The New Feminism and Women of Faith: All Movements Start Small
by: Mallory Smyth
I had decided out of total obedience to the Lord that I would no longer fight the faith in which I had been brought up. For three years, I had been attending my local non-denominational church. If I was going to mass at all, it was only out of familial guilt. I had fallen in love with everything protestant. The music was great, the preaching was meaningful, but most of all, I was involved in the women’s small groups and these groups were changing my life. I was as shocked as anyone else when the Lord asked me to recommit to the Catholic church, but I did. I left the ministries that I loved, came back to the mass and started looking for ways to get involved.
There wasn’t however, very much offered to a 24 year old like me who wanted to be involved in my local parish. There was only the youth group, so I started volunteering there, but I wanted more.
My life had been completely transformed sitting in those non-denominational circles with other women as we studied the book of Esther, and then Daniel, and then the nature of God. It was in those groups that I could get my questions answered. I learned from the other women how to actually apply the teachings of Jesus Christ to my life as a young adult. I sat with women who were in their 70’s and absorbed their wisdom as they destroyed many of my generational stereotypes. Every time I finished a small group study, I couldn’t believe how much I could know about my faith and how much there was for me to learn.
I was leaving mass one day missing the community I had left and, “I wish there was a Catholic women’s small group” flashed through my head. Immediately I heard, “Then start one.” My excuses started flowing. I’m not from here. I don’t know anyone. I don’t have time. How would I even do that? It didn’t matter, I knew they were excuses and I knew God was asking for a yes, not a million reasons why He was wrong to ask me.
Within a month, I scouted out four other women my age whom I didn’t know. I creepily asked one girl for her phone number after mass and mentioned starting a small group. To my surprise, she told me she had been looking for something more and would love to join. Another girl, I met on a plane and then happened to sit next to her in mass. I invited her, she said yes and brought a friend.
The small group was not a raging success. My invitations were awkward and we only met about five times. Since then, however, I have led about ten catholic women’s small groups. Each time I am more convinced that the Lord just needed my yes so that He could do His job. He didn’t need my expertise. He is the expert. He didn’t need my brilliance. I am not brilliant. He needed my obedience, my willingness to be on mission.
If you have ever thought to yourself that you wish there was a small group in your area or that there was something more for Catholic women at your parish, the Lord may very well be asking you to be the person to start. There are a millions reasons to say no but how would the Lord use you if you said yes? What if you made the time, opened your heart, stepped out of your comfort zone and just do it? How would He change you? How would He change others?
We have received the most amazing inheritance in Catholicism. St. Paul tells us that the riches of our faith are literally unsearchable but too many of us never take the time to begin the search. It is no secret that most Catholic’s know barely a faction of what we should know if Jesus is real and the Church is true. This is in our control to change.
We all know the words of Jesus when He said, “The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few”. The world we live in is thirsting for the Truth. The more that we as Catholics seek that truth in a transformative way, the better we equipped we are to fully participate in the worship of the living God and the better we can be to engage our brothers and sisters who are starving for meaning.
Are you curious to see where the Lord could take your yes to leading a small group? Now is a great time to start and we at ENDOW want to make it as simple as possible! Email us at email@example.com and join us as we give the Lord our humble yes in the New Evangelization.