Why you want to know Angie Elser: Angie, the mother of seminarian Stephen Elser, founded the prayer group MOMMS — Mothers of Major and Minor Seminarians — to pray for the intentions of each seminarian every day. She is an hourly captain for perpetual adoration, a member of the women’s Bible study group “Walking with Purpose,” a founding committee member for the Taste of Faith annual dinner to raise money for seminarians and attends daily Mass. Elser is a breast cancer survivor and enjoys collaborating on artwork with fellow parishioner Vicki Kovaleski.
Parish: Christ the King
City: Little Rock
Family: Six children, Stephen, 26, studying at St. Meinrad Seminary Indiana; Ashley, 22, UAMS Medical School, Little Rock; Jonathan, 19, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; Christopher, 17, Catholic High School, Little Rock; Anne-Marie, 15, Mount St. Mary Academy, Little Rock; and Michael, 12, Christ the King School, Little Rock.
IN HER OWN WORDS
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “The Truth will set you free.” What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
For me it’s Proverbs 16:9, “In his mind a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I just like that because it allows me to have so much faith and trust in God and place my focus on him and to follow his will.
You’re a single mom to six. How do you balance the household while still making sure they have a strong faith foundation?
We try to do nightly prayers together regardless of what activity they have or what kind of homework or projects they have. We’ve always gathered together to say an evening prayer. So we just finished with the chaplet to Divine Mercy. We do litanies to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
You were diagnosed in 2008 with cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma). Today, your breast cancer is in remission. How did you handle that diagnosis and the treatments?
It was a challenge because I truly, truly had to put all my trust and faith in God because I realized I had no control over what happened inside my body. So I just had to leave all that in God’s hands. I also had to allow other people to care for me. Being a mom of so many kids, you tend to want to be a supermom. You just have to take the cape off and let people help you and know that’s part of their spiritual journey as well to help others.
Why did you start MOMMS?
MOMMS developed because I wanted to guarantee my son would be covered in prayer every day in his journey toward the altar. I contacted Evelyn Hart (mother of seminarian Deacon Stephen Hart) and then from there we developed the prayer watch … Each mom signs up for a certain day during the week so that every day is covered. These are the moms of seminarians. We say a prayer, it can be a Hail Mary, a rosary, a Mass, adoration hour, but it’s all for the intentions of each seminarian.
What has been your experience as the mother of a seminarian?
I’m so humbled and in awe that my son was able to have the faith and courage to say “yes, I want to discern a vocation to the priesthood,” and good Lord willing he’ll be ordained a deacon this month and a priest the following May 26, 2018.
What would be your advice to parents who might be apprehensive if their son said “I want to be a priest”?
I think that it’s between their son and God. So you have to let them discern that. It’s not what the mom wants, it’s not what the dad wants, it’s what God wants for that young man and the ability of their son to answer yes to that call.
What are your hobbies?
I love music so I play the piano. All my six children play the piano. I love art. I collaborated with Vicki Kovaleski on some artwork. A beautiful piece we did was the Blessed Mother in Honduras and she actually did the artwork, and I did the collaging of it. That was to benefit our Faithful Friends cancer group here at the church. We sell the pieces and we also have a card line. It’s called Peace by Piece … because each collage to piece, you’re thinking in your mind as you put it together (it) gives you a sense of peace. We do sell them, but I’d love to start selling them to benefit the seminarian fund. (Information is available at kovaleskistudio.com/peace or )
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