Dear Bishop Olson,
Our Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth is in great need of a ministry and/or community of single mothers. I understand that there are many mom groups in the diocese, however, the struggles of a single working mother are different than those that are married and not the sole breadwinner of the home. I am a single mother of two young children, six and seven. We attend St. Patrick's Cathedral regularly. I am active in my faith. My children are enrolled in religious formation at St. Patrick's Cathedral and I strive to grow in my Catholic faith and thus, try to provide an example for my children to follow.
The Pope recently addressed a single mother this week saying, "I know it's not easy to be a single mother. I know that people can sometimes look askance at you, “You’re a brave woman because you're capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. ... You respected the life you were carrying inside you and God is going to reward you for that and he does reward for you for that. Don't be ashamed. ... I congratulate you." If Pope Francis can recognize that the struggle is real for single mothers such as myself, then why are we as single mothers so underrepresented in our Church in the U.S. and in our diocese?
In August of 2014, I attended the Midwest Catholic Family Conference and I found I was the only single mother there. While I could relate to many of the topics discussed, there was nothing specifically catered towards single mothers, and the dynamics of a family unit were not typical of my own, making me feel lonely and misplaced. When the church speaks of family, we are often left out and seeing this first hand at the conference, reaffirmed it. Why is this so? I yearn for a group of other mothers like myself, to come together in whatever spiritual journey we currently find ourselves living and share our faith with fellowship in mind. The goal of this ministry would be to foster the Catholic faith in ourselves and, in essence, our children. We single mothers do not fall into the typical category of young adult or mom groups.
It is my vision, goal and desire to create a ministry for single mothers to be guided in their faith, share their financial, emotional, and spiritual struggles; where childcare is not an issue and the time to meet does not interfere with our working hours. I know I cannot be the only single mother yearning for something more, but not finding it.
I have done my research, and in all of Texas, I found only one similar group such as the one I propose. (http://www.stmaustin.org/catholic-single-parents) To me this is a travesty. We are not feeding the mothers who need spiritual guidance, social fellowship in a faith-based environment and thus, could potentially be losing part of our flock. These mothers and myself, need a community/ministry where we can do just that. I have been discerning this call to start a group like this and I know there are other single mothers who need community. It is my hope and prayer that you take this into consideration, and provide me an opportunity to meet with you personally to further discuss this, as I too discern my own role in leading this group.
In addition, if you have the time, I suggest reading these articles I found interesting that touch on this very topic I speak of. I hope that you take the time to read them.
“Church can be an incredibly lonely place. It was why I stopped going for a time. It’s why some Sundays I can barely drag myself there just to sit in the pew alone. Surrounded by families. And married couples. So many families and couples.”
Thank you for your time and I am in prayer to hear directly from you soon.
Dear Bishop Olson,
Childlike faith is what God calls us to possess, yet why is it so hard for us as adults to obtain? “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:17
When I interact with my daughter for prayer or worship, I see that faith God so seeks us to possess. It is pure and innocent. It is unfailing. It does not falter in
the midst of a storm. Instead, it remains steadfast as the waves of the storm crash upon each other. The prayers are more fervent and given easily. They are given in thanksgiving as well as in petition.
I watch my daughter in amazement, admiring her strong faith as she prays. Wishing I had her faith, and feeling a bit shameful that I don't. She is only six, but calls upon God as her father. With no care in the world to who hears or sees, she shouts to the sky, "Daddy!" In confusion, I think she is being a bit strange. Yet, when I ask her who she shouts to, she answers with such firm belief, "God. Jesus." Shouting up into the sky, demanding He stop the cold wind, she is fascinated with the beauty of the nature that surrounds us. She looks up into the night sky, admiring the clouds peeking out even amongst the darkness. I too am in awe of the splendor of God’s nature, but as I hear her speak, I can
only think that her faith is much stronger than mine.
At our first attempt to pray the rosary together for a novena, she can no longer hold her eyes open to finish the rosary, but grasps on to it, falling into a deep slumber. All the while, in her sleep, she does not lose hold of it. Her love for Mary is amazing too. Again, I am in awe.
I do not remember, even at her age, having such great faith and love for our Lord. Nor do I remember praying the rosary at her age. She continually shows me the grandeur of her faith, in song, prayer and worship. As we lie in bed to say our prayers, she shouts goodnight to Jesus, our God, Mary and the
saints, adding, "I love you all!" What great faith of hers and what inspiration she is to me, to grow my faith to be like hers.
We should all have childlike faith; just as the example my daughter has given me.
Who inspires you to grow in your faith?
This post was written by Rita Vigil, Editor for Wholly Feminine's Blog
Visit the leadership team page for her biography.
A couple of weekends ago I attended the Spiritual Exercises Retreat for Young Professional Women hosted by the Regnum Christi movement of Dallas. It was a grace-filled weekend full of solitude, meditation, and practical exercises based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s teachings. There was one talk in particular that resonated with me called, bringing others to the heights given, by Sister Tammy Grady. Her talk encouraged us to create a channel for God’s grace to work in us. One of the first steps is to seek gratitude and love. This can include journaling on a daily basis, being present for the most important moments in our families and friend’s lives, and above all enjoying our relationship with God.
The second step is to share the love. This is the call of our baptism. We are called to become his apostles by adopting a Lifestyle of evangelization. How do we do this? It’s as simple as saying ‘God bless you’ to the cashier at the checkout counter at the grocery store. We can give faith a voice by sharing our testimony with friends. We must pray for God to give us the courage to step outside of our comfort zone as he calls us to walk with him. Saying yes to his call requires time and apostolic action. How are you using your time? Are you being selfish? Could you use your extra time to give back to your church and/or community? Could you be helping a family member or neighbor in need?
The last step is to live the love with others. Life as a Christian is beautiful, but not easy. We need support, fellowship and friendship with like-minded people. Having a Catholic community or support group will keep you accountable. Find a group or ministry at church that you can join to help you grow in your faith.
As you begin to create a channel for God’s grace at work, just keep these three steps in mind and most importantly enjoy your relationship with God. If you’re interested in learning more about the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola or attending a retreat with Regnum Christi please visit RC Dallas Young Women.
This post was written by Cindy Olivera, Founder and President for Wholly Feminine.
Visit the leadership team page for her full biography.