Half-off shirts (Happy Thanksgiving to you!)

Want to get movin’ to work off some of your Thanksgiving feast? After watching plenty of Hail Mary’s on the football field, head over to our website to place an order for your shirts! You can also cross some gifts off your list since they make wonderful Christmas gifts. Our shirts are 50% off now through November 30th and sizes are limited.

If you need ideas on how to get a walking group started, please shoot us an email. We’re happy to help you get up and movin’! May your Advent be blessed as you prepare for the birth of our Lord and thank you for supporting our ministry!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings,
Lisa and Veronica,

How they did it in Georgia

We asked the founding members of our second M3 chapter to share their story on how they came to be.  We hope their story inspires you to start a chapter of your own!  Thank you, Kelly and Judy!  Here is what they had to say:

 

Kelly’s Story

I absolutely love to run. With each strike of the ground and each mile I run, I crush my frustrations and leave them far behind me. It has always been MY time, MY release. One day, however, I began to question myself. Why did God give me this desire to run? God gives us all gifts so that we can serve others. Could I possibly use this gift to benefit others and glorify God?

Do whatever He tells you. John 2:5

I found myself in adoration one day, asking these questions and suddenly heard my answer. God was calling me to start a running/walking group that prays for the protection of all life from conception until natural death. That’s a great idea, Lord, but how on earth do I do THAT! How do I get started? I’m a shy introvert and this is COMPLETELY outside of my comfort zone. 

At about the same time, we were finishing up our year-long Bible study. We were asked to be prepared to share something that we had learned or something that had impacted our spiritual life that year. At first I had no idea what to say nor did I really want to share, but I later remembered my encounter in adoration. Our Blessed Mother’s words to “do whatever He tells you” from the wedding at Cana kept creeping into my mind. So, I gathered the courage to tell the group about my plans to create this group. To my delight, one of the ladies from the Bible study enthusiastically approached me to say that she also felt moved to start a running/walking prayer group. This was the first of many times that The Lord has provided for our group. I am forever thankful for Judy’s desire to lead this group with me.

Judy’s Story

While Kelly was listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in her life to incorporate her running with her faith, I too was struggling with what God was asking me to do in my faith journey.  I had recently moved to Georgia from Maryland where we had lived for almost all our lives and was feeling a bit “homesick” for my vibrant parish family in Maryland.  While in Maryland, I had the opportunity to become involved with the Archdiocese of Washington DC’s Run for Vocations program. Through RFV, we trained for the Marine Corps Marathon, where we ran in support of seminarians, collected donations and raised awareness. We prayed away many miles in preparation for the event and it was an amazing experience.  It was such a blessing to be able to do something I loved, running, and unite it with my Faith. When Kelly spoke up in our sharing circle at the end of our Bible Study, I knew that I needed to share with her my desire to unite my devotion to our Lady with my love of running.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst. Matthew 18:20

So, we began to plan. Judy had heard of a group of women from Ohio that called themselves Mamas Movin’ with Mary and asked if they would allow us to use their name. We admired their commitment to physical fitness and their devotion to our Blessed Mother. They graciously allowed us to use their name and thus the second chapter of MMM was born!

Our next task was recruitment. We put ads in the Sunday bulletins for the Catholic churches in the area. We are very fortunate to have access to a local Catholic radio station so we placed a request for an ad to air on the radio. We created flyers and posted them in local coffee shops and sent flyers home with children from our church’s Mother’s Day Out/Pre-school program. This year we plan to send flyers home with children during VBS week. We also created a private Facebook group for posting announcements. Through these various avenues and by word-of-mouth, we slowly began to recruit members.

Currently we meet four times each month; two Saturdays and two Tuesdays. The Saturday meetings are very early in the morning to avoid conflicting with everyone’s busy weekends and the Tuesday meetings are mid-morning to allow moms a chance to drop off their children at school. We start each meeting with a short devotional reading that we hope will inspire, challenge, or comfort our ladies in their spiritual journey. We then take prayer requests and read the Life Runner’s Creed.  Finally, we walk together and recite the rosary.

