Catholic women’s activities offer a path through the Year of Faith
by Geraldine McGloin, Correspondent
October 2, 2012
ENDOW class meeting at Corpus Christi Cathedral. Facilitator Debbie Shea leads Trav McNiff, Robin Perrone, Marcy Hayes and Nellie Serna in a discussion of the virtues from Thomas Aquinas for Beginners, Part II.
Geraldine McGloin, for South Texas Catholic
They will take the opportunity to move through the perpetual journey of faith, invigorating their steps and grow in their ability to give an assertive yet joyful witness to their Catholic faith. Much of their activity will focus on the new Christian feminism through the teachings of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
“Women of Vision, Women of Faith”
The Diocese of Corpus Christi will present “Women of Vision, Women of Faith” a conference sponsored by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Saturday, Oct. 27, at Most Precious Blood Church. The Council acts through its membership to support, empower and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership and service. Its programs respond with Gospel values to the needs of the Church and society in the modern world.
Conference guest speakers include Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey who will speak on “Spirituality;” Eunice Washa of the National Council of Catholic Women Galveston/Houston Province on “Leadership;” and Endow editor and trainer Eileen Love on “Service.” Those wishing to participate can purchase tickets by calling (361) 882-6191, ext. 657.
“The Dignity of Woman: God’s Beautiful Beloved”
“I meet many women today who are in need of healing due to influences in our culture. They need to be reminded that beauty has to be linked with God. They have a decisive role to play in transforming the culture but they need to know how to go about it,” Sister Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT, said .“They have heard the term the ‘genius of women’ and ‘the gift of authentic femininity’ but they don’t know what it means.”
The “genius of women” is a phrase from the 1995 “Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women.” It describes certain God-given feminine traits, which have enabled society to progress in those social and ethical dimensions, which deal with human relationships and spiritual values. The letter has become a foundational document in several Catholic women’s studies both nationally and in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
Sister Anne Marie’s work with women grew from her involvement with the pro-life movement. It centers on giving retreats and recollections for women based on the teachings of the Church, particularly Pope John Paul II’s work “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women” and “Theology of the Body.”
“Part of the success of this approach is giving the women ample time to reflect on what they have heard,” Sister Anne Marie said. She and Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT presented a retreat in September at Our Lady of Corpus Christi Retreat Center entitled “The Dignity of Woman: God’s Beautiful Beloved.” Promotional material asked the rhetorical question, “What is the deepest longing of your heart?”
“Many of us are afraid to ask ourselves this question,” Sister Anne Marie said. “Over the years we often become resigned to certain situations in life and forget God’s passionate love and deep healing that He desires to shower upon us as women. During the retreat we learned the plan God has for us as women and how our authentic gift of femininity is a call to transform the world.”
For the last nine years Sister Anne Marie has served as the General Sister Servant of the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. She has taught in SOLT schools both here and in Italy. She has also served in the formation of seminarians and sisters and is eager to help in whatever way she can in the community’s mission in the Church.
Understanding God-given dignity and vocation as women
Sister Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT and Father Zachary of the Mother of God, SOLT take a break during a recent silent retreat. Sister Anne Marie serves her community as General Sister Servant and Father Zacharyalso serves as General Lay Servant for his community.
Geraldine McGloin, for South Texas Catholic
“The marks of a new feminism–a Christian feminism in service to life–are distinctive. Women’s well-being is not pursued in isolation; rather our well-being, dignity and freedom are always related to the well-being, dignity and freedom of others,” ENDOW National Board member Helen Alvare said.
The ENDOW curriculum uses 10 modules based on Church documents or writings of Doctors of the Church, among them are “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women “ (Mulieris Dignitatim); “Edith Stein: Seeker of Truth;” “Of Human Life (Humanae Vitae);” “Setting the World Ablaze: St. Catherine of Siena;” and “Aquinas for Beginners, Parts 1 and II on the Summa and Virtues.”
An ENDOW group is presently meeting weekly at Corpus Christi Cathedral studying the virtues as explained by St. Thomas Aquinas. The goal is to become familiar with the virtues and make them a part of everyday life. Facilitator Debbie Shea is enthusiastic about the program, which she said helps women in many ways.
“This group happens to have a number of women from other ministries. Studying and internalizing the virtues enables them to impart that knowledge which in turn nourishes the spiritual life of those in their ministries. It is what we are hoping for, a ripple effect,” Shea said.
Shea hopes other ENDOW groups will form throughout the diocese.
Advent Morning of Reflection
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA), Corpus Christi Cathedral Court #246, will host a “Morning of Reflection” Dec. 1 at the Cathedral. CDA is a national organization of women founded more than 100 years ago with a committed interest in concerns of today’s Church and society.
Through their spiritual enhancement program they offer mornings of reflection each Advent and Lent. This year Father Zachary of the Mother of God, SOLT will present a program based on Church documents designed help women and men prepare for a holy and blessed Advent season. The program is free of charge and no registration is required.