The Annual MOM’s Retreat

The article below is an excerpt taken from “And The Truth Shall Set You Free,” a weekly podcast series hosted by Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP. The producer of the series was GoLEDigital, a digital community created by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

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Today, I want to speak to you women in particular; even more particularly, I want to speak to moms. Everything about us was created in such a fashion that we would give life, nourish life, sustain life, and be that maternal presence in a world that always needs the tenderness of a woman’s heart. In his Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II gave us the beauty and layout of a family, and we can take much from that. But what role specifically does a mom play?

I wanted to focus on moms and on a particular gift that my community offers: a retreat set up just for mothers. Young women are not to come to it. Men certainly aren’t to attend. Nobody except those who identify as a mom. I don’t necessarily mean that you need to be married, nor that you have to have had physical children. That’s beautiful, but I mean any woman who has already discerned God’s plan, is already living her vocation, and has the spiritual, maternal aspect of mother Mary’s heart.

We women are so other-oriented. We really do, many times, think of others before ourselves.

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I think women in general are very overworked. That’s why, early on in the history of our community, we began a once-a-year women’s retreat. Additionally, as we’ve mentioned in other posts, we have three retreats for young women discerning whatever their vocation desires of them. However, this particular retreat is called The Moms’ Retreat, and it is designed just for moms.

Why did we start these? Actually, it came from moms, who requested them after seeing the wonder and usefulness in their daughter’s retreats. This request touched our hearts very intimately, and we were so happy to create one.

We set it up to take place in December of each year. Why December? Because the mothers requested that the retreat be part of Advent preparation, this beautiful season of the Incarnation when Christ was born from the womb of the Blessed Mother. This season has the power to connect us women, yet we are often too exhausted to appreciate it, waiting to connect until the relatives go home and things settle back to normalcy. To capitalize on the potential to bring us together, and to help muster up the endurance for the speed of the holidays, we determined the very first Saturday and Sunday of December is the perfect time for a retreat.  

Similar to the young women’s discernment retreats, it begins on Saturday and ends on Sunday. The Moms’ Retreat has become very popular and fills up quickly; so if you’re watching, reading, or listening to this, make sure to make a note that registration opens online at SistersofMary.org, every year on October 1st—the Feast of the Little Flower, St. Therese, The Child Jesus. I guarantee you that within 24 hours, the retreat will be fully booked with 180 women registered and 180 on the waiting list.  

As women, I think we have to keep learning and remind ourselves to keep pursuing the activity inside our hearts. We must learn how to love beyond what is present at this moment and follow our children throughout their lives in a spiritual manner. The only way we can do this is to become deep women of prayer, women of such prayer that at any moment, we can think of Mary and know that Mary is with us, Mary understands. She is giving us the strength just as the Holy Spirit had to give it to her. And if we meditate on Mary’s life and heart, then we find the ability to be strong in the face of crisis.

Therefore, at the end of the retreat, each woman is given a litany of the Blessed Mother and keeps it for the year. That becomes a reminder to take time for herself, to pray, and to realize that, while she is not God and not even the Blessed Mother, they are both with her to provide strength when she is tired and exhausted.

Remember that the beauty and the dignity of women was so great that God entrusted us with the ability to help Him bring His son into this world. Please do yourself a favor and look on SistersofMary.org on October 1st and sign up for our Moms’ Retreat. Thank you.

About:

Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP is a Foundress and Vocations Director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Her podcast “And The Truth Shall Set You Free” can be downloaded every Friday at 1:00 p.m. EST from iTunes. The podcast can be seen on YouTube at GoLEDigital.

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