Facilitator Spotlight: Susan Jacobsen

This poem, written in 2008, expresses my philosophy of life and was one of my mother’s favorite poems. Being responsible stewards of God’s gifts of time, treasure, and talent are essential to my husband, Tim and me, as exemplified by our parents. Our 36 years of marriage have been spent providing for our family and volunteering in worthwhile programs. This was especially important when we were raising our sons and continues today as we are proud grandparents. Read the rest…

Facilitator Spotlight: Barbara Mancuso

My name is Barbara Mancuso, a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Clermont, Florida. 

Being a convert to the faith approximately 20 years ago, my journey continues.  In my desire to learn the Catholic faith and my purpose as a Cathloic woman, I participated in the Women Of Grace Study program 4 years ago.  It was a profound turning point in deepening my faith not only as a Catholic, but as a woman in the eyes of my Heavenly Father.  I was hearing many theological truths about why God created woman and truly seeking my role in that plan.  This to me was not just “another bible study”.  So many answers to questions I didn’t know how to ask!  Read the rest…

Facilitator Spotlight: Lisa Marinik

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®.


“Those who sow in sorrow, will reap with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:5

1997, 1998, 1999—three years that broke my heart. The loss of my loved ones during that time devastated me. Looking for answers to the ultimate questions, I found my heart turning back to God in re-conversion. I sought Him through a women’s group at my church. My steps were tentative but see now that God was with me.

The women’s group reconnected me to Jesus yet there was a disturbance in my spirit. The group was gracious and spiritual but I longed for something more authentic and in alignment with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

The Holy Spirit prompted me—actually gently pushed me—into the way I should go. Through His inspiration and the words of a friend I began a group called FIAT which sought to be truly Catholic and Marian. I searched for resources that were in alignment with Catholic teaching—Bible studies, inspirational books, lives of the saints, encyclicals. These works were inspired and beautiful but our little group lacked direction and a consistent vision. Read the rest…