Called and Gifted gave me ‘new purpose and passion’


By Michelle Myers

I have always been a spiritual person and pray daily, yet I consider myself to be a Catholic in need of education. One thing that has been constant is that I believe in God.


My involvement in church had to do with my son. When he went off to college the “habit” of going to church and my involvement fell away. I became a parent with an empty nest who had medical issues, job changes, money concerns, an aging parent and grief because of the loss of a loved one. I was in pain physically, mentally and emotionally.

It took everything I had to get out of bed some days. Suicidal ideation happened. I was de­pressed, tired, hurt and in pain, becoming more introverted at home and at work, which led to further isolation. It was a vicious cycle. Something needed to change.


In September I got the nerve to schedule a date for major surgery in December, but knew I was spending money I didn’t have to conservatively treat my condition.  One night I cried on my yoga mat. I prayed again. Finally, I just stopped. I felt like I was being held and assured that all was going to be OK. That was a God moment.

Time passed and I opened up The Catholic Messenger and saw that Called and Gifted was being offered. I was interested, but unsure. I knew I wanted to get back to the church and volunteer, but didn’t know where to start. The day of the first class, I called ahead to see if it was too late to sign up. That seemed like an easy out. But, of course, Maureen (the co-leader) said, “I will have books for you here.”

Without knowing why, I felt the pull that I needed to be there. “Called and Gifted” is a 10-week course about discerning the gifts that God bestows on you to serve him. We studied 24 of the charisms (or gifts) which are received from the Holy Spirit. They allow a person to be an agent of God, to serve his purpose and focus outwardly on others. When you discover your charism, you will feel energized and feel like you have “found your place.”

Called and Gifted will help you to see yourself, the church and the world in a new light. It will help you discover how to give within and outside of your church in ways you did not think were possible. You develop new friendships and have unwavering support. You will be built up with kindness and love.  All you have to do is take the first step.

You may experience some uncomfortable feelings as you grow and permit yourself to be vulnerable. But you have the support of all who are there, including God.

I have made connections with amazing people who are truly gifts from God.  I have given my time and talents in new ways and have become active in and outside of the church.  I have new purpose and passion.  I participated in the Women’s Christian Experience Weekend, which is another life-changing program.

While on medical leave I discovered my spirituality, which brought me closer to where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. This class saved my life. But it’s not about me. It’s about bringing joy to God by serving him, which brings joy to me.

You never know what is going on in a person’s world. One random act of kindness can change someone’s life. “I’ll have the books for you here,” was said to me with kindness. Someone shared her calling and gifts with me, which helped me to get my life back. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

A closing prayer from St. Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which he looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours
How will you use your body?  His body?
Learn more about God and yourself this fall at Called and Gifted at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.

(Michelle Myers is a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.)

(Editor’s note: As the topic of suicide was mentioned in this article, please, if you are in crisis or distress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the NAMI Greater Mississippi Valley Crisis line 1-800-273-TALK.)

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