Healing, warmth, love, and the Holy Spirit are just a few of the things available to women who join the Our Lady of Good Success Magnificat Chapter that was established in April of this year.
The chapter will host its first Magnificat Breakfast Meal from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Nashville.
“Magnificat exists to evangelize and encourage Catholic Christian women in holiness by opening more fully to the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit,” said Rosemary Geiger, Our Lady of Good Success chapter coordinator.
History of Magnificat
Magnificat first began in 1981 in the Archdiocese of New Orleans where a group of Catholic women desired to share their deepening faith with other women.
“They did this by praying, bearing witness, and ministering to each other in a relaxed social setting centered around a meal, usually breakfast,” explained Geiger, who is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Hendersonville.
The very first Magnificat Breakfast Meal took place on Oct. 7, 1981, with more than 200 women in attendance. In the years since, the organization has expanded to several states with more than 100 chapters.
The Our Lady of Good Success Chapter is one of the newest thanks to Geiger’s efforts.
“The Magnificat Chapter of Nashville is committed to spreading the gospel of Christ in a world that is in so much need of hope and peace, which can only come from knowing Jesus Christ,” Geiger said. “Our Blessed Mother said ‘Yes’ to bringing our Eucharistic Lord into the world to save us, so too, as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, will she bring her children into the fullness of life in our crucified Christ’s love and mercy, joy, and peace. Her paths are all beautiful and her ways all peace.”
Forming the Chapter
Geiger’s history with Magnificat began 30 years ago when she was involved in her local chapter in San Diego, California. After moving to Nashville, she sought to begin a chapter.
When efforts did not initially work out, she focused her efforts on creating a Seven Sisters Apostolate, a group of seven women who each take a day of the week and commit to praying one hour in adoration for their church pastor. More than 40 groups are currently active, she said.
Then, in June 2021, the opportunity to start a Magnificat chapter presented itself again, and she took advantage of it, getting permission from Bishop J. Mark Spalding and Father Austin Gilstrap, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake, and many others.
“Magnificat helps and supports the wonderful ministry that we do in the name of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Spalding. “I am grateful for all their prayers and their supportive presence.”
Through it, she also established a service team: Kathleen Collins, assistant coordinator; Evelyn Clausen, co-secretary; Patty Bolger, co-secretary; Helen Rupert, treasurer; and Virginia Hitchings, historian. Father Emmanuel Dirichukwu, pastor of St. Andrew Church in Sparta and St. Gregory Church in Smithville, serves as the spiritual advisor.
“Upon being invited to serve as the spiritual advisor for our esteemed chapter, I felt a mixture of excitement and apprehension. I wondered if I were truly the right person for such a vital role, given my existing responsibilities within the diocese and parish,” Father Dirichukwu said. “Trusting in God, I turned to prayer and discernment, seeking His guidance in this important decision. I knew that this path would be challenging, but with faith and determination, I could fulfill His plan.
“Emboldened by the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and He has anointed me to bring good tidings,’ I became motivated, knowing that it wasn’t merely my own desire but a divine calling,” he continued. “The women in my diocese required spiritual advice and support through prayers and discernment. Though initially difficult to embrace this community fully, once I surrendered myself to God’s will and guidance, my experience became truly empowering and uplifting.”
As the spiritual advisor, Father Dirichukwu will act as a spiritual father for the women of the chapter by celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, providing spiritual counsel, praying with them, and more.
“I take each of these responsibilities very seriously. One vital lesson I’ve learned as a priest is that presence itself can open doors to every other aspect of service,” Father Dirichukwu said. “Simply saying ‘yes’ and being there creates a strong foundation for fulfilling all other roles that may be required. As challenges arise, we’ll tackle them together, drawing upon spiritual guidance as well as the canon and teachings of the Church when necessary.
“Together with you all on this journey as your spiritual advisor, I look forward to witnessing the beautiful plans that God has in store for us in our diocese,” he added. “With unwavering faith, we’ll continue to grow and share the love and grace of God in our community.”
With the team in place, it was time to complete months of paperwork and wait for final approvals, which came in April 2023. The big day finally came in April 2023, declaring the Our Lady of Good Success Chapter official.
The story of Our Lady of Good Success dates back to the 15th century when the Blessed Mother appeared to Mother Mariana of Jesus Torres y Berriochoa, a nun of the Conceptionist Order, in Quito, Ecuador. As the story goes, Mary asked the Spanish nun to pray for the people of the 20th and 21st centuries because of the many problems they’d be facing.
“Everything we’re going through, she talked about,” Geiger said, such as pornography, drugs, human trafficking, and more. “This is a Mary for our time, right now.”
For the women who attend the chapter’s first breakfast, which is $43 per person, there’ll be even more of an opportunity to learn what Magnificat is all about.
Doors open at 8 a.m. for registration and shopping with vendors. The event officially begins at 9 a.m. with announcements, praise and worship led by three-time Unity Award winner Donna Lee, and a meal catered by the Clean Plate Club.
The guest speaker is Father Donald Calloway of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. A convert to Catholicism, he will share the story of his rebellious youth and his radical conversion.
“The story of Father Calloway’s conversion and journey to the Catholic faith via Mother Mary is, indeed, remarkable and one of hope in God’s love and mercy for each of us,” Geiger explained. “It will make you laugh and cry, for only the Blessed Mother, through God’s grace, could turn a grungy-looking, long-haired, confused, drug-using, and hopeless miserable young man into a gentleman who now wears a Roman collar.”
After the event Father Calloway will be available for a short time to sign books, and attendees will also have an opportunity to participate in personal prayer time.
The hope for the breakfast is “to let women in Nashville know that this is a diocesan-wide women’s ministry, and we’re here to evangelize,” said Geiger, noting that there will be opportunities to sign up for free membership of the chapter during the event as well. “A woman is the heart of the home and a lot of what we take back to the home is a gift to our children and even to our husbands.
“We strive to be holy women, and we bring healing, warmth, love, and the Holy Spirit to others,” she continued, noting the opportunity to participate in prayer groups, the rosary blanket of prayer, and more. “That’s the gift in it.”
For more information about the Our Lady of Good Success Chapter visit magnificat-ministry.net/chapters/tn-nashville/. To register for the Magnificat Breakfast Meal, visit events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ejtost8210f844ac&oseq=&c=&ch=. Mail-In Reservations by check are also available. Checks should be made payable to Magnificat Nashville – TN Chapter, and mailed to Patty Bolger, P.O. Box 2252, Hendersonville, TN 37077-2252. Reservations must be received by Wednesday, Aug. 9.
For those attending the event from out of town, a block of rooms has been reserved at The Inn at Opryland for $139 per night. Reservations must be made by July 19 for special pricing. To make a reservation, visit www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1685208527225&key=GRP&app=resvlink.