My friend Emily is an inspiring woman. Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit she started a website called "Conversation with Women" in order to facilitate the sharing of our stories on matters of faith, sexuality, marriage and society. Whether we share our NFP journey, our conversion story, tales of our marriage or of our love for church, everyone has a story to tell.
I invited her to come and share how the Lord encouraged her to begin this website and where she thinks He is leading this ministry. I thank her for her forthrightness and her willingness to share her story here today.
I strongly encourage you to take a peak at the Conversation with Women website and if you are so called, please consider sharing your story. You never know how it may help another woman going through the same thing.
We are called to community and encouragement of one another. This is one place where that actually happens and I am happy to support Emily and her teams efforts.
1. Can you briefly explain the story behind Conversation with Women?
I came back to the faith, in part, because I found supportive Catholic women in a mom’s group who shared their faith with me. I remember the first time I heard one of them mention NFP. My reaction was “NFP? People do that?” I kept my shock under wraps and continued to listen, absorb, and explore what these women were discussing. As I began my journey back to the faith, the women in this mom’s group became very important to me because they were the only fully-practicing Catholics that I knew. I tried to share my faith with women back home but they just didn’t buy it. They didn’t have a community of women living the faith, struggles and all, right in front of their eyes.
I began to search for ways to bring this faithful community that I had found to all women, or at least to any woman who was interested.
That’s when I stumbled upon a column in St. John the Beloved’s parish bulletin entitled Conversation with Women. The column, which consisted of anonymously written stories, was the brilliant inspiration of Denise Kissinger, Sue Malone, and Mary Clare Murray. Each anonymous woman who had contributed a story wrote about her struggle with Catholic teaching in regard to either sexuality, marriage, contraception, or chastity. The authors shared how they had struggled, but ultimately found peace, joy, and healing by living those same teachings with which they had struggled.
I knew immediately that Conversation with Women could reach those women who were struggling and did not have Catholic community. I wanted to expand the reach of the column and a blog seemed to be the best answer. I approached the women who were running the column and they agreed to let me do it. Mary Clare has continued to work on the blog with me.
2. How do you think this website is helpful to women?
We are all in different places and Conversation with Women reaches out and touches you right where you are. Conversation with Woman will be your confidant and your support.
If you are new to the faith and think some of the teachings are impossible to live, come on over and read a story or two and you will see how women handle the struggle and live the faith.
Maybe you are a faithful Catholic who has never struggled? When you read these stories and see the sacrifices some of these women have made in order to live their faith you will be fed in the same vein that we are fed by the blood of the martyrs.
Many women today are living Catholicism but are worried about their friends or relatives who are not. The stories at Conversation with Women are great conversation starters. It might be difficult to approach Cousin Mabel and talk to her about the dangers of birth control but you could send her a link to a story and ask her what she thinks about it.
Maybe you need the support of some like-minded women? Or maybe you have that support, but you are too ashamed to tell them your struggles? Either way, you can tell your story anonymously at Conversation with Women and find that support.
3. How has your involvement with this website changed you?
My faith continues to grow! I am constantly refreshed and renewed in my faith by receiving these stories. My prayer life has increased as I often ask our Lord’s help on behalf of these authors and their families. Also, my trust and confidence in our Lord have increased greatly. I didn’t know anything about creating a website or blog. I relied on God and He led the way!
4. What is your hope for Conversation with Women?
My hope is that Conversation with Women provides community and support to women who might otherwise be alone or isolated and that the stories at Conversation with Women provide kindling for many invaluable “in person” conversations.
5. How can women share their stories? Why should they consider it?
Just click on “Submit Your Story” and attach your document or copy and paste your text.
You should share your story because it has the potential to inspire others. As much as we are all unique, and you are the only one that can tell your story, our struggles are similar. Reading how you handled your struggle may be exactly what someone needs to hear in order to encourage her in her own struggle.
Thanks so much to Emily for sharing today. Y'all, go and check out Conversation with Women. The stories will inspire and encourge. I pray you consider sharing your own story as well.
Labels: abortion, catholic family life, contraception, conversion, faith formation, Family Life, grief, married life, NFP, women of faith