33 episodes

The Dignity of Women podcast focuses on reclaiming femininity in the modern age. It challenges feminist viewpoints and the objectification of persons.

The Dignity of Women calls us to higher virtue and nobility of character, so that men must aspire to be worthy of us, and that through Christ, beauty will save the world.

The Dignity of Women Kimberly Cook

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 33 Ratings

The Dignity of Women podcast focuses on reclaiming femininity in the modern age. It challenges feminist viewpoints and the objectification of persons.

The Dignity of Women calls us to higher virtue and nobility of character, so that men must aspire to be worthy of us, and that through Christ, beauty will save the world.

    Podcast #34: Angela Perez Baraquio – Virtue of Miss America

    Podcast #34: Angela Perez Baraquio – Virtue of Miss America

    Angela Perez Baraquio was the first Asian woman to win the Miss America competition. As the eighth of ten children, Angela is the daughter of Filipino immigrants. Her parents immigrated from Pangasinan, Philippines to Hawaii, where she was raised. A faithful Catholic, Baraquio leaned on her faith through pageantry, tragic loss, illness, and family life. Angela Perez Baraquio joins me on The Dignity of Women to share the valuable lessons that she has learned and now implements at the Catholic school where she is principal.

    Me, Angela, and Michelle Hillaert

    Angela Perez Baraquio 
    Growing up as the daughter of two teachers, Angela always aspired to follow their lead into the classroom. Her second-grade teacher was another inspiration to her, creating a life-long impression. Finally fulfilling this dream as athletic director and elementary P.E. teacher at Holy Family Catholic Academy in Honolulu, she was challenged by two of her students to enter the Miss Hawaii competition, which she had already entered twice and had no plans to enter again. Accepting their challenge, Baraquio went on to became the first teacher to win the title of Miss Hawaii 2000. This would not be Angela's last time overcoming odds.
    Angela went on to represent Hawaii in the Miss America 2001 competition and became the first Asian to win the Miss America title since the pageant’s inception in 1921. Baraquio's original intention in joining beauty pageants was to supplement her higher education. The two pageants together netted $14,000 in college scholarship money,  which she used to complete her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. The $81,000 scholarship assistance she received as a prize for winning the Miss American pageant went towards her master’s degree in educational administration.
    Baraquio married her High School sweetheart, Tinifuloa Grey, in 2002, who is a Polynesian musician. Together, Grey and Baraquio have five children and live in California where Angela is the principal of St. Anthony of Padua School in Los Angeles county. Baraquio is outspoken about her pro-life views and has put her Catholic values above her fame, refusing calendar shoots and television roles that compromise her beliefs. 

    Angela and husband Tinifuloa 

    Baraquio used her platform to promote her advocacy of “Character in the Classroom: Teaching Values, Valuing Teachers.” She believes that it is not enough to just aim for high grades. What is more important are the values instilled in the students and their character education. Negative behaviors of students can be turned around in an environment of trust, in which adults model good character traits.

    Angela crowning my little guy!

    Tragedy, Loss, Illness
    Five years after winning the Miss America pageant, and a few days before delivering her second child, Angela's younger brother Alfred committed suicide. This period of loss shook the Baraquio family and tested their faith. They went to counseling together and a priest walked them through the anxiety surrounding the state of Alfred's soul. This eventually allowed them to have hope and eventually peace in spite of the incredible pain of his loss. 
    The Baraquia's would again face suffering when Angela's older sister Bernadette contracted and went through treatment for breast cancer. Two years later, Angela herself discovered that she also had breast cancer. Thankfully, she and her sister are both currently in remission.

    “Here I was—a former Miss America who loves my hair!—going through hair loss and chemo. It was brutal. Laughing was the only way I could keep from crying.”

    • 53 min
    Podcast #33: Melanie Schmiedicke – Better Way Designs

    Podcast #33: Melanie Schmiedicke – Better Way Designs

    Better Way Designs is a Michigan based company making a real impact on those freed from the sex trafficking industry. Through 9 world-wide supplier locations, Better Way Designs purchases and resells the products made by those who have been freed.  Melanie Schmiedicke joins me on The Dignity of Women to share how she became a freedom fighter and how the emphasis of this mission is on dignity rather than charity. 

    Melanie Schmiedicke
    The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Melanie (Fedoryka) Schmiedicke was trained from a young age in classical violin, and performed with her family in concerts across the country. She spent her high-school years in Austria and eventually graduated from Franciscan University and continued to travel and live in various places abroad and here in the US. Now married with four children, she is passing her love for music on to her children, and still enjoys traveling, as well as baking, knitting, and working with others to create freedom for women through her Better Way business. 

    Shop Here!

    Better Way Designs

    "Trafficking is a BIG problem. So, we want to be a MASSIVE part of the solution. That is why we have chosen to partner with over 15 other organizations in over 9 different countries to FIGHT it!"

