Endow Retreat with Carmelites
“What is the unique ray of beauty that God wants you to radiate to the world?”
On October 27th in Southern California, the Endow team joined with the Carmelite Sisters of Alhambra to offer a retreat centered on "The Heart of the Church: the Centrality of Women in the Family of God." The day included Mass in the Chapel of Sacred Heart Retreat House, time with the Carmelite Sisters and talks on our role as Catholic women in the Church and our communities.
Here's the recap:
Mallory Smyth, Director of Program Growth for Endow, started off our morning examining what it means to live as a daughter of God, the King of the Universe. As women, we tend to identify ourselves by what we lack. We repeat lies and begin to believe them. What are the lies that you believe define you? Maybe it is that you are not beautiful enough, that you are not generous enough. God wants to shine His light on these lies so that we are able to rest in the reality of our dignity as fully and wholly loved. Bring these lies to prayer this week!
Sister Faustina Deppe OCD, Principal of Sts. Peter and Paul School in Colorado, next spoke to us about beauty. She talked about the difference between saying that someone is "beautiful" versus "pretty". These words do not mean the same thing – it is harder to call someone beautiful because it points to a higher reality. Beauty is not just skin deep. It radiates from a deeper and transcendent place. “Don’t be afraid to be beautiful!" Sr. Faustina reminded us, "the Church and the world need your beauty.” Sr. Faustina told us about the importance of knowing our beauty and that it is rooted in knowing God’s love for us. She asked us to contemplate: “What is the unique ray of beauty that God wants you to radiate to the world?”
Claire Dwyer, the Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation at St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, AZ, talked about the beauty of the Eucharist – the daily tangible reminder of God’s infinite goodness and love made manifest in the world. "Daily we bear God into the world." It is easy to forget that we have the real heart of the Church, the Bridegroom, ever present with us. Jesus does not ask us to live from the heart of the Church without giving his own heart to us – literally! Why do you think Eucharistic miracles are heart tissue? Because the Lord is always eager to remind us that when we receive him, we are heart-to-heart with him. This is where he desires us to be- as close to him as we can possibly be.
During the Q&A portion of the day, Sister Julianna reminded us of the importance of finding good community as we seek to know our beauty and share it. “Surround yourself with people who will help you be beautiful!” Sr. Julianna and Sr. Faustina reminded us that praying about our day just before we go to sleep, a prayer called the Examen, is central to deepening our understanding of God's love for us. During the Examen, with God we look back at our day to remember when he showed his love to us through the simple and unique occurrences we experience and receive.
Between these beautiful talks, adoration, confession, and joyful music from the Heart of Mary Band, the 150+ of us indeed returned home with a refreshed spirit and joy-filled hearts. One of our favorite things at Endow is to see women come alive through community and an encounter with the divine.
Need a retreat? For more about the Carmelites and their retreats, click here.