Suggestions, Please :)

Ladies, once again I am asking for your expert opinion on a Monday morning! I am looking for a Catholic women's Bible study for the mother's group at our church, which will meet a total of 10 times over the course of the school year. Last year we did a Christian study called "Effective Parenting in a Defective World," and it was a hit because there was no preparation involved, so moms felt like they could show up even if they hadn't read a chapter in a book. The other nice thing about this study was that we watched a 20-minute video segment where the speaker was dynamic, engaging, and educational, and at the end of the segment our moderator used the questions in our book to facilitate discussion. I feel that it can sometimes be awkward for a group leader to be "leading" peers in a Bible study, and I think that this format was helpful - our group leader, a fellow mom, had someone else doing the instruction, and her main job was to facilitate discussion.


This year, our priest would like us to choose a Catholic-based Bible study, and I would love some suggestions! What have been your positive or negative experiences with particular studies in the past? Were there any that lended themselves more or less to group discussion? If there was preparation involved, which books were the most engaging and the easiest to read through? Were there any that were particularly helpful in your vocation as a wife and mother?

Thanks in advance for your help, ladies! God bless all of you as you being the last week in June!

10 comments:

Our Small Christian Community group uses the Quest reflection book published by the Archdiocese of Hartford. This book covers the Liturgical cycles and allows us to examine the coming Sunday's readings.

Although I am not a mother at this time, 3 of the 5 of us in our small group are mothers with small children. They expressed that they found going over the readings to be a nice reflection, as it can be a challenge to really focus during Mass with little ones. It does require a bit of prep work reading the materials, but we read the readings out loud, so if someone couldn't get through all of it on their own, they could still participate.

This booklet allows provides a whole set up for gathering, including an opening prayer and reflection, discussion questions,and a closing prayer so you could even take turns facilitating if you wanted. We have tried a couple of other things over the years, but we keep coming back to this set up. We love the idea of being better prepared for Sunday liturgy.

Here is the website:
www.sccquest.org

I hope this helps! :)

June 29, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

My parish has started a women's Bible study group using "A Marian Bible Study" by Laura Marie Wells, published by Our Sunday Visitor. It's 11 chapters but the leader has divided it into a 10 weeks program.

There are things I like about the book and things I don't. I like the Marian character and that the book' focus is helping us to connect with Mary in our roles as wives and mothers. Each chapter begins with an anecdote that connects the writer's life as a mother with the scripture passage. For example the first chapter focused on the Annunciation and on recognizing opportunities to say yes to God's call in our daily lives, when children place demands on us.

I like that each chapter pulls together additional texts from the Old Testament and other New Testament texts to show how the themes run through scripture so even though the primary focus is on an event in the life of Mary, the study pulls in much more than that.

What I don't like. I think what you said about it being awkward for a group leader to be "leading" peers in a Bible study applies. The discussion questions are only so-so and I think this program puts much more weight on the group leader. Our leader doesn't have much confidence and she let the second session disintegrate into a discussion about the Church's hard teachings and we never really got to the Bible study part. I think having a video format where someone else did the instruction might help keep the group on task and better focus discussion.

June 29, 2009 at 1:23 PM  

I was brought back to the conservative Catholic faith (after having drifted into an acceptance of new age ideas) by the Women of Grace series by Johnnette Benkovic.
http://www.lhla.org/womenofgrace/index.html
It brought me back and helped me to embrace the faith and treasure it even more. Made me rethink contraception, how I raise my children and how I treat my husband. Yep, it was very powerful.

June 29, 2009 at 2:14 PM  

I will also offer a second vote for anything by Johnnette Benkovic--we did her Full of Grace study and it was awesome! It was very in-depth, so much so that we took weeks to make it through one chapter! It was preparation-heavy for the leader, but not for anyone else. We decided early on that none of us needed the extra burden of prep for study. Thankfully, we rotated the "teacher" role every chapter so that no one gal was taking full responsibility.

How great that you have such a group, Kat! Happy for you to have found good fellowship.

June 29, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

I have only used Come and See by Emmaus Press and its pretty labor intensive...but good.

June 29, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

Kimberly Hahn has some bible study CDs that you could listen to as a group, there is one on the Mother's Rule of Life, and a great one on the Biblical foundation of the mysteries of the Rosary.

I recently read and reviewed Graced and Gifted by Kimberly Hahn, there are CD's that go with that as well, here they are from Catholic Company

June 29, 2009 at 9:51 PM  

The Domestic Church: Room by Room is a study guide for mothers by Donna-Marie Cooper. I am currently using this. It is beautifully done. Not only does it really guide, help to understand, and make me a better mother and wife; it really helps me to understand my Catholic faith as well. Excellent!

June 30, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

I highly recommend the Reflection Series published by the "In the Arms of Mary Foundation" (www.inthearmsofmary.org). There are various topics to choose from (Prayer, God's Will, Eucharist, Blessed Mother, Confession, Gratitude...etc). The different series vary between a 4-week study up to a 9-week study. Each one includes excerpts from books written by Catholic authors ("The Gift of Faith" by Fr. Tadeusz Dajzcer or books by S.C. Biela) Scripture, references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and questions for reflection. Each week is self-contained (so not behind if you miss a week).

I am the Coordinator of Small Christian Communities at our parish and have chosen to use these materials for over 5 years during Lent and Advent for our various small faith sharing groups. These groups have noticed a difference in these materials from those used in the past because of their depth and pure truth. The series encourage the participant to truly look at how God is present in their life in the ordinary and daily events. I have had so much feedback about understanding God's mercy in a different light, and a greater appreciation for the Sacraments. Many participants tell me they now attend daily Mass. All of the books/series have been approved by the Catholic Church.

My own life has been transformed by these materials because they have helped correct a distorted image of God. I can now see myself as a beloved daughter of a merciful loving God, but at the same time discover my need for God's mercy. Email me if you'd like sample... at reysannette@aol.com

God bless,
Annette

June 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

I just finished (for the second time - I loved it so much) Johnnette Benkovic's Women of Grace. I don't know that there is a lot for the leader to do, but there is quite a bit of homework. It is the absolute best though.

I have also done several of the Emmaus Road bible studies
http://www.emmausroad.org/
Woman of Grace: A Bible Study for Married Women (not to be confused with Johnnette's) by Michaelann Martin is a very easy study and nice for beginners. The Courageous Series is great too (Courageous Women, Courageous Virtue & Courageous Love). I think they are 8-10 lessons if I remember.

I really want to do The Great Adventure http://www.greatadventureonline.com/
It is supposed to be fantastic and
shows the big picture of the bible. They have an 8 lesson short version that might be good before you do any other studies.

You might also want to check out what Scott Hahn's website has to offer. I think they have stuff for all levels. http://www.salvationhistory.com/ Let us know what you decide.

June 30, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

I am a facilitator for ENDOW (small study groups for women) at my parish, and I highly recommend it!! Check out www.endowonline.com for more information. The studies focus on a document of the Church (Letter to Women, Mulieris Dignitatem, Humane Vitae, Salvifici Doloris, etc), a particular saint, etc. Usually the study groups meet every week, and there is no homework.

July 1, 2009 at 11:11 AM  

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