Heather Khym hopes to provide authentic and inspiring messages
By Agnieszka Krawczynski
Photo: Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT (left), Heather Khym, and Michelle Benzinger reunite at a Women's Conference in Princeton, B.C., this spring. (Photo submitted)
A local voice is speaking out to Catholic women across North America thanks to a new podcast.
Heather Khym, a parishioner at St. James, is one of three speakers behind the audio series Abiding Together launched in February.
“Often, women feel isolated in their jobs and homes. They want a deeper connection with other women of faith,” said Khym.
So Khym and friends Michelle Benzinger and Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, decided to build an online community as they put their thoughts on air.
“We wanted to reach out and provide this podcast (women) can listen to anywhere and be part of a conversation of women who speak the same language.”
Abiding Together aims to “provide encouragement and inspiration.”
Khym, Benzinger, and Sister Heidland are all well-known Catholic speakers. Khym has been an evangelizer for about 20 years and she co-founded Life Restoration Counselling Services with her husband, Jake.
Benzinger is a speaker, a missionary, and a mother of six (including two adopted children from Haiti). She is the creative director of Transforming Beauty, a shop that donates a portion of its profits to charities that reach out to poor women, orphans, and victims of slavery.
Sister Heidland has served in missions in Rome, Seattle, and Texas with her congregation, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. She has served as a speaker, youth minister, volleyball coach, and a Catholic radio co-host. She is also the author of Loved as I Am, released in 2014 by Ave Maria Press.
“We hope to provide a place of connection, rest, and encouragement for women who are on the journey of living out their passion and purpose, just like us,” Sister Heidland said in her first podcast.
It’s seems to be a remarkable feat that these women release one episode a week; Khym lives in Abbotsford, Benzinger is based in Pensacola, and Sister Heidland hails from Texas. And they are often travelling. They keep in touch by phoning each other over Skype and navigating different time zones.
“We were having discussions just as friends that were so powerful and insightful. I learn a lot from those women,” Khym said. “We thought: ‘wouldn’t it be neat to share this with people?’”
On their new podcast, the women discuss coffee tastes, Lenten practices, women in Scripture, the feminine genius, and other topics in 30-minute episodes. “We’re trying to talk about things that matter to us and that have impacted us.”
Khym said women caring for young children at home or rushing from one meeting to another with no spare time besides a few moments in the car can tune in and hear messages that are authentic and inspiring.
“There are other women who are journeying and going through difficult situations and trying to make a difference in the world, too.”
The podcast is making a difference already, climbing high on iTunes charts in the religion and spirituality category in Canada and the U.S.
Women and men have sent letters thanking the trio for their weekly messages.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Khym said. “So many women have been writing us … and several men have written us little notes saying, ‘I’m not a woman but I love your podcasts!’”
For the Abbotsford counsellor and mother of three, speaking to women across North America is a “humbling” experience. “I’m not one to put myself out there. I’m pretty shy,” Khym said.
“It’s not easy for me to have something so public, but we also felt it was important for women to connect and to step out and be creative.”
She hopes to start featuring other guest speakers on their podcast as the numbers of new downloads and subscribers continue to grow.