Julie Storr reviews Loretta Pehanich's new book, designed to invite women to gather and share their faith.
I recently took some time and looked back to past ministry work I have been involved in. I was somewhat caught off-guard by the number of times I have been a part of or led women’s ministry in my parish and diocese. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by my excitement to review Women in Conversation Stand Up! by Loretta Pehanich, published by RENEW International.
In a time where it seems no one wants to be involved—no one wants to volunteer—a faith-sharing group is something that people may not think they want to do, but in all actuality, it is exactly what they are looking for.
“Women want what God wants for us,” the author writes in the introduction. And it is so true. What women want is loving, supportive relationships centered on God. Even if introverts like me have a fear of small groups, it is that very setting where evangelization, community, and growth in faith begin.
This book is perfect for those who are just beginning a small group in their parish. It’s also excellent to for those more seasoned in their ministry.
The 12 chapters cover topics from hospitality, friendship, and sexuality to using our baptismal gifts. Each chapter contains several components but can be formatted to best suit the needs of each group. A small amount of reading is intended to be completed before each session.
An opening song is suggested, followed by a provided conversation-starter that is based on the theme of the lesson. Right at the beginning of each meeting there is an opportunity for the feminine genius (a phrase attributed to St. John Paul II) to do what she does best, to be open and welcoming.
During the time together, the real-life story of a woman is read aloud. The author, in the introduction, writes, “Every woman has a worthwhile story,” and she is so right. Sharing testimonies and learning how God has helped someone through their circumstances gives us the assurance that God is there for us too.
Following that story, Women in Conversation: Stand Up! takes us through some questions that help us apply that story to our lives and gives us ways to not just talk about or reflect on the story, but to help us live out what has touched our hearts.
Also included are some suggest resources for further reading. There are a few titles I would leave right there as suggested, and there are some that I’m anxious to explore.
Thanks to the author for a great resource for a parish ministry or for a group of friends who are looking for a way to grow in faith together.
Copyright 2022 Julie Storr
About the Author
Julie Storr is a convert who is in awe of the depth of the relationship with God that can be found in the Catholic Church. She is a Benedictine Oblate of Conception Abbey. Julie and her husband live in Pocahontas, Iowa. They have two grown sons and are excited to be expecting a daughter-in-law this summer. Visit her website at LectioTheLiturgy.com.