As the President of Endow (a Catholic Women’s Apostolate running small groups for women in over 150 diocese), every day I wake up and do my best to lead a staff of nine women who are actively working with thousands of small group facilitators, who have led more than 30,000 women in Endow groups around the world. Over the last year, this team has been instrumental in rebranding our organization as well as rolling out a Hispanic outreach program, reaching thousands of women with our new Spanish language study guides on female saints and St. John Paul II’s new feminism.
While the reach of our organization is large and growing every day, my personal influence through Endow is nine women. Nine women who I talk to day in and day out, who I am honored to serve because they are each on fire for our Lord. This Lenten season, I have been reflecting a lot on my responsibility in leading this team and the leader who we should all strive to emulate – Jesus Christ
We hear the term ‘servant leadership’ thrown around a lot and while I do believe it is the best model of Christian leadership, we can’t fully begin to understand it until we understand Christ’s humility embodying the role of a servant despite his identity as high-priest, prophet, king and God incarnate.
While there are countless examples of Christ serving in the Gospels the point I want to focus on and what I’ve been reflecting on most is how he continues to serve us today, remaining with us sacramentally. To me this is the greatest example of servant leadership in that it is both a tangible and supernatural one. Christ humbles himself becoming totally vulnerable in the sacred species at the altar, he remains with us without hands, without a voice, locked in tabernacles all over the world only to be given by the hands of a priest and put to work in another person’s body. And yet, not despite this but precisely because of this, he changes the world. And, he changes it through others, quietly and powerfully, not elevating himself but elevating His bride, the Church.
Obviously we can’t transubstantiate ourselves into bread and wine, but it is important to ask how we can emulate this aspect of Christ’s continued work on earth as leaders in our respective organizations and families. Through daily mass and connection to our Lord we can transform our hearts into an offering. We can take on a sacramental worldview wherein we become a gift poured out for the people we serve, the people who need our prayers, who need our energy and support to do their job. We can listen, as Christ does in the tabernacle, to the hearts of our staff who come to us with ideas and energy, deciding how to best support their desires and talents. Just as the Eucharist unites and transforms the mystical body into Christ’s body. As leaders, by listening, humbling ourselves and trusting our staff we can become the unifiers of our organizations in their respective missions.
I can state that the successes of Endow over the last year haven’t been my successes but the successes of a team. The role that I play in this success is in encouraging them to become saints, calling them to shine and supporting them in being the best they can be.
As for me as their leader, I need the prayers of my team as much if not more than I give them mine. It is a daily struggle, but I turn to Our Lord in the Eucharist to give me the energy to keep supporting and serving my team and our mission. It is my hope that all of us this Lent will learn from the public life of our Lord in the Gospels but also learn from the sacramental life of our Lord in the Church today and unite to Christ in a renewed leadership built on the humility and strength of the sacraments.
To learn more about Endow, check out www.EndowGroups.org
Martha Reichert is the President of Endow which seeks to educate women and girls toward a more profound understanding of their God-given dignity and vocation through the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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