    Better Way Designs is a traveling marketplace for many who have been silenced for too long. They recognized that many Americans were willing to purchase, as well as develop freedom businesses of their own, in supporting this mission. Better Way committed to buying and selling products, and then coming back again and again for more. They wanted to keep those freed from sex trafficking employed and believed that it could be done by good business practices. That's why Better Way Designs is certified by the Fair-Trade Federation and are a certified B-corporation.

    "One of our favorite attributes is that Better Way allows ANYONE to be involved in the fight."

    Whether purchasing, booking a freedom party or becoming a Freedom Fighter, this is a way for Americans to get involved and make tangible differences. Each purchase generates a certain amount of work hours for a woman, indicated in the catalog next to each item. These hours translate directly into income for her and her children, and the greater the demand for her work, the more stability she can enjoy. 

    "Most who work for our suppliers are given health care, child care, education and an opportunity to experience independence. With safe working environments and an opportunity to create impactful relationships, you can see why this is much more than a job. This is dignity in its most active form."

    Shop Here!

    IndiaCambodiaThailandNepalBoliviaBangladeshUSUndisclosed area in Middle EastUndisclosed area in Asia

    Freedom Fighter
    If you choose to go a step beyond just purchasing products from Better Way Designs, they offer the opportunity to become a freedom fighter.
    This is considered the greatest level of impact on those seeking freedom. It also provides income for the freedom fighter, and therefore can become a business for them. This is not only an opportunity to work for freedom, but alongside others who are doing the same thing. You literally become business partners with women around the world who are freed from sex trafficking and making the products!
    Imagine spending your work hours to create sustainable freedom for others around the world. Working for a Fair-Trade organization bent on advancing the concept of dignity to those who were once caught in the sex trade by empowering women to

    • 31 min
    Podcast #32: Blessed Karl and Zita of Austria

    Podcast #32: Blessed Karl and Zita of Austria

    Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen of Austria credit their own love story and the continuing example for their marriage and family life to their saintly ancestors; Blessed Karl and Servant of God Zita of Austria. The Archduke and Archduchess join me on The Dignity of Women to share their own story and what the legacy of Karl and Zita has taught them, and can teach all of us!

    Blessed Karl
    Karl was born on August 17, 1887 to Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josephine of Saxony. A deep devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began to grow in Charles and he turned to prayer before making any important decisions. Karl married Princess Zita of Bourbon and Parma on October 21, 1911, and the couple had eight children. Their marriage and family life were inspirational and Charles died saying to Zita, "I'll love you forever."  

    Emperor of Peace
    On June 28, 1914 Charles became heir to the throne of the Austro‑Hungarian Empire , following the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. He would be the last Emperor of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
    Charles approached his royal duty as a way to follow Christ, showing love and care to the peoples entrusted to him, and in dedicating his life to them.
    He placed the most sacred duty of a king - a commitment to peace - at the center of his preoccupations during the course of WWI and was the only political leader to support Benedict XV's peace efforts.
    Two attempts to re-establish authority in Hungry failed after the war. Wishing above all to avoid civil war, Charles was exiled to the island of Madeira, but since he considered his duty as a mandate from God, he could not abdicate his office.
    Karl and Zita were reduced to poverty, and they lived in exile until he fell fatally ill. Accepting an early death in exile as a sacrifice for the peace and unity of his peoples, Karl forgave all those who conspired against him and died on April 1, 1922 with his eyes turned toward the Holy Sacrament. On his deathbed he repeated the motto of his life: "I strive always in all things to understand as clearly as possible and follow the will of God, and this in the most perfect way”.

    Zita of Austria-Hungry
    Born May 9, 1892, Zita was the last Empress. She is said to have had an energetic personality, unbending will, and superior intellect. She accompanied and influenced her husband in many important decisions, but above all, they clung to a unity in their shared Catholic faith. When Karl's peace initiative failed, Zita was vilified as a traitor by German Nationalists because of her Bourbon descent. She went with her husband into exile and was his greatest support throughout. After his death, Zita raised their eight children and defended their dynastic rights. 

    "Thanks to her authority, the former empress became the central figure in the Habsburg-Lorraine family in the difficult times after the loss of the crown.During the Second World War, which she spent in exile in Canada, she became an influential advocate for the restoration of Austria’s independence, but after 1945 she mainly focused her energies on the beatification process for her late husband.
    Reconciliation with the Republic of Austria was finally achieved in 1982, when the former empress, who had been denied entry to Austria, was allowed to set foot on Austrian soil for the first time again on the initiative of Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky.Zita died on 14 March 1989 in Zizers at the age of 96. She was interred according to Habsburg dynastic tradition in the crypt of the Church of the Capuchin Friars in Vienna. However, her heart was buried in the new Habsburg family crypt at Muri Abbey in the northern Swiss canton of Aargau,

    • 35 min
    Padre Pio - Matchmaker

    Padre Pio - Matchmaker

    Ortrud and Dr. Germain Bianchi have an extraordinary story of being joined together by the famous Italian stigmatist priest, Saint Padre Pio! Ortrud joins me on The Dignity of Women to tell how she came to find her Catholic faith, befriend the saint who would change her life forever, and ultimately how that saint would lead her to her future husband.

