By Alyssa Bormes


I happen to live in the heart of wine country. You may scoff, “Minnesota is not Napa!” But I would then retort, “Napa is not Minnesota … but it could be.”

When I say wine, I really mean WINE: Women in the New Evangelization, and Minnesota happens to be the birth place of WINE. The amazing thing is how rich the harvest has been in just a few years. In WINE, there are many harvest festivals, and a personal favorite of mine is Women, WINE & Wisdom. These are gatherings of women, who have a little wine together, a bite to eat, who listen to great talks, and who are bolstered in our faith. Oh! And there is always chocolate!

This past week, we had another Women, WINE & Wisdom event. (Remember, a harvest is not just a one-time deal, it happens whenever the fruit is ripe.) These events are a little like Theology on Tap, but for women of all ages—18 to 118—and if you are 118 years old, you get in free, and possibly win a Lexus, but you better check on that with Kelly Wahlquist, just to be sure.

At our latest event, we had Dr. Carol Razza. Just the name of her talk was fantastic: Wake up Sleeping Beauty! You’ve Already Been Kissed! She began in such a simple way, retelling the story of Sleeping Beauty. But there was something in her retelling that let us know that there was a lot more coming. She spoke of the kiss that we have all been given, the kiss of the Holy Spirit in our baptism and confirmation. Carol told us of the beautiful, gentle peck of a first kiss that her husband gave her and the fire in that kiss. This type of kiss is a small taste of the kiss of the Holy Spirit.

As she spoke, Carol’s talk just kept going deeper and deeper, right into our wounds. She spoke of fear standing as a guard to shame. For some reason this stuck with me. My life used to be filled with shame. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to push through the fear and to release the shame. For me, this has happened over time, but being with Carol gave me a picture to reference. I will no longer let fear stand over shame!

Carol told us to pray in thanksgiving for the victory already won in Christ. This allows us to be great witnesses to the Holy Spirit. Immediately, I was able to witness His work. There was a small but very significant healing in my heart right there that night. In the following five days, I can say that the Holy Spirit seems to have been showing off!

Remember that I said that Napa could be Minnesota? Well, WINE is a national movement. If you don’t have WINE in your neck of the woods yet, contact us; we can bring you Women in the New Evangelization. Then WINE country can be everywhere, because there is much work to do in the vineyard … yet always looking forward to the great feast at the end!

About the Author:
Alyssa BormesAlyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit and the WINE blog, hosts a weekly show, Christian Witnesses in the Church, on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at