Encouragement in Light of Today’s Political Situation

Dear Friends,
Today I received the graphic below from a friend. It speaks a word of encouragement and exhortation to us in light of today’s political situation. I read it on the air during our radio broadcast, Women of Grace Live, heard at 11AM ET VIA EWTN. A caller asked me to post it, so here it is. May these words bolster your faith in our God for Whom nothing is impossible,
Blessings and joy in Jesus,

Women of Grace: St. Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582)

St. Teresa of Avila shows us it is never too late to get serious about our prayer life. Born Dona Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada, Teresa was an active child with a big imagination and great sensitivity of heart. Little Teresa and her brother Roderigo were intrigued by the lives of the saints and the martyrs, and often sought to imitate their holy example. Read the rest…

Behold your mother

Thank you for your ongoing support of Women of Grace/Living His Life Abundantly. You truly are helping to transform the world by partnering in our mission and I am abundantly grateful.

Recently, we celebrated the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. This title of the Blessed Mother is particularly meaningful for me and holds much significance. As many of you know, Our Lady was my constant spiritual companion as I sojourned through the pilgrimage of pain I experienced when my son, Simon, was killed in a vehicular accident and then, when my late husband, Anthony, journeyed through the cross of terminal brain cancer.

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The “Monica” Method: How to Evangelize Your Loved One

The next two days mark the feasts of two great saints of the Church, a mother and a son, whose lives give testimony to a sure-fire method of evangelizing those we love.

St. Monica (August 27) is the mother of St. Augustine (August 28), though Augustine was no saint when Monica began her earnest intercession. At that time he was a pagan and a member of the heretical Manichean sect. He was known to be a carouser who lived with a woman to whom he had fathered a child. A brilliant mind, he was “devoted” to his views and his lifestyle, and had no intention of converting to the Catholic faith.

St. Monica was distraught about her son’s dissolute ways and decided to do something about it. She prayed. And in the end, her prayers won the soul of her son.

What was it that made St. Monica’s prayers so effective? I think five strategies are primarily responsible. Perhaps you can implement them as you seek to evangelize those you love.

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House Blessing

Short Deliverance Prayer

for blessing your home with Blessed Salt

“Dear Lord Jesus, in the power of your Name, which is the Name above all other names, and by Your Word that you have given every believer ‘authority over evil spirits,’ I bind and reject all evil from me and from my home. I seal myself, and all who are here, in your most holy and precious blood that you shed on the cross for us and ask that we be made invisible to the enemy. Please pour forth the power of your Holy Spirit upon me and my home, and loose your holy angels to encamp around us to protect us.”
(Sprinkle the blessed salt in every area of your home, praising God as you do so)
Scripture references:
Philippians 2:9; Luke 10:17-20; Hebrews 13:20; Matthew 18:18; Luke 11:13; Psalm 91:11
–From the Women’s Christian Fellowship Retreat 2009


The heart of our mission

In these turbulent times, we continue to press forward with our mission to transform the world one woman at a time. As I prayerfully sat with the Lord this morning asking Him about the many situations confronting us, two words were impressed on my heart – “remain steadfast.” With your help, we intend to do just that. When the enemy presses hard, the only good response is to press harder. Scripture reminds us of this with the admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7). Another passage that comes to mind is “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust” (Luke 8:50; Mark 5:36). These are Jesus’ own words. My personal acronym for “trust” is True Resolve Under Severe Testing. It is clear we are in a time of testing. May we all persevere in the resolve to remain steadfast, to ward off discouragement, and to press on toward the victory Jesus has already won for us.

During this very challenging time, let us ponder anew the grace that God has given to us, and let us pledge our lives in complete fidelity with those graces as we place ourselves in the footsteps of Our Lady, who always teaches us the way in which we should go.

I want to personally invite all of our sacred sisters to join me and women across the country on July 10th and 11th for our upcoming Women of Grace Online Summer Retreat themed “Made for Happiness, Made for Joy” with Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., Samantha Kelley, Kathleen McCarthy, and yours truly. The beautiful artists of Women at the Well will also be offering us a musical presentation. If you’ve never experienced our annual retreat at the Malvern Retreat House, this is the perfect opportunity to get a bit of a taste of it! Details are available at womenograce.com/events. It will be packed with inspirational instruction for such a time as this!

May the abundant life of Jesus Christ be yours and may God bless you!

