The Avila Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the podcast ” Saints and Sages,”a new weekly look at one of the greatest gifts of the Catholic Church: the “lived theology” of her canon of saints and some of her wisest sages.
I was able to talk with the hosts of the podcast earlier this week. Jordan Burke, the digital content specialist and radio producer for the Avila Foundation, is a former police officer, a ‘revert’ to the faith, and a proud father to a little girl. Kristin Priola has been working for the Avila Institute as the events coordinator since 2017. Newly married, she admitted that the podcast had been her ‘dream’ from the start.
Dan Burke, President of the Avila Foundation, was open to her idea, and then Jordan got involved. But they didn’t initially have a topic; they just knew they wanted to reach young adults. The saints immediately came to mind–and the bottomless well of their wisdom. It was decided, and Saints and Sages came to life.
When asked about the saints they’ve covered and were excited to learn about, Dr. Kevin Vost and his interviews on St. Thomas Aquinas came up on top. “After two episodes, with an expert, and we still didn’t even scratch the surface!” marveled Jordan. “It blows my mind,” added Kristin, “that every single saint we are studying has so much depth and the love they have for God is so inspirational…they have so much to offer.”
Kristin was surprised by some of the saints that captured her attention. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s story moved her: “The pain of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s life really touched me. She experienced death after death, yet still had so much hope and faith in her life. She carried a lot of burdens, from having tons of children and not knowing how to feed them, her husband dying, her husband’s business going bankrupt, her family disowned her… it was pain after pain after pain and yet she was still living for the Lord.” St. Micheal the Archangel also drew her in, and Jordan agreed, mentioning that St. Micheal the Archangel was his patron, chosen before he knew he was the patron saint of police officers, and before he knew that he would one day become a police officer. “There is no such thing as coincidence,” he reflected.
Kristin shared about how she came to choose St. Thérèse as her confirmation saint in her ‘reversion’ process into the Church in 2016. She admitted that she had “no clue” about the saints and when a FOCUS missionary handed her story of a Soul and told her to “read this book” she did, found her beautiful, and not knowing any other saints, decided to choose her as a patroness for what ended up being one of the best days of her life.
When asked about upcoming episodes, Jordan was enthusiastic about an interview with Paul McCusker on C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape Letters, a “sage” extraordinaire. “That’s one of the beauties of this podcast,” he said. “Obviously, we are going in-depth in the lives of the saints, and their lessons and how they are applicable to us. But we recognize that there are other people who have been instrumental in defining what faith is. And I firmly believe that C.S. is one of those.”
Jordan and Kristin have high hopes for what people will discover this new venture. “I really, really hope that our listeners are able to connect with the lives of the saints and understand (they) are relevant for us in our modern-day, their lives are important and they matter because they are with Christ now and through their prayers, through their intercession, we can learn so much more about our God and live our lives the way they did so that we can be with Christ too, in eternity,” said Kristin.
Jordan agreed, and added, “I would really hope that God would speak to them. Before every podcast, we pray that if there is anything that God wants someone to hear, that He would say it through us. And I hope that this can be the gasoline on the fire of someone’s soul and ignite that flame, that passion for their faith, to realize that faith isn’t just a ‘Sunday mass thing’ but is so much deeper and more beautiful,” as he said he had discovered in his own journey.
“It’s more than going through the motions,” Kristin reflected. “And we hope that when people listen, it is not just ‘another podcast’ but is something that people can relate with and have fun, too!”
Jordan admitted, ‘there’s a lot of laughter and a lot of fun!”
So join the fun, grow in your faith, and kindle—or rekindle—your relationship with God and with the saints of His Church.
Find episodes of the podcast on all popular podcasting platforms and right here: https://spiritualdirection.com/saintspod