Starting a Moms' Group? If you're not already a part of one, you really should start your own! Just to recap: Here is why you should start one. Here is how to start one. Here are the easiest topic ideas. Here are some inspiring books to read and discuss.
But sometimes mothers really need some meat, more content to take home and chew on. In one city, I found that after leading a group of ladies for a couple of years, we had covered all the basic topics. While repeating them would have been fantastic, we elected to dive into a deeper study. Group studies are a good way to get a new group going strong or to refresh a tired group. Here are the studies I have led or participated in with fellow moms over the years:
- Momnipotent: The Not-So-Perfect Woman's Guide to Catholic Motherhood by Danielle Bean --- The book is fantastic, and the DVD really adds a lot of practical experience from a diverse group of moms. We found the DVDs were a bit long for our two-hour sessions, so I often played only a segment of the video to give us more time to discuss the ideas. Our group chose not to use the journal, but I referred to it for conversation starters. All of the materials are well created, but we found it worked well for our group to pick and choose elements.
- Catholic Conference 4 Moms --- This was a fantastic resource for our group last spring, and it's being offered for free one weekend this month! I signed up to host the Faces of Mercy Conference to purchase the rights to download the presentations. Then we watched one or two presentations each meeting. These are top notch speakers with excellent fodder for discussion! I highly recommend liking their Facebook page to learn about future conferences.
- Endow Catholic Women Studies --- Their study on John Paul II's Letter to Women is quite inspiring. If you need a very structured, carefully planned study group that focuses on Church documents, this is for you. They even have a feature on their website where you can find an existing group in your diocese.
- Ignatius Catholic Bible Study Series by Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch --- One group of women wanted to delve into Scripture more, so we picked one of the paperback single-biblical-book volumes from this series. I think we took a semester to study the Letters of St. Paul to the Corinthians with the outstanding footnotes of these Catholic scholars.
- Women of Grace Study Program: Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life by Johnnette Benkovic --- This was, by far, my favorite women's study I have ever led. The material provided is excellent, uplifting, and challenging. Yet, it was presented in such a way that the amount of advance preparation required to participate in each meeting was not overwhelming (similarly to Momnipotent).
- Blessed is She lectio divina Bible studies --- This group of writers is amazing! Their main ministry is to publish daily Biblical reflections for fellow Catholic women, so sign up there for daily inspiration. But the authors there also have a few short Bible studies, such as Waiting in the Word: Our Vows on marriage and recently released A Couple's Journey on fertility and family planning. These are short studies but are perfect for a small group to discuss with a focus on Scripture and Catholic teaching in a relatable way.
- Courageous Series Bible Studies for Women by Stacy Mitch --- I believe there are four in this series, now: Love, Women, Virtue, and Generosity. These books do not require a separate study guide, as the questions with space to fill in your answers are already in the books. Again, these are a great way to study Scripture as a group, so you can discuss the passages, the study questions, and personal experiences.
This academic year, my goal includes working through these studies on my own as much as possible to evaluate them for future use.
And then, of course, there are other great studies at these trusted sites:
- Catholic Scripture Studies Program
- Ave Maria Press Small Group Resources
- Word on Fire Study Programs
- Formed.org Faith Formation Resources
If you have suggestions on others I should consider, please drop them in the combox below!