Revive, Rebuild, Renew

As with most things in life, despite our good beginning, we began to have some trouble after a few months. We took some time off in December due to the busy Christmas season. Then, we had a two-month span where every single meeting was rained out!  Plus, our area went through a devastating ice-storm and then an earthquake in one week – two things that NEVER happen here in Augusta, GA. When the weather finally started to cooperate, it was apparent that we had lost a lot of momentum. Our Tuesday group eagerly resumed as usual, but we were struggling on Saturdays.  One Saturday no one showed up.  As I drove home, I was wondering whether I should keep this up.  Surely God didn’t want this to fail, but why were we struggling so much to keep people interested?  I happened to see a church billboard on the side of the road that said “Revive, Rebuild, Renew.”  I took that as my cue – God wasn’t finished with us; we have more work to do.  The most valuable lesson we have learned is the importance of trusting God and His plan.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

We sent emails to many of the members encouraging them to come. Their feedback proved to be very helpful. We had two problems. We were meeting too early and many women did not have childcare. So, effective this April we are going to try something new. In an effort to work with everyone, regardless of their fitness and childcare needs, we plan to reorganize our meetings. We will begin the devotions a little later and allow children to attend. Children can either pray with us or ride their bikes and scooters around our loop path. Since we meet at a playground, children can play after we meet. This is a great way to get the kids outdoors before the blazing summer heat. For those ladies that are eager to run or walk before the temperature goes up, Judy and I will arrive an hour before the prayer session.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a.

So where do we go from here? In addition to maintaining a devoted group, we have a few long-term goals. We hope to raise awareness about our Marian devotion by participating in local races while wearing our “Hail Marys aren’t just for football” t-shirts. Our ultimate goal is to inspire at least a subset of our ladies and possibly their spouses to become  Life Runners.  In addition to our prayers, this would help us to raise money for pro-life organizations and to become visible pro-life advocates in our community. We ask for your prayers as we continue movin’ with Mary! 

Sole Searching Mama: Guest Blogger for Mamas Movin’ WIth Mary!

I am honored to be writing for Mamas Movin’ With Mary, a truly incredible movement that I hope will take off like wild-fire across the nation, inspiring women to come together to pray, to exercise and to encourage one another toward a life of holiness!

Fourteen years ago I was joyously living life as a newlywed, and two weeks after reciting vows I discovered that I was also newly pregnant! During my expectant months, I must have had at least a hundred conversations with other women about pregnancy, labor, delivery, nursing, how to soothe a fussy baby, etc., etc. But, not one of those conversations ever included anything about the post-pregnancy portrait: Oh, the sagging, the scarring and the stretching! Looking in the mirror and seeing a battle weary body, the evidence of the sacrificial offering of bringing a beautiful baby into the world could not be hidden!

The shape of things after giving birth really is a minor detail, I suppose, in light of the many more important maternal gifts and graces, namely the precious soul wrapped sweetly in the comfort of your arms.  Still, I would have appreciated a little bit of warning. Nothing overly dramatic, a simple “get ready, it isn’t gonna be pretty” would have been fine.  Couldn’t we all at least get a consolation glass of wine or a box of chocolates with our sagging and stretch marks?

Embracing your changing shape for 9 months, to say yes to the curves for the sake of the joy of carrying life within is a relatively easy level of acceptance, it’s an entirely new level of acceptance, however, to see yourself post-partum 1, 2 or even 10 times without feeling just a little bit undone.

Getting back into a regular exercise routine (thank goodness for strollers!) and eating well was the slow, but steady pathway back to a similar version of my old self.  But, it wasn’t until our third child was born that I realized that regular exercise would become much, much less about losing post-baby weight or being able to eat pizza and drink beer on the weekends and more about strengthening my body, mind and soul for the daily demands of motherhood.

How does all of this tie into the season of Lent?  

Since I’m currently pregnant with our sixth child, I can’t help but feel that in many ways, being pregnant is in itself a Lent of sorts.  Forty weeks of sacrifice (similar to the 40 days of Lent), of giving up many of the foods and drinks I love (emphasis on drinks), activities I enjoy (trampoline time with the boys!), not to mention taking on daily discomforts as my body grows and adapts to accommodate the living soul within me.

During Lent, if we approach it with a bit of determination and sincerity of heart, each one of us has the capacity to grow in love for our Lord, to be stretched in ways that may not be easy, and to adapt to perhaps a different diet, a change of schedule, to reexamine our priorities in order to make more room for prayer and acts of service, and less time for television and Facebook. All of this effort, would of course be made with the hope of nurturing the life of Christ within us – a life that, as Christians, we believe will blossom more fully on Easter.

While there’s nothing wrong with giving up our list of dearest comforts, or even addictions, whether they be food or drink or technical engagements, rarely do those offerings become life-long habits. Am I ever really going to give up my daily dose of chocolate or my weekly watch of something Jane Austen?? Only should I develop a severe allergy or blindness. 

That said, to take on a particular activity rather than give up a tangible good is another way that we, as Christians, can view the mission of sacrifice during Lent.

{Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was a great athlete and lived a life of heroic virtue.}

Blessed Pier Giorgio 

Some of us may choose to spend more time in prayer, ministry, volunteering or spiritual reading. I would like to write into that noble list of endeavors a sacrificial activity that I believe has the potential not only to become habit for any one, if not many of us, but to produce beautiful fruits in our lives both spiritually and physically, and that is a true devotion to Christ through exercise.

