The recently held 8th Annual Women of Grace Retreat at Malvern Retreat House and Benedicta Leadership Institute were an overwhelming success!
Speakers included Johnnette Benkovic, Fr. Philip Scott, F.J., Patti Gallagher Mansfield, Susan Brinkmann, O.C.D.S. and Carol Marquardt who each gave wonderful messages of hope and inspiration, the fruits of which are still unfolding. Our guests of highest honor were the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit who were present with us in palpable and life-changing ways throughout the weekend.
A very special moment during the retreat was the beautiful ceremony of installation for our three newest Women of Grace Regional Coordinators, Brenda Dooley, Lynn O’Connor and Christine Arnold. Our Regional Coordinators are women who began as volunteer facilitators. Through their deep commitment to our mission to “transform the world one woman at a time,” they have said “YES” to the call to expand the tent pegs of Women of Grace throughout their region and to train and equip other facilitators. We are so grateful for their partnership with us. We ask God to bless them with special grace for the work to which they have been entrusted.
Below is a reflection that was shared by Regional Coordinator, Nancy Elhajj, and some pictures that we have received from women who were in attendance.
“I am coming down to earth after the exhilarating and exhausting weekend at Malvern. To those of you who could not be there, you were missed but thank you for supporting all the participants in prayer. You and your families were in our prayers as well.
I was delighted to see so many younger women with their boundless energy and enthusiasm. Their joy was contagious.
We were all impressed with the 300 plus women who were and the number of states-and Canada-that were represented this year.
The weekend was life-changing, healing, and grace filled. There was a palpable presence of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints. Fr. Scott said Mass in his usual reverent way. The speakers were outstanding and the dedicated Women of Grace staff did a great job.
God in His generosity gave us plenty of opportunities for growing in both patience and humility.
My glasses broke as soon as I got there, I forgot one of my pairs of slacks, even though I had been packed days ahead, people got lost on the way, lost their keys or wallets, couldn’t find their cars, spilled coffee on themselves and others, someone stepped into the spigot for the water cooler and gallons of water spilled out in the hallway near the bathroom. There was a universal case of sleep deprivation.
I would not have changed any of it.
I am looking forward to being on the phone with many of you for the Facilitator Network Conference call next Wed. August 14 at 8 pm.
In the meantime, know that you and your loved ones are in my daily prayers at Mass and during the Rosary.
Love and blessings,