A Joy Filled Experience
by Mary Maher
Last year the “Lifelong Formation Coordinator” for Vicariate I approached the consecrated women working at a local parish with a request for help. This woman is charged with the ongoing formation of over 200 “lay leaders” in over 50 parishes within the Archdiocese of Chicago. She asked the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi (CRC) to develop and direct a program of spiritual development and accompaniment for these parish leaders, so they in turn could be more effective spiritual leaders in their own parishes. Although these lay leaders are employed by the Church, most of them struggle to find time and support for their own spiritual growth.
This year five consecrated women from the Chicago CRC community will be present at their monthly leadership training sessions to offer spiritual and apostolic formation, and on-site spiritual direction.
The kick-off event was a “FAITHLIFT” retreat day on Tuesday August 21. Over fifty lay leaders attended the retreat. The comments they made in person and in their written evaluations expressed a deep experience of God, a rekindling of hope, a desire for accompaniment in their spiritual journey, and gratitude for our vocation as consecrated women. Here are some of their comments:
“Today I was able to take off my ministry hat, and I myself was ministered to – thank you!”
“I really needed this retreat NOW. Thank you for lifting us up to God and giving us hope, in the midst of a very tough time for our Church.”
“I have been looking for a spiritual director for a long time. Usually the retreat directors come for a day and then we never see them again. I’m so grateful you will be here every month and are willing to walk with us.”
“God really spoke to me today, this retreat was exactly what I needed!”
Although it’s just the beginning, we can already sense the fruits of our focused and unifying apostolic experience at the service of the local Church.
Please keep us in your prayers as we share our charism with these dedicated parish leaders!