I can stave off depression and hopelessness

My journey with MW (formerly WCF) began in the fall of 2012 with the Surrendered Life retreat where I heard powerful testimony from spirit filled women on letting go and letting God be the center of your life. Surrender had always been a difficult concept for me as I equated it with giving up. At the retreat, surrounded by love and acceptance I could understand that in surrendering I was not giving up but learning to trust, which is a challenge for someone like me with an analytical brain!

I joined MW that fall and took part in the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” study. Through the daily meditations, group sharing, teachings and prayers of this study I became consciously aware of the Spirit in my life, and now, with the gift of laughter he gave me in that study, I can stave off depression and hopelessness much more effectively than ever before. Of the numerous blessings MC has brought into my life over the years, the one that means the most to me is learning to connect my head with my heart, which has helped me trust in the Lord and surrender more fully to his will in my life. — Mariann

It was exactly what I needed at the time

Yes, MW retreats have had a positive impact on my life. Here is one example:

I was invited to a MW retreat before I knew or joined the bible study group. It was exactly what I needed at the time. Praise God since he always knows just what we need, right when we need it! I thought I needed a change in employment, but God let me know that what I really needed was to trust in him and stay put, dig in and just do my best and let him take care of the results. He was right and everything worked out. I found peace and joy and flourished in the current employment! — Donna

You could feel, in a very tangible way, the Lord’s presence among us

One of my most favorite memories of retreat, occurred during our Retreat on the Holy Spirit. So many special moments during that weekend, but what struck me the most and what stands out in my memory, was the building to something big, that I knew was to come, but that I couldn’t really name It was a great feeling of hope and anticipation. Everything we did that weekend was connected. Everything had a specific purpose of progression. I appreciated the detail and planning that went into that aspect. And of course, the Holy Spirit was there in the planning, in the culmination, and that was so obvious as I look back on it. There were teachings, individual prayer teams, sacrament of Reconciliation, Mass and Adoration…that was just on Saturday. During Adoration, we were individually prayed over by a wonderful priest, accompanied by Kay and Core Members, for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It was an intimate group, maybe 40 people or so…the lights were dimmed and we each brought in a candle that we lit and placed on tables around our Holy Space. As the prayers went on, many women rested in the Spirit. Many received the Gift of Tongues. I witnessed the Gift of Tears, the Gift of Laughter (which I still smile as I remember) and no doubt, the Gift of Healing. It was a beautiful thing to behold for someone rather new to the Charismatic Gifts of our Catholic Church. You could feel, in a very tangible way, the Lord’s presence among us. I will never forget it. It placed my feet on the path of an unforgettable journey, that I’m glad to say, I am still walking today. So beautifully done, women of MW. Thank you! — Martha

It completely changed my life

The first MW retreat I attended was the Surrendered Life retreat, and I was so nervous to be there. I didn’t really know anyone, I had never been on a retreat before, and I absolutely hate leaving my bed and sleeping elsewhere. Not only did my own insecurities become obvious, but I was adamant that I did not want to open myself up to the Spirit. I told myself that I was not going to be the one who had the life changing experience. I did not want to go where the Spirit was prompting me; I was afraid I’d have to make too many changes in my life, and I was comfortable. Fast forward to Saturday night’s Adoration; the environment was warm and peaceful, there were candles and soft music. That’s where I had a vision of Mary leading me to her Son, who was sitting on the altar, patiently waiting for me. This confirmation was what my heart had been waiting for. It completely changed my life, and I am forever grateful that I endured the discomfort because that instant transformed my relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that MW provides an opportunity for women to encounter the Spirit without the demands or distractions of daily life, and I am grateful for their ‘yes’ to God, because He truly is working through this ministry. — Jen

The women were very loving and welcoming

At my first MW retreat I only knew 1 person. I was excited but nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. At the time, I was so hungry for God. I had a deep longing to get that ‘peace that is beyond understanding’ that I had heard about. The women were very loving and welcoming. I was overwhelmed and cried a lot. I think the crying was because I realized that the Almighty God truly knows me and loves me! It was that personal love that I started to trust in and that brought the peace that I longed for. In the end, it was an amazing experience. After that retreat my life slowly began to change. I was unaware of how that 1st retreat really impacted my live until several years later. I encourage everyone to carve out a weekend to spend with our Lord Jesus. You may be surprised by what he has for you! It is well worth the cost in dollars and in time. — Kay

We need to have a hopeful heart and pray daily

I want to thank you for your leadership in putting together MW retreats.

