Gratia Plena: Community and Faith

Image Courtesy  of Gratia Plena’s E-Board

By: Renee Rasmussen

Gratia Plena, a faith-based club founded in 2005, is one great example of how Catholic University works to provide ministry to its students. Gratia Plena, or “full of grace”, is a women’s ministry that seeks to provide a Catholic community for the women of the university. 

“I love Gratia Plena because it is specifically for women, providing them a ministry centered around what it means to be a Catholic woman and providing a much-needed, wholesome female community,” said Lili Lomas, Gratia Plena’s president.   

On a Catholic college campus, there are many ways to become more involved in your faith, but Gratia Plena is unique in the sense they work to harbor “authentic sisterhood” in their members. Members participate in activities and discussions that explore feminine dignity and ways to fully devote themselves to the Lord. 

The mission of Gratia Plena has definitely found success among two of its members, who recently entered to become Sisters for the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. While these two members have said their ultimate “Yes” to God, Gratia Plena strives to show the unique ways all its members can fulfill their vocation of love to the Lord.

“Gratia Plena has been a safe space for me, one where I have met some of my best friends and have learned what it means to run towards Christ with other women, ” said Natalie Bauman, a member of the E-Board.

Although it is a women’s ministry rooted in Catholicism, Gratia Plena makes it clear all women are invited. A very important part of the club is its community. The members are encouraged to share their journeys with faith during meetings and work to build relationships with each other in and outside of club meetings. 

“The goal this year is to really keep in mind that the girls that come to our meetings range from non-Catholics to practicing Catholics to aspiring theologians, so we want our programming to account for everyone’s differing knowledge and engagement with the faith,” Lomas said. 

This year, the club is looking forward to hosting Bible studies, having guest speakers, as well as diving into the history and theology of Our Lady. Gratia Plena didn’t miss a beat with the move to online classes, quickly transferring to online meetings and working to plan for the future of the club to keep their ministry active. 

“When we switched to doing online meetings, it was like we were still together. Although I was looking at a screen in my house, I felt the presence and love from everyone in the group,”  said Maria St.Clair, Treasurer of the E-Board.

“We took time to make sure we could be as normal as possible, but I think we made it better in ways. We were able to keep our friends who studied abroad and alumni in our ministry which felt amazing to be able to include others who would have not had the opportunity to do so!” St. Clair said.

With the uncertainties of the coming months, Gratia Plena wants to provide a safe and fun space for women to not only learn about the Faith, but also create long-lasting relationships in the process. 

If you are interested in learning more, follow Gratia Plena on the Nest. Meetings are every Sunday at 7:00-8:30 p.m, currently on Zoom. 

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