Fr. Michael Lee celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Friday, October 31, for the feast of Blessed Theodore Romzha, Mother Theodora’s patron. Fr. Michael’s talk after lunch set the young women at ease in the midst of their discernment struggles and set the tone for the rest of the weekend. He explained that the purpose of life is union with God, and in discernment, “God isn’t focused on the answer; He’s focused on you. If you’re face to face with God, you can relax and let Him do the work.” He said that we are each called to be the bride of God; the question is simply “where?” He also explained that God’s voice says, “‘Be with Me,’ ‘be not afraid’ or ‘I love you,’ and anything that is not fundamentally one of those things is not God’s voice.”
We also gave talks throughout the weekend. Sr. Cecilia spoke about the development of monastic life in the Church and about the ways that monastics are “reference points for all the baptized” (St. John Paul II, Orientale Lumen). Sr. Gabriella shared her vocation story. Mother Theodora spoke about the vocation of monastic life as a call to enter into the heart of Christ.
The retreat was a peaceful harmony of talks, prayer and community time, which allowed us just as much as the retreatants to pause from the usual daily work and to listen to God’s voice and to rest in Him. We were all inspired by the film “Bakhita,” the story of a slave from Africa who allowed the abusive experiences of her life to make her a saint instead of a bitter person. On Saturday evening, we all experienced healing through the Mystery of Holy Repentance.
Selina Melancon, who traveled from Las Vegas, described her experience at the monastery: “The Sisters’ gift to the Lord of hospitality to the weary and burdened makes the monastery the true home of each soul that enters. To pray and live among the Sisters is to dwell in the safety of the Bridegroom’s Divine Heart: as a guest there, I immediately felt a member of the family.”
Elizabeth Hofmeister, from Greenwood, Ind., succinctly explained the truth that was uncovered in her heart: “I learned the most important ‘secret’ ever!...That true discernment isn't forcing God to tell us what His will is, but drawing so close to Him that we will just know through our relationship with Him. We don’t need to worry about anything, but simply look at Our Lord and fall more in love with Him as we let Him work on us and perfect us.”
Please pray for these young women and for all who are discerning a call to the monastic life. Click here to view more photos from the retreat.