By KATIE BORKOWSKI
POCAHONTAS – The Magnificat Northwest Iowa Chapter – Mary Undoer of Knots gathered on June 10 at Resurrection of Our Lord Church to hear the faith story of an Iowa native.
Denise Bossert, who now resides in the St. Louis area, was the speaker for the gathering. She entered the Catholic Church in 2005 and worked as a syndicated columnist for diocesan newspapers from 2005-2015. She is the author of the book Gifts of the Visitation and has traveled to the Holy Land numerous times. She speaks to parishes on topics including conversion, evangelization, the Blessed Mother and faith travel.
Bossert, the daughter of a Protestant minister, is the granddaughter of an Iowa farmer and a Wisconsin farmer. When she was young, until fourth grade, her father was a Wesleyan pastor. After the passing of her Iowa grandfather, the family moved to the farm and her father farmed for about a year. At that time there were two yoked Presbyterian churches in the area and Bossert’s father became a Presbyterian pastor.
“It is a joy to be back in my home state,” she said. “The joy is made complete when I can share my journey of faith being the daughter of Iowa and coming into the church.”
As Catholics, Bossert pointed out, there are prayers for conversion all the time.
“We pray people will come to know the truth of the Eucharist and who our Lord is in the Eucharist,” she said. “We sometimes don’t see or hear about the answers to those prayers. I am living testimony to the answer of those prayers. Catholic Iowans prayed for decades for conversions. Many of them will never know that there was a little preacher’s daughter who was a little Iowan, who never had it on her radar to become Catholic, but ended up becoming a convert.”
Bossert gave a glimpse of her conversion story and how someone raised in a Protestant minister’s home comes “to know Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that his church is the Catholic Church with the fullness of the faith.”
She had a continuous desire to be baptized and receive holy communion, but Bossert wasn’t old enough.
“The Holy Spirit wanted to help me receive these things my heart was longing for,” she said. “Sometimes they come in packages we don’t expect.”
When her father became a Presbyterian pastor, they realized Presbyterians believe in infant baptism, so Bossert was baptized.
“Not everyone believes the same thing,” she said. “If you believe one thing, you go to one church. If you believe another thing, you go to another church. We never thought we should become Catholic. Jesus Christ came to establish a real church, not a denomination that was started in the 1900s.”
Called to evangelize
Bossert encouraged the women to be able to tell someone why they are Catholic in two words, two minutes or 20 minutes.
“We are all called to evangelize. You never know how much time you are going to get with somebody,” said the speaker. “My two-word evangelization – the Eucharist. It would be enough if there were nothing else in the treasure chest.”
Throughout her life, Bossert encountered Catholics, writings from saints and other experiences that led her to know she had to become Catholic.
“There was only one place where all of it is at our finger tips – the Catholic Church,” said Bossert. “You are called at every age to share what you have received. If every woman would get that, I could come back in a year and you would be telling me of the people who were at Easter vigil, who came into the church because you couldn’t shut up about it.”
Bossert compelled the women to let “him be in your mind. Let him be on your lips so quick that it is easy to share. Let it burn with zeal in your heart so much that like Mary, you have to find the Elizabeth in your world and you have to talk about it.”
The next Magnificat gathering is planned for Sept. 30 in Pocahontas. The speaker is still to be determined, said Julie Storr, coordinator of this Magnificat chapter.
“It’s always an adventure to see who God brings together,” she noted. “There is nothing more powerful than when women getting together to pray.”
Other Magnificat board members in the diocese include Deb Troshynski as the assistant coordinator and historian and Michelle Leiting is the secretary/treasurer.
“We could use a music minister,” Storr said. “If you don’t mind using a spreadsheet, we could use someone to help with the mailing list. We only have four meals a year, so if there is something in your heart that you know you can do for Magnificat, we will not turn you down. If you have a ministry, share it.”
Learn more about the ministry by going to Magnificat-Ministry.net or check them out on Facebook. Bossert’s talk was recorded. For information about how to access the recording, contact one of the Magnificat board members.