Our Women of Grace® Facilitators are truly on the frontline of the cultural battlefield of souls. Through the gifts of receptivity, trust, and surrender, they are assisting women around the world to gain a deeper understanding of their call and vocation to authentic femininity and spiritual motherhood. Each month, we will highlight one of our facilitators and how they are using Women of Grace® to touch the lives of women in their hometowns. Vicki Crispo is a leader in the Women of Grace® movement and her story is below.
My Women of Grace® journey began in 2003 at the first conference in Doylestown, Pa. I had recently experienced a tug at my heart by Our Lady to help bring her to other women, and she lead me to that inaugural conference. It was life changing. All the truth about who I was and why I was came into a clear focus that weekend. I experienced this transformation immediately and completely and was blessed that another woman from my parish, Peggy Pritchard was there as well and since that moment we have been on this journey together. In those early years, we jokingly called ourselves “Women of Grace® Groupies” because we attended all the conferences.
Looking to the future, we also anticipate working with our diocesan Adult Ed coordinator to offer the Women of Grace® study to parishes through presentations to the pastors. All of course is in the hands of Our Lady in her perfect timing! To whom much has been given, much will be asked!
When the Foundational Study was finally unveiled in Chicago in 2005, we brought it home to Pennsylvania and began offering it to our closest circle of friends, and then to anyone who felt called to it. Always it was Our Lady who called the women; our job was simply to trust HER with each group. When the women registered for a study group, we immediately sent them the novena to the Holy Spirit to begin praying. When we met for that first evening, we all prayed that novena together and that set the tone for the whole study. He was in charge and Our Lady would ultimately be our facilitator.
We named each group after Our Lady: Ave Maria, Magnificat, Lourdes, Guadalupe etc. Her presence with us was so tangible. Women would complete the study and immediately want to repeat it. Some repeated it 3 or 4 times. When challenges or glitches occurred, we invoked the assistance of “Our Lady Undoer of Knots” trusting that she would intercede. As we were enrolled in the school of Our Mother and learned to sit at her feet, she taught us to put aside our opinions and egos and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work. Before we left each session, we exchanged nametags so each woman would have her special prayer sister and would have an opportunity to voice what her prayer need was until the next session.
We tried to be creative and offer the study in unique ways such as a summer study for teachers or moms who were able to get childcare during the summer. Some women had lives that just did not permit extra time to do the study guide, so those women did what reading they could in the text yet still gleaned so much from the videos and discussions. The key is and always will be hospitality. We simply need to place Our Lady in our heart then as the warmth and tenderness of Our Lady shines through us, each woman is touched by Her Son.
The Women of Grace® message and mission took such root in my life that my husband’s life was deeply touched and he credits my transformation for his following the prompting of the Holy Spirit as well. In 2007 he was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in our diocese.
Following Our Mother’s lead as we learned in session 8 of the study, Peggy and I became lay associates of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, dedicated for life to pray and work for the sanctity of life. Immediately we began a monthly outreach to post abortive women. In this way we live out our call to spiritual motherhood as we offer recovering women an opportunity to experience authentic femininity and sisterhood in Christ in a confidential setting. Very often we find ourselves using elements from the WOG study in these sessions.
In January, 2011 we will begin to offer monthly mini retreat “Mornings of Grace” for any women in our region who are Women of Grace® alumni or who simply long to connect with other authentically feminine spiritual mothers of grace. These mornings will feature opportunity for Holy Mass, light breakfast, a DVD of a Women of Grace® Show, sharing, testimony of a Woman of Grace, and prayer for healing and renewal.
To find out more about how you can become a Women of Grace® facilitator, please contact us at 1-800-558-5452 or visit our website at www.womenofgrace.com. If you are a facilitator and want to submit your story for the Facilitator Spotlight, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.