As writers, we continually take leaps of faith. We pour our hearts, thoughts, and words out on paper then send them off, hoping they will get published -- or even better, touch the hearts and minds of others.
But sometimes, writing and being published are not enough.
A few years ago I realized something was missing from my writing life. For almost two decades I had belonged to several writing organizations where I found friendship and encouragement. I had been published and won awards, yet I felt an uneasiness in my heart. I yearned for something more.
That something more was finding like-minded writers with whom I could openly share my Catholic faith.
It didn't take long before I was blessed with two local groups to fill that void.
The first is the Catholic Writers of St. Louis, a group that meets several times a year at a local coffee house. The founder and leader of CWSTL is Denise Y. Montgomery, a mother of six, a home-school teacher, and an inspiring writer.
On the CWSTL blog, Denise posts book reviews, contest and conference announcements, submission opportunities, and other helpful information. In August 2012, CWSTL was featured in an article in the St. Louis Review, the newspaper for the St. Louis Archdiocese.
The second is in my parish group, All Saints Writers. In late 2011, with the help and encouragement of Diane Valentine, the All Saints parish administrator, I developed the group's mission statement, advertised in the church bulletin, and All Saints Writers was formed.
Our first meeting was in January 2012, and earlier this month we celebrated our second anniversary. During our monthly meetings we share poems, short stories, essays, memoirs, novel excerpts, scripts, and devotionals.
In our opening prayer, we call on the Holy Spirit to "open our hearts and minds so we may be attentive to the voice of God."
The first saint we recognize during our litany of saints is St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, authors, and journalists. The Catholic feast day of St. Francis de Sales is celebrated on January 24 -- today!
Members of All Saints Writers have been called on to share their gifts by assisting with parish writing projects.
Last year three members: Sally Baumbach, Diane Valentine, and I composed scripts for our parish's "Voices from the Past" cemetery walk. The October event was part of All Saints Parish's 190th anniversary celebration. For me, doing research and writing a script about George Gaty -- a Revolutionary War veteran and an early settler in St. Peters -- was a challenging and rewarding experience.
Belonging to writing groups that focus on spirituality and faith has taken a "leap of faith" for me -- but it's one I'm glad I made.