Six years ago, I had a heart attack due to stress, not blockage. Though my recovery was complete, I felt brokenness within my heart.
Looking back, I can see God’s hand during my recovery. His tenderness was felt in the eyes of my husband, Ken. His strength was experienced in the hands of the cardiac rehab staff.
While recuperating, I became an EWTN junkie. I watched The Abundant Life and later began watching the Women of Grace® TV programs and learned much from Johnnette, Fr. Ed and their guests. Johnnette’s enthusiasm made me yearn for peace and purpose.
One day, after prayer, I asked myself, “Could I become a woman of grace?” At daily Mass, a hunger for Scripture began to grow in my heart. I signed up for my first bible study at St. Timothy’s Church, on Revelation, and realized that I had jumped into deep waters. My table leader encouraged me to be persistent and watch the Holy Spirit work through the study. A few months into the study, Scripture began to come alive for me. The following year, I was asked to be a table leader. Though I had my doubts, prayer once again opened my heart and I gave a reluctant “yes.”
Immersing myself in the lessons, I sensed that God wanted me to have a more active faith. I began volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital and there I met a pastoral care volunteer who had a deep Marian devotion and an interior radiance. “Now there’s a woman of grace,” I thought. Little did I know, that only a few short years later, I would volunteer as a Eucharistic Minister at the same hospital where I went through cardiac rehab.
Last year, a bible study facilitator gave me a flier for the Women of Grace® study series at St. Lawrence Church in Tampa. I wasn’t sure what was involved, but knew I needed to attend. Once again, God was calling my name. The facilitators, Isabelle and Amy, modeled a spirit of receptivity, trust, and surrender. Through the study, I began to pray more before the Blessed Sacrament, to say the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As a result, I experienced Our Lady as my spiritual mother and a deeper sense of peace and healing in my heart. It seemed that the Women of Grace study ended too soon but I knew it was time for me to leave the upper room and become an “apostle” for Jesus and Mary.
Spiritually transformed and energized, I was inspired to serve God as a Women of Grace facilitator. In May, I co-facilitated a small group in my home. At times it felt like I was on training wheels, yet the Holy Spirit worked through my imperfections and it was a blessing to bond with my spiritual sisters. In June, I co-facilitated a larger group at St. Mark the Evangelist. The scripture passage “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life….Instead, seek His kingdom…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'”
As a former corporate trainer, I learned that facilitating a spiritual study, like Women of Grace, is propelled by the Holy Spirit. When I surrender to God’s love, He does the rest.
I am grateful to Our Lady for the gift of a holy boldness. God truly qualifies the unqualified. How blessed I feel to play a small part in the anointed work of Women of Grace®.