To the Women Who Have Shown Me God's Love - A Letter from Sarah


A Note from TCW

Friends, we hope this letter prompts you to take time and reflect on the women in your life that have invested so much in you. And if you have a free moment, maybe take the time to write them a letter of thanks yourself! 

To learn about The Catholic Woman's Sisterhood theme for this quarter's collection of letters, click here.


(Click to enlarge photos)

My dearest sisters,

You are so incredibly and unconditionally loved by God. Let that sink in for a moment. Savor it. Be comforted by it. Believe it. You. Are. Loved.

One of the amazing things about God’s love is that it shows itself in so many different ways. As I pray about that ineffable gift, I am reminded of the incredible women that have graciously shown me God’s love through their faith and their actions. And it never ceases to fail that no matter what part of the world I’m in, I am graced by the introduction of yet another God-loving woman, whose love and friendship I will cherish forever – more often than not in the form of a grandmother…

Saint Ann and I have always had a special relationship. She was the mother of Mary and is the patron saint of grandparents. (Makes sense since she was Jesus’ grandmother.) At times in my life where I found Mary’s holiness to be a bit distancing and out of reach, it was Saint Ann who I approached for intercession to our Lord. 

We often forget that even Mary’s courageous faith and love for God had to be nurtured and tended to as she grew into that strong woman who answered “yes” to God’s call. Thank you, Saint Ann, for watching over and teaching and loving the sweet baby girl who would grow to be the mother of God.

It is Saint Ann the grandmother that I ask to pray for me when I am feeling lost. And in moments where I have felt week in my faith or just scared and alone in unfamiliar places I have come to notice a pattern of meeting women who help me through the darkness. These women tend to be grandmothers and each one I’ve met has reminded me of my own grandmother who is always a source of love and comfort in my life – serendipitously enough, her name is MaryAnn. My grandma’s faith inspired me to explore my own. I’ve never known anyone as generous and kind and she inspires me daily. I would not be the woman I am today without her support and guidance and I thank God every day for such a beautiful example of love.  

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And by God’s grace, no matter where I am in the world I always meet faith-filled women who remind me of my own grandma and who show me God’s love through their generosity of self and their courageous faith. One example of this was my boss in Alaska, Susan. Susan reminded me so much of my own grandmother that several times I had to tell myself that I was not home in Ohio - It was almost creepy.  Her guidance, patience and care giving as I navigated a year of service showed me God’s love daily. It was as if God brought one of my favorite pieces of home, my grandmother, with me while I was away. I don’t know that I could have survived that year without her, without that gift from God. 

This happens time and time again in just about every place I visit. God continues to share grandmas, abuelas and nonnas, with me as I move around the world. God’s love pours out for me by means of grandmas - wise, faith filled, generous women that pray with me at mass, that speak with me about their lives and how God loves. These women are signs to me that God loves and is present with me always no matter where I am.

 And so I encourage you, my beloved sister, to pay attention and take note of those people God places in your life to show you that you are loved. Who are they? How do they make the reality of God’s love present in your life? 

Always remember sweet friend, that you are loved – deeply, passionately, and wholly.

Peace,

Sarah


Get to know Sarah

Sarah Stanley

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hey there! I’m Sarah - a 26 year-old from a small town in Ohio who is currently working as the Director of Christian Service at an all boys school on the East Coast. I coordinate the service side of campus ministry at our high school and help get students thinking about social justice and how it connects to living our faith and I LOVE it!

What do the first two hours of your day look like?

The first two hours of my day are pretty standard – I hit snooze way to many times, wake up, make coffee, and get ready for work. If I happen to give myself enough time in the morning I do like to check outOnce I’m at work for the first 30 minutes I greet arriving students, catch up on emails and chat with co-workers.

Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.

I’ve worked in immersion programs for quite a few years now and my favorite part is always the transformation I see in students from our first pre-trip meeting to our final post-trip meeting. It’s not every student and it’s not always super obvious, but seeing a student’s understanding of what it means to love your neighbor blossom is truly remarkable. 

What's one fear that keeps you up at night?

I’m working through my anxiety of not being enough. Too often my thoughts as I try to go to sleep drift to questions of was I good enough, smart enough, prepared enough, etc. for my friends, my boyfriend, students, colleagues, and even God sometimes. It’s exhausting, but I’m learning to pray through it and believe it when I feel God and others are telling me that I am enough. 

Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.

I went to a Catholic University by accident. I was born and raised Catholic, but after confirmation in 8th grade I didn’t really attend mass except for Easter and Christmas (maybe). For whatever reason I decided to attend the first mass of the year at school and it blew me away. The chapel was filled to capacity with hundreds of students that were there because they wanted to be. The music was stunning. People my age were involved in the liturgy as lectors and Eucharistic ministers. The priest’s homily was a beautiful reflection on the readings. Everything just fit and I felt like I fit too. I finally felt like I belonged and I wanted to learn and know more. That first mass sparked something inside of me that led to deeper involvement in Campus Ministry (which I had never heard of) and ultimately a huge change in career paths. 

Tell us about a woman you look up to.

Well Saint Ann, of course. I also very much look up to my mom and grandma. Cliché, I know, but they are two women that would honestly give you everything they have and more without question and without strings attached. They have taught me what it means to care for others and I couldn’t ask for better role models of faith and love. 

Favorite character ever. Go!

The Bishop in Les Miserables. His compassion and empathy are stunning and show that one act of love can change a person forever. Also Dobby from Harry Potter…


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