Feast of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus
"You are the bearer of God's infinite life."
Eighth Day Institute is about to give birth. Again. This time, to an opportunity for women to connect with each other through the examination of wise women of the faith. I am grateful to be a sort of midwife in the development of this adventure. I contend that women, even those who haven’t experienced motherhood, understand the desire to give life to things full of beauty and hope. Women understand the need to give birth to new ideas and to nurture a world where all creatures can grow in love and light. If we pause to reflect on the theological title of the Virgin Mary, “Theotokos,” which translates as the Bearer or Mother of God, we realize that each of us is called to bear God to the world.
I first heard of Eighth Day Institute through my late father. He was a friend to Eighth Day Books, a supporter of Erin Doom’s dream to develop this institute and a lover of all things ecumenical. I admit, I didn’t think it held much for me. But how wrong I was. In the past few years, I have been edified, challenged and encouraged by the symposiums, celebrations and writings of EDI. When I heard about the Hall of Men, there was within me a strong and resounding, “Me too, please.” So, the idea began to take form to start a women’s group patterned after the structure of the Hall of Men. I experimented a little by inviting a few friends into my home for a Lenten study. Despite their busy lives, I was struck by their desire to come and sit, drink some hot tea and connect with one other. More than that, they expressed the longing to learn from the writings of those who have walked the paths of faith years or centuries before us. We laughed, confessed our shortcomings, prayed, and shared together. I longed for more of these times.
Women’s work includes so much. We are blessed every day to bear God into the world through our caregiving, planting, producing, and playing. Our friendships with women can be life-giving and help us through a day that involves little but cleaning up messes. Our friendship with wise women is a deep well from whence we can draw forth the vision for our best selves and a clearer understanding of our purpose. The study of saints and heroines of the faith bids us to spend time with courageous, strong, imperfectly perfect, and beautiful souls whose only desire was to bear Christ, the Son of God, into the world. In the home, the marketplace and the world of church and politics, these women dared to set aside time to listen and learn. They dared to say yes to the specific ways God called them to give birth to hope, light and love to a world that so desperately needed it. Our world needs it too. Let’s join together to study the lives of saints and sisters who sought wisdom. Let us join in friendship and understanding to nurture each other as we seek to bear Christ, the Wisdom of God, every day and every hour.
I hope you will join us for our first meeting on Tuesday, September 15.
Doors open at The Ladder at 6:15 pm, food served at 6:30, and Eighth Day Convocation followed by presentation on Holy Wisdom by Nyleen Lenk at 7:30.
Ellen Herr Awe lives in Wichita and teaches for USD 259. She reads as much as possible, tends a little garden and cherishes spending time with her grandson.