It was several years ago now when I brainstormed with Blessed is She’s founder and director, Jenna Guizar, about small group studies.
“What if we had something by our own devotional writers? These women are incredible writers and storytellers. What if we had something that they contributed to, telling their stories and inviting women to learn more about the Faith through their stories?”
Jenna heard me out (no matter how out-there my ideas are, she always does) and said, “What if they were for people to do alone or in groups? Like big groups or small groups, any-sized groups? Can we make that?”
“Oh, and what if it had no prep and no homework? And could be read aloud together in an hour or so?”
I felt like it had to be doable for the overcommitted woman I was, and the overcommitted women I knew.
Blessed is She Small Group Studies
And so we did. Our team did, rather. And our Theological Editor, Susanna Spencer, checked every single bit of it to help ensure everything is theologically accurate and correct (Boy, am I grateful for her important work!).
We redesigned and reprinted our first two studies. They are now coil-bound, 7×10, with a firm cover. And they’re available for electronic download, too!
R O O T E D
Our first study, R O O T E D, is about a fundamental Catholic source of teaching: the Catechism. I picked out seven parts of it that struck me. Parts that included ways to pray, the virtues, the Sacraments, the Commandments, an in-depth examination of the Our Father, and more.
I paraphrased the Catechism, as it can be a little wordy and thick. The authors told their stories and we drafted discussion questions. I found related, short Scripture verses people could memorize, pray over, and let sink into their bones. Beth Davis wrote reflection questions.
M Y S T E R Y
The second study, M Y S T E R Y, was the brain child of Laura Kelly Fanucci. She dreamed up a study on the Rosary, pondering the nuances of the Blessed Mother and Our Lord’s stories in relation to our own paths of living out vocational callings. She wanted to bring the Rosary to light in a new way for all of us.
Three other women wrote on the other mysteries. One was written by a mom of many, another by a consecrated sister, and the last by a single woman. The layout is straightforward. We look at the Scriptural source for a particular mystery of the Rosary, read a reflection, and ponder two sets of questions for both personal reflection and group discussion.
But one of my favorite and most touching parts is Laura’s introduction to the whole book. We were all riveted and ready to dive in after reading it!
Her five chapters on the Joyful Mysteries were the first we did for my parish Blessed Conversations group. I can’t tell you how discussions rollicked and rolled. We laughed a lot, and we comforted each other, too. When I see those friends after Mass now—women I hadn’t know before—I carry part of their stories with me, too.
Deeper into Faith, Deeper into Friendship
Thousands of women have already gone through these seven studies. They’ve poured over them in coffee shops, crowded parish halls, living rooms with wine and friends, dorm rooms late at night, and on the sidelines of a soccer field.
Women from all walks of life have told us that this study has changed their relationships, rooted them in Christ, and watered the seeds of their own faith simply by emersion. If we spend enough time with Scripture, it will blossom within us. If we challenge each other to really read the Catechism, it will transform our understanding of the human experience in light of God Himself. When we soak ourselves in goodness, it permeates our souls.
My Life Has Been Changed
It’s been two years since I’ve been running Blessed Conversations groups. Intimate ones and big ones, ones with total strangers and ones with dear friends. As we start our summer group up this very week, I cannot imagine this season of my life without these friendships, these women from differing seasons, these women who pray with me and lift me up.
I want you to experience that too, sister.
Learn more about community groups here.
Check out the Facebook group for community leaders here.
See more about discovering the gift that you are and have to share with your community here.
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