The Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) are joining the podcast world with their new show “Habits: The Good, The Bad and the Holy.”
The ASC sisters released their first episode of the “Habits podcast in June 2019.
The podcast’s name is a reference the traditional tunic worn by Catholic sisters, and it also represents the way each person acts in their everyday lives, said ASC Communications Associate Molly Kaye McKinstry, who produces the podcasts.
“Habits are who we are and we get to choose every day who that is,” she said. “What’s remarkable about these women is that their habits are changing the world. While the subject of the podcast is religious sisters that’s not all that they are. They are professors, occupational therapists, scientists, feminists, social justice warriors,” she said. “It is about being an active, engaged, passionate woman in today’s world.”
McKinstry said the podcast is not only centered around telling tales of the sisters and religious life but also using those tales to break down barriers.
“I think the reason why these stories are so important is that they showcase that the habits that you have every day can change the world,” she said. “Not because you are part of a certain religion, not because you are guilted into it for community service hours or anything, but because you get to choose every day to make the world a little bit better.
“The podcase is also a way to demystify religious life, McKinstry said.
“We want to tell the stories and share the works of the ASC …,,” she said. “There are so many misconceptions and the way (religious life) is portrayed in media is not necessarily the way it is in real life.”
McKinstry and Communications Director Cheryl Wittenauer began discussions about ways to make the department better when McKinstry was hired in December 2018.
“There were talks about how to collect history from the sisters and tell their stories,” McKinstry said. “I was just struck by this idea of doing a podcast where we sat down and chatted about the incredible stories these sisters had and the more I learned about them the more I knew it just had to happen.”
After gaining approval for the idea, McKinstry said she had to convince the sisters because “they are humble to the point of silence with their accomplishments.”
McKinstry said after sending a mock podcast with one of the sisters to the leadership team, they were on board and “Habits” was born.
Vicki Bergkamp, ASC U.S. regional leader and former business professor at Newman, was the first to be on the podcast. She gave the introduction to “Habits” by explaining what is it like to be an ASC sister through her stories.
On the second episode of the podcast, Fran Shumer, director of ASC health, discussed her life of doing many different jobs and ministries for the ASC.
Sister Diana Rawlings, who is pegged “a hoot” by McKinstry, joined the podcast to share some stories about life as an adult and as a religious sister.
This week McKinstry interviewed Sister Tarcisia Roths who was the president of Newman for nine years and a professor at the university.
McKinstry said that some episodes will feature the stories of one sister or some sisters could have multiple episodes, along with other special segments. Overall, she said each episode will feature “some solid life advice.”
These women have lived full lives and they definitely have some tips to keep you from making some questionable choices throughout because they have made them and are willing to steer you in the right direction,” she said.
McKinstry said that the sisters love to answer many types of questions, even if they do not have anything to do with being a sister, and they encourage listeners to submit their own questions.
Sister Clara Smith, who spent decades working in prison ministry, is scheduled to be the fifth episode’s guest.
“She worked at a men’s prison for a large chunk of time,” said McKinstry. “They called her the penguin because she wore a traditional habit while she worked there. You can look forward to a really hilarious Jesus pun in the next episode, which is (a little) unexpected coming from this sister.”
The podcast can be found on the ASC website, Spotify and Itunes.
With four episodes under their belt, McKinstry said the podcast has no end in sight.
“Our plan is pretty evergreen. … We don’t have an end date in mind,” she said. “We are just getting started.”