US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Visitations today

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The story of the Visitation between Mary and Elizabeth inspires a reader to pray for the women in her own life.

By Guest Blogger Judie Harron

I have gathered with several women friends for 20-plus years at a local bagel shop or coffee house after morning Mass. We visit about our personal and family stories; share our work, ministry, and political leanings; and often include our views on current local and world events.

Like many Christian women we struggle and challenge each other to find meaning and purpose in our lives from our individual faith perspectives. We share articles from magazines, news stories, scripture verses, writings from poetry, and other sources trying to live our response to gospel values in a church that has a poor record for admitting women to roles of leadership.

Like the early Christian communities, we have initiated a tradition of gathering during the Advent/Christmas season at one of our homes to celebrate the faith lives we share, and the friendships that have evolved from our impromptu beginnings. It was with this tradition in mind that I sent the following greeting to my women friends yesterday:

 As I reflected on today's gospel reading for Tuesday, December 21, 2010, (Luke 1:39-45), I could easily relate to Mary hurrying off to visit with Elizabeth to share her good news. How many times have friendships among women had their beginnings with important news one wished to share with another—for support, encouragement, joy, sorrow or celebration? We certainly sustain one another in all the events of our lives; and as I recall these moments, faith has been the underlying foundation of our search for meaning in the unexpected turns in our journeys. 

I offer a special prayer for each woman today and am so grateful for those friends of mine for their listening and compassionate hearts to all the stories I have shared when in their company. My spirit leaps with joy at the wisdom of women friends who always make room for me in their lives. May your day be blessed as we approach the wonder of the miracle of the Incarnation.

Peace to each of you, a happy, holy Christmas celebration, and a healthy New Year! 

Guest Blogger Judie Harron is a reader from Iowa.

Read more blogs about Advent and Christmas traditions at Submit a guest blog to We may put this together into a holiday theme Meditation Room for the magazine next year. Any reflections selected for publication will win $50!

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.