Olivia Louise Stear
My Dream for Catholic Women at the Parish
Q: As a FOCUS missionary who is a wife, mother and working to bring the feminine genius to parish life, what’s your dream for Catholic women at a parish?
A: First of all, let's start with the positive: You did it! You got yourself to Mass! Maybe it was a struggle. Maybe you feel alone in your desire to be closer to God. Who is there to share this journey with you? Maybe you feel like no one notices whether or not you are even present. Welcome to Mass, where you are beautifully human if you’re feeling like you are lost in the crowd. I have been a Catholic Missionary for over 16 years and I still feel like this at times. After Mass, standing in the back of a new parish, as everyone passes by, I feel like a stranger.
As a domestic missionary, in a parish, my dream for Catholic women is that they would be empowered to be Spiritual Mothers. When each generation of women is reaching their full potential, there are no strangers, and there is no one lost in the crowd.
My dream for you is that when you arrive at Mass, someone you recognize greets you at the door. The group of families sitting around you know you, love you and care for you. Not just on Sundays but each day. When you sit in your pew, your people surround you. People who know your struggle and love you anyway. They will answer their phones at 3AM. They are your support and you are theirs. You have something unique and beautiful that only you can give to them. Your presence matters to them. When they see you walk through that door, their hearts feel a little lighter, they are a little more relieved to see you there against all your odds. How amazing it would be for us to live this way as a community--showing up for each other and for God.
My dream for you is an encounter with Jesus Christ. A deep relationship with him through studying scripture with your friends in your homes. That out of that love you would look at who God has put on your left and your right in your life. That you would always be open to one more. Just one more soul. And that this would not be a burden or an extra thing, but a way of life and a joy. That sharing meals with just one more soul would be the network and fabric of our church.
Each generation of women is baptized as priest, prophet and king. We have everything we need inside of us to be empowered. If we have the eyes to look around we can see the opportunity everywhere. Young women with their enthusiastic hearts to reach the new one on the fringes and mature women with their wisdom and presence. Talents, skills and gifts are known and shared. Could it be a harmony that flows and multiplies from person to person and family to family? Although there will never be a perfect community, it should taste a little like heaven because Mass is heaven on earth. There will be joy that comes from sharing the Gospel. My dream is that you would know that joy and it would increase in you year after year. That the legacy you leave behind would be a tapestry of relationships with women changed forever.
“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2: 19-22
Olivia Stear is a wife, mother, and missionary. Since 2002 she has served with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Their mission is to know Christ Jesus and to fulfill His Great Commission to go and make disciples. Her hope is to encourage and inspire Catholic women in the pews to encounter God, have the confidence to share Him with everyone in their life and to be able to encourage others to do the same. She is from Redlands, California and a graduate of the University of San Francisco. Proud wife of Ezekiel Stear PhD. and mother of Lukas (10), Thomas (8) Aurora (3) and Bernadette (18 months). For more information or to connect with Olivia, check her out on Instagram and on her website.