blogs, through our posts and, and also encouraging and supporting the other platforms that are already out there that, you know, maybe they’re just getting off the ground.
Maybe they’ve been around for awhile, but other women might not know about them. Stuff like that.
Yeah I think that mutual collaboration aspect is huge, not only in the Catholic world, but especially within women, you know, it’s very natural to be highly competitive among women. And so I think offering some sort of collaboration and just lifting you guys up is the best part about it, which is something that you don’t tend to see in other publications it’s more like, paparazzi and all of those things. And you’re just tearing those people down. You know, everybody has lives, everybody has dignity in themselves. And it’s just so good to see something that really wants to cherish and honor somebody’s self-esteem and their worth as well.
So again, I’m so glad that you guys are that kind of people. So what do you hope that some of your readers take away when they read your publications?
Yes. I think one of the first things I hope is that, sainthood is possible, that living a life of holiness, not perfection, but holiness is possible.
Something that I’ve noticed in our readers in the last year is just the desire for articles that are very practical. How do I better my prayer life? How do I listen to the voice of God? Just like answering that, how do I actually, be a Christian, you know? And so giving them the resources and the encouragement, different prayers and devotions, that’s one of the biggest things that we’re focusing on.
Just the how of being a Catholic woman in the world and also that — in the world, what does that look like? What are the cultural things that we encounter that, you know, can help? That we can claim as Catholic women instead of rejecting, like how can we be Catholic women in the world, you know, but not so like worldly, you know, finding that balance.
And so encouraging women, that they can be saints one day. And that is what God wants them to be. That most importantly, they already are claimed by Christ, that they already have dignity that they are already loved, and just trying to devote time and energy to that relationship is something that I hope that it seems feasible for them instead of intimidating, because I think so many times like, oh, we see these saints and even just Catholic speakers, writers.
You know, people who have their own businesses and platforms, you know, it can be like, “Oh, well, those people can be Holy and not me in my everyday life.” And that is something that I hope that readers of Radiant feel like that message is redefined as no, we are all called to embrace this one beautiful life and become saints.
So I think that’s one of the biggest things. Sainthood, realizing that you are worth it, sisters, like God has already claimed you. Um, what does that look like in your beautiful life?
No that’s perfect. And I remember, um, when I was in high school that our motto used to be striving for sainthood rather than striving for college or for grades or anything like that.
And that always stuck with me because yeah, getting into college, getting into Harvard, would be wonderful and absolutely amazing, but it’s not the end goal. It’s not endgame *laughter* endgame is Heaven. And so finding those people that encourage holiness and that encourage you to desire sainthood and just wanting to be this good and Holy and, you know, worthy person is something that is so needed today.
Like you said, “You’re worth it.” And it’s a reminder for a lot of us too, and even people who have platforms struggle with those things in their everyday lives too. I know I do. And I’m not this person that’s so far above and beyond anything like that. Like, you know, just really calling yourselves to look inside and reevaluate.
Um, it’s so important. So I think that is absolutely wonderful. And I can’t say it enough. So do you guys accept, guest submissions and guest articles, if anybody wants to submit one?
Yes. So the best way, if you have a story you want to tell, and there’s a platform called Submittable. And you just look us up and you can submit directly to us.
If you go to our, our Radiant website, there should be a link on the website of, “Hey, are you interested in submitting” and stuff like that. Or you can just email me at email@example.com and yeah, they’ll go with you from there. But yeah, we always have different women submitting to us and it’s been really beautiful, the number of the women that write for me more frequently now, I found them just by a single article that they shared with me. So we’re always listening, looking for new voices that fit within our, you know, our tone within our platform, our goal, stuff like that. So we’re all about trying to amplify the voices of women.
I know that if I like in college, if I had known or encountered Radiant as it is right now, I would have been, I think I would have been encouraged to be like, “Oh, like this is something that I could see my stories being cheered on” — my, my reflections from my prayer, whatever it may be. And so we’re always, our inbox is open, you know, I’d love to talk to you, talk to you ladies and hear your stories.
Yeah. I mean, you guys, that could be you, you could be sitting there and admiring your article if you submit one. So any last words of advice or anything like that you want to offer to the audience?
I guess just that, like we live in a world that it’s really easy to get worn down by the different voices.
We hear anything from just being inundated with all the voices on social media, the news, different platforms, whatever it may be. And sometimes you need to take a step away and that’s okay. But also finding those voices that really uplift you as women and encourage you to pursue the dreams that God has given you that to pursue a life where you can thrive.
Again, God doesn’t create us just for mediocrity. He’s created us to live, as full, whole, women. And so find those voices, find those platforms that encourage you out there um weed out what doesn’t help you. I know that’s something I’ve been really focusing on, here in 2021 and like, okay, what actually encourages me in my state of life?
What are the voices that I trust? What are the ones that get me excited to go out and live my own life instead of comparing to other women, to other people? So, yeah, you’re worth it sisters. Go live your life. Go accept the life that God is asking you to live. It’s going to be unique, it’s going to be challenging, but He’s going to give you the grace to do it.
So you have your own story to tell, and I hope that you can find the voices out there to encourage you to live that life.
No. I love that. And I, it reminds me of that quote and I can’t remember who said it, but “comparison is a thief of joy.” And so if nothing else, don’t compare yourselves, cause like you said, “You’re worth it.”
That’s so motivating. So the last question for you is where can people connect with you, Radiant, and get their own copy of the publications?
You can look us up on Instagram, on Facebook, Radiant Magazine or @radiant_mag. Instagram is definitely where we’re most active, and then our website itself, radiantmagazine.com.
We have new content every single week, sometimes multiple times a week. So you can sign up for a newsletter through our website to get it in your inbox, so you don’t even have to search for us, stuff like that. And then if you want some of the old copies of the magazine that are no longer in print, but we still have them.
We also have those through the osvbookstore.com or another one, but we share about it multiple times in our newsletter and sometimes on social media. So just keep in, look out for that or just message me so, yeah.
Perfect. Yeah. So all those links will be down in the show notes. We’ll have the correct links for you guys, so you can just easily click them and find them.
But Ava, thank you so much for joining me today.
Of course, thanks for having me on Sophia.
Yeah, it was so motivating and I hope that you guys do recognize your worth and your identity in Christ, if nothing else. So again, have a wonderful week and we will see you next time. Bye.
It’s the 82nd episode of Hear and Now Podcast! Thank you for joining me this week as I have Ava Lalor on to discuss Radiant Magazine and knowing our worth and identity in Christ.
Get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you to Shae Taguba for editing today’s episode