What Is the Elizabeth Ministry?
Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach to women in special times of motherhood. It is based on Jesus’s vision of the goodness, beauty and truth of human life. Following the example of Mary and Elizabeth, we visit and share the sacredness of our lives.
Elizabeth Ministers are trained Ministers who are matched up according to their personal history and knowledge to women of the parish who have similar stories. They are not counselors or experts. They are women who are willing to share their presence, stories, and experiences in the hope that these will support, encourage, console, and at times bring healing to other women.
St. Joseph’s Elizabeth Ministry affirms, supports, encourages, and assists women during the child bearing years. Our Elizabeth Ministers serve in an atmosphere of faith, love and hope.
Why Do We Need Elizabeth Ministry?
In past years, the presence, intimacy and support a woman needs during her childbearing years were found in the structures of family, neighborhood and church. Today, these structures are undergoing rapid change.
Neighborhoods are fragmented, leaving many families isolated.
Churches have increased in size making it difficult to create a warm, hospitable, personal and loving environment.
Mobility has caused many extended families to be separated by distance, making frequent visits improbable, even impossible.
The wisdom of sharing stories about the joys and trials of childbirth is still important. The reassurance and advice once given by the extended family now must flow from another source. And that’s the purpose of Elizabeth Ministry.
By sharing their stories and experiences, the women of Elizabeth Ministry serve one another in an atmosphere of faith, love and hope.
How Does It Work?
St. Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1, 39-56) tells the story of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth. Elizabeth Ministry follows the example of that event by bringing women together who share a similar story. It provides an opportunity for each of us to minister to other women through personal visits.
- The Elizabeth Minister becomes a link with the broader Church community.
- The Elizabeth Minister presents a special Gift and Resource Kit to the person she visits.
- These visits may take place at home, in hospital or the church.
- Follow up contacts are made in person, by phone and by mail.
This outreach fosters a companionship based on personal experience, formal knowledge, the acquired skills of the participants and the mutual love of God. Women become mentors to one another in the magnificent adventure of bringing a new life into the world.
Each Elizabeth Minister represents the Church, offering support, prayers and understanding in the joys and sorrows of childbirth. She becomes an instrument of the Church’s care for other women during their childbearing years. Her sharing of life experience brings a caring commitment and sense of connectedness to both herself and those to whom she ministers.
What Are the Benefits?
Elizabeth Ministry enables our Church to:
- give reassurance and advice to women who are pregnant or caring for a newborn;
- offer support to women dealing with infertility or childlessness;
- reach out to women who have experienced a miscarriage or infant or child death;
- celebrate a birth with parents and families;
- respond in times of infant and child crises;
- assist parents involved in the adoption process;
- offer support and encouragement to grandparents;
- bring healing to those who are alienated;
- empower women to relate to each other in a spirit of inclusiveness and sisterhood.
How To Get Involved
If you or anyone you know is interested in being matched up with an Elizabeth Minister, if you would like to know more about the Elizabeth Ministry at St. Joseph, or if you would like to volunteer to help us serve other women, please call
- Susan Wilder at 347-3483
- or Jennifer Plante at 353-8884
The Elizabeth Ministry is always thankful to receive donations of new baby toys, rattles, diapers – or gently used sleepers and receiving blankets. Monetary donations are also welcome. Please bring your donation to the parish center.
When Does Elizabeth Ministry Help?
- General pregnancy
- First time pregnancy
- Subsequent pregnancy
- Large family
- Single parent
- Pregnancy in later life
- Pregnancy after fetal or infant loss
- Pregnancy complications
- High-risk pregnancy
- Bed rest
- Prenatal testing concerns
- Fetal abnormality issues
Celebration of Childbirth
- General birth
- Single parent keeping child
- Single parent choosing adoption
- Special birth outcomes such as multiple births, delivery complications, post-partum depression
Waiting To Conceive or Infertility
- Without known infertility
- With known infertility
- Infertility support
- Accepting inability to conceive
- Accepting a childless lifestyle
Special Dad and Sibling support too!
Miscarriage and Infant or Child Loss
- Infant or child death
- Special circumstances such as multiple-birth loss or single parent
Infant or Child Crisis
- Premature birth
- Intensive care nursery
- Special needs, both physical and mental
- Child illness, surgery and hospitalization
- Waiting to adopt
- Adoption loss
- Celebrate adoption
- Birth mother
- First time grandparents
- General nurturing as grandparents
- Grandchild joined family by adoption
- Long-distance grand parenting
- Rejected grandparents
- Grandparents facing obstacles
- Grieving grandparents
- Raising a grandchild
- Grand parenting an unwed child’s baby