by Anne Gerard
My first‑ever experience attending the Women of Grace Retreat at The Malvern Retreat House was, in a word — AMAZING! The grounds of the center are tranquil and inviting, lending itself beautifully to assist the attendees in having an enriching and fulfilling experience.
But, it is the focus of the retreat, Women of Grace, the speakers and their content that provides the BANG! Each talk provides an opportunity for the listeners to learn more about scripture, the Catholic Faith, as well as their role in God’s Divine Plan for our world. One can’t help but come away empowered and confident in herself as a daughter of the Most‑High God.
The challenge however, is to maintain this new found understanding once we return to our everyday lives. I know for me, I said to my husband, “I’m glad to be home. But, I’m going to miss the environment.” What I meant by that is, I am going to miss the profound sense of sisterhood that is prevalent throughout the retreat. The sense of feeling that you are part of something greater than yourself, specifically, part of God’s Great Plan, can be felt by all in attendance to some degree.
Again, in my own experience, after I spoke those words to my husband, I heard the soft voice of the Spirit whisper to my heart, “Then create one (the environment of sisterhood) where you are.” And with those words, I know that I am to start a Women of Grace Foundational Study group in my area. At the moment, I have no idea of how to make that happen. But with all the graces that came along with my presence at the WOG Retreat, I have no worries that it will be done if it is God’s will.
Besides the whisper to my heart, I also came away with the knowledge that I had just experienced something special. As I’m sure every women did, I had moments of grace and clarity in my alone time during the retreat.
The Malvern Retreat House is a holy place where the Spirit of the Lord can be found by anyone looking and/or praying for It. During each of my private prayer times (twice on the grounds with a statue of Jesus and once in Adoration) I felt His Holy presence there with me. Each time, I felt His deep love and was moved to tears. Feeling the presence of the Lord is a blessing unlike any other. And, those moments will be with me always, just as Jesus Himself promises to be with each of us always. I‘ll take that!
For more information about upcoming Women of Grace events, please visit womenofgrace.com.