“Lord, let us stop all the violence and let society love each other as we love each other here,” said Denise Wiltz at a recent weekly meeting of the Monday Morning Bible Study group in Marrero.
Every Monday morning since 1978, faithful West Bank residents – Catholic and Christian alike – have joined hands to learn more about Christianity using the Bible.
Margaret Andrus now hosts the Monday Morning Bible Study, but it was her sister-in-law, Beverly Burregi, who originated the group.
“I was interested in learning about the Bible,” Andrus said about joining the group in the mid-1980s. “You hear (Gospel readings) in church, but (with this) you get into the Bible. I’ve been attending Bible study since the 1980s. It’s been a long time.”
She says the Bible study today has a dozen or so regular attendees and has been led by Sister of the Living Word Angela Ashbey since 2004. A former teacher who now lives in Wynhoven Apartments, Sister Angela assigns readings to members each week. This way everyone comes prepared and can contribute thoughts and knowledge of passages. She tries to relate the day’s lessons to current-day situations.
Apostle to the Gentiles
A recent exercise during the Bible study had members discussing St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians discussing defense of his ministry.
“Sometimes you have to defend what you do,” Sister Angela said. “It’s all about intention, and Paul always had a good intention. He is all about the covenant. … We don’t always see it, but everywhere you go you have opportunities to see God and serve God.”
Another time, participants reflected on spiritual gifts and chimed in on gifts they saw in each other.
“When she did the spiritual gifts, we got to know each other in and out,” member Beverly Trahan said. “We shared with everybody, and we couldn’t be any closer than we are.”
“That’s a time when we were really digging in,” said Lydia Hunter. “(Sister Angela) really wants us to live the Scripture.”
“That’s why my order is called Sisters of the Living Word,” Sister Angela said, adding how she conducts three separate Bible studies. “We want them to live out the scriptures every day.”
“Sister is so thorough,” Trahan said. “Sometimes we spend 1 1/2 hours on a verse. Sometimes it goes fast.”
Each week starts off with singing from a book of songs originally compiled by members Hilda Orgeron and her daughter Beth and added to by Steve Tomino. Individuals also reveal intentions and people for whom they pray.
“Everybody is part of this and volunteers and does good works for the group,” Sister Angela said.
Members Trahan, Hunter, Tomino, Sister Angela, Denise Wiltz, Theresa Rodrigue, Garland Klibert and Jean Stater attended a recent session. Their love for each other was demonstrated in rallying around a member struggling with a personal issue.
Tomino discovered the group a few years ago in his parish bulletin and enjoys the fellowship and knowledge he’s gained since attending.
“I get a lot of understanding of the Bible,” he said. “There were a lot of things I didn’t understand, and it has come to light since I came here.”
Sister Angela informs members about current Catholic events. Monetary contributions from the group go to St. Vincent de Paul and other causes that members discover. The Bible group has helped Wynhoven Apartments and people with Alzheimer’s.
Members said they are blessed to have each other in this weekly get-together.
“Anybody who grows up in a Christian family is blessed,” Wiltz said. “Some families don’t have that foundation and are lost until a member of the family finds the faith.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.