Prior to this summer, I had never listened to a podcast. Then, two of my colleagues told me about how much they loved listening to podcasts. And then one colleague texted me a couple episodes of a podcast, and eventually, over time, they wore me down and I tuned into my first one. I listened to a few episodes of things that did not quite resonate with me, but eventually I found a few that did. And then I found a few more. And a few more. And now, I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I reference podcasts in meetings, during classes I teach, and, yes, even in casual conversations. I guess you could say, I’m hooked.
At the end of one of my night classes, a student stopped me and asked me what podcasts I listen to because she was looking for ones to help her learn more about her faith. I recommended one or two to her, but I told her that I do not just listen to podcasts on faith. She seemed disappointed. I also was disappointed I could not direct her to exactly what she was looking for. The truth is, I switch between podcasts on faith and Catholic news to podcasts on food to podcasts on motivation to podcasts on side hustles. Sometimes I hear a podcast about an author of a book I’ve just read and go down the wormhole of finding all the interviews they have done.
I feel like I gain the most insight into who I am as a person by interacting with a variety of sources. I also feel like I gain the most perspective on my faith by hearing from a variety of voices, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. So, today I thought I’d share some of the podcasts on my current rotation. DISCLAIMER: Sharing them on this list does not mean this is a top-ten list for me. It also does not mean that I have exhaustedly listened to every one of their episodes and can say without a doubt I agree to everything they have to say. I can say that I have gained wisdom from each of them that I have applied to my life, even when I occasionally disagree or do not completely understand a particular episode.
If you are searching for a new podcast to listen to, try one of these. One of them may resonate with you, or maybe they will lead you to another podcast all together. If you haven’t tried podcasts yet, be warned – you may start binge-listening to them much like you might already binge-watch Netflix and Hulu.
Here they are, in no particular order, by category:
I find at this point in my life, I tend to gravitate to more news/interview type podcasts for religious podcasts – so the ones on this list kind of fall into that category. I will also include a list at the bottom of good reflection/spiritual podcasts as well. You will see a theme – they are all currently from America Magazine.
- Jesuitical – This podcast by young, lay people at America Magazine sometimes makes me feel old because I’m… well, older than they are. However, they give me a take on the Catholic news of the week, and they introduce me to people, both Catholic and non, that I may never have heard of before. Like, for instance, a few weeks ago, they had on a woman from Loyola Marymount University that runs LMU Cares – a comprehensive program that seeks to help their students stand with integrity and keep their students safe from sexual and personal misconduct by providing education and services in those areas. I learn a lot by tuning in each week, and I enjoy the back and forth conversation.
- Inside the Vatican – Also by America Magazine, this gives me another look at Catholic news, specifically Vatican news. It is a cross-generational look at the news – Colleen Dulle and Gerald O’Connell represent two different generations reporting on and providing insight on happenings inside the Vatican. It reminds me that the church is bigger than my immediate contact with it.
- Deliver Us – Also from America Magazine, this is a new podcast where host Maggie Van Dorn is exploring in detail the Sex Abuse Crisis in the church. It is often difficult to listen to as anything on this topic would be, but it also gives me more perspective from yet another series of voices.
I have found in this season of life that I like listening to podcasts that motivate me and give me practical tips on how to move forward in my dreams. I also have found that I gravitate towards podcasts that speak mainly to women in this area (go figure), but there are a couple more general ones as well.
- Rise Podcast – I listen to Rachel Hollis’s podcast, author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. I really like her straightforward advice on how to reach for your dreams. I really like the way that she also is not afraid of speaking to her mistakes and what she’s learned from them.
- For the Love – I also listen to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast. Her title “For the Love” is the beginning of a sentence that she fills in with various things like “Movies, TV shows, New Beginnings”, etc. She brings on interesting people to talk about what they’ve learned and how they’ve become who they are. I think one of the most interesting ones I heard lately (though not a recent episode) was “Chewbacca Mom.” I had seen the viral video of the mom who bought a Chewbacca mask and put it on in the car and could not stop laughing. I did not, however, know her story. I enjoyed learning about it through this podcast.
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin – Man, the woman has my name. I have to listen to her podcast! There are not that many of us! I love the way she dialogues back and forth with her sister each week and shares practical ways to increase your happiness in your life. I have read her book The Four Tendencies and I plan on listening to (audio books are so convenient!) Outer Order, Inner Calm soon.
About 9 years ago, I started down a journey to feel better through food. I used to be sick a lot in a variety of ways, and that’s a story for another time. However, I discovered a life without gluten or dairy is a happy life for me. So, I listen to food podcasts to learn more about the diets I rotate between – paleo and keto.
- Balanced Bites Podcast – This podcast really gives a lot of balanced information on food and diets like paleo and keto. I like their balanced approach (hence the title of the podcast), and I enjoy hearing from their guests. In the end, do I do everything they suggest or agree with everything? – no. But that’s not the point, I learn a lot from listening to their approach to this way of life. And that’s not the point for them either, they believe that each person has a unique body that needs a unique approach to healthy living.
- The Keto Diet Podcast – This is another podcast that gives me a lot of information on the newest food lifestyle I have tried – Keto (non-dairy keto which is a thing unto itself). She also gives a balanced approach and never claims to have all the answers. I learn a lot from this podcast as well.
I have tried a few episodes on the following podcasts… usually because I was searching for a particular guest and they showed up as having had this guest on their show. I haven’t listened to many so I can’t comment on them as a whole, but I am currently intrigued by all of these podcasts.
- Bookwifery Podcast – I think about books and book-writing, so this podcast is very helpful for that specific thing. Even more specific, she speaks a lot about writing general non-fiction which is probably the area I would write a book in if I ever wrote a book. Since I love Ignatian Spirituality and Discernment, I love how her book-writing process tends to follow that discernment process both intentionally and unintentionally.
- How to Fail with Elizabeth Day – I just really love podcasts where people are able to look at the mistakes they’ve made honestly and how they have grown from them. This podcast provides many examples from a variety of people. Many of the guests, I’ve never heard of… but I learn something about them through these hour-long conversations.
- Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – I grew up watching Oprah, but it has been a long time since I have tuned into her work… something about not having cable. I recently came across her podcast, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve listened to so far. She talks to a variety of people about their deep life questions.
- Side Hustle School – These superquick vignettes have me asking – Why haven’t I tried these yet? It is always interesting to see the smart things people come up with as a side business… and there are so many teachers who have!
- The NYTimes Book Review – I recently discovered this podcast after searching for a couple authors of books I’ve read or want to read. What a great resource!
If I’m looking to incorporate more prayer into my day or into a class I’m teaching, I reach for:
- The Examen Podcast – A daily Examen by Fr. James Martin, S.J. I have shared a couple examples of examens on this site, this one gives a person the opportunity to easily incorporate the examen in their daily life.
- God in All Things Podcast – Andy Otto runs godinallthings.com, and a lot of the prayer resources he gives are also on his podcast.
Seems like I discover new ones all the time, so this list is ever-evolving. What are your go-to podcasts? Always looking for new suggestions.