Early in 2010, during her hour of Eucharistic Adoration, a Catholic woman of the Diocese of Memphis heard the words: “Bring the women to me.” A group of men in the Diocese had been sponsoring a Men’s Morning of Spirituality for about 5 years as an outgrowth of Fishers of Men small groups that had been planted following a fishing trip taken by a priest and 12 men of faith. It seemed that the next step should be a Women’s Morning and the message confirmed that. Out of that encounter, a planning team was born.
The first year (2011) women of the Diocese who felt a calling to serve this mission gathered in prayer to plan the first Women’s Morning of Spirituality. With a devotion to the Blessed Mother and through the intercession of St. Therese of the Little Flower the women worked toward a goal to sponsor and promote the event to “bring the women” to Him. At each meeting, the Memorare was prayed with fervor and a petition developed:
“Oh Heavenly Father, send the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide us in bringing souls to you through a Women’s Morning of Spirituality. Give us the strength and courage to follow your directions. With the Intercession of our Blessed Mother, may we grow closer to you and follow the path you intend for us. In your name we pray. Amen”
Nine days prior to WMOS 2011, the team began to pray the Efficacious Novena for the women who would attend the event. On a rainy and stormy day in March of 2011, the women of the Diocese of Memphis turned out in droves. The planning team optimistically “planned” for 300 – 500 women. More than 800 spiritually hungry and enthusiastic women poured through the doors much as the monsoon-like rain poured on the streets of Memphis. When all the seats had been filled, the women in the pews made room for more; chairs were set up; standing room was made until the crowd flooded into the Narthex.
“Bring the women to me.” Following the command of Jesus, women of the Diocese did as He instructed: helped make it possible for Catholic women in Memphis, where Catholics comprise only 3 – 4% of the population, to gather once a year to foster and grow their spirituality, to encounter the living Christ in each other, to celebrate the Sacraments of the Church, to sing and praise God for His goodness and generosity, to pray the Rosary, to learn of opportunities for continued growth.
Growing in numbers each year, the 2014 WMOS attracted almost 1400 religious and lay women from the Memphis Deanery, the Jackson Deanery, and the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Alabama to celebrate their Catholicity. National and local speakers inspire these women with their words and actions and encourage them in the quest for deepening personal growth.
“Bring the women to me.” We continue to strive to answer this call with the witness of our lives, with inspiration from each other, with the intercession of our Blessed Mother to whom we dedicate the day, always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17