Mother’s Group at St. Anthony of Padua
Good news beautiful sisters in Christ! My name is Jeanette Manrique and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit I decided to start a new Mother’s Group at my parish: St. Anthony of Padua in Brampton, Ontario. I first learned about these mother’s groups when I attended the Dynamic Women of Faith Conference in early 2017.
I am a homeschooling mother of three very active boys, and I realized that I needed a group of moms around me – moms who would be able to support one another in this shared vocation of motherhood. I am not new to ministry within the Church – I have been involved in an organization called Couples For Christ for a number of years. But I wanted to reach out specifically to other moms and help minister to them, as I felt it was important that they have the opportunity to learn more about their roles as wives and mothers, especially through the lens of our beautiful faith. As moms, sometimes can we feel neglected, and so I wanted a group that could help recharge our spiritual batteries. Because, as we all know, the family falls apart without stable, holy mothers.
Starting a new group is never an easy task. First, it takes the support of the parish priest. At St. Anthony’s we have Fr. Joseph, and the lay pastoral associate, Laura, who have both been blessings to our group. Laura has been my contact at the church and has been instrumental in helping me address all the details of starting a group like this. Secondly, I have had a lot of support from the team at CatholicMomsGroup.com I have felt confident running this Mothers Group, mostly because of the tools provided by the CatholicMomsGroup.com ministry. The How to Start a Mothers Group Workshop, the Monthly Planning Tool and the Mothers Group Starter Kit all have helped our parish get the group up and running flawlessly. Their support has been wonderful.
The moms who have attended have been telling me how much they enjoy the group, how needed and supportive they’ve found the other mothers, and how it’s helped them navigate the difficulties they’ve faced within their own vocations of motherhood.
At one of our recent meetings, we started off playing a game – Two Truths and a Lie. Playing a game at the beginning gives us the chance to enjoy each other’s company, let loose and have a little bit of fun, while helping to ease us all into the more serious topics of the day.
After the game, we had a chance to get to know one another on a more personal level. I asked the women who had older children to share 2 things they wish they had known while their children were growing up. And for the women with younger children, I asked them to share 2 things they felt they needed to do more of, to help their children grow up faithfully. One mom with older children wished she had read the Bible more to her children. One mom with younger children shared that she was making sure that her kids were involved in the life of the parish and community by ensuring they served the priest at the altar, and by sending them to Edge Nights (a Catholic youth group).
Next, I asked everyone to share their favourite saint and why. We heard some great saints mentioned: Saint Zelie, Saint Monica, Saint Francis. But the one that surprised me the most was Saint Jude. Many moms had a special devotion to Saint Jude – being the patron Saint of hopeless cases. One mom shared the difficult time she was going through in her life – separating from her husband, becoming a single mother, losing her way, going to a Pentecostal church, and finally finding her way back to the Catholic Church. She is now a sponsor for the RCIA program and she thanks St Jude for his intercession in helping her find the Catholic Church again. She was one of the moms who inspired us to ask the saints more frequently for their intercession.
Having a group of cross-generational women, we face a range of challenges in our daily lives, but the thing that bonds us as sisters in Christ is our love for our children and our striving for their ultimate well-being. On one hand, we have moms attending who have children who want nothing to do with the Church, and on the other we have moms who are tempted not to bring their young children to mass, fearing they will not behave. Regardless of our individual challenges, it has been wonderful getting to know these women and their crosses, and wonderful to be able to pray for each other and for our children. Our Mother’s Group has helped us all, as women and mothers, grow closer to God and to each other.
Keep checking the calendar at www.catholicmomsgroup.com/calendar for our upcoming meetings. We’d love to see you come out!