Ever since my mother unexpectedly became a widow, it has been hard to really understand what she is going through and experiencing on a daily basis. Any mention of my father brings tears to her eyes. When asked how she is doing, she always says she is alright. I know that my father's death was one of the hardest blows that has ever struck her. And, no one, except for God, can help her and other widowed women like her.
Help for my mother came from a seemingly unlikely source.
It came from a former New York Jewish/Atheistic woman who also lost her beloved husband.
The woman's name is Dr. Ronda Chervin. Some of you may have caught her conversion story on Marcus Grodi's The Journey Home on EWTN. She told a fascinating tale on her unbelief yet search for truth ultimately lead her to the Catholic Church.
Dr. Chervin and Anne Lassiter are the hosts of A Widow's Walk on EWTN.com.
Some of the topics covered in their series include:
- Fears and concerns of those who face the loss of a spouse;
- The grieving process and how no two widows grieve exactly the same and how sharing it with our Lord will make the process easier to endure;
- How widowed saints coped with the loss of a spouse and why forgiveness of your spouse of any actual or perceived offenses is vital to the grieving process;
- Doubt and faith following the death of a spouse;
- Financial Problems, Single Parenting, and Grandparenting;
- Consecrated Widows;
- Mary, the exalted widow.
Dr. Chervin offers widows the opportunity to become dedicated widows of the Holy Family, which is based on Mary, the exalted widow. These widows pledge the following in a simple ceremony:
Dedicated Widows of the Holy Family
- promise not to re-marry in order to devote ourselves to Christ and the Church, made with the permission of a priestThere is much more useful information about the Dedicated Widows of the Holy Family at the above link.
(such a promise can be dispensed by any priest should you change your mind. Usually a priest will want you to spend a year or more making sure this is a good promise before the promise is formally made) )
- daily Mass when possible and frequent confession (once a month if possible)
- rosary – 5 decades each day
- prayer of Dedicated Widows of the Holy Family (on the first of these pages)
- quiet prayer of one hour or at least ½ hour unless omitted for good reasons.
- simplicity of life as discerned by each member. All Catholics are called to live simply and austerely and to give generously to the needy. Our needs vary, however. One widow needs a house because of family. Another's simplicity of life would call for living in an apartment or room as near as possible to the parish. We give as much as we can to the needy often including the needy in our own families.
Dedicated widows dress simply, avoiding luxury and styles that draw attention. We wear in a visible manner a crucifix at least 2 inches in length.
- acceptance of magisterial church teaching (including moral teachings of the Church as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
- service in the parish and the wider Church and society as discerned with the Pastor. (Many will want to help with Extraordinary Ministry of Holy Communion at Mass or in visitation to the sick and homebound; hospice; Vincent de Paul, food pantries and soup kitchens; social justice work such as pro-life, economic reform, peace-making; faith formation, and other teaching roles; choir and other ministry in the arts, Legion of Mary, charismatic prayer, secular (3 rd Order) groups; and ministry to the grieving such as widow support groups.
There are also options for Catholic Widows, such as becoming a consecrated widow, here.
At the present time Dr. Chervin is discerning the call to consecrated widowhood.
Thank Dr. Chervin for offering the help to widows such as my mom and other Catholic women like her.