Welcome to WINE’s Summer Book Club! We are reading and discussing Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney. We’re so happy you are joining us! We pray this book club will bless you and give you tangible ways to live the Beatitudes in your daily lives. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments section, throughout our time together.
By Maria Johnson
When I received my assignment to discuss Chapter 2: Mourning from Melanie Rigney’s new book Blessed Are You, I thought, “Hmmm. Either this is a bummer, or somebody really knows me.”
We’ll chalk it up to the serendipity so many of us call God-incidences.
You see, I am in this mid-life season where everything, it seems, is about mourning. I am in that stage where caring for aging parents, and the loss of my father, is coupled with grown children who have left the nest. One is a profound loss, the other is a dull ache that pulls at the heart strings. Then there’s retirement, career changes, down-sizing and moving. Each of these normal events in life comes with emotional lows.
Rigney captures this immediately, as she identifies all the different ways we might mourn—from the obvious mourning over the death of a loved one—to other losses that are meaningful and impactful in our lives.
Rigney connects to the reader as only a girlfriend can do. In identifying these losses, it’s like we’re sitting across from each other talking over a cup of coffee. There’s a consolation that she knows my pain. As she shares stories of four remarkable women, canonized saints, I am left feeling hopeful in my own journey.
Anna Shaeffer mourned a lost dream; Claudine Thevenet mourned the loss of her brothers and mother; Elizabeth Ann Seton mourned her family and a way of life; Louise de Marillac lost her mother when she was a child, and suffered many more deaths of loved ones. Yet, these women recovered from their losses to gain lives of exemplary faith.
I am consoled by Rigney’s words that in mourning we can find comfort:
“When we grieve as community, we also celebrate our ability to love and tend to the broken-hearted.” (p. 18)
I know I’ve been blessed by this tenderness from friends and even friendly acquaintances in my times of need. Rigney’s examples not only call us to share our grief, but to be sources of consolation to others, too.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- Can you recall a time in your life when someone was present to you in your grief?
- Have you taken the step to be present to someone in their grief?
- How has your experience with the one helped you to be open to the other?
YOUR TURN: Below in the comments box, please share your thoughts, inspirations, and reflections on Chapter 2, and/or your responses to any of these questions.
About the Author:
Maria Morera Johnson, author of My Badass Book of Saints: Courageous Women Who Showed Me How to Live, is a Catholic speaker, writer, and blogger at mariamjohnson.com.
Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 3: Meekness. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.