Monday, July 31, 2006

GR6: Holy Young Ladies

GR6 was, as expected, wonderful. It was the largest group of girls we've ever had and each of them was beautiful in body, mind and spirit. Each of them was happy to be there and engaged in everything. There was literally not one complaint the whole retreat - and this retreat is HARDCORE. We prayed Liturgy of the Hours 4 times daily, went to Mass and confession, prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet, and spent countless hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

We started out the retreat with a fun event. We went to Magic Time Machine which was a lot of fun for everyone - especially since only about four of us had ever been before (we had a group of about 20 in total - volunteers and retreatants together). We were in the school room with Waldo as our waiter... who WOULDN'T have fun?

The second day of the retreat was Desert Day. The girls did so well with it too! Desert Day, for those unfamiliar with it, is a day of solitude. You spend quiet time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak to you in whatever way He desires. You focus your time on hushing yourself - in body, mind and spirit.

Desert Day was taught to us by the brothers of the Community of St. John in Laredo. On a lenten retreat, many many many years ago, we were supposed to be doing work in Mexico. Unfortunately, none of us were expecting to have to pay as much as they were asking to cross the border. So our leaders went to the brothers and asked them what they were doing. They told them they were having their Desert Day and explained what it was. That's all it took. We too had desert day that next day and the rest is history.

We told the girls the night before all about it and had a good laugh about it before saying, "No. Seriously." Some of them looked a little panicked but they handled it with grace. They were all very respectful of each other and the intimate conversations each of them was having with the Lord. As with every other desert day, there were many beautiful testimonies. Each of them learned something powerful from their quiet time and they were all very eager to do it again! (Praise God!)

The next day begun our series of talks and they were all very good. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, we had talks on our patron saint, Saint Maria Goretti, ettiquette, Servant of God John Paul the Great's Letter to Women, discernment, just saying no, and of course, 'what now?' We never could stick to the scheduled time slots but it was okay because the discussions we had were very, very good. We discussed those things which needed to be discussed and it really gave the ladies a chance to open up and get real about issues in their lives.

Saturday night we had a BEAUTIFUL night. It was all-night adoration! We each signed up for 30 minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament. (We would have taken more time if we had had it! With so many young ladies, we just didn't have time!) Each girl would go in for her 30 minutes and, when her time was up, wake the next girl for her time with Jesus. It was awesome to know that you were the only one awake with Christ. You and Him... alone. SO GREAT! What was even better than my time with Him? Knowing that each of the girls enjoyed it immensely! What holy young ladies!

The 'What Now?' talk is the VERY last part of the retreat and is when we all make commitments to ourselves and to God. We take what we learned on the retreat and commit to making it a part of our lives. It was so beautiful to see the huge revelations that took place in such a short amount of time. No commitment was small because each was huge in that person's life. It is very moving to see the love these girls had for themselves and for their God - what levels of respect!

Honestly, I could go on for a while talking about the retreat and how very wonderful it was. I'll let what I've said already be it for now. Let me thank each of you that prayed for us. Know that I prayed in thanksgiving for you all during Mass on Sunday and I praise God for that blessing.


Blogger Julie D. said...

It sounds wonderful ... thanks for the report! :-)

8/01/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

It sounded like a very wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your retreat with us.

8/01/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you for your report. I enjoyed reading. It is little wonder that you all had a good time.

8/02/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

It's great to have you back, Laura, and even better to hear about your retreat first-hand. It inspired a lot of questions in me (such as, wow, a desert day, why not try that?) and it also made me smile because I'm reading this as I'm just back from my middle-of-the-night (well, to me it's first-thing-in-the-morning, 4 AM) hour of Adoration... :)

8/04/2006 04:44:00 AM  

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