Reflections and Perspectives

Welcome! Reflections, Testimonials, and Perspectives for St. Mary Magdalen are offered by our priests, deacons, parishioners, and others as guest writers. We will offer a Sunday Reflection as well as other topics. 

  • Dana Westby

A Women's Ministry With Purpose

Walking With Purpose Ministry: My Faith in Perspective

by Dana Westby


I have been very blessed to have some significant wake-up calls (invitations) over my lifetime, which have helped me change course and live for an audience of one—Our Savior, Jesus Christ. One such invitation came when I had just moved to Media and joined St. Mary Magdalen. At that time, I was pregnant with my youngest, and I got to know the then-Director of Religious Education Mary Zurbach. I can’t remember how Mary asked or suggested that I start a mom’s prayer group at SMM. All I remember is that I could not say no. This request ‘sealed the deal’ in transforming my relationship with Jesus Christ.


Becoming the instant leader of a prayer group, I realized that other than the rosary, novenas, and the Mass, I really didn’t know how to pray, and praying what was in my heart OUT LOUD was uncomfortable and scary! It quickly became apparent to me that I needed to call on the help of the Holy Spirit for inspiration and courage, and I had to learn the four steps of prayer quickly! This newfound commitment to prayer led me to a deep intimate relationship with Jesus. I struggled with the very first step of prayer adoration. I could thank God, confess my failings, and, of course, ask for things all day long, but to honestly praise God in His three persons, you need to know who He is and not just what He does for you. Trying to know God led me to His Words in the Bible. I found the light, the truth, and the way in the Gospel, and I applied it to my heart’s desires and the needs of my children. Praying for my children was the best thing I could ever do for them, and it helped me to realize the importance of everyone’s salvation.

Fifteen years of sharing deep-hearted prayers, trials, and love with other mothers in a deep personal relationship with our Lord and Savior is God’s greatest gift to me. I have found true fellowship with these women. We have grown stronger in our faith—together. They love me for who I truly am, let me fumble in prayer, challenged me, and held me accountable for my behavior and spiritual goals by their example. It humbles me to think about where I would be if I had not surrendered to the call of the Holy Spirit through Mary Zurbach.


Twenty-five years later, putting Jesus at the center of my life does not make me perfect. It doesn’t make my children eternally happy, and it doesn’t keep trials away. In fact, it makes me more aware of my flaws and my need for Jesus. It does make me accepting, hopeful, and fulfilled because every day becomes an offering to Jesus. While pursuing opportunities to serve God better, I also do what I do to love and know Him more fully. I’ve come to find that His will for me each day is His love itself and my only purpose is to share in that relationship. I still struggle with giving up my selfish ways, but I desire and try to be of one mind with Jesus, so I see and react out of love, like Him, rather than respond only because of what He can do for me. I want to be in union with Him in the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration, and I crave to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, so I am continually transformed to think, love, and feel like Him.


To all the women reading this, just like Mary did for me all those years ago, I encourage you to open the door to Jesus’ saving power. If you would like to know who Jesus is and discover why He loves you so much through the truth of His word, please consider attending Walking with Purpose (WWP) this October. Walking with Purpose is more than

a women’s Bible study. It reveals Jesus’ truth in love letters to you as a modern woman and God’s beloved daughter. Sharing thought-provoking and heartfelt discussions and a little prayer build satisfying, long-lasting friendships with grace-filled women like those with whom I have been blessed for years.


I invite you to join our community this fall at St. Mary Magdalen which begins on Tuesday, October 18 at 7 PM or Thursday, October 20 at 9:30 AM, as we begin two programs from Walking with Purpose. We would love to meet you!


To learn more about WWP, or to register, please visit: WWP at SMM


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