The Birth of Magnificat Rochester
God planted a seed in the heart and mind of a spirit-filled woman named Gert Amesbury from St. Pius X parish in the Rochester, NY Diocese. She learned of Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women, from a program shown on the Catholic TV Network EWTN. With great enthusiasm, she began the work to establish Magnificat in Rochester. After facing many obstacles, Gert concluded that perhaps the time was not yet right for Rochester. Many years later, another spirit-filled woman, Pat Smith, rediscovered Magnificat while vacationing in Florida and was inspired to bring it back home to Rochester.
In October 1997, a small group of women, including Gert and Pat, came together to form a service team to study the Magnificat movement and to establish the necessary criteria for diocesan approval and incorporation with the National Team. After much study, prayer, and discernment by the women of the Service Team, Bishop Matthew Clark approved Magnificat-Rochester on June 5, 1998.
The team met weekly in prayer, song, personal sharing, and the rosary and soon the Holy Spirit’s gifts became evident as each woman discovered what responsibility the Lord wanted her to take up. In 1999, a letter was sent out to 40 women inviting them to join in this mission. Although only one woman responded, the team moved forward to plan a retreat focused on how the Holy Spirit works in the Church and in our lives. Thirty women attended and they became the base upon which the team began to build. Some of the team attended a retreat at Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, and they brought back inspiration from the Holy Spirit in the form a scripture passage (Luke 5:4-11): “put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Armed with this scripture passage, two members of the Service Team went to Mario’s Restaurant to book a date for the first Magnificat-Rochester breakfast. With no money, they stepped out in faith, trusted the Holy Spirit, booked the space, and began planning. That first breakfast had 240 guests and the room was full to overflowing. Their nets were full.
Each Event provides its own miracles and inspiration to the women of the Rochester Diocese.