    Ortrud Bianchi
    Ortrud Bianchi was born in 1945 in Ronsperg, Czech Republic as the youngest of six children. Her family settled in a small town in Germany for a few years until her parents divorced when she was only five years old. Her mother’s difficult life as a divorcee convinced her that she would never marry. Although Ortrud grew up without a religious atmosphere at home, she received religious instruction at school and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.
    When Ortrud was a teenager, her maternal grandmother died unexpectedly and her mother traveled to Austria for the funeral, deciding to remain there permanently. There Ortrud's mother returned with fervor to her Catholic faith after the loss of her mother, and began to fast and pray for the return of her six children to the faith as well.
    Meanwhile, Ortrud moved in with her oldest sister and brother-in-law in Landshut, Germany to finish her schooling and often visited her mother in Austria on school vacations. She strongly resisted her mother's new mission to convert her however, and even threatened to stop visiting if she kept talking about religion. Although her mother remained silent on the matter, she handed Ortrud a pamphlet with Jesus on the cover as their next visit came to a close. Despite accepting the pamphlet in order to avoid an argument with her mother, Ortrud avoided it until Easter vacation was about to begin. She decided to read one small page of the pamphlet in order to appease her mother at their upcoming visit.
    She was home alone when she finally opened the pamphlet from the diary of the Polish nun, Saint Faustina Kowalska, randomly. Jesus' words to Sister Faustina hit her like lightning as He explained that His mercy was greater than any human or angelic mind could fathom and invited every soul, no matter how sinful, to draw close to His merciful heart. Ortrud realized in that moment that Jesus loved her more than she could imagine and was convicted that she didn't want to be indifferent to Him anymore. She was overwhelmed by deep emotions of contrition and felt a force that brought her to her knees as she cried out over and over, “Jesus, from now on, I want to be your friend.”
    The next morning was Sunday and to her sister and brother-in-law's great shock, Ortrud woke up early and went alone to church for confession and Mass, never missing another Sunday Mass again!

    Meeting Padre Pio
     By 1964, Ortrud was living with her mother in Austria. Two years later, the family had planned to meet in Rome for her brother's wedding. When the documents for his wedding disappeared, Ortrud's mother decided to seize the opportunity for the family to use their time together to visit a holy monk named Padre Pio, who had the stigmata and lived near Rome, in San Giovanni Rotondo.
    At first, Ortrud was excited to see a saint, but their first experience was Padre Pio’s 5:00 a.m. Mass, in which people were pushing and shoving so much that her brother-in-law lost his shoe, another person’s glasses flew off their face, and people were racing down the middle aisle and jumping over the pews in such a frenzy that it seemed more like a sporting event. When Padre Pio entered the sanctuary, he looked old, weak and sickly. Ortrud felt sorry for him and for the misled people who seemed more devoted to him than to Jesus and Mary. As she watched Padre Pio celebrate Mass, she was disappointed that nothing extraordinary happened, even inside of her.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Sr. Mary Madeline Todd - The GIVEN Institute

    Sr. Mary Madeline Todd - The GIVEN Institute

    Sr. Mary Madeline Todd serves on the Board of Directors for the GIVEN Institute. She joins me on The Dignity of Women to talk about the need for Catholic Women Leaders in our culture and how young women are being formed through continuing mentorship at GIVEN. 

    Sr. Mary Madeline Todd
    Sister Mary Madeline Todd, O.P., S.T.D., a Dominican Sister of the Congregation of Saint Cecilia, serves as Chair of the Philosophy Department at Mount de Sales Academy and Adjunct Professor of Theology at Aquinas College in Nashville.
    Sister earned her doctorate at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Memphis. Her dissertation was on Christ, The Liberator of Woman, a study of the theology of Mulieris Dignitatem in light of current questions.
    Sister Mary Madeline writes on spiritual and moral theology and speaks on both theological and literary topics internationally. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the GIVEN Institute and St. Agnes Catholic School. Her retreat and parish mission ministry has been a graced opportunity to share the light of Christ's merciful love from Australia to Alaska. 

