The word "mentor" is defined as "a wise and trusted counselor or teacher."
To me, a female mentor is supposed to share the Gospel and her life, just like a nurturing mother, teaching and learning from her spiritual daughters that both may walk in God’s ways. She should be an authentic missionary disciple who has been converted, strengthened, and transformed in the Lord.
We live in a world that has a very different definition of what it means to be someone’s mentor.
People pay high dollar amounts to attend seminars to learn from other successful business people about how they can be better at what they do and amass their own fortune. There isn't anything wrong with trying to be the best that you can be in your career. However, I do think there’s something wrong with being so focused on being successful in this life that we forget that more attention should be given to preparing our souls to spend eternity with God.
Most of the books on this subject focus on mentorship as a way to help someone do well in life, achieve financial freedom, and so on. What about the kind of mentoring that focuses on living our life in preparation for our final home in Heaven? A mentorship that’s all about heart and spiritual formation, through prayer and fellowship with the Church through discipleship.
My Journey of Faith
We can gain a lot of wisdom by looking back and reflecting on our own lives. I am privileged to be in a season of life that is affording me to give back and encourage others. Looking back on my own faith journey, I can see how God, in His goodness, didn’t wait for me to find my way to Him. Instead, I can clearly see how He was always pursuing me and coming after me, using different situations and people to help me get to know Him and His Church.
My lack of understanding and knowledge of my Catholic Faith started changing in 2008 when my husband and I decided to move our young family from South Florida to his hometown of Bismarck, ND to be close to his parents. We felt it was important for the kids to grow up near their grandparents if at all possible, and my parents still live in Brazil.
Of all places, Bismarck was where God had big plans for my faith life to take flight. The Catholic Faith is alive and well there. We belonged to a vibrant parish and made friends with many great people. My in-laws introduced us to Jerry and Sara, a dynamic couple who were very involved in the parish. David and I were invited to a gathering they held at their house each month, simply called “young adults."
Every month, Sara and Jerry would open their home to dozens of people seeking a closer relationship with God and with their community. They would recruit amazing speakers for our gatherings (most of whom were young priests from the Bismarck diocese).
Some of the wives in this group would get together every week at each other’s homes for what we called: coffee. At coffee, we would pray, laugh, cry, discuss the Church’s teachings with great enthusiasm, and watch our little ones play together. Through those monthly “young adults" gatherings and the weekly coffee with my new friends, God was slowly inviting me to the fullness of His community: the body of Christ.
These women I met in Bismarck, who would become some of my best friends, knew how to beautifully integrate their Catholic Faith into the fabric of their everyday life. I found this to be very inspiring and hoped it was contagious.
They were becoming my spiritual mentors.
Here I was, in my 30’s, and for the first time in my adult life, I found myself surrounded by all these beautiful and faithful Catholic women who were not afraid to talk about their faith and their love for Jesus. Being in their presence and learning so much about my Faith made me realize just how starved for spiritual mentoring I had been all my life.
The Power of Spiritual Mentoring through Storytelling
By nature, human beings are storytellers. Stories have the power to connect us to one another more than anything else. They can help us understand who we are. We shouldn't be afraid that we are not worthy to speak His name or to share all God has done in our lives through sharing our stories.
Families are in crisis. Men and women are suffering. Society in general is seeing unprecedented unrest. Now more than ever we need the Truth of the Gospel. It is my hope that God gives us the graces necessary to be a light in our homes, families, workplaces, and communities. One way for us to do that is by learning how to be spiritual mentors to one another.
I can honestly say that having all the wonderful men and women who throughout the years have taken their time to spiritual mentor me has been essential in developing my full potential and navigating the variety of pitfalls we all encounter in ministry life. I truly believe we can never succeed in anything alone.
A few years ago, I was blessed with the inspiration to write my first book, Wisdom From the Women We Love. The theme of spiritual mentoring is woven throughout this book. Wisdom From The Women We Love is a collection of personal stories from 26 women of different ages and backgrounds who ,by sharing their wisdom, were in a way mentoring us spiritually through their stories.
To Need Each Other
I love what the Lord said to Saint Catherine of Siena:
I could have easily created men possessed of all that they should need for both body and soul, but I wish that one should need each other and that they should be my ministers to administer the graces and gifts that they have received from me.
I can see how God was instructing Saint Catherine of Sienna on the need for us to have spiritual mentors. Spiritual mentors are essential if we want to come to a deeper faith in Jesus. My spiritual mentors remain vital today as I try to grow as a missionary disciple.
I pray that you are blessed with men and women who will make the time to spiritual mentor you, and that in return you’ll welcome the idea of spiritually mentoring others as well.
Have you ever had someone spiritually mentor you? If so, what was that like? Have you thought about the possibility of being a spiritual mentor to someone?
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