What Makes a Catholic Blog “Great?”
What to follow?
With limited time and so many choices, you have to ask, “What is worth my time?” What keeps me coming back to the same blogs? What draws me in? I have spent a great deal of time reading the work of other bloggers, trying to find the good ones, so that I could learn from them. What is common among them and what makes the “greats” stand out? In my research, I learned that the Catholic blogosphere has its own culture, and in that culture, there are commonalities and distinctions amongst bloggers.
I recently read an older article written by my colleague, Dr. Dan Sheridan. In the article he speaks about culture. He comments that for a culture to thrive, it must contain both inheritability and distinction (tradition and uniqueness). Catholic bloggers write about faith and Church teaching, and the application of it to our daily lives. With that, I had found the inheritability of the Catholic blogosphere culture – the tradition. Then I asked, ‘What distinguishes the great Catholic bloggers from the pack?” The “greats” distinguish themselves through virtue that emanates from their posts. It is the good character of the person behind the pen that draws us in and keeps us coming back for more.
Drawn to the Good
As human beings, God created us to be drawn to good, as He is the Supreme Good. In our search for good Catholic blogs we want inheritability found in solid Catholic teaching. We also want inspiration emanating from the Catholic blogger to penetrate our own souls; we want their distinguishing characteristics.
I started to think about those blogs that I regularly read; you know, those blogs that give you a little tinge of excitement when you see that another post has arrived, and you want to drop everything to read it. What virtues emanate from these bloggers into my soul? Listed below, in alphabetical order are the greats in the Catholic blogosphere (in my humble opinion). I admire these people for their distinguishing attributes. I encourage you to check out their work.
Tony Agnesi, from Finding God’s Grace, possesses the virtues of gentleness and wisdom. He has a way of writing that comes across as gentle and wise. I have sought Tony’s advice and guidance on blogging and have found him to be filled with God’s wisdom and grace.
Lori Conklin, from Voted Off the Island, possesses the virtues of honesty and friendliness. In her blog, Lori will tell you the real deal, without mincing words, yet she always makes me feel like we’re sitting around the kitchen table having a friendly conversation when I read her posts.
Allison Gingras, from Reconciled to You, possesses the virtues of faith and humility. Allison’s quest for maintaining a close relationship with God is quite evident, yet she does it with great humility, quick to point out her own imperfections, yet also quick to point out that “with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).
Melanie Jean Juneau, from Joy of Nine, possesses the virtues of patience and understanding. By the way she tells her stories of raising her children you can tell that she is full of patience and understanding. I once asked Melanie Jean what to do regarding angry comments to my posts, and she advised me to leave them there and not to remove the posts or the comments; that the comments are more indicative of the respondent and no reflection on me. That’s responding with patience and understanding, in my opinion!
Mary Lenaburg, from Passionate Perseverance possesses the virtues of love, compassion and caring. With the loss of Mary’s beloved daughter Courtney late last year, we were all holding vigil with Mary and her family during Courtney’s last days. Talk about self-giving love being the greatest form of love; Mary gave her all to make Courtney’s last days on earth as comfortable as possible. Mary showed great compassion, not only for Courtney, but for her whole family. In the depths of her sadness and grief, she never lost sight of what is truly important; love, compassion and caring for another.
David Wanat, from Arnobius of Sicca, possesses the virtues of justice and disinterestedness. David writes about the teachings of the Catholic Church objectively. He does not take extremist views. He simply lays out the facts and lets you decide. He reminds me of Saint Thomas Aquinas, because of the logic applied to his posts.
Nancy Ward, from JoyAlive, possesses the virtues of joy and magnanimity. Nancy writes stories centered on joy. Her personal conversion story is a story filled with joy. She invites bloggers to tell their conversion stories on her website. She is a magnanimous advocate for newer bloggers by virtue of her support for our efforts.
The virtuous attributes exemplified by these seven bloggers are the best that I have seen to date. Their work is helping me to assimilate into the inherited culture of the Catholic blogosphere, yet with my own distinction; that of kindness. My posts teach the virtues, expressed with kindness; looking for the best in others, and helping others strive to be their best. I am the “Virtues Coach,” on the sidelines, inspiring my team (my followers) to live virtuously.
I thank Allison for the opportunity to guest blog on Reconciled to You. Her generosity (let’s add another virtue to her treasure chest) is greatly appreciated.
Daniel P. Sheridan, “To Do the Work of God: Catholic Colleges in the Mercy Tradition,” Carlow Roundtable 2007 Proceedings, ed. Mary Rothenberger. Pittsburgh: The Carlow University Press, 2007. Page 75.
You can find Virginia blogging about the virtues at virginialieto.com. Virginia has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. She is now an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine – Theology Program Online. Her first upcoming book titled, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity – Finding Patience will be published in 2015 – God willing! With that, she still finds time to publicly speak on the virtues as well. She lives in Harrisburg, NC with her husband, Nick.