Next week I will be hosting the third 'Blessed Brunch' in London. I am really looking forward to getting to know the ladies who have signed up, many of whom I will be meeting for the first time...
Growing up I always used to avoid hanging out with girls as much as I could... I went to an all girls convent school so every day I had no choice, but once the school day ended most of my friends were boys as I enjoyed their company much more and most of all (unlike most of my female friends) I enjoyed playing all sorts of sports.
Looking back at my life I see God's incredible sense of humour.
Today my life is very different... I don't do much sport... and not only has God sent me 4 daughters... I am constantly surrounded by women, and what is more I now feel the NEED to be in contact with like-minded women.
Being a mother and especially a Catholic mother in a secular country can be even more isolating...
We are in this beautiful world but we are not of this world and for that reason we Christians are drawn towards each other and feel the need to form communities where we can grow in faith and help one another to focus on our ultimate goal... Heaven.
Although the world keeps on insisting that there is no difference between men and women, and everyone seems to play along with this 'Emperor's New Clothes' scenario... I've discovered that women's spiritually is quite different from men's and that it is vitally important to build a community of spiritual sisters.
The 'Blessed is She' community was introduced to me by a friend and has already given many of us food for our souls, great material to deepen our knowledge as we explored Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and has provided many opportunities to live, experience and form little communities of sisters brought together in Christ.
Sitting on my virtual yellow sofa today is Jenna Guizar, the lady who was inspired to start it all...
Tell us briefly about yourself and your faith journey so far.
I am a wife and mother of four girls (one in the womb!). I saw Jesus' face for the first time looking straight at me when I was 16 years old, and I haven't been able to rid myself of that memory since then. He has moved me and transformed my life and who I am in so many ways. The Lord has blessed both my husband and me with free spirits, and we love moving in whatever direction we feel called to as a family. Blessed is She is one of those examples.
What is 'Blessed is She' and what inspired you to start it?
Blessed is She is a women's ministry that began in September 2014. I was looking around the Catholic Church and wanting to find a good, solid, welcoming women's community, and I kept coming up dry. Where do I fit in? was one of my main questions -- as a young wife and mother, as someone who doesn't work in young adult ministry but also doesn't fit in with beautiful ministries for older women. So the Lord opened my eyes to start something. I reached out to about twenty other writers and bloggers I knew and asked them if they'd like to start this women's ministry with me. A few said no, but a lot said yes, and then Blessed is She was born.
How does Blessed is She work?
Blessed is She sends out daily devotions every single day on our website and in your email, along with the daily readings from the Lectionary every day. We have over 40 writers, and they all read the readings, pray about it, and write based on 1. How the Lord is speaking to them through the readings, 2. their stage and phase in life (we have college students, single women, married women, mothers, grandmothers, and sisters on the writing team!), and 3. How this applies to women everywhere.
Who are the women behind Blessed is She and how were they chosen?
All of the women are right here: https://blessedisshe.
net/the-authors/. They are either the initial group I reached out to three years ago (just ladies I friended on the internet), friends of friends, or women who are writing beautiful words online. I found Erica Tighe, our designer, on Instagram!
Why did you feel it was important to spread this ministry to Europe?
The Lord really just took it there. It wasn't intentional by any means (not a lot of this was, at the start). We just kept moving where the Lord wanted us, created products women were asking for, helping them find resources to build Catholic female friendships in their own cities and towns.
Why do us women need each other on this journey towards Heaven?
Catholic female friendships have been life-changing for me. Whenever I am going through a really rough time in my life, I am continually loved on and picked up by my friends. They know me sometimes better than I know myself, they can speak life into me when I though hope was lost, they pray with and for me. Female relationships rooted in Christ are truly going to change our lives, and I deeply desire those friendships for every woman.
Tell us about the new study course ‘Blessed Conversations’.
Blessed Conversations studies were made out of our desire as a Blessed is She team to meet women in real life. We do not want to be just an online ministry, we want women to meet, to pray together, to hear each other's stories, to be in relationship with each other. We created studies to help facilitate small or large group get togethers for a deepening relationships with the Lord and with each other.
What would you say to every woman who feels called to starting/leading a BiS group but feels inadequate for the task?
I am the last person I would have asked to start a women's ministry, let me tell you! I lack organizational skills, I am SO not type-A, I have always sort of started things and then not followed through, I am simple and not so heady with theology and catechetical knowledge. The list goes on and on. The same is true for you, in your own personality that the Lord gave you. You may feel or seem different than what the "perfect" person for the job would be. But nope. If He set it on your heart, then it's for YOU. Not for the girl next to you or in front of you. It's for YOU. He will equip you, just like he did the apostles, just like he did the Saints. None of us will ever feel perfectly adequate. So we take our inadequacies, and we say, "Lord, do with me what You will!"
Are there any plans for a future Blessed is She Conference in Europe, perhaps in London?
That would be amazing! We are organizing six retreats throughout our main regions of the US for 2018, but it would be a dream to come to Europe! It's just a matter of God opening up the right doors to make it happen. We are always open to where He'd like us to go next.