The intimate number of women gathered in the Gentile Gallery on the evening of April 24 lent itself well to the meditative prayer that Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Women’s Ministry chose for the last installation of its Abide series.
Entitled “Woman is Not a Bad Word: Praying with Women in the Bible,” the event focused on the imaginative meditation taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola as a way of growing in intimacy with the Lord.
Junior Rachel Heffron, co-lead for Women’s Ministry, gave a brief introduction to Ignatian meditation before leading the attendees through a period of prayer.
Fittingly for the Easter Octave, Heffron read aloud the Gospel passage John 20:11-18, in which Jesus Christ appears to St. Mary Magdalene following the Resurrection. Heffron prompted the women to mentally picture a beautiful garden with flowers, a gentle breeze and an empty tomb. Most of Heffron’s comments were open-ended questions asking the women to imagine what the Lord might have in mind for them in the time of prayer.
After the meditation, women were given a chance to journal and share their experiences with those sitting at their tables in a time of fruitful discussion.
The evening ended with a short talk from junior Women’s Ministry lead Shelby Hawks, who encouraged the attendees to enter into Ignatian prayer often.
“Taking 15 minutes to read through a passage, sit with it, see what stands out to you and allow your mind to create those images — that is an awesome way to spend time in prayer,” Hawks said. “The images that the Lord gives you can last a lifetime.”
Hawks recommended keeping a record of images and words received in previous prayer times and drawing on those when prayer feels dry.
“It’s a lot harder to (pray) on my own, but I think if we can draw upon the fruits that we experienced tonight … taking those images that you receive or those words that stand out to you (and) drawing upon those when you go into prayer with the Lord — I’ve found that to be really helpful,” said Hawks.
Women’s Ministry is now accepting applications for Women’s Ministry Core Team for the fall 2019 semester. Applications can be found on the FUS Women’s Ministry Facebook page.