“Oh, the places you’ll go!” The title of this favorite Dr. Seuss book has come to mean even more to me as I journey through life, and find myself going to surprising -sometimes even astonishing – places!
Seven months ago, when my husband Rick was ordained in the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey, I became a deacon’s wife. If anyone had suggested this to me a few years ago, I would have laughed in complete disbelief! Yes, Rick had always had strong Catholic faith from when I first met him, but I thought only ‘holy roller’ types became deacons and he was definitely NOT that. And his wife wears no halo, either!
But still, the gentle, quiet call came
One Sunday, a deacon in our parish remarked to Rick as we were preparing to begin Mass: “You know, I’ve been watching you during Mass for awhile now. Something tells me you’d make a great deacon. And, there’s a new class starting up this year. What do you think?” Rick laughed incredulously and dismissed the idea outright that day. But… the deacon’s words had left their mark.
So we prayed about it, and the answer came quickly to both of us – quite simply, we couldn’t think of any good reasons why NOT! There was a rightness about Rick’s becoming a deacon. God’s fingerprints seemed to be all over it. We were being “called to greater love” by the Church. What could we say, but YES?
So we walked together through the years of formation. Our faith in God, and in our new calling, grew. But the ‘places’ Rick would go could be stressful. Becoming a student again, writing papers, studying for exams, and intense evening classes. His home office became a study, and I knew not to interrupt when the door was closed.
And wives became sisters
As you might expect, the class of deacon-candidates grew close, like brothers. But to my delight, our group of wives went from being strangers, to feeling like sisters, too. We exchanged spiritual and practical support through family times happy and sad: births, graduations, weddings, funerals, health and sickness. We learned together what would be expected of us as wives, and how to set limits when demands on our husbands were tipping the balance of our family lives. We laughed, cried, vented, celebrated, and prayed together.
And now, we have a wonderful new way to meet and connect as sisters in faith: Called to Greater Love.
Starting today, we can begin sharing our experiences, ideas, insights, and reflections with each other as wives of deacons and deacon-candidates.
Starting today, we can become spiritual friends, no matter how many miles separate our homes and parishes! I look forward to our getting to know each other and finding ways to nourish our spirits together.
Post your comments, ideas, questions, survival tips, prayer practices…our community needs YOU!
How have you experienced sisterhood and community with other wives of deacons and deacon-candidates?
How have you helped, or been helped by, wives in your diocesan or parish community?
How do you think this website, and blog, can inspire and help wives on this journey?
Do you have any resources for keeping prayer and balance in your marriages and family life that you’d like to share?
12 Thoughts on ““Oh, the places you’ll go!””
Gracias por sus recuerdos y mi simpatia por su hijo que Dios pidio. Que Dios te bendiga.
Muy contenta de encontrarlas, nuestro caminar no fue facil en un comienzo, pero las cosas las ordena Dios de una forma singular. Durante el tiempo de estudio, fuimos llamados a formar una Comunidad bajo las estrellas, pues era un terreno y gente maravillosa. Habia que levantar una Capilla y formar comunidad. Fue un tiempo maravilloso crecimos como familia. Se ordena mi esposo como Diacono al cumplir casi los dos años, Dios nos pidio a uno de nuestros amores, nuestro segundo hijo con 25 años , muere un 13 de Enero 2014. La vida y nosotros no somos los mismos. El tiempo, el opoyo de muchos y la fe , han permitido seguir adelante. Mirar el dolor en forma tangible. Dios permitio que naciera nuestro primer nieto de nuestro tercer hijo, un 21 de Enero 2014. Seguimos en este caminar ?
Hoy sonreimos con esperanza.
Darlene, thank you for your candid sharing of how you felt about being in the background, I have had difficulty with that as well. My husband will be ordained in June of this year. We are soon going to complete 5 years of formation. In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, wives are encouraged to participate in the formation process. For the last 5 years, I have attended weekly classes at our formation center and monthly classes at Notre Dame seminary. My initial struggle was exactly as Darlene’s. I wanted to be in the forefront not in the background. I hoped that what I learned in formation, I could put to use in my own Apostolates. I have learned much in formation, and I certainly will put that knowledge to the service of God. However, I have realized that my role is second to his; my main role is to help and support my husband to fulfill his oath to serve through the diaconate. God has called me to take care of parents, siblings, children and grandchildren so that my husband may serve as a deacon. My role has no glamor, but it does bring much reward. Most of all because this is the call that God has given to me, I will answer it with a humble heart.
Thanks for this resource! I have hungered for something like this! Blessings!
Suzanne, I have been a deacon’s Wife for 10 years. It’s been a great learning curve since we were in the first class of deacons in our archdiocese. I, too, was excited to be a partner with my husband in his ministry since we had ministered together before diaconate. But what I have learned is that I truly am called to be a helpmate for him. It has been an interesting transition from being in ministry together to being his support for diaconate. While there are many things we do together in the parish, for the most part it is he out front with me as support from behind. It was hard to get used to, and I even complained of feeling “invisible” at times. But now I see that supporting him in the diaconate is my primary role as a deacon’s wife. I have my own ministries as well, and he supports those. So after 10 years we have gained great benefits as a couple from diaconate.
We recently started Diaconate formation classes in the Archdiocese of OKC. Looking forward to any advice from those who have already been on the journey.
Keep coming back and share with us your own insights and experiences!
Your comments about wives being held to a higher standard ring very true for me. I realized when Rick was ordained last year, that I needed to ‘up my game’ a bit and be mindful of my words and actions more around parishioners, friends, family. Not that I would be fake or someone else, but just mindful of being more of a role model for our faith. This is of course true for our husbands as well, but as a wife, I want to attract others to the joys of our faith, and of building our parish up, not tearing it down. This translates into my being more mindful of complaints about our church or Pastor, listening to gossip about a parishioner, or whining to our family members about Rick’s schedule and demands on our time. After all, Rick and I signed up for this and it is a blessing beyond imagination. But we are also humans and have to aspire to do the most we can with our talents. And this doesn’t always mean doing MORE. As one wife told me, she considers it her job to bring BALANCE into their marriage and family lives. This is my goal for me, too!
Thanks so much for your post Suzanne. Our hope is to help provide that much needed support system and resources you need during your husband’s formation and beyond. Welcome to the group!
Thank you Sherry for checking us out! Spread the word!
I have long hoped that there could be a sisterhood for deacons’ wives. We have a unique place in the parish and in the world. We are held to a high standard even if we do not want (or feel we deserve) the distinction. As I am only the wife of a Deacon in Formation I cannot say that I have a lot of experience but I have already felt the pressure . I would never want to say or do anything that would compromise his position.
I also feel that we as a group are a wealth of resources. I have attended most of his classes with him, so I have learned much. That having been noted, he will begin the ministry of Deacon and I -well- will not. I pray that God leads me to be of service in my own way. I pray I can be a servant with my hands held UP in worship and OUT in service!
How delightful to now have this great resource! Thanks for this blog.