By Diane Tousignant
It is said that a journey begins with the first step but I believe that it actually begins with a gentle push from God. The first time I heard Johnnette speak was in 2003 at a small church called St. Mary’s in Lutz, FL. I purchased her book, “Full of Grace” and fell in love with the concept of Women and the Abundant Life.
Several years later I learned of the new “Full of Grace” Study Program at a Women of Grace Conference in Orlando, Florida and was led to purchase the facilitators kit, again a gentle push from God. I was blessed to attend two Women of Grace studies and eventually in 2008, I led a group of 8 women in my home. At last the kit was being put to use!
I met Lisa Marinik at St Timothy’s Catholic Church in Lutz, FL and through a gentle push from God we discovered a common love for the “Full of Grace” Study. We attended a Women of Grace conference in Indiatlantic, FL in Sept 2011 and the gentle push became a desire to bring the program to our home parish at St Timothy’s.
Together, Lisa and I offered the program to members of our Bible study and we co-facilitated a group of 10 women in a home study during the summer of 2012. Lisa also co-facilitated another group that year at St Marks Catholic Church in Tampa, FL and participated in a study group at St. Lawrence. The blessings were amazing for all the women involved.
The gentle push was at it again and this time we felt the need to open up the study to all women of our own parish. We approached our pastor, Fr. Ken Malley, about the program and he was enthusiastic and supportive. But life events such as new grandchildren & the construction on the parish grounds of Blessed Mother Theresa Elementary School and the expansion of our Parish Center would put the study on the back burner for three years.
Finally in the fall of 2105 the Holy Spirit took hold of our desire and with another gentle push from above Deacon Peter Burns informed us that he had the dates & the room reserved for the Women of Grace study and we were on our way! We began our Lenten Journey on February 11, 2016, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. With 48 Sacred Sisters signed up we knew that we had to put our trust in God and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us each step of the way. We have been truly blessed to be a part of this beautiful journey as we continue to grow in our own abundant life and vocations as daughters of the most high God for such a time as this.
For more information on how you can bring the Women of Grace® Study Program to your area, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-558-5452.