At the parish I work at, one of my new responsibilities is overseeing the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). While there were a few learning curves, the experience of walking with these people has been so lifegiving to my own personal faith. We had a unique group this year, in that of our ten candidates and catechumens, all were female except one!
They came from very different backgrounds. Some were raised Catholic and some had no religious upbringing of any kind. Another was Jewish and a handful were unbaptized. Working with mostly women, my heart has become attuned to the better ways our parish community can help support and nurture the growing faith of these women as they enter full communion with the Catholic Church.
In getting to know each of these women over the last year and a half, we have done both the Blessed is She Advent and Lent journals together. Some of them have attended different women’s ministry events like retreats or Bible studies. I bought each of them the Catholic Journaling Bible and Scripture memory cards to help them pray with and get to know Sacred Scripture more. It has been such a blessing to be a part of their growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.
The Richness of Our Faith
As a cradle Catholic, I think sometimes it is easy for me to take for granted the Faith I was raised in. I can too easily take granted the riches of the Faith that I have been blessed to have in my life from the day I was born. For that reason, I am so grateful for the witness of men and women who intentionally choose to become Catholic Christians. It inspires my own faith and gives me hope, especially in this confusing, painful time for the Church.
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Ways Parishes Can Support New Female Converts
For someone who becomes Catholic, they often may not know a lot of Catholic people. They need extra support, connection, and ways to grow in faith and have community. Blessed is She is a faith community for women of all ages, so we want to highlight specific ways that parishes can offer programming to help our new sisters who have or are in the process of entering the Church.
Walking with Purpose
Founder Lisa Brenninkmeyer converted to the Catholic Church but quickly realized there was a lack of relevant Bible studies that were open to women of all ages. She took it upon herself to change that! Walking with Purpose is a parish-led, small group Bible study that is a great fit for women of all ages and states in life.
There are also specific studies for young adult women and middle school girls. This could be a great thing for a mother and daughter to do together, or go with a group of girlfriends!
If you want to hear more of Lisa’s story, she was recently on the Blessed is She podcast and The Catholic Feminist! I know after listening to Lisa speak, it made me more excited to try the study this Fall at the parish I work at.
Start a Blessed is She Community Group
Starting a small group can feel overwhelming and maybe bit outside your comfort zone. Not to fear! At Blessed is She, we offer all the tools to get you started in forming and creating a small group right from the beginning. We have lots of resources that you can use in your small group like studies on the Rosary. We have lots of groups of different sizes all across the country. Not to mention, we’ll help you get started!
There is also a special Facebook group for women leading a BIS Community Group in their local area. Be sure to join and get ideas, support, and encouragement.
Host a Blessed Brunch
Who doesn’t love a reason to get together with some gal pals over some brunch?! That is one of my secondary love languages.
Hosting a Blessed Brunch at your parish or home is a great way to get to meet other Catholic women in the local area. It can also serve as a great pre-curser for forming a Blessed is She community group.
Hosting a brunch doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. You can add your own personal touches to make it feel special and inviting. We have a hostess guide to help guide your time together. But there’s room to be creative! I know groups that meet to eat and discuss a Teachable Tuesday video. Some have a local speaker come to give a short talk.
I have hosted these a few times at the parish I work at, and there has been a great response to them.
If you have never hosted a brunch, I would encourage you to do so! I have never regretted doing it myself.
Endow Study Groups
Endow study groups are another great option for meeting in small group communities with other Catholic women trying to learn and grow in their faith. The small groups meet once a week for about one hour-and-a-half to two hours. The studies range from different doctors of the Church, female Saints, papal writings, and more.
It is a way for women to grow in relationship with each other while also reflecting upon the deeper mysteries of life and our Faith.
If you are a woman who is new to the Catholic Church or coming back after years from participating, we are so glad you are here! We need you in our Church. We want you in our Church. Your voice, story, gifts, and creative ideas are needed to help build Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth.
Welcome home sister, we are on this journey with you!How Parishes Can Support New Female Converts #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Patty Breen is a regular contributor to the BIS blog and a devotion writer. She is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwestern gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry to divorced Catholics and women whose relationships have been impacted by sexual addiction. You can find out more about her here.