Smiling faces in teal shirts showered the women of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a sense of welcome when they entered the Gentile Gallery on Wednesday, Sept. 26 for Women’s Ministry.
The evening began with powerful voices singing “Reckless Love” as the young women gathered around tables covered with plates of cookies and baskets of snacks. The night proceeded with Joanne Storm, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, leading the main talk “Dare to Go Deeper,” which was followed by a testimony from one of the core members.
Storm began her talk by discussing the difficulty of focusing during prayer and trying not to think about things of the world, such as school work, while praying. She stated that a person needs to look inward where God dwells rather than outward.
To get past these struggles, Storm listed three points to help students win the battle against sloth in prayer. The first tip was for the student to look at her spiritual life and ask what penances she has done in her life. Storm said that this practice also helps with being disciplined in other aspects of life.
The next suggestion was for the student to schedule a time and a place for prayer. Storm noted that some women are hesitant to pray because they are afraid of what God might say to them in regards to their vocation. “The Lord doesn’t get you into a vocation kicking and screaming,” said Storm. She suggested that if a person has a strong opinion about what she wants, then she should share that desire with the Lord in prayer.
The final point Storm made was about what she called “holy jealousy.” She said that women should not be worried about how holy others are. “The world doesn’t need another Therese of Lisieux … the world needs you,” said Storm.
Following a short group discussion, sophomore core member Marcelle Saint Jean gave a testimony about her struggle with prayer. She said that she had difficulty juggling school work and extracurricular activities with a prayer life.
Saint Jean said that she did not think she knew the Lord until she went to her holy hour and asked the Lord to meet her where she was. From there, she took her relationship with the Lord one step at a time. “It’s not a full sprint to become a saint,” said Saint Jean. “It’s a stroll and it takes a while.”
Inspired by the night’s session, freshman Catherine Stuart said, “We wish that we could be as holy as the girls around us, but tonight we learned that the holiest thing that we can do is just be ourselves.”
The next installment of Women’s Ministry’s Abide series will be held in the Gallery on Wednesday, Oct. 10.