If, perhaps, fitness is already a part of your daily habit, then I hope you will find that you’re already experiencing some of the benefits listed further down.  But, from my experiences of sharing day to day life with other moms, exercise easily becomes the last thing on our “to do” list (if it’s there at all) when household and work loads are heavy, or emotional strain is high.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?

Glorify God in your body. 

1 Corinthians 6:20

As moms we may feel as though it is selfish to take time for ourselves to exercise, that exercise just doesn’t have a proper place on our list of priorities, or that we simply don’t have the energy to give ourselves to one. more. thing.

I understand, trust me I do!  Either we’ve allowed ourselves to think that exercise is selfish and self-centered, or we believe the opposite, that extreme attentions to the aesthetic of the body isn’t selfish at all, but a necessary good in order to be accepted by others. 

While the latter is definitely a misguided and false perception of the true end of exercise, I would argue the opposite in the case of it being selfish.  To ignore the care of our bodies is to ignore the care of ourselves as persons, as children of God, and to do so is prideful.  We are not prudently prioritizing the necessity of the body as a means through which God can accomplish his purpose and plan. When we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, we are unable to offer Him and our families the gift of our best self.

This is where the stretching and strengthening part of the Lenten sacrifice comes into play.  First, I’d like to challenge your mind to be stretched in a different direction.  You do deserve the opportunity to take care of yourself and you do have time.  We all have time for those things that are most important to us.  You are important!

“Man cannot find himself except through a sincere gift of self.” 

– Blessed John Paul II

Few know more about the daily self-gift, self-donation and self-sacrifice than a mother.  By God’s perfect design, our intuitive desire to serve others is deeply rooted in our feminine nature. Unfortunately, when we feel overwhelmed, worn out, or emotionally unbalanced, serving others with joy, cheerfulness, confidence, patience, and enthusiasm becomes quite a seemingly impossible calling. Loving service requires a rested body, a,peaceful mind, and (if you’re like me, raising a home full of boys) a stout heart.

Those virtues, patience, joy, fortitude and enthusiasm are of course gifts of grace which may be increased with prayer and, in turn, strengthened through acts of the will, but they are also greatly supported through exercise.  We are not just called to a life of self-gift each day, but to give our best selves as gifts to the Lord, to our families and to our communities.

Before the advent of Christianity, the Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, advocated physical fitness as a means of bringing body and soul into harmony with each other.  In the words of Aristotle, “To a good bodily constitution corresponds the nobility of the soul.” (1)

The connection between a healthy body and a virtuous soul is woven throughout scripture, particularly in the writings of the great apostle, St. Paul, who often refers to sporting activity as a way of shedding light on the true spirit of courage that is required of us all in the Christian life.  Similar to the demands of a sport, a person’s energies are directed toward the perfection of virtue and character. (2) 

Paul’s encouragement in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith” comes with strong emphasis on fight.  He didn’t say try or make an effort. Zealously, he bids us to fight!  To fight means that the battle against sin and temptation is a serious one, and to engage in such a battle with a steadfast focus means that the mind, body, and will must be strong, it must be fit for the challenge!

Paul goes on to encourage us to run so that we might win the eternal prize (1 Corinthians 9:24).  The eternal prize, is of course, heaven! While sacrifice and penance may seem to be the focus of Lent, the real focus should be heaven, the eternal prize won for us by our Lord Jesus through His suffering and death on the cross.  We can unite our sacrifices to His. Yes, unite yourself to Christ every time you exercise, offering up your workouts for His greater glory each and every day with the goal of a heavenly reward!

Every athlete must keep all his appetites under control; and he does it to win a crown that fades, whereas ours in imperishable. 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Regular Exercise Has the Potential To:

1.  Bring balance our emotions.  There’s no denying that we women are indeed emotional creatures. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t just run for the sake of running! A primary fruit of going out for a run, whether it be a quick 3 miler or a long weekend jaunt is that I always return feeling more level headed and less sensitive to everyone and everything around me.  Exercise is scientifically proven to have a balancing effect on female hormones.  The result of more stable emotions isn’t just good for our moods, but also for our spiritual perspective.  We are more apt to approach each day with greater hope and zest for the will of God in our life when our emotions are in check.

Amazing!: Just 10 minutes of vigorous exercise can double the body’s level of norepinephrine, a neurohormone that is associated with alertness and feeling joyous (think of how happy dancing makes us feel!).  Research shows that stress lowers norepinephrine levels in the brain, while exercise increases those levels. 

