Firstfruits began with an idea: How could women’s needs to gather with other women, experience God’s love and go forth more centered on their own giftedness and purpose be met? Then the Holy Spirit stepped in and something powerful happened!
In the beginning … Firstfruits began as a vision for a women’s ministry whose purpose was to gather women to experience God’s love. And as a result, be transformed!

As word spread about this unique opportunity, other parishes became interested in hosting a Firstfruits gathering. It became apparent to the founders of Firstfruits that this “gathering” needed to be moveable. We became known as a moveable feast of spiritual opportunities for women.

A Lent to Remember

Lent conjures up many memories for me.

I remember in grade school during Lent we brought in all our spare change and dropped it in this can labeled Pagan Babies. Each classroom had a chart on the wall to keep track of how many Pagan Babies they had “bought.” Not sure what that was all about but I felt good doing it.

Lent also conjures up memories of the confessional. We were taken to confession during the school week more frequently during Lent. I can still hear the ominous swoosh of the screen when the priest slid it open. My palms are sweating just thinking about it.

And those little red Stations of the Cross booklets…priceless.

The best part of Lent as a kid was that it meant all you can eat fish fry on Fridays at the Howard Johnson restaurant near our house in Chicago. I know a Friday fish fry isn’t a big deal to you native Wisconsinites who grew up on beer battered cod, potato pancakes, and rye bread but to us from south of the border it was a delicacy. Not to mention the salt water taffy for dessert.

The overarching feeling behind these memories was and is one of holiness. Even if I didn’t understand or particularly care for some of the Lenten rituals, I knew there was something very special, very sacred about these weeks leading up to Easter. That feeling has grown exponentially as I have grown in my faith. Lent has become my favorite season of the Church year.

It’s a time to acknowledge the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf out of an incredible love for each of us. And to respond to that love and sacrifice with our own sacrifices and expressions of love to others.
It’s a time to take a look inward and truthfully face our sinfulness, repent and accept the mercy and forgiveness that is there for the asking. That is there because of Jesus’ selfless act.

It’s a time to grieve. Many years ago I attended Good Friday services at a local church and a woman came into the pew I was in and whispered “Could you please move over a bit, you are in my spot and I grieve better in my usual spot.” I reluctantly moved over. Once I got over the initial feelings of confusion and incredulity I realized the profound nature of her request. She knew Jesus so intimately that she grieved every Good Friday like she would for a dear friend or family member. I didn’t know what that felt like, to know Jesus that way. I didn’t know that was even possible. I do now.

Join me this Lent on a journey to Jesus. If you’re looking for something to give up for Lent, give up your Friday mornings and join us weekly at Firstfruits for Mary’s Way of the Cross starting February 16. Experience the crucifixion and death of Jesus through the eyes of the one who gave him life. For more details visit our website at

Make this Lent one to remember.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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