Denver native launches first digital magazine for Catholic women
Stylish, finely-written and handsomely produced, celestial is for women of all ages
By Jean Torkelson
The cover to the first issue of celestial, a digital magazine for Catholic women.
Like every founding editor poised to launch a contemporary women’s magazine, Melyssa Padilla hopes readers respond to her mix of lively contributors’ stories, pointed relationship advice and full-color fashion pages.
But celestial, which launched May 31, bears one crucial difference with other upscale women’s publications: God is not just in all the details of celestial, he is behind all the details, too.
Padilla believes celestial is most likely the first Catholic publication to break into the digital magazine genre, the latest innovation in the field of online publications.
“In the secular world, everybody is doing it,’ she said. “But it’s probably something the Catholic world has never experienced before.”
Armed with a strong marketing sensibility and a world traveler’s point of view—she lived and studied in Barcelona for many years—the 34-year-old Denver native saw a niche for a classy women’s magazine that would speak to women in the contemporary language of cyberspace, even as it helped them explore and deepen their faith. It is also a tribute to her own faith, which she deepened by constant prayer in adoration chapels. She has dedicated the magazine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“I always wanted to do a magazine,” Padilla said. “And my passion, first and foremost, was my faith. It was such a part of my everyday life, and I wanted to bring that to women.”
Stylish, finely-written and handsomely produced, the 70-page celestial can be accessed on Facebook and followed on Twitter. The biannual magazine is geared to women 18 and older. The cost is $5.95 for a single issue and $19.95 for a year, which includes two full issues plus two supplemental issues. To access the first issue, go to www.celestialmag.com and follow the prompts to subscribe.
The goal of celestial, Padilla writes in her inaugural editor’s column, is to spread God’s message “regarding the truth beauty and goodness of womanhood as understood and articulated by the Catholic Church… My prayer is that this publication will lead you to a fuller understanding of what it means to be a woman in Christ.”
Her debut issue is directed to “The Paralyzed Soul,” the woman who may still feel a sense of alienation from her faith. Padilla urges her to explore how she may still be separated from Christ, so that she may move forward again.
Yet, while her focus stays faith-filled, Padilla also has a keen editor’s eye for what it means to live in the real world. So she doesn’t skimp on the fetching and fun exploration of current trends—her style pages alone are delicious eye candy—and on the pressures and moral choices of daily life. Her regular departments—on relationships, style choices and problem solving—cleverly stirs faith-filled answers into the messy pot of real-world challenges.
For example, readers searching for their mates—in God’s way—will appreciate the many articles on relationships. The first contributors to a regular series in the “How I found my mate” genre are Padilla and her fiancé, Daniel Campbell, who each wrote their own article on how they found each other. It was the most sacred way possible, Padilla marvels—there were introduced by a priest, after Mass. Throughout the pages of celestial, readers are encouraged to get in touch, take part, and apply to tell their own stories and become part of future issues.
As for Padilla, she is still mulling the awesome results of prayer, and the constant seeking to discern God’s plan for her life.
“I planned to live in Barcelona for the rest of my life,” she said. “But I felt God was calling me back to Colorado, that the path to holiness was here. Still, it’s hard when God is calling you to something you don’t necessarily want to do.”
Hindsight—and faith—showed her the wisdom of obedience. Now she wants to pass on that message to other women through the pages of celestial.
“Let God mold you to become the woman he wants you to become,” Padilla urged. “I want every woman to discover who she is in the eyes of Christ.”
Jean Torkelson: 303-715-3122; www.twitter.com/DCRegister