Catholic Women's Bible Study . . . 28 years and counting

This blog post was written by Jan Schuster, one of the founding members of the Catholic Women's Bible Study (CWBS). Jan is a parishioner at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles. 

Whether you are brand new to this wonderful sisterhood of believers, or have been with us many years, it is time to acknowledge our history, and give thanks to God for all the wonderful women who have participated in & enriched this ministry.

The Catholic Women's Bible Study was born on January 22, 1993, but the idea was actually conceived many months earlier.  Four women began meeting, realizing a need to study Scripture from a Catholic perspective.  The vision:  a group where women of all ages and backgrounds could come together, grow in their love of God through the Scriptures, and enjoy the fellowship of other Catholic women.  As Catholics who are committed to the pro-life teachings of the Church, it was important to provide childcare for mothers with young children.

For six months, the four leaders met every Wednesday to pray for guidance and review the existing Catholic Bible study materials.  The desire was to find studies that would meet the needs without over-burdening four busy moms, non-theologians with families.  So, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Little Rock Scripture Study series was selected. It took a great leap of faith to send out those first invitations & bulletin announcements, not knowing if there would be any response.  The first years of meeting took place in a home, where the small children could be cared for in one area, and the fifteen members could listen to the teachings in a cozy living room, then break into small groups to discuss.

As the years progressed, the group grew in size, and new locations were chosen on their ability to handle the number of women:  Sacred Heart Parish, St. Joseph Parish, and finally Ss. Peter & Paul Parish.   

For the first eleven years, the leaders provided the weekly teachings, for there were very few videos available, and those that existed were very expensive.  Teaching required much study and preparation, but was a blessing in that it laid a solid foundation.  The number of leaders increased, and they shared a great bond of friendship, sense of purpose, and knowledge that this was definitely the Lord's Bible Study.  Eventually, Catholic videos became more plentiful and affordable, so the decision was made to listen to DVD's of various gifted Catholic teachers--a great blessings to all!  Later, with the advent of online courses & videos, it became imperative to use this technology for our studies during the pandemic of 2020 and 2021.  God provided, so that the connections with sisters in Christ could continue!     

Above all, we thank the Holy Spirit for His presence since the beginning, and for his guidance & active participation in leading this Bible Study forward.  May He continue to be with us as we confront new challenges in the years to come.  We are blessed by your presence (either in-person or online), praying together, and sharing faith with others.  May God Bless You!

CWBS is open to Catholic Women and their friends throughout Manatee County. Since spring 2020, CWBS offers a variety of grouping options for participants.  Click here to learn more about CWBS.