Guizar and her team also started branching out on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - to help foster that sense of community and to impact women wherever they might be.
As a blogger, Guizar said she realized how many women - young and old, married and single - felt isolated and would turn to blogs and other online sources for community.
“I think women feel isolated a lot of the time, they feel alone, not only people in remote areas who are actually living in isolation but even in metropolitan cities where they feel like it’s hard to meet other Catholics,” she said.
“And I realized that in the online world, people would say, ‘I’m blogging and I’ve finally found this community that I’ve been searching for,’” she said.
“So I wanted it to be a space where there you could feel comfortable being yourself and you know that the person across from you or the person looking at their screen across from you on the internet thousands and thousands of miles away believes in the same things that you do and has the same goals that you do, which is ultimately to get to heaven,” she said.
Since it’s founding, the ministry has really taken off - Guizar’s team now includes 40+ writers, with more than 9,000 subscribers to the daily e-mail and tens of thousands of visitors to the website every day.
The explosion of the ministry has made possible some in-person meet-ups as well - Blessed is She now has regional facebook groups where women can connect to other women in their area, and plan get togethers or “Blessed Brunches”, a potluck brunch where women can meet in person, pray together and form a deeper community.
“If you’re a woman who likes to avoid social media then we want to meet you in real life; if you’re someone who can only be on social media because you’re in a remote part of the country then you can have that female community and that female presence in your life to be able to walk with you on your journey in faith,” Guizar said.
The Blessed is She team has also seen the impact the ministry has had on women through various testimonies that come to them through e-mail and social media.
“One of my favorite testimonies was a woman who was vacillating about coming into the Church and who had kind of started RCIA, but once she found BIS and got plugged into the community she saw that there were other people living out this faith and she wasn’t alone on the journey,” Guizar said. “She’s now baptized and a Catholic convert.”
This past Lent, Blessed is She rolled out a Lenten workbook - part journal, part Lenten checklist - that sold out again and again in print, though an online version is still available.
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“It just was really amazing to see this sort of confirmation in these women saying I want this and I need this for my prayer life because it’s confirming that I’m not alone in wanting and needing that for myself,” Guizar said.
Blessed is She also hosted its first-ever retreat during Lent in Tempe, Ariz., with talks for women from all walks of life and worship led by Ike Ndolo and Rachel Lebeau.
In the future, Guizar hopes to create an app for the ministry, to create more online materials for small-group bible studies, and to possibly help launch a men’s edition.
For now, she said she’s grateful to be a part of something that is helping so many women grow in their relationship with Christ.
“I’m really grateful to be given this opportunity to serve and I try to maintain my gratitude, even when it’s tough and even when it’s a lot of work, that I am a humble servant to what BIS is doing for women and for me.”
A version of this article was originally published on CNA Feb. 14, 2016.