    What is Given?
    When deciding what to call this initiative, our founding Sisters began with the reality that all we have has been given to us by God: our faith, our hope, our love, our gifts, our destiny, our lives—everything–is freely given to us by God. The GIVEN Institute explores the feminine response to God’s love, to illuminate the “the feminine genius” that women contribute to families, society, the Church, and the world.  We desire to help women receive the gift that they are, realize the gifts they’ve been given, and respond with the gift that only they can give.
    The GIVEN Institute was established in February 2018 and has its origin in the 2016 GIVEN Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum, organized by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. Sister Mary Gabriel, SV and Sister Bethany Madonna, SV, Co-Chairs of the 2016 GIVEN Forum, conceived of the idea to host a leadership forum for young women throughout the United States with the aim of helping them to “receive the gift they are, realize the gifts they’ve been given, and respond with the gift that only they can give.”
    Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life and an organizer of the event, said “GIVEN was conceived in the hearts of women religious and remains a significant response on the part of the Church to encourage, inspire, and mentor young women at a crucial moment in their lives. We want each of them to know they are loved, noticed, and necessary.”
    The 2016 GIVEN Forum brought together nearly 300 young adult women from every state in the country, and connected them with some of the leading women in the Church. The attendees were accompanied by over 70 religious sisters from more than 25 different religious communities. Each participant developed a post-forum action plan that they implemented in a community of their choice. The GIVEN Institute was formed to continue the inaugural forum’s mission of activating the gifts of young adult women for the Catholic Church and the world. 


    What is the Theology of Women?
    How is GIVEN responding to the need for Catholic Women Leaders?
    Why is mentorship important?
    What is the difference between feminine and masculine gifts?
    How do you live out your spiritual maternity through your religious vocation?


    The Given Institute
    GIVEN Academy
    Women on Mission

    Join our social media discussion group: The Dignity of Women Facebook page

    • 39 min
    Marjorie Dannenfelser - Pro-Life Politics

    Marjorie Dannenfelser - Pro-Life Politics

    Marjorie Dannenfelser leads the Susan B. Anthony list and works tirelessly to secure pro-life votes at all levels, to ensure that "Life is Winning" in the United States of America. She joins me on The Dignity of Women to discuss pro-life politics and her unexpected conversion to the Donald Trump ticket, after many initial hesitations, and what led her to strongly pledge her support.

    Marjorie Dannenfelser
    Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony List. Over the last three election cycles, SBA List and its super PAC, Women Speak Out, have reached more than 4.6 million voters by visiting voters at their homes to win a pro-life White House and secure a pro-life majority in the U.S. Senate. In January 2020, Dannenfelser was named national co-chair of the Pro-Life Voices for Trump coalition, a role she held during the 2016 campaign after securing four groundbreaking pro-life commitments from the nominee.
    Dannenfelser is the author of “Life is Winning: Inside the Fight for Unborn Children and Their Mothers.” She has been published widely including in TIME, The Washington Post, and National Review and profiled by New York Magazine, The Telegraph, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. She serves on the board of Alliance Defending Freedom, on Life Perspectives’ Task Force, and was appointed to the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission by Senate Leader McConnell. She was named one of Politico Magazine’s Top 50 Influencers of 2018, Washington Examiner’s top ten “Political Women on the Move,” Newsmax’s top 25 Most Influential Republican Women, and Newsweek’s top ten “Leaders of the Christian Right.”
    An alumna of Duke University, she and her husband Marty live in Arlington, Virginia, and have five children.

    Life is Winning
    Ahead of the pivotal 2020 elections, momentum is building across America to revisit the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that struck down laws protecting unborn children and their mothers nationwide.
    Life is Winning tells the story of how the pro-life cause went from an orphaned political “problem” to a winning issue embraced at the highest levels of the Republican Party, thanks to a small-but-ambitious group of pro-life women. These women took on Washington’s consultant class and in the process built a multimillion-dollar campaign and lobbying powerhouse with more than 900,000 grassroots members nationwide.
    Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List and leading architect of the pro-life strategy that helped propel then-candidate Donald Trump to his stunning victory in 2016, gives inside perspective on how her own pro-life conversion – and the President’s – resembles the national sea change happening today, and why the end of abortion and restoration of life in America is closer than ever before.


    The Susan B. Anthony List and the political fight for life
    Pro-Life Politics
    Marjorie's conversion to the Trump ticket and why?
    Planned Parenthood
    Election 2020


    The Susan B. Anthony List
    Life is Winning
    Amy Coney Barrett as a person of character
    How to Donate!

    Join our social media discussion group: The Dignity of Women Facebook page


    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
33 Ratings

33 Ratings

ADK🎀 ,

Powerful, inspirational, exactly what we need in today’s world!!

Such a beautiful and powerful podcast. Kim has a clear strong voice and you can’t tell that she has real passion about this topic! Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us!

elniñosos ,


Kim does an excellent job bringing in high quality speakers and diving into really important topics!

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