The Living Water: My Thirst is Forever Quenched
In October 2023, a women’s retreat, Living Water, was hosted at St. Maurice Parish. The parish was generous in providing advertising, volunteers, clergy and ongoing support; therefore, as a retreat Organizing Team Member, I wanted to briefly share blessings from the day.
The Team noted in the communications prior to the retreat that our theme scripture pictured Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well, and He offered to give her the Living Water. Our invitation to women was to come and receive Jesus, the Living Water. We hoped for a fruitful time of fellowship and sisterhood. Finally, with each retreat delivered, the goal is to create strong ties among all generations of women.
Before the retreat, a schedule was designed to try to meet these ambitions. The Team discussed how to finesse the activities to lovingly meet women where they were at. A major blessing was the talents and vision of Megan Turland, who tailored her talks in response to the Holy Spirit’s direction. In October, she did a wonderful job delivering an impactful message! Teamwork allowed the essential behind-the-scenes tasks to be completed, and the women who attended appreciated the details. Katie Nobauer used her leadership skills to be a master of weaving all the tasks together, allowing for the execution of a smooth day. Another key element was the professional grade level of the team of volunteers in the kitchen who seamlessly and joyfully served. There were other ministries who humbly appeared throughout our process and provided support that made this volunteer-run initiative possible. Thank you!
Now, what happened on the retreat day?! The fresh water of the Holy Spirit was flowing! Over 100 women attended and everywhere I turned, I could see the three objectives were being met. Women approached me and shared how they had encountered Jesus. I could see powerful moments of prayer and demonstrations of faith, thoughtful praise being sung, and heartfelt participation in the Sacraments. Similar to last year’s retreat, I could see old friends reuniting and new friendships and groups being formed. Overall, a time of fun and relaxation among sisters. Sometimes, I think it’s a small challenge to program a day that will appeal to all ages. From what I observed and heard, I think that through God’s grace, all women generally had a GREAT time and enjoyed each other’s company.
Michele attended, and she shared her experience, "It was a beautiful time of rest and rejuvenation in the Lord, and we were anointed with the living water of the word, the Sacraments, Adoration and heart connections with friends. I reconnected with friends that I had been on pilgrimage with to World Youth Day and others that I had not seen in a while. It was both spiritually and physically nourishing, with the Bible videos about the woman at the well encountering Jesus, the delicious food, and the creation of beautiful flower bouquets. It was followed by a Mass with a baby baptism that also filled me with an incredible experience of the living water. I really felt the grace, peace, and joy from this day. It was like a taste of heaven on earth. I am grateful for the blessings of this retreat and will be sharing the experience of this Living Water and the retreat with others."
I’m grateful for those who came from St. Maurice and beyond. The stories I’m continuing to hear about of Jesus’ impact, like Michele’s, remind me of the blessing of volunteering to deliver such experiences. One of my dreams for a potential future retreat is to reach even more people. May we keep quenching the thirst we possess for Jesus and for community. Perhaps, if you hear about a retreat coming, consider going. If you have hesitations, please ask questions to one-of-a-kind organizers. Often, most things are flexible about a retreat day. Take a sip of the Living Water and be changed.
Andrea is a parishioner at St. Maurice who lives in Hintonburg. She enjoys gelato, refinishing furniture and volunteers in a variety of ways for St. Maurice. If you have an interest in helping with any aspect of communications