2. Ease physical pain and discomforts.  It’s not just the physical demands of motherhood, the sleepless nights and endless picking up, folding and child lifting that brings on aches and pains, but also the anxiety and personal sufferings that we endure interiorly that contributes to our bodily discomfort.  It seems counter-intuitive to participate in something that is uncomfortable (exercise) in order to achieve comfort from aches and pains, but thanks to the magic of endorphins, with regular exercise we really kind find pleasant relief from physical suffering.

3.  Strengthen the mind and the will. Blessed John Paul II once said that, “Exercise can be a training ground for virtue, a school of inner balance and outer control, an introduction to more true and lasting conquests.”  With those words in mind, fitness, then, has the potential to prepare the mind to courageously face the temptations that come our way each and every day. As well, the daily choice to exercise despite a lack of feeling or energy toward activity will naturally strengthen the will, and that strength will pour out into other areas of life where we feel weakest under pressures and temptations. 

4.  Provide opportunity to focus on your daily devotions. Through habitual exercise, we can become athletes of a sport and athletes of the spiritual life at the same time.  Depending on your choice of exercise, working out can offer focused time for prayer, meditation and examination of conscience particularly if you choose to run, bike, swim, hike or walk either alone or with a partner (who will pray with you). I find that the rhythm of praying the rosary fits well into the rhythm of a run or even a brisk walk. The physical-spiritual connection between prayer and sport fosters the stamina and strength that is necessary to keep our spiritual life in order as well as our practical life at home and at work.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mamas Movin’ With Mary became the catalyst that helped women all over the nation come together to accomplish the goals of unity with Christ, deeper devotion to our Lady, greater fitness for the kingdom and for our families and the inner peace and confidence that comes from all three?

Perhaps you are being called to start an M3 group in your parish, school or community.  Lent is the perfect time!

Blessed is he who can dominate the worldly bustle which surrounds him, and savor in silence and recollection the peace of God. 

– Pope Pius XII

The primary goal of Lenten season has always been, and always will be, unity with Christ. Christ offered his body as a living sacrifice.  We, too, can offer our bodies as a living sacrifice not only in the way of bearing children and laboring in love for our families, but in enduring with fortitude the pains required to keep our bodies healthy and strong for the service of the Lord.

I hope that you feel encouraged to consider exercise as a positive part of your Lenten offerings, one that will perhaps become a lifelong habit, bearing fruit in your own life and in the lives of those around you as well!

Blessings,

Susan

(1-2. Taken from, A Catholic Perspective: Physical Exercise and Sportsby Robert Feeney.)

Welcome to our journey!  We are three mamas who love our Lord (and His Mama) and serve our families!  It was almost five years ago that we found ourselves feeling a bit neglected.  We were deprived…deprived of sleep, prayer time and exercise!  Hey, what moms of young babes aren’t? Fortunately, we have amazing, supportive husbands who encouraged us to make a commitment towards a wonderful goal: training for our first half marathon – walking, of course. That is where this journey began: the commitment to walk the 2009 Columbus Half Marathon.

Our group trainings took place on Saturday mornings.  We walked, but that wasn’t all: we prayed the rosary together! It. Was. Amazing.  As each training session passed, we found ourselves becoming stronger, physically and spiritually!  It was such a blessing to take the time to do something for us, because, ultimately, it was making us better for our families…and for our Lord. We were mamas movin’ with Mary!

And we did it! On October 18, 2009 we walked our first half marathon in under 3 hours!  And yes, we prayed together!

3mamas

It was such a wonderful experience!  So wonderful, in fact, that we wanted to encourage and inspire other moms to do the same!  Thus, Mamas Movin’ with Mary was formed!  We decided to tell other Columbus women our story at the 2010 Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference through sales of our “Hail Marys Aren’t Just for Football” shirts. Apparently, the women liked our story because we sold all of our shirts!  It was lots of fun!

Conference

Since that time, we’ve participated in other races, attended additional conferences (like the one above where our lovely Julie was off having her fourth baby, beautiful Juliana!) and have reached women all across the country through our website and shirt sales.  We added shirts with additional messages like: “Strengthen Your Body, Strengthen Your Soul” and “Powered by Prayer”.  But most importantly, we’ve encouraged women to form groups that meet regularly to walk and pray. 

The goal of this website and blog is to continue this mission and make it stronger! Throughout the coming months, we will be featuring mamas who have learned how to take care of their bodies and souls.  We’ll also be keeping you informed of different ways that we keep in shape while nurturing our spirituality. Hopefully, our stories will inspire you to do the same!

So, grab your running shoes, rosaries, friends…and join us on the journey!

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Hello - we are the mamas - Lisa, Julie and Veronica! Our motto is simple: Strengthen Your Body, Strengthen Your Soul! So, grab your running shoes and rosary (and a friend or two) and join us! We're glad you're here!

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