Women are the heart and soul of the Church.
Women are the heart and soul of the Church
“Women are the heart and soul of the Church” is a direct quote from Cardinal Roger Mahony and is also the reason why women are so important and so vital to the Church and to one another.
These days, due to my husbands poor health, I have become an ‘at home care giver’ which prevents me from a lot of outside direct contact with people. But recently when I was at Mass, I happened to see some friends from afar and my heart was filled with joy just at the sight of them. What a wonderful feeling that was, even though it’s just beholding a person from a distance, someone with whom I have had intimate conversations, conversations that revealed happenings along life’s path that sometimes were very similar to my own and sometimes quite different. Never-the-less, each episode is embedded in my heart and held dearly in my memory.
These women are the bedrock of the Church, though I am sure, they see themselves as just average Catholics, doing the best they can each day. Seventeen years ago, quite accidentally, I became involved with the Los Angeles Council of Catholic Women and this broadened my acquaintance with Catholic women beyond my own parish.
I got to know and interact with women, of every ethnicity and background, all over our Archdiocese as well as the entire United States. It has left me awestruck at their unique talents, abilities, wisdom and generosity. I say generosity thinking especially of the older, more experienced women who have taken me under their wings and mentored me.
Without them, today, I would probably be a valley housewife, with an empty nest, feeling isolated and unfulfilled. They nudged me, inspired me, encouraged me and insisted I step into a role of leadership. Through their example, I in turn mentored younger women I came in contact with. This has been one of my life’s most rewarding experiences.
Some of them are really girls, high school age, and some nearly my age, but each brings joy to my heart as we live the words of Jesus: “They will know you belong to Me by the way you love one another.” This epitome can not come to a conclusion before I mention one very special woman I met when I first got into ACCW.
Her name is Lois Donahue and she has been a very important part of my mentoring. Whenever I get confused or discouraged, I realize I need a ‘dose of Lois’ and I run to the phone. She always perks me up and in minutes we are laughing like an audience at the “Comedy Club.”
It isn’t all fun and games though, we do some serious discussing, mostly about the articles we are writing. She reads me her latest writing, to critique, and though I rarely find anything wrong, all the while she is reading, I am thinking how great it would be If only I could record her on tape. What a blessing it would be for posterity.
Really, I would like to record all the topics we discuss that make us laugh and sometimes nearly cry. It would be wonderful if we could share them with all of you, but unfortunately, we are not that technologically astute so we can only wish. There are many outstanding and wonderful women I know who are not Catholic and even though I have a secret desire to convert them, I must give them the credit they deserve, just as they are, and salute them.
It’s just that there is such a strong bond between the followers of Jesus in the Catholic tradition, even those just testing the waters to see if they want to take the full leap of faith into the Church. It can’t be explained but it is deeply embedded in the heart. I guess it is another one of those mysteries, most wonderful mysteries, connected with Jesus.