Strength Through a Community Working Together
Small Christian communities are not a new concept. Early Christians met in small groups in each other's homes to share faith and break bread. Being in community is one of the Five Dimensions of being a Theresian.
The Lord has called us as Theresians to learn, develop, change, nourish and grow in community with other Christian women on our journeys towards holiness. As Christian women, we grow ever more beautiful when we share our time, talents and treasures in community with each other.
We experience strength through our communities in our monthly gatherings where we share a meal, pray, support, and encourage each other to become more Christ-like. While the pandemic tried to keep us apart, my community, Spiritual Springs, is stronger than ever.
Last July, I found myself having to cope with the sudden and unexpected death of my sixty-four-year-old husband. As you might imagine, I was overwhelmed by grief, struggled with consoling my two young adult sons and my husband’s siblings, and planning the funeral Mass.
In our parish, members of the Funeral Reception Ministry are normally the ones who set up, prepare and serve food and drinks, and clean up after the funeral reception. On the first call to my parish, I learned that the members of the Funeral Reception Ministry were out of town and that I would not be able to host a reception at our parish church after the funeral Mass. I began racking my brain about what other options there might be where two hundred mourners would be able to greet and comfort each other.
Within the hour, one of my Theresian sisters, Sue Sanchez, called and I mentioned that I was not going to be able to have a reception at the church after the funeral Mass. She told me not to give the reception another thought. She would work with the church office and our Theresian community to make the reception happen. She said that our community would donate desserts, set up, serve, and clean up the parish hall. I placed an order for some food to be delivered and turned my energy towards creating a slide show and planning the funeral.
On the day of the funeral, I was gifted with more support than you can imagine from my community. My Theresian sisters jumped into action and set up the hall beautifully. They put out all the tables and chairs and set up a place to play the slide show. They received and put out the food and desserts, prepared the paper products, filled ice chests, and made coffee, tea and lemonade. Even former members of our community jumped in to help by setting up, serving and cleaning the parish hall.
Another Theresian sister, Debbie Elmer, led a beautiful scriptural rosary before the Mass.
And boy, did my Theresian sisters know how to host a reception! They greeted everyone and made them feel so welcome. I cannot tell you how many family members, friends, and co-workers asked me who the beautiful women were that were serving them food, drinks and dessert. I felt so much love and extremely well taken care of! As a result, at least two friends have approached me about joining Theresians. They saw the community I had in action and they are interested in having spiritual sisters like that in their own lives.
The community continued to wrap my family in their love and to give me strength after the funeral. They organized a meal train and brought the most wonderful homemade food for my family and visitors.
Jesus preached “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” My Theresian sisters did just that: they consoled, supported, encouraged, and worked together to give me strength, power and fuel for the soul. I am so blessed to be on this walk home with my Theresian sisters.