By Sofia Infante
Not everyone has heard of REGINA Magazine, but this relatively new Catholic periodical is enjoying a growing presence that is expanding into book publishing and travel tours. The breadth of topics presented in REGINA is wide and diverse: “We’re interested in everything under the Catholic sun — from work and family to religious and eternal life,” says the editor. REGINA's stories flesh out the reality of the Catholic faith by exploring many of the aspects of its lived reality.
I recently caught up with Beverly Stevens, editor of REGINA, to talk about its mission, the relationship between beauty and truth, and the importance of honest evangelization.
Helena Daily: How did you originally conceive of the idea of REGINA Magazine?
Stevens: Sheer inspiration. I was teaching in the MBA programs offered to the military on the European NATO bases, seeing all this amazing history along the way. Once, in England, I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. That night, the idea came to me to create a magazine on the beauty of the faith and the wealth of our traditions. I tried to ignore it, because I had no experience doing this, but the idea haunted me for two weeks until I finally gave in. I created the first issue in February of 2013, and sent it to 30 people via email. (Current issue is HERE.)
Helena Daily: Has REGINA been a successful evangelization tool?
Stevens: Well, yes, if you look at the numbers. Today, we have 15,000 people subscribed, and our Facebook posts reach 750K per month. We printed our first REGINA for Christmas 2017. REGINA Press was launched in 2017 with the novel, ‘The Devil Hates Latin’ which has garnered rave reviews and sold more than 3000 copies to date. REGINA Trips will take young adults to Ireland, Italy, and England this year.
But it’s what we hear from people who are drawn to the faith, or deepen their faith, despite terrible things that have happened in their lives, when we know it’s working. A young artist who told us her abortion story stumbled on REGINA on Facebook. After a year of lurking on the page, she summoned the courage to visit a priest in Brooklyn. He sent her to Rachel’s Vineyard, where she finally could begin to heal -- and the rest is history, as they say.
Helena Daily: What does Regina Magazine have to offer to young Catholics who are skeptical about the faith or wary of fully embracing it?
Stevens: Reality. Most young people today have not been taught the faith, very simply. Not our history. Not our culture. Not the art. Nor the dogma, or the doctrine or the philosophy. They know almost nothing about the faith – except what mass media tells them, which is sensationalistic garbage, when it’s not outright bigotry.
To be honest, if what I had learned in school was what these people have learned, I would be far worse than merely ‘skeptical’ at their age.
But it is our great pleasure to bring the real faith to them – in fiction, non-fiction, news, and in print, online and on our trips. It would be a waste of words for me to try to describe these, so I would say that our two minute Irish video and Italy, In Their Own Words should make these extraordinary trips come alive.
Helena Daily: How do you understand the relationship between beauty and Catholicism and what role do you believe it plays in spreading, preserving, and growing the Catholic faith?
Stevens: Beauty is an aspect of God. The good, the beautiful and the true: it’s what people are looking for – in each other, in nature, in experience. Nobody wants ‘the bad, the ugly and the false’ in their lives, right? Without beauty, our lives are deeply unsatisfying. We need it.
This generation wants no part of a lukewarm, compromised faith. They want beauty. And when they encounter the real faith – in our history, culture, traditions and each other – they recognize it, instantly. And they want more.
I think a Regina traveler to Italy in April 2018 said it best:
"This trip far surpassed and shattered any expectations that I had coming into it. Sure, there were beautiful cathedrals, gorgeous scenery, and an abundance of truly delicious food. All that in and of itself would have made the trip more than worthwhile. But I have memories that these experiences and these people that settled deep in my bones, and my lungs, and my soul. We may not be in Italy anymore, but our community endures, and these beautiful memories live on. For that - both on the trip and afterward - I am incredibly thankful."