In Her Shoes: How Joining an Endow Group Helped Me Find the Joy in the Everyday
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What brought you to Endow?
I became more familiar with the mission of Endow when the Archdiocese I live in brought Mallory Smyth to Minneapolis for a women’s retreat. During this “Day with Endow”, Mallory shared with us on the topic of the feminine genius. It was beautiful to see the women at the retreat walk away with a thorough and concrete understanding of what the feminine genius meant, while also being encouraged to pray about how to live this out in their own life. Mallory’s deep faith, outgoing personality, authenticity, and knowledge of the topics we explored gave me a great impression of the mission of Endow and kept me interested in the ministry.
How did you first hear about Endow?
I first heard about Endow several years ago, from my older sister who was participating in a study. Ever since then my ears perked up when I heard other women talk about their own experiences with Endow. I continually heard from others how participating in an Endow study helped foster both greater Catholic community and intellectual growth in regards to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and did so in a very approachable way.
Why did you decide to join an Endow group?
I decided to join a group, simply because of a friend's invitation. After hearing many women speak so highly of Endow study groups, I wanted to find out what it was like for myself. Not only was I looking forward to participating in a study for the first time, but as a newlywed, the topic we were covering on Humanae Vitae was especially intriguing to me.
Who has been a spiritual mother to you?
My mother lives just a few hours away, so when I am in need of her maternal comfort I just pick up the phone to call her. An unexpected Saint who has recently become a spiritual mother to me is Saint Zelie Martin. This began when I read the short book, The Extraordinary Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux: Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin. I read this book at a time when I was hoping that my husband and I would be able to grow our own family. Learning about the life of Saint Zelie had me in awe of how real she was. As a working mother of several children, both living on earth and those who passed on to Heaven, she had high highs, and low lows, but her trust in God did not falter. She exemplified Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”
What is one thing that you have learned from your Endow groups?
One thing that continues to be made apparent from week to week of my Endow group, is just how similar the questions and struggles are for all of the women in the study. One woman will ask a question, and quite often, all the other women will nod their heads unanimously-showing that they too wonder or struggle with the same thing. What I have learned from this is just how important it is to talk about tough topics, address the hard questions, and search honestly and courageously for the Church’s answer.
What has changed in your faith since experiencing Endow?
Since experiencing Endow on a deeper level, my faith has been stretched in opening myself up more in regards to my spiritual life. So often I keep my spiritual experiences to myself, journaling about them, and if I feel prompted, sharing them with one or two others. What has been a great joy about being part of the group I am in, is how we begin our study, sharing our high and low of the week, as well as our “Jesus” moment, which is where we saw Jesus that week. I have grown in friendship through these sharings, and they hold me accountable to pay attention to the Holy Spirit moments being placed in my life on a daily basis!
What makes your Endow group unique?
I haven’t been part of any other Endow groups besides the one I am in now, but if I had to point to something in our group which makes it so unique, I would say it would be the genuine support that each woman has for the others. Some of us our single, some are married with no children, and some are married with babies on the way. Regardless of state in life, there is so much respect and support for where each woman is at in her journey. Each woman is accepted for who she is, and is gently encouraged to dive deeper into trust, whatever that may look like.
What tips do you have for someone who is new to Endow and/or new to hosting an Endow group?
My first tip for a new host of an Endow group is to make sure you have a welcoming atmosphere to invite them into. Greet each person who arrives with warmth and joy so that if they do not know anyone else in the group, they still feel comfortable. Second, I would highly recommend that the host leads well by beginning in a timely manner with a brief opening prayer and an invitation for everyone to share their own “Jesus” moment of the week, this helps to build trust and community. When the host is cognizant and respectful of time, people will still feel comfortable leaving at the scheduled end time, even if discussion lingers longer than anticipated.