Sister Josephine Garrett shares ‘hope stories’ of Black Catholicsin podcast meant to inspire

By Katie Yoder

(OSV News) – A podcast production by Catholic publishing company OSV (the parent company of OSV News) with a nationally-recognized religious sister is featuring “Hope Stories with Black Catholics” this summer.

“A hope story is a time in someone’s life when he or she was called to hope in a deep way,” Sister Josephine Garrett, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, told OSV News of the ongoing series. “Hope (especially hope that is deep and profound and connected to the deepest desires of our hearts) takes courage, and as we wait for what is longed for, we can experience grief, loss, joy, fear, expectancy – all sorts of feelings.”

“Hope isn’t the easiest experience to enter into,” she added, saying that “in each episode the guests share times in their life when they were brought to the thresholds of hope.”
In total, the podcast will consist of 15 episodes lasting around 30 minutes each while highlighting the stories of 17 U.S. Black Catholics from all walks of life.

This is an illustration for a new podcast called “Hope Stories,” hosted by Sister Josephine Garrett, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. The first episode launched June 26, 2023, and is available at (OSV News photo/OSV)

“Seventeen guests because some episodes include married couples!” Sister Garrett explained, adding that the podcast also will include single Catholics, deacons, religious, priests and a bishop.

Sister Garrett, a writer, speaker and mental health counselor based in Tyler, Texas, has experience talking about hope. A relevant voice on social media, where thousands of people follow her on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, Sister Garrett became Catholic in 2005 before professing vows in 2020.

While Sister Garrett’s podcast about hope stories will cover the same topic in each episode, each story is unique because each guest is unique, she stressed.

“We discuss the guest’s faith journey, their definition of hope, their hope story that they chose to share in the episode and each guest also shares their views on the place of Black culture in the life of the church,” Sister Garrett said.

As one of the guests, Father Robert Boxie, chaplain at Howard University and priest-in-residence at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Washington, told OSV News he “absolutely enjoyed” being a part of the podcast and sharing his hope story. He was grateful to share his work as the Catholic chaplain at one of the U.S.’s preeminent historically Black institutions of higher education ministering to young Black Catholics and students at Howard.

“I believe we are bringing hope in a real way because our Catholic faith has something to offer on campuses like Howard,” he said. “And more importantly, we are encouraging and forming a generation of Black Catholic leaders with the message that their faith, their gifts, their contributions and their presence in the church matter.”

Father Boxie also shared his advice for listeners seeking hope.

“We all have a story of hope to tell and all of us have a reason for our hope, that is, Jesus Christ,” he said. “My prayer is that listeners will be inspired by the stories of Black Catholics, appreciate the unique witness that we bring to the Catholic Church and realize how it’s necessary for these stories to be told.”

Sister Garrett agreed that every person has a hope story.

“We all have stories of hope, we are all called to hope courageously in the promises of God, so I believe these episodes will resonate in some way with all people,” she said before citing Romans 5:2-5: “We boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

She said the podcast began after OSV decided to enter the podcasting space and invited her to host one that they hoped to launch.

“We knew the podcast would line up with my book that comes out in the fall and we zeroed in on highlighting Black Catholics before we zeroed in on telling stories of hope,” she said, referencing her upcoming book that will be released by OSV called “Hope: An Invitation.”

“It wasn’t a private inspiration, it was the fruit of my own prayer, my editor’s prayer and the prayer of other members of the OSV team,” she added.

If listeners take away one thing from the podcast, Sister Garrett hopes it is the realization “that every member of the body of Christ is a gift and brings something to the church that only he or she can bring.”

“While our stories are unique and our various hopes are unique, at the same time all of our stories and all of our hopes are rooted in Christ, and the hope of the resurrection won for us in Christ,” she said.

“I also want listeners to enter into the joy,” she added. “There is so much laughter and joy throughout this podcast and so I hope listeners take away the joy as well.”

Listeners can already tune in to the first several episodes of the production from OSV podcasts on a variety of platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Amazon Music, Castro, Castbox and Goodpods.

(Katie Yoder is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor, a national Catholic newspaper based in Huntington, Ind. NOTES: A link to “Hope Stories with Black Catholics” is here: