Our soul thirsts, our nature is restless. We are in constant search of something to fill us, something to fulfill us.
In this search we encounter all sorts of people and have all sorts of experiences, some of which can be very significant to our journey of Faith and in some cases life-changing.
Although, we are blessed that our extended family is a devoted Catholic one and moreover mostly lives within 2 minutes walking distance from us, the need to be surrounded by people of faith other than the family is at times very strong.
The importance of having the support of the Christian community around us is vital to our journey of Faith, both in the moments of grace and in the struggles.
I started my virtual journey with a flurry of ideas beginning with the Catholic Mothers FB Page, I was invited and encouraged to join other groups online and God has opened horizons that I had not planned for (as usual).
It was not long ago that someone forwarded to me the link for the Blessed is She website, saying it was an 'American thing' and was worth checking it out.
The website, was very inviting, the pictures very calming and it offered to send daily devotions straight to my inbox... well that sounded like a good deal. I didn't think twice and subscribed.
I started following the Blessed is She FB Page and living in Europe was then added to the European group too where more and more women shared the desire for sisterhood and a sense of community, women in search of a word, in search of a deeper experience of prayer and meditation... young students, young brides, new mothers, more experienced ones, mature women, grandmothers... All in search of the Bridegroom, all united in Christ.
To be completely honest I don't always have the time to read the daily devotion but I try to scroll through the various posts as much as I can and one thing that often accompanies me during the day is the quote posted daily... a quote that comes from the heart of a woman somewhere in the world who like me desires heaven.
It was a few months ago when on the 'Blessed is She' website there was an invitations to join your local Blessed Brunch. Excitedly, I clicked on the page but with no surprise I found that everything was happening in America... and that once again England was out of the picture. Closed the link and sadly complained to God about the dryness and lack of initiative of my adopted Country.
A couple of days passed and the link reappeared on my wall... the post said, 'host or attend' and without hesitation I signed up to 'host' the 'Brunch'. I straight away phoned my sister, knowing she would support me and at the same time call me crazy and a sense of excitement as well as a little fear prevailed. Was I going to be fit for the role I was asked to undertake? I am not a public speaker, in fact I panic in front of a big group... I didn't even know what I was signing up for. Yet, I felt it was the right thing to do and felt incredibly drawn to it. I asked God to give me courage and the strength to do whatever He wanted me to do.
I received my hostess pack a few days later by email and was surprised by the simplicity of it all... not very much was asked of me, only to open my house to whoever like me was in search of this sense of community.
Every time there was a new subscriber I would receive a notification! The more ladies signed up the more interesting it got. A list of names kept on growing on my inbox.
Everything was set and ready to kick off, the weather looked decent for the morning of the brunch, garden and garden house ready to welcome new friends.
The evening before I sent a last email to the Blessed is She team to ask them whether there was something in particular I needed to know or do and if they had any tips to give me. The reply once again was very simple:"nope, you've got everything! It's pretty laid back, so just enjoy the fellowship of your sisters!".
Got my list of names attending the brunch and sent a general email to remind people about it and make sure they had the right address. Not all the women who had registered could make it but I was very peaceful and had put my trust in God.
The morning of the brunch arrived and with my eldest daughter I went in the garden to prepare the last things.
It was soon time and people started arriving, first my sister and then the other ladies that had confirmed the day before.
In no time, laughter filled the air sitting around the garden table full of beautiful food brought and prepared by the guests and after an opening prayer we were there in the name of Christ and that sense of community became alive and tangible.
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." Matthew 18:20
Although very different in age, stage of life, background or nationality we were all there for the same reason, nothing more (or less) than to build pure and simple friendship...and get together with other women who firmly believed and strive to live life to the full according to the Gospel... A kind of reassurance that we are not alone in this journey towards heaven, that we are not little isolated islands in a sea of cynicism... and in fact it was a very laid back morning and we all enjoyed this gift of the fellowship of these lovely new sisters and whether I will meet them again or not they touched my life with their openness and love for the Lord.
I don't know any of the people behind the Blessed is She project and yet I feel deeply connected, I feel that somewhere on the other side of the pond or in another country there are women with this same desire of community and that maybe somewhere far away, someone unexpected will be praying for my and my family.
Yes! It is true technology and the Internet can be a dangerous place but anything that is used for the glory of God can be turned in something extraordinary.