I faithfully remain…
Your sister in Christ,

Johnnette's Signature

Johnnette Benkovic Williams
Founder and President

PS: I encourage you to enroll your fathers and spiritual fathers in our upcoming Novena of Masses. You may do so here. This is just one of the many ways we hope to bless you and your family.





The heart of our mission

“Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears the baby leapt in my womb for joy. Blest is she who trusted that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.” -Luke 1:26-45

May is the month that we celebrate mothers and spiritual mothers. This role of spiritual maternity is very close to the heart of our mission to transform the world one woman at a time.

I remember a women’s retreat I conducted some years ago. In addition to the many laywomen present, there were a few religious. In one of my talks, I addressed the mission of Catholic women. When the talk was over, one of the sisters came up to me with a glow on her face and tears in her eyes. She told me she had been a religious for more than thirty years, and only that day had come to a full understanding of her vocation.

This religious sister is not alone. Many of us have questioned what it means to be a woman, and a Catholic woman at that. We know there is something dynamic and unique about it, but just what it seems to evade us. What is more, deep inside we sense that true fulfillment and happiness is somehow inextricably linked to our femininity. Where do we go to get the answer? To whom do we turn to find the way?

We need not look far. When we look to the mission of the Catholic woman, we look to our Blessed Mother. Luke 1:26-45 presents Our Lady’s Annunciation and her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. When Mary arrives at the house of her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with her first child, Elizabeth cries out in greeting, “Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears the baby leapt in my womb for joy. Blest is she who trusted that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled.”

These lines tell us much. The leap of the Baptist and the assertion of Elizabeth proclaim that the fruit of Mary’s womb is the long-awaited Messiah and Redeemer. Mary, pregnant with Divine Life, carries that life to others. She is the Christ-bearer who brings salvation by her very presence. As the physical mother of the Savior, Mary is the spiritual mother of the elect (CCC #969).

As Catholic women, our call is to emulate the spiritual motherhood of Mary. Some of us will be physical mothers, but each of us is called to spiritual motherhood. Through receptivity, trust, and surrender, “women impregnated with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling” (“Letter to Women,” Vatican Council II). Imbued with the Divine Life and fortified by prayer, fervent reception of the sacraments, and virtuous living, Catholic women who assume their God-given call to spiritual motherhood will do great things for the Kingdom of God – we can indeed become the healers of the world.

This month, please join us in celebrating the gift of woman and her call to spiritual motherhood. Let us encourage women to embrace the truth of their identity and to be lights shining in the darkness of the day. Finally, let us share with them the exemplar of the true Woman of Grace, the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose “fiat” brought salvation to the world. May Mary, our spiritual mother, inspire the “yes” of our lives as we seek to be the women of grace God intends us to be.

May the abundant life of Jesus Christ be yours and may God bless you!

I faithfully remain…
Your sister in Christ,

Johnnette's Signature

Johnnette Benkovic Williams
Founder and President

PS: If you don’t already receive our Daily Gracelines, I encourage you to sign up and share them with others. This month’s topic is Mary’s Spiritual Motherhood. Go to womenofgrace.com/signup. You will also receive the latest updates from our apostolate by also signing up for our enewsletter.





And a Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul

“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” -Luke 2:33-35

As we sojourn together through the final days of Lent, Holy Week, and the current Coronavirus pandemic, we recognize now more than ever that suffering and sorrow are part of the human condition. However, when they are united to the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering and sorrow become part of the supernatural dimension. By virtue of our baptism, all of us are called to participate in the sufferings of Christ in ways that are uniquely our own. I think of this reality as I meditate upon Our Lady’s never-ending fiat.

Theologians tell us Mary’s assent at the Annunciation was also her assent to the tortures of Golgotha. She didn’t understand exactly how God would work it out, but she did understand the proposal at hand: she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Familiar with the teaching of the prophets, Mary also understood what this meant – He would be a suffering servant (Is. 53:3-12), and she, by virtue of her motherhood, would suffer with Him.

Her understanding was confirmed by Simeon when she and Joseph presented Jesus to the Father: “A sword will pierce your own heart,” she heard him say (Luke: 2:33-35). But could she imagine the sword? And how would she respond to it?

Luke gives us insight into Mary’s means of appropriating the sufferings of her Son’s life and, therefore, her life’s sufferings, too. He tells us that she pondered them in her heart. The mystic par excellence, her response was reflective and contemplative. It yielded an unquestioning surrender to the Father’s will each time that will was revealed to her. Thus, from the moment of the Annunciation, Mary actively conformed to the cross that would one day bear her Son.

