Our Lady of Fatima Church in Lafayette launched its Women of Grace study program during Lent of 2014. The fruit of the Lenten program and the newly added Advent program has borne an evangelical sisterhood of 175 women. Through this sisterhood, the parish family is reaping the fruits of what these women have received through their “Women of Grace” study experience.
“The Holy Spirit is at work, joyfully bringing gifts through the women of our parish to our First Saturday celebration of Mass, our elderly who are homebound, new mothers in our parish, and the list continues to grow!” shares Stephanie Supple, Parish Administrator and Coordinator for Women of Grace.
The fruits of the Our Lady of Fatima Women of Grace program in 2014 include: a) Two new women’s study groups were formed and meet weekly. b)The launch of the Spiritual Sister's program. This program is a model of “praying it forward” to new women who have decided to register for the Women of Grace study. A previous graduate volunteers to be a prayer friend to a particular woman during the weeks of her study program. c) Grace-Filled Moments was launched in November. Women of Grace graduates meet to share in the celebration of the First Saturday Mass followed by a spiritual formation discussion based on Johnnette Benkovic’s book, “Grace-Filled Moments.” Speakers present important formation topics for this group on a regular basis. This is also another venue for our women to share in food and fellowship following the class. d) Women of Grace launched an annual Christmas Caroling event to our home-bound parishioners with a social that followed.
IN THE WORKS: The creation of “Mommy Meals” whereby Women of Grace graduates elect to volunteer to be a spiritual mother to a new mother in our parish. When a baby is born, the Fatima office will be contacted by the new mom to say she is ready for the welcome meal. The volunteer will deliver a meal to mother and family and join in welcoming the baby to the world and to the Our Lady of Fatima community. The new mom will know that we are praying for she and her new baby, affirming her in her vocation and reminding her that we believe that “a church with no crying is a church that is dying.”
For the Future: We plan to hold a weekend retreat for all our Women of Grace graduates in Lent of 2016 featuring Johnnette Benkovic and other inspirational and learned speakers.
Last, but most importantly, we share the testimonials of women in our Parish who answered the call to attend and become part of the “Women of Grace” faith community. “After putting forth the effort to participate, I found the Women of Grace study program to be filled with such a reinforcement of catechesis and also teachings about my faith that I did not know. This was all taught through Johnnette Benkovic’s book in such a delightful and interesting way. I was given the impetus to truly believe that our call as Catholics to become holy is really within our reach.”
“Women of Grace invited me in to the wonder of sisterhood in Christ and His Church; that glorious bond connecting our uniquely feminine souls to each other through the Word.”
“Women of Grace has greatly impacted and changed my spiritual life. I have a deeper relationship with God, my prayer life has expanded exponentially and I have a greater understanding and appreciation of the role of women in being spiritual mothers to all of mankind.”
Rev. Michael Russo, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima, writes of his excitement by what he has witnessed as a result of implementing Women of Grace in the parish: “I see women of all ages falling in deeper love with Jesus and His Church. And, in turn, they are going back to their families and being the heart of Christ. They are also extending themselves to their Church family, and beautifully showing the uniqueness of their femininity and the God-given gifts that are inherent to them as mothers, wives, and sisters.”
For more information on how you can bring Women of Grace to your area, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-558-5452.