2016 Annual Retreat Day

The 2016 companion retreat was held in early March. Companions and sisters came from various areas on the east coast, including Baltimore, Wilmington, Trenton, Emmitsburg, and various parts of Pennsylvania. Retreatants arrived, signed in, and headed for the ABC Room to enjoy a continental breakfast. Many were drawn to the table display that had all the earmarks of a flea market—CDs, cassette tapes, books—you name it! In the middle of these items sat two beautifully arranged and packaged gift baskets inviting attendees to “come take a chance.” As in previous years, the baskets were the handiwork and the contribution of companions Pat Langan and Nancy Opalski. The goal of both the raffle and the flea market was to provide scholarship funds for companions who might wish to attend the yearly retreat but who might need assistance with funding.

< At the opening of the retreat, Sr. Rose Mary Eve invited everyone to join her in singing “In the Footprints of Jesus.”

Sr. Rose Mary Eve Holter was the presenter for this year’s retreat and in true “Rose Mary Style,” she developed the theme of “Living in the Heart of God’s Mercy” in ways that touched hearts and opened minds. Throughout the day Sr. Rose Mary used music, shared her own personal story, provided quiet time, allowed time for personal reflection, and suggested resources that attendees could investigate for further input. Throughout the day her presentation provided what can only be identified as “nuggets of wisdom”—concepts that each of us might carry away in notes or in our hearts for further reflection. The following are just a sampling of these seemingly simple but deeply meaningful concepts that found their way into my notes.

  • Mercy is the bedrock of who we are as Christians and as Franciscan women.
  • Part of mercy is being aware of those who are walking around wounded.
  • Mercy needs to be in our bones and in the cracks of our being.
  • Jesus is the mercy of God in flesh—in skin and bones.
  • We need to build people up.
  • Part of the conversion process is to be merciful to the “me” that is now.

Ann Marie Slavin, OSF