Long before she stood at the foot of His cross on Calvary’s hill, she interiorly beheld its mystery and embraced it. Ultimately, she entered into it.

This movement of the interior was not unfamiliar to Mary. The Fathers of the Church remind us that Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb. Would we not then expect that she mystically bore the pain of His Passion and death before He lived it out in time?

Confronted with such a thing, what would a mother do, especially this mother?

Would she not imbue her Son’s sufferings with maternal beatitude? Would she not offer her suffering to the Father on His behalf? Not that she could lessen the pain or add to the eternal merit He was acquiring, but rather, to offer her presence as a consolation to the travail He would endure. Was not her every “yes” to the Father’s will laden with a sweet unction that would be released in her Son’s heart at the moment He needed it most?

Perhaps it was precisely this He experienced as she ministered to Him on His ascent to Golgotha. Beholding her, He beheld pure love. He recognized that Eternal Love from which all true love is generated. In her He saw embodied the self-donating love of the Trinitarian life.

Surely it was this He saw in her when they met on the way. Surely it was this He saw in her as she stood sentry beneath the tree upon which He hung. And surely it was this that breathed with Him as He breathed His last and commended Himself to the Father.

Ultimately, only heaven will give us the answers. But one thing is certain. Each of us, like Our Lady, is called to be present to the mystery. To behold it. To embrace it. To enter into it. To let it enter into us. This is the mission of Lent. It is the glory of Easter. It is the triumph of everlasting life. So be it. And so be you and me in the midst of all things including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please know that in this difficult time, we stand with you soul-to-soul in a special way. You are invited to join us for a weekly live Women of Grace Warrior’s Rosary Crusade live each Wednesday at 4PM ET until this pandemic is behind us. With God’s grace, we will get through this together.

I faithfully remain…
Your sister in Christ,

Johnnette's Signature






The halfway mark

“This is the way to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old way of being will pass away and
we will be made new in Him.”
-2 Cor. 5:17-18

All of us here at Women of Grace are busy preparing for our upcoming events, additional webinars on insightful and inspiring topics, and a host of other outreaches to help us live our call as Catholics in the world today, none of which would be possible without your prayers and financial support. Please visit our website (womenofgrace.com) to find out all about our upcoming events, including our annual Women of Grace Retreat at Malvern Retreat House in July.

It’s hard to believe we are already closing in on the halfway mark of Lent. How would you evaluate your Lent thus far? It’s a good question to ask at the mid-way point. It’s never too late to adjust, begin again, or even start over should you need to.

Life being what it is, I have often found it beneficial to come up with a plan and a strategy to help me enter more deeply into the Lenten season. In years past, I have planned and strategized how to “give up” certain foods or treats (don’t buy them), activities and recreations (don’t go to them), habits and behaviors (don’t do them). One year I even gave up going to the mall (don’t drive by it). That was my longest Lent ever!

Along with the exclusions, I have often added a few inclusions: more time in prayer and study, going to adoration more frequently and performing additional acts of charity.

This year, I have devised a new plan centered around behaviors that start with “C,” as in Cross. Together, they are acting as a compass leading me through this holy season. The goal has been to implement some and eliminate others. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which!

Here are a few:

» Complain

» Collaborate

» Console

» Control

» Complete

» Carp

» Conciliate

» Carry On

In the end, the purpose is to advance in becoming what the cross is all about – LOVE. Recall that it was because of His love for us that God gave us His Son, and it was out of the Son’s love for us that the Son chose the Cross. Two passages from Scripture tell us as much: For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16), and There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).

As Christians, we are called to live Christ, to be His presence in the world, to be His love among men in all of the diverse circumstances, situations, and nuances of our daily lives. Jesus tells us:

This is my commandment: love one another love as I have loved you (John 15:12). And this, It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure… The command I give is this, that you love one another (John 15:16,17).

Both remind me of yet another passage. Given to us through St. Paul, this one shows us the way to love: Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure … Love never fails … There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13: 4-7, 8, 13). This is the way to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old way of being will pass away and we will be made new in Him (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

Lent is 40 days long. Researchers tell us it takes about six weeks to engage a new behavior. My hope is that implementation of my “C” words will help me overcome vices, grow in virtue, and better become Christ’s love in the world today.

It’s been a lofty goal to be sure, but why not think big for the Lord? We can never arrive at our destination if we never set off.

Let’s sojourn together through this holy time no matter or plan or strategy. Together we can do great things through the Lord!

As always, I faithfully remain…

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