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What Is Ladies Guild

When I was a little girl growing up in a large Catholic church in Miami, I remember my mother was a member of the Women’s Club. I am not sure what exactly she did as a member--I am sure some type of charitable work. However, I do remember that most of the women who belonged were older women with grown children, who met one morning a month in the parish hall to do whatever it was they did.
When I joined St. Laurence Parish three years ago, a very nice woman pushing her children on the playground after mass invited me to join the Ladies Guild.      I almost laughed aloud. The image of my mother’s Women’s Club flashed in my mind, and after all, I was not even 40 then—hardly old enough for a Ladies Guild. After being an active member of the St. Laurence Ladies Guild (LG) for almost three years, I have learned one thing: It ain’t your grandmother’s Women’s Club, if you know what I mean.
The purpose of the St. Laurence Ladies Guild is two-fold: 1. ) To provide fellowship for the women of the parish, and 2.) to provide service to the parish, people and local agencies in need. In some ways, we are like both Martha, the one who acted, and Mary, the one who was simply present to others.
Fellowship comes in the form of gathering monthly for meetings to simply catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Members and guests are encouraged to bring an appetizer or dessert to share, and the LG provides wine, beer and soda. A hospitality committee spends time decorating the Parish Hall to make the atmosphere festive. The meetings range from Bunko night socials and gift exchanges to listening to a guest speaker talk about health issues, what it is like being a nun, or growing up Catholic. 
I have met some of the most amazing women in this LG—many of whom have become close friends of mine. Some are grandmothers and great-grandmothers who are quick to share some advice and anecdotes about child rearing. Others are either single or newlyweds looking to get involved in their parish. I feel fortunate to have made a connection to such a strong, faith-filled group of women.
Although fellowship has kept me coming back to LG, it is our mission—“to serve not to be served”—that fulfills me. LG does a tremendous amount of service for the parish. Many people have no idea how much these women do. We raise money through various fundraisers like the Garage Sale and Shop ‘Til You Drop and donate the proceeds to various organizations such as Meals on Wheels, the Village, and even our own youth ministry. We also provide a fully catered reception for every funeral in our parish. When I first joined, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the LG women who brought food, set up for each reception, and served. This is no small task for a parish as large as ours.
LG is also responsible for Helping Hands—a ministry in which people sign up to deliver a home cooked meal to a family who needs some temporary assistance. New moms, people with sick relatives, or any one in need can call Helping Hands, and meals will be delivered for a few weeks.
LG also generously provides receptions for parish function such as RCIA inductions and special functions such as Father Tommy’s farewell reception. Again, members bring food, set up, clean up and help serve.
In addition to service, we provide prayer. One LG Board member is responsible for receiving prayer requests, writing prayers, and distributing them to the entire LG roster. These almost daily prayer requests take me away from my own often petty problems and put me in a state of humble grace to pray for those in need. Last year, LG sent out over 250 prayers. What a gift to be part of this prayer chain.
I have been involved in almost every aspect of LG, and it has had a profound positive influence on my life. I am thrilled that I can be a member of a parish organization that assists members personally through ministries like Helping Hands and locally by raising money for agencies such as the Gabriel Project.    I feel that I am serving the way Christ wants me to serve others, and at the same time, I am serving side-by-side with women from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, creating a wonderful fellowship experience. I invite all the women of the parish to attend one or two LG meetings. Get involved. You might surprise yourself at how much you enjoy serving and the people you serve with.
Cara Turner
LG Board Member

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