Testimonies for those hungry for a word of hope

The Saints of Selma by Kelly Latimore

We are called to testify. We are called to testify to the greatness of God, to the vastness of this remarkable universe, to the grace that compels us to keep moving ever so slowly towards God’s vision of justice, peace, righteousness.

Dr. Yolanda Scott Brown

In this week’s newsletter we congratulate Discerning Deacons collaborator Dr. Yolanda Scott Brown, D.Min. for receiving the MLK Drum Major Award at the annual Los Angeles Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast. A colleague and friend, Yolanda has testified to a faith that does justice and recently retired after serving 10 years as the parish life director of Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood.

This Sunday’s readings focused our attention on the call to testify, says Lisa Frey, as she reflected on her visit to the MLK memorial in Washington DC and Dr. King’s “deep well of courage to name what he saw, his perseverance in preaching, in sharing his dream with all who were so hungry for a word of hope.”

The call to testify is also heard by daughters, sisters and mothers, adds Lisa. We are called to share our stories of God’s promise, especially wherever there is hunger for justice, for life, for liberation: “At family tables or meeting tables, at bedsides or on laptops… testimony needs to be lifted up everywhere there is a hunger for it. It is not the time for shrinking, for protests of inadequacy, unprepared, overwhelmed, too young, too old, not the right gender or race or orientation. No, testimony is our call.”

Lisa Frey

Last year we shared several testimonies of remarkable, diaconal women in ministry, and DD readers found these to be impactful and hopeful – kindling the flame of the vision of Church in which everyone’s call is recognized and supported for the building of God’s reign on earth, el reino de Dios.

As we begin this new year, we too are hearing the call to offer more testimonies of the prophetic work of diaconal Catholic women in our local churches, campus ministries, community organizations, chaplaincies, or any place where she is bringing the light of Christ and standing with those on the margins and peripheries. We invite you to consider writing a testimony –give or take 500 words– by answering these three questions about a woman in ministry, alive or deceased:

  1. Why does this woman’s life and witness matter to you?
  2. What is a favorite memory you have of her?
  3. How does she witness her faith and what impact has she made in your life or the lives of others?

I invite you to reach out to me at ellie@discerningdeacons.org if you would like to share a testimony and a photo. We’ll gladly provide editing resources so that you can make your testimony visible.

Share this Article

“We raised so much awareness from our event, of both the ongoing Synod and of St. Phoebe and her ministry. Together, we learned of the power of the intercession of St. Phoebe, and how significant her feast day can be to carry the message of women’s roles in the Church.”
The Church of St. Francis Xavier
New York, NY
“The most meaningful parts of our celebration together included a standing ovation following the witness reflection, the power and strength of the reflection itself, and the procession at the start of mass. In the procession, young women carried in and presented symbols of St. Phoebe including an icon, the commission of St. Paul, a deacon’s stole and a pitcher of water to symbolize our shared baptism.”
St. Barnabas Parish
Chicago, IL
“Preaching on the Feast of St. Phoebe, and supporting and training other women to preach, was a joyful and invigorating experience. It is beautiful to see women claim the truth that they are called and gifted, and equally beautiful to see the People of God’s receptivity to women’s preaching, ministry, and leadership.”
Rhonda Miska
St. Phoebe Day Witness at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, MN; Founder and Co-convener of the Catholic Women's Preaching Circle; Catholic Women Preach Advisory Board Member

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