Johnnette addresses Women of Grace Retreat participants
by Anne Gerard
My first‑ever experience attending the Women of Grace Retreat at The Malvern Retreat House was, in a word — AMAZING! The grounds of the center are tranquil and inviting, lending itself beautifully to assist the attendees in having an enriching and fulfilling experience.
This year’s Women of Grace® Retreat, which will be held from July 17-19 on the historic 120-acre campus of Orchard Lake Schools in Orchard Lake, Michigan, is the ideal setting for an encounter with the Architect of your life.
Entitled, "My Grace is Sufficient for You: Woman and God's Divine Plan," this retreat will feature Johnnette Benkovic, Fr. Philip Scott, FJ and Dr. Monica Miller in an intensive three-day immersion in what it means to be a daughter of God, and how to live out that call in this our day and time. These restful grounds, which were so dear to the heart of St. John Paul II, are the perfect place to escape the world and acquire the spiritual and emotional nourishment you need in order to empower you to engage in the unique cultural battles of our time.
“The Women of Grace Retreat always awakens what has been hiding inside of me,” says Mary Dillenback of Fishers Landing, New York. “I leave with renewed courage and joy – grateful to know I am a daughter of the Most High God and that much closer to who God needs me to be!” The retreat will be preceded by the Benedicta Leadership Institute for Women onJuly 16 – 17. Johnnette and Dr. Miller will discuss, “The Authority of Woman: Her Influence, Effect, and Power."
As you may know, the Women of Grace 5th Annual Retreat was held at Malvern Retreat House the weekend of July 23-25. It was preceded by the Women of Grace Leadership Institute on July 22, ending mid- afternoon on the 23rd. Both events were abundantly blessed and I am delighted in the receptivity of heart so apparent in the women who attended. If you weren't able to make it this year, I just wanted to give you a little taste of what the retreat was like so you will seriosly consider coming next year.
Our guest presenter for the retreat was Dr. Edward Sri, Provost of the Augustine Institute in the Archdiocese of Denver. Father Edmund Sylvia, C.S.C. and myself were the retreat directors. The theme was “The Mysteries of Mary: Hope, Healing, and New Life.” We have copies of the retreat talks available for you on CD.
I was personally inspired by Dr. Sri’s discussion of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and his enlightening discussion of the marriage feast of Cana. In both instances, I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to enter more deeply into the call and mission God has entrusted to me and to surrender more fully to His Holy Will. I am confident you, too, will experience the power of the Holy Spirit as you listen to Dr. Sri’s presentations.
The Scripture passages we were led to consider throughout the retreat, in the order they were given, are the following:
Jeremiah 1: 5-10
2 Chronicles 7:14
Throughout the retreat the women were encouraged to be the prophetic voice of this our day and time and to step boldly into the mission which God has entrusted to them. Reminding them of the Closing Message to Women from the 2nd Vatican Council, the women were exhorted to “reconcile men with life” and to “save the peace of the world” as the Council Fathers told them only they can do. A big mission to be sure, but a mission that can be accomplished, “for with God, nothing is impossible.”
I suggest you pray the passages the women received at the retreat, see what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, and give your “fiat” to the Lord as did Our Lady. The salvation of the world depends on it.
Like most retreats, the end came too soon and we had to leave our mountaintop experience and return to the realities of everyday living. I am certain that we have all been refueled for the certain challenges which lie ahead. I hope that you too will consider joining us next year for this beautiful retreat experience!
Our next event is the Women of Grace National "Healed for Holiness" Conference , Hyatt Regency Hotel, Sacramento California, September 17-19, preceded by the Leadership Institute September 16 -17 (mid-afternoon). You won't want to miss this faith-filled opportunity!
Enjoy a few pictures from the retreat. If you'd like to see them all, visit my Facebook page.