Recently, some of the kind and lovely women at my parish invited me to a St. Catherine‘s Society meeting. Let me say first and foremost, that we are relatively new to our parish. By relatively new, I mean, we’ve been there for about 2 years. Now, in some protestant or nondenominational churches, we might have been deeply engrained in every part of the church life by now. Catholic parishes however are not known for their welcoming committees, greeters at the door, sign up sheets before you enter the worship area, or follow-up teams to make everyone who shows up feel like they are immediately welcomed, included, counted, and known. On some level, this is a great thing. I for one, being rather introverted, bristle at the idea of people seeing me as a stranger and immediately pouncing upon me so I can feel “included”. On the flip side however, this can certainly lead to people not feeling a strong sense of community in a Catholic parish without some significant effort on their part. This is especially true at a smaller parish that might not have a ton of activities going on or groups to belong to.
So, circling back – I was invited via e-mail to a new group that was starting and would some of the women of the parish be interested. I was certainly intrigued. We would bring a snack (nice), have a glass of wine or tea (getting warmer), kick things off with the rosary (can’t argue with that), and then discuss a topic of the evening (adult topics of conversation! score!) before winding things down with some time to socialize and chat (I might meet some other Catholic moms around here! Woot woot!). So… I wasn’t excited at all. Ha!
Let me just say that this group is downright lovely. Lovely intelligent Catholic women – some cradle Catholics relearning and reenergized about our faith, some converts from protestant denominations, some stay at home moms, some working moms, some grandmothers, some expecting. All of us showing respect to each others views and enlightening each other where someone’s knowledge falls short. We talk, we worship, we pray, we eat fancy cheese and too many cookies. This week the topic was adding daily bible readings to your life and including your children and then we transitioned to a presentation on infertility treatments, the Church, and how to discuss the topic with nonbelievers. It was so great – intellectually and spiritually stimulating in a way that my mind and heart and soul were craving.
In reading recently about other moms like myself who struggle with finding their place in their faith community, struggle to ask for help when they need it, and ache for a sense of belonging and true friendship – may I suggest starting such a group? Or perhaps finding an existing group? I know that I am often particularly guilty of the “I’m fine” and “I can handle it” statements when the reality is that some time away would truly help my sanity and my outlook. All it took was an hour a month (and I’ve only gone a couple of times so far) and I am now absolutely an advocate of putting on some lipstick and mascara and getting out for some spiritually uplifting conversation and a glass of wine.