Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

The Fellowship Of Women

By Mary Ann Hughes
Mary Ann Hughes

Years ago, I had an interview in the small town of Odon, which is in the northernmost section of our diocese.

I was writing a feature for The Message, and the gentleman and I had a pretty good conversation. When we were finished I decided to take a back road home to Evansville.

Shortly after I set out, as I was driving down a narrow country road, I spotted a large black blob way ahead of me. I couldn’t imagine what it was, and even as I got closer to it I couldn’t figure it out.

Finally, I realized that it was, in fact, two objects. Straight in front of me were two Amish buggies parked in the middle of the road. Next to the buggies were two Amish women chatting away. They were wearing white cotton caps, plain dark dresses and sturdy black shoes.

I laughed out loud, realizing that women just love fellowship.

I have come to appreciate fellowship more now that I am retired. I’m in a number of women’s groups, and we are studying good literature, we are exercising, and we are doing crafts together.

Perhaps, most importantly, we are studying the Scriptures.

I have come to see these groups as first cousins to groups of early Christian women.

We are told that they gathered in their homes and shared stories about Jesus. Can you imagine?! Can you imagine sitting in someone’s home and hearing them talk about their great-grandfather who received bread and fish from one of Jesus’ apostles?

Or someone might have said, “My neighbor’s third cousin was in the crowd when the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment!”

Or this: “My friend’s uncle heard Paul speak when he was in Corinth. His words changed the lives of everyone in that family!”

Jesus must have been so real to those early Christians because they learned about Him through oral tradition, from stories passed down from grandparent to grandchild, from neighbor to neighbor, from friend to friend.

That’s the wonderful thing about the Gospels. Because of them, Jesus can be just as real to us.

I love being in different women’s groups. And when we gather together to study the Scriptures, I feel so connected to those early Christian women. I’m sure that they had the same responsibilities that we do today — cooking, cleaning, laundry — but they made time to learn and pray together. So do we. And we are blessed by it.