Magnificat – A Ministry to Catholic Women
It has been exciting to be a part of this Magnificat Ministry to Catholic women which began on October 7, 1981 with the encouragement of the late Bishop Stanley Ott, and the late Archbishop Philip Hannan of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It is canonically rooted in the church as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful. What started as a prayer meal for 200 Catholic women has become an International Ministry spread across the world with chapters currently located in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Malta, Poland, and Africa. Its primary purpose is to inspire spiritual growth in holiness for women and to evangelize them to the fullness of faith. We believe it to be a response to the Second Vatican Council message to women.
December 8, 1965:
“But the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do much to aid mankind in not falling…”
The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated that “woman is the measure of the level of our civilization”. The moral level of any society is formed by women. Woman’s influence is powerful – for good or for evil. When a woman’s heart is captured by the Lord, she brings many to Him. We have seen that the transformation of a woman in Christ has had an effect in families, parishes, and the work place.
Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter On The Dignity and Vocation of Women states that “many times in the Old Testament, in order to intervene in the history of his people, God addressed himself to women”. He continues to address Himself to women today, but unfortunately the world has effectively evangelized women more than the Word of God. Therefore, it is imperative that women become impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel so that they “can do much to aid mankind in not falling.” (The Council’s Message to Women – December 8, 1965) Perhaps Magnificat has been raised up for “a time such as this”.
Magnificat takes it inspiration from the Visitation in St. Luke’s gospel, Chapter 1. After Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and Jesus was conceived within her, she runs in haste (92 miles) to her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also with child. Scripture tells us that at the moment Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears, the child in her womb (St. John the Baptist) leaped for joy and Elizabeth was also filled with the Holy Spirit. At that moment, there was an explosion of grace and Mary sang the Magnificat. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior…The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-47, 49) May Mary’s soul be in each of us to proclaim the greatness of the Lord!