Welcome to our Sisterhood Series! It’s our birthday month, and we are celebrating by introducing you to some of the beautiful women in our community. We can’t wait for you to meet them.
Even though I’m from a sprawling city of 1.6 million, I’ve spent most of my life in the same 12 square miles. Nestled in the northeastern most part of Philadelphia, an area affectionately known as “the Neast,” is where I was raised and where my husband and I stayed to raise our family.
The parish of my childhood is the same parish where my children were baptized and confirmed. It’s the same church that we travel to (1.1 miles) every Sunday for 6:30 am Mass. I work at the Catholic university I attended as an undergrad on the same campus as the grade school and high school I attended (1.1 miles in the other direction).
High school sweethearts, we have been married for 30 years and have raised three children—now 30 (and married!), 24, and 22. And though we’ve lost three parents over the past seven years, my children had the marvelous experience of spending their childhood with nanny and poppy and grandmom and grandpop, because we all live so close.
Community and friendships evolved naturally from relationships our children made at school. Their friends’ parents became our friends. As the youngest parents in our firstborn’s class, we learned so much from the experienced moms and dads who took us under their wing and helped us navigate “school days.”
Over the years, some of those ties have fallen away but some have remained, growing tighter. One thing that has been the common thread throughout is our shared Faith. We’ve celebrated first Holy Communions and Christmas pageants, gone to first Friday Mass at school, and shed tears together at funeral liturgies. Even to this day, people in “the Neast” identify themselves by the parish they grew up in and swap funny stories about the religious sisters who taught them.
WEEKLY BLOG UPDATES (+ more!)We'll send you the blog updates weekly in your inbox (with some special tips + tricks to living liturgically from our Blog Editor, Olivia Spears).
I always say I am a product of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the founding order who raised me throughout almost my entire academic career. The congregation was founded in 1875 by Blessed Frances Siedliska. The charism of the order is based on “living the spirit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph whose lives were centered in the love of God and one another.” Even though I come from a strong, Catholic family, it was the Sisters who really laid the foundation of my relationship with the Holy Family and taught me how to pray.
My favorite way to pray is now, and I think has always been, in community. I’m not a huge sports fan but I do love being caught up in the collective effervescence surrounding a big game. I get that same feeling when I’m praying with a group. I no longer have the prayer community of my younger days and it can be so easy to feel disconnected and alone. Blessed is She and, particularly my friend Beth Davis, have helped facilitate the transition from the faith of my childhood to the nourishing and rich faith life I’m enjoying now as an adult. She has invited me into community again and helped me find other women with whom I can walk on this exciting journey. She gives me the confidence I need to share God’s Word and the message of His love with my close girlfriends and with women at work, further widening the boundaries of my faith community.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope that I will continue to learn and grow in understanding and encourage others the way these two groups of amazing women have inspired me along the way.
Now we want to hear about YOU! How has friendship and community inspired your faith?