I’ve been reminded in some very powerful ways how much women of faith have made a difference in my life, in my journey with the Lord, and in how I relate to and pray for/with others. This week I’ve had the blessing of getting together with a number of women of faith in various settings for prayer, to share a meal, catch up on things, listen, laugh, and offer encouragement.
I am currently part of the formation team for the Women’s Cursillo Weekend that will take place this April 24-27, 2014, so I’m meeting with that group of women (and the two male deacons that are part of our spiritual direction team) on Sunday afternoons from now until April. I first met some truly remarkable women, many of whom I’m still good friends, when I made my Cursillo weekend at the Abbey back in June 2006 and sat at the table the Sea of Conviction, but we were the youngest three there, so we renamed ourselves the spiritual divasJ.
I usually meet Monday evenings with a strong prayer warrior friend who has also been taking the Theophostic Prayer Ministry training with me over the past few years. It changes everything when you have discussions, prayer time, and do ministry with someone who is actively seeking the Lord’swill for her life and doing her best to live it out. She’s one of the first people I text with major prayer intentions, because I know I can always count on her storming the Heavens on behalf of whoever needs it.
Wednesday evening, I gathered with some of the wonderful women who I met back in February 2009 when I made my Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) retreat and then served on the team for the next Women’s weekend that summer. I felt bad showing up to the scheduled planning meeting with light supper provided rather tired, and weary without any food, drinks, books to share, or really anything much to offer.
Everyone welcomed me warmly and was so glad to see me after such a long absence from many activities that I realized that these women genuinely love and care about me, not because I plan great retreats/events (haven’t planned a single one for that group, I don’t think), or host fun parties (definitely haven’t given any parties at all), or even because I recently offered much in the way of donations of time, talent, or treasure in effort of keeping the group going. I didn’t even bring my usual huge stack of books I’ve read, loved, and reviewed to pass along to whoever is interested. I just brought my planner (which doesn’t have any monthly planner pages in it beyond January, because I haven’t placed that order yet), and soaked up the love, prayers, camaraderie, laughter, and joy of the gathering.
I found out yesterday that a woman of faith I admire a great deal is in the hospital. My mom went to visit this person, and there were four other visitors in her room when she left. At noon Mass at the Pastoral Center, I prayed for my usual list of loved ones, both living and deceased, including Nana (my dad’s mom) and my grandma. 100 years from now, I hope to have brought others closer to God by being a strong, devout, compassionate, loving, joyful woman of faith. I’ve had so many great examples to follow!
I’m only part of the way through a book I love already called Sisterhood of Saints. It’s by woman of faith and spiritual writer Melanie Rigney. The cover is beautiful and so are the stories of these saints, inspirations and challenges included. We have such a rich tradition of women saying yes to the Lord and living out that yes every day of their lives.
Both of my grandmothers and my parents have had a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, one that I have grown to love and appreciate more and more. Last weekend when I was leading the opening and closing prayers for our Cursillo formation meeting, I shared with the group one of my favorite prayers: The Prayer to Mary for the Conversion of a Loved One, which I prayed daily, along with the Rosary for Kevin’s return to the Catholic faith in which he was raised when we were still only dating and he’d fallen far away from the church.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”