"We are a group of Catholic women dedicated to nurturing relationships with Christ through the practice of prayer, formation, fellowship and service as demonstrated by Mary, the immaculate Mother of God."
That is the mission statement of the newest women's group on campus, the Daughters of the Immaculata.
Last year, after some men formed a College Knights of Columbus group on campus, a group of young women felt that they, too, could benefit from fellowship among other Newman female students.
That is how the Daughters of the Immaculata was formed. Currently, the group is working through the process of becoming an official Student Government Association club. In the meantime, four women, in particular, have taken on a leadership role to help the group grow and advance its mission.
Senior Natalie Hertel, senior Kylie Werth, freshman Lauren Keith, and senior Maureen Hogan are working together to plan activities and meetings. The four students also worked together to come up with the mission statement, a vision and the four pillars they wanted to follow within the group and within life.
Hertel believes that fellowship for women is vital on campus.
"Women connect by talking with one another and sharing about their lives with each other," Hertel said. "Daughters of the Immaculata is helping those who share the same values come together to pray, be formed, have fun and serve. It is helping to unite these women and giving them a sense of true Catholic community on campus. Here they can share their joys, struggles, and leave rejuvenated to live a life completely for Christ."
Ministries Administrative Assistant Monica Borger plays the role of advisor to the group. She said she is excited to see the students collaborating.
"It’s working very symbiotically. They work really well together," said Borger.
What the group wishes to accomplish together is stated directly in their mission statement, but most importantly, they want to focus on the fellowship piece.
"I think the goal initially is just to start with providing that aspect of fellowship to women," said Borger. "I think, particularly in college, this is a time when a lot of people grow in their own faith. You leave your parents after having lived a life based on your parents' faith, and so it’s really a time to express and decide what you want your own faith life to be like."
The group's leadership team is wanting to provide an atmosphere of space for women to grow together, particularly in their faith through the example of the Mother Mary.
Borger said they are also working on a second pillar; formation. The group is currently working through a Bible study called "The Feminine Genius," which focuses on Proverbs 31 and talks about the model of womanhood and how to be a saintly woman.
"They’ll take that throughout the entire year and break down Proverbs 31, and really just discuss what that’s like in current times — how do you make that happen, how do you model that and then help each other be accountable for that," said Borger.
Hertel also believes the Bible study is very beneficial. "This Bible study is helping all of us to see our role and value as women — not as the world does, but how God sees us. Part of our mission is to form our members into true women of God striving for holiness," she said.
Some of the fellowship activities they have done include meals together and pumpkin painting. They also plan on holding a "Friendsgiving Feast" for their Thanksgiving meeting.
During the month of October, which is also the month of the rosary, the students have all signed up to lead the rosary at daily Mass Monday through Friday. The leadership team is also currently making rosaries for the other students in the group.
Currently, the group has 25 active members and meets twice each month on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The meetings are open to any female student interested in joining or just learning more about the group. For more information, contact Monica Borger at 942-4291, ext. 2422, or e-mail her at email@example.com.