Despite being less than six months since it's official launch, Young Women of Grace is already making its way around the world. Riding on the wings of the Holy Spirit, it was brought to Trinidad where several young women took the course this summer and weren't shy about telling us what they thought about it!
Vianney Marie Williams, Emily Pouchet and Anna Marie Williams spoke up during a Women of Grace Conference that was held on September 3 at the Cascadia Hotel Conference Center in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Here’s what they have to say about their experience with the new study.
“I knew that being a female was special and that male and female were created differently, with unique purposes, but I never knew just how much the Church had to say about it,” until she took this course, said Vianney Marie Williams.
“We are life giving by nature and we are called to bring life into the world. Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning,” she said, proving that she learned the Study’s 40 lessons very well!
She especially liked the various women saints who were presented in course, such as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who taught that while men and women are complementary, women can transform society in ways that men cannot. She also enjoyed St. Madeline Sophie Barat who taught that it will be women who preserve the grain of faith, which is why we cannot remain neutral in the world.
“I love this, and see the wisdom in it,” Vianney said.
Her sacred sister, Emily Pouchet, said the lessons she learned through the Young Women of Grace program “really helped to shape who I am, my thoughts, actions, desires and how I see the world from day to day.” They also served to build her faith and strengthen her “so that I can recognize the lies of the world and the devil.”
For instance, Chapter One, which focuses on the dignity and importance of women, affirms that women can change the world by spreading Christ’s love through her unique feminine gifts.
“She is so much more than her good looks and she does not have to dominate the working world to be ‘strong,” Emily says. “I can now challenge the media and society who try to force us to believe this.”
Chapter Two and Three, which teach the various methods of Christian prayer, taught her to see through the secular ruse that prayer is “something that crazy people do” or those who don’t want to face reality. Instead, she now knows that “no earthly distraction compares to what is gained when a humble heart lifts her soul to Heaven.”
The course also taught her that obedience to the Church’s teachings is not something “binding and torturous, as portrayed by the media which loves to promote rebellion as glamorous and attractive, but as something liberating, an act of love and trust in Our Father who knows what is best for us.”
She especially loved the teachings on the Eucharist, saying that they “still fill me with awe. Every doubt of my heart was cleansed when I studied Jesus’ discourse in John 6, where He insisted to the people ‘that unless you eat of the bread of life, you have no life in you’ and when I studied the many miracles of the Eucharist which took place throughout the ages. My heart now fills with gratitude every time I go to Mass.”
She also learned how to see the evil in holding grudges and carrying hate in her heart.
“This program is more than just an educational course, it is a spiritual weapon,” Emily says. “If accepted with an open heart and a willingness to grow, it will strengthen you and empower you through the love of Christ and the intersession of Our Blessed Mother.”
No one agrees more than her classmate in the study, Anna Maria Williams.
“This book has taught us exceptional values, explained the doctrine of the church, but most importantly, it has helped us to develop the characteristic of ‘knowing oneself’ and ‘knowing that you are a child of God’.”
She goes on to explain: “In today’s world, the number one most asked question is ‘Who am I?’ They say that ‘knowing oneself’ is of great importance. Yet the world seems to have forgotten the most important aspect of ‘knowing yourself.’ It is knowing who you are in the eyes of God.”
In the Young Women of Grace study, all of the participants begin by writing simple things about themselves, such as their names, favorite saints, gifts and talents.
But, as Anna Maria discovered during the course of her studies, “These attributes were just the stepping stones into discovering the powerful and spiritual woman inside.”
She was especially mindful of the important role of prayer in a woman’s life.
“Through this practice, you’ll be able to grasp many situations happening in your life, thus deepening self-knowledge. Loving God makes everything worthwhile. You’ll feel a sense of commitment. When you love someone, you never want to hurt or disappoint them. Therefore you do everything with love, offering it up with the Cross of Christ.”
Serving God also becomes a joy. “Service can teach us all humility and love because we stop thinking about our needs and wants, and put our attention on those around us. Once we begin to serve God, we can easily serve others. Mary gave her ‘fiat,’, her ‘yes’ to God, and she discovered a brand new woman. But she would not have been able to do that if she didn’t meet God each day in prayer.”
She concludes: “The only way that anyone of us can know about god’s mercy and tenderness, is if we spend that time in prayer. In Christ, we find out who we are and we uncover our vocation.”
Speaking to any girl who may be considering participation in a Young Women of Grace study, Emily said, “This program will fill you with new life, you won’t regret it!”
For more information on how you can bring the Young Women of Grace® Study Program to your area, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-558-5452.