Discernment Retreat and the Visit of Pope Francis

D RetreaT 4[Provinces of Los Altos Hills and Saint Louise – USA] During the week-end of September 25 – 27 nine young women seriously discerned becoming Daughters of Charity along with four Postulants and pre-Postulants by participating in the weekend of activities in Philadelphia, PA for the visit of Pope Francis. One of the women shared her reflections on the experience:

” ‘Turn around’. It’s a phrase we heard a lot as we walked through Philadelphia on our discernment retreat, where the road closures were changing by the minute. Each time we heard this the 13 of us clad in our Sisterhoodie sweatshirts {note to translators – just say, “blue sweatshirts” here; “Sisterhoodie” was the logo on each of their sweatshirts} would stop, recalibrate, and readjust our course.

Those regular readjustments on our pilgrimage to see Pope Francis became an integral part in helping me come to see discernment as a pilgrimage. So many times on my path to discern God’s will I’ll run into a dead end just when I think I’ve got the directions figured out. “Nope. Turn around,” God says.

D Retreat 1It used to frustrate me. I’m prone to getting overwhelmed while trying to discern His will, and feeling like I’m constantly taking wrong turns. But this weekend I experienced first hand that no matter how many wrong turns we took, we always wound up where we were supposed to be.

Most of the time we found ourselves in situations better than what we could have imagined. Instead of camping out on the street the night before the Papal Mass, we found ourselves in a hotel only blocks away from where the mass would be celebrated. Instead of standing for hours during mass at a distance where the altar would have been a speck on the horizon, we were blessed with tickets that put us so close we could see the Holy Father consecrating the host.

Through these abundant blessings God instilled in me a sojourner’s patience. It’s a patience that comes from wandering without knowing what’s around the bend. It requires re-routing. It fosters humility.

But it taught me to wander confidently and without fear, because we know that whatever God has in store for us at the destination is so much grander than what we had in store for ourselves. It showed me to trust in His timing of whatever U-turns we might have to make. The surprising beauty of the destination will always overshadow the anxiety of the detours.

He gives us the grace to walk humbly but confidently as we pursue His path for us – a grace that’s developed through waiting. And above all, He gives us each other. With this we take comfort in knowing no matter what storms come our way or confusing road signs we encounter, we never walk alone.”

Kelsey Davis
Montgomery Advertiser | Court Reporter

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