I’m so excited to share this month’s featured dreamers! These two twenty-something sisters exemplify what this blog is about – praying for God’s guidance, dreaming big, and taking steps to follow His will and make a difference.
Catherine Pelicano, Managing Editor
Abby Pelicano, Creative Director
Abby and Catherine Pelicano are the founders of Dignitas Magazine. As stated on DignitasMagazine.com, this publication is about “embracing the dignity & beauty of Christ-centered womanhood.” Dignitas is a breath of fresh air amidst a sea of glossies that perpetuate the shallow and erroneous message that putting emphasis on our looks and exposing our bodies will lead to happiness and feeling valued. Dignitas Magazine is currently available to read for free on-line. The first issue of Dignitas debuted in the spring of this year and the Summer 2012 issue was just posted a few weeks ago! I had the opportunity to ask Abby and Catherine some questions about their journey and they were gracious enough to take the time to answer!
1. Catherine, you mentioned that you became interested in “human dignity and Christ-centered womanhood after attending a youth conference…” What seed(s) did God plant in your heart that led to developing this magazine?
At that conference I was exposed to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body for the first time. What I took away from it was the understanding that men and women were created not only to complement each other, but also to bring something unique to the world. It made me think a lot about what it means to glorify God through my femininity. Another theme of the conference was becoming a part of the pro-life movement. We had a lot of discussions about the dignity of the human person and ended the conference by praying at an abortion clinic. It was a very powerful experience. These topics really struck me, and over the next few years I kept reading and writing about them. Little did I know it would become the foundation for Dignitas!
2. Abby, you share that you have a “passion for spreading the truth about the dignity of the human person…” When did you realize this passion and what seeds did God plant in your heart to pursue this mission?
It began when I started reading a book called “Captivating” by Stasi and John Eldredge. It reminded that I had inherent dignity and beauty because I was made in the image and likeness of God and I was captivated by those thoughts. Catherine and I both read the book and wanted to share this message by encouraging women to live up to our dignity in how they dress, behave, think and interact with others. I knew we had to pursue that desire when I was in a hair salon one afternoon waiting for my haircut and I absentmindedly reached for a magazine next to me, as women do. I stopped short when I saw the provocative images and headlines. None of it meshed with the dignified and inherently valuable image of women that I had been captivated by… these images and headlines were telling me that I was lacking in just about every respect. I needed this revealing “outfit”, this makeup, this weight, this provocative walk, this ability to “snag any guy I want”. There was nothing lasting, nothing encouraging, nothing healthy and wholesome and I knew that that had to change. I knew women (myself included!) needed to be presented with a positive, fun, modern, wholesome, Christian, encouraging and true alternative to secular media. It was clear from that moment on that God had a project for me to pursue, and it was to create Dignitas Magazine.
3. What was the most challenging obstacle you both faced when developing Dignitas Magazine? How did you overcome it?
Abby: The vastness of the task itself was very intimidating! We knew we wanted it to be done well and look entirely professional so it would be taken seriously and could really compete with secular publications. Organizing all of our thoughts [for] the entire magazine from beginning to end was very time consuming and spiritually demanding.
Catherine: Pulling each issue together has been extremely challenging. Dignitas is a “labor of love” for both Abby and I right now—we’re doing all the planning, editing, design, promotional work, etc. in our spare time, and there never seems to be quite enough to get it all done. But at the same time we’ve been blessed with tons of help and support from family and friends who have volunteered their time and talents to help us get Dignitas off the ground.
4. What goals do you have for Dignitas Magazine as it continues to grow?
Catherine: Our initial dream was to get Dignitas in print. Time will tell how feasible that will be. For right now we’re just keeping our nose to the grind and staying open to whatever path God points us down.
5. What advice would you give to others about following God’s will and making a difference in the world? Do either of you have a favorite verse or inspirational quote?
Abby: Bl. John Paul II’s words immediately come to mind: “Be not afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!”. He has such wonderful plans for us if we open our minds and hearts to His will and if we pursue His call with courage and conviction.
Catherine: There’s a quote from St. John Neumann that’s inspired me during this whole project: “Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission has a work.” We’ve all been created for a special purpose, and God has/ will give us everything we need to fulfill that vocation. Finding that vocation doesn’t have to be dramatic and difficult. It starts by simply looking at the natural talents and interests you’ve been given and finding creative ways to put them to work for God.
Thank you, Catherine and Abby, for your courage to take steps in faith and create something that will truly impact many women’s lives! I look forward to seeing what God has in store for Dignitas Magazine!