Women’s Ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville has started some new events and groups to help the women on campus. Sister Teresa Reyes, TOR, who has been the ministry’s lead for about two years, said that the mission of Women’s Ministry mirrors the mission of the Office of Evangelization, which is to “provide encounters with God’s love that invite conversion and renewal to empower joyful disciples.”
This mission focuses on the feminine genius introduced by Pope St. John Paul II, which is the quality of women which makes them fundamentally different from men. Reyes said that Women’s Ministry’s specific mission is “to accompany women in their journey to holiness” and to foster the feminine genius.
The events and programs that Women’s Ministry provides include book studies, faith sharing groups, Eucharistic adoration, retreats, talks, fellowship events, support groups and team formation. One program that has been on-going is called Redeemed and Set Free. It is an email group formed to help women overcome sexual sins such as pornography and masturbation.
Using this mission, Women’s Ministry has started some new events and groups this semester. One new event that was held on Saturday, Feb. 8, was “Consoling the Heart of Christ,” which offered Eucharistic adoration, a talk by Brother Daniel Klimek, TOR, the sacrament of reconciliation and prayer teams. Reyes said that “Consoling the Heart of Christ” was “an opportunity to encounter the Lord.”
A second novel event happened on Wednesday, Feb. 12. It was a crafting event where women were encouraged to be creative in the same room to foster fellowship between women.
Another developing opportunity is the faith-sharing groups. These four student-led groups are centered around discussions of books and videos that help women share and deepen their faith.
One of the groups is reading “The Friendship Project” by Michelle Faehnle and Emily Jaminet, which is about friendships among Catholic women.
Another group is reading “I Believe in Love” by the Rev. Jean C. J. d’Elbee, which explores the teachings of St. Therese of Lisieux, while another is reading “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henry J. M. Nouwen.
The fourth group is doing something different, though: watching videos from Emily Wilson’s YouTube channel instead of reading a book. This option is best for women who, though they want fellowship and a growing faith, do not have a lot of time.
Each group meets once weekly at different times all over campus, discussing the material that they have either read or watched that week. These book and video studies are to help the women be, as Reyes said, “Encouraged in their journey for the Lord.”
Women’s Ministry events are student-led, and each semester, the core team brings in new team members. As Reyes said, “New team members bring new life.” The student leaders, and especially the core team, pay attention to the needs of young women on campus to inform the particular events and programs that Women’s Ministry provides each semester. Each new team member provides a unique perspective on what is both needed for and wanted by the women on campus.
Prayer also plays an important role in the invention of the new ideas that Women’s Ministry executes. Reyes said, “We’re always looking for inspiration from the Holy Spirit. The Women’s Ministry team also is open to feedback and accepts feedback from the women on campus to ensure that their needs are met.”
One way to get involved in Women’s Ministry is to be present at any of the events or retreats. The next retreat is the Capture My Heart Retreat, happening from April 3-5. This retreat is off-campus and happens every semester. Applications can be found online at capturemyheartspring.eventbrite.com.