This summary of the SDCCW retreat was provided by SDCCW president-elect Jane Schiszik.
A beautiful fall day, beaming with sunshine and warm hospitality, greeted 61 women from parishes in the Diocese of Superior as they gathered for the Superior Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s Fall Retreat.
The retreat was held Saturday, Oct. 26, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Cameron.
The day’s activities began with a prayer led by the newly appointed spiritual advisor, Fr. Jim Brinkman. Several past SDCCW presidents were recognized as well as current members of the SDCCW Board.
“Phenomenal,” “inspiring” and “thought-provoking” were a few of the comments received on evaluations describing speaker Danielle Hendricks’ presentation.
Both the morning and afternoon presentations were centered on prayer and based on Ephesians 4: 11-16 – how Catholic women are called to have a unified voice, meet the needs of the times and grow others in the ministry of Christ by building up the body of Christ.
Hendricks asked and answered the question of why Catholic women answer this call: We are called to be saints, and we choose to consistently and repeatedly choose Christ over and over again.
The speaker further explained when we truly know ourselves and we understand and recognize our gifts, we’re able to build a relationship with Christ. Using the gifts of the Holy Spirit enables us to grow in our faith and come to know Jesus by developing and forming an authentic relationship and friendship with Christ. This authenticity means we bring ourselves and we bring Christ to others.
Catholic women need to reach out, she said. We are part of a group, a community – which also defines us as a person. It is a call to be church. To be women of the Church.
Hendricks likened this experience – knowing and using one’s gifts, building a relationship with Jesus, and growing in faith – to the act of “breathing in.”
In the afternoon session, the speaker explained how the act of “breathing out” describes our work of bringing Christ to others. The action we perform is how we become the missionary disciples Christ called us to be. Hendricks shared her missionary experiences to India and El Salvador and further defined “breathing out” as the outreach, the ministry and service we do for others.
Simply acknowledging people, showing them dignity, and letting them know they are loved will do much to combat loneliness, one of the greatest poverties in today’s world.
Other highlights of the day included the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation; Mass concelebrated by Fr. Brinkman and Fr. Balaraju Policetty; a luncheon provided by the ladies of St. Peter’s Altar Society; and the retreat’s culmination in the praying of the rosary.