Most of us probably have warm memories of family gatherings at our grandparents’ house, or of get-togethers on the occasion of a wedding or a family baptism. One image stands out every time for me: women of all generations having lively conversations, going from a banal subject to the most profound, as if they were continuing their conversation from the previous day.
Even if each of us has a different style or status in life, there is, indeed, a mutual support and solidarity among women that is impressively strong. It’s a kind of benevolence that is sometimes found in prayer groups for mothers, women’s book discussion groups, and so many other similar kinds of gatherings.
Yet, some women may not take advantage of it enough, such as young mothers who look for daily advice on social media rather than consulting their relatives. Perhaps without realizing it, they are choosing to miss out on the precious contribution and wisdom of those who, like their mothers, have already lived the same experiences before them.
If we read the Word of God, we realize that women’s relationships play key roles. Not only is Eve created because “it is not good for a man to be alone,” but God also shows how essential relationships between women are: Ruth loves Naomi so much that she opts not to leave her dead husband’s mother for the rest of her life. When Mary learns of her and Elizabeth’s pregnancies, she rushes to her relative and immediately shares the joy of the blessing she has received. At the tomb of Jesus, the women gather to weep and anoint his body.
To each her own group
Women need other women to support and inspire each other. A circle of friends already provides a pleasant space where, over a cup of coffee, they can discuss in a relaxed way all the issues that make up their daily lives. It’s a place for them to lift each other’s spirits, to find mutual understanding, and to grow alongside others.
But it can also be a structured group gathered around a Bible study to deepen their faith, as is the case with these groups of the Mothers’ Prayers movement who meet once a week to pray for their children and those of mothers around the world.
Each woman has to find her own circle, which can be a great strength not only in daily life or at work, but also on the journey of faith.