I was blessed to attend the September 18-20, 2009 in Cornville at the Living Water Retreat Center. The theme was “Joyful Hope.” During the time spent there we were asked to consider following questions: “When do I falter in hope?” “How do I falter in hope?” and “Why do I falter in hope?” Fr. Mike Berry asked us to visualize success rather than failure and to accept things we cannot change. He said that to a large degree our attitude affects the outcomes in our lives. His advice was to put on hope as our defense against the evil in our culture. We must move away from things that separate us from God. He challenged us to live with a sense of hope knowing we are beloved of God. In his reflection, Fr. Greg cited the movie, “The Shaw Shank Redemption,” that showed how a condemned man never gave up hope and did not allow his jail experience to defeat him. Fr. Gregg said that our interior attitude can allow us to rise above external circumstances. At Mass, we pray “keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety.” Father stressed that we should focus on the positive remembering that in confession God forgives us through the priest. In the upper room, Jesus appeared to the Apostles saying, “Peace be with you.” This greeting is also for us. We need to have a hopeful heart and pray daily to hear the voice of the Lord and his call in our lives. In his talk on Saturday, Fr. Mike cited the faith of Fr. Damien who put aside his own fears and became pastor to victims of leprosy on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. We too must take up our crosses with joy and follow Jesus knowing that he loves us. I reflected on the retreat after returning home and resolved to seek the help of the Holy Spirit in becoming a more hopeful person. The time spent sharing with others made me realize that hope is a virtue that is indispensable to being a Christian.
Shirley

It was still and quiet, perfect for communing with the Lord

I’ve been on a couple of the MW retreats, but my favorite was a few years back, we went to Bison Ranch in Heber, to a retreat center. It was so convenient because we got to ride a bus up and back, complete with a boxed lunch! I really appreciated not having to drive all that way.

Lots of memories from that weekend, but what I really loved was how the team used God’s lovely nature, rather than having us be inside all the time. We were given blankets and journals and after several of the sessions, we could wander the grounds, put our blankets down and answer questions in our journal. It was still and quiet, perfect for communing with the Lord. Talk about an escape from normal life!

I loved the bonfire on Saturday night, we sang songs and some even danced, so much joy among the ladies’ present. We felt isolated from the world and close to Our Creator with the stars seemingly within reach above our heads.

And the food was just delicious! From snacks around the campfire, to hearty breakfasts and abundant dinners, I probably gained 5 lbs.!

I also really enjoyed the education on some of the saints. There were various stations set up, dedicated to saints. They were beautifully done, you learned about that person, had an opportunity to pray with them and throughout the weekend had a chance to visit each one. I love the MW retreats. Each experience has been so different than the others, always sign up with great anticipation, because I know I’ll learn something new, spend quality time with the Lord and other women, and be blessed by it. — Barb

It was really healing, and I didn’t even realize that I needed healing

I went to one of the MW Retreats…to be honest, I really didn’t want to. My sister kind of dragged me. I didn’t know ahead of time, what it would be like. If I’m being truthful, it was kind of a lot of work. Work I didn’t know that I needed at the time, but there were things that happened and that were said on that retreat, that stayed with me for months afterwards.

It was very personal, I would use the word intimate; I almost felt like the speakers knew stuff about me and my life. Throughout the weekend, there were women from their team, who would get up and talk about things that they’d been through. At first I thought, “Oh boy…it’s going to be like this. Sad stories, and how do I relate to these women, what does this have to do with me? Am I ready to go here, to go to these places?” After the first few talks, I noticed a pattern. There were hard topics, for sure, but these were not beaten-down women, they were full of joy, full of hope and full of faith. It was anything but depressing or sad, it was real and encouraging. After each session, we met in our small groups and worked on a collage project. It was nice to work in a companionable silence with women I had just met, each working out their own story through pictures, words, using our creativity. I almost felt as though God was putting my hands on just the right words or pictures that I was trying to express. It was really healing, and I didn’t even realize that I needed healing.

That weekend was very special to me, one I will not forget. I’d even go on another one if my sister asks me. I look at my collage in the mornings when I’m drying my hair and remember how God worked through those women to get to me that weekend. And I smile and thank Him. — Janet

My overwhelming sensation was that of being so very well cared for

MW Retreat Experience

The retreat experience that has made the biggest impact on me was the “Tearing Down the Roof Hugs” at the 2014 Virtuous Life Retreat. I had been attending WCF Bible Study for about three years at the time of this retreat. Even though I knew a fair number of women at the study, I did not feel particularly connected to the group. I wondered if I was in right relationship with God and how did this group of women fit into that?

The retreat focused on receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit and through those gifts, fully receiving and sharing the love Jesus has for us. The experience of hugging over 30 sisters in Christ and hearing with each hug, “I would tear down the roof for you” removed any thoughts I had about not being in the right place with the Lord. Each hug was like being wrapped up in a warm, downy blanket of Jesus’ love. My overwhelming sensation was that of being so very well cared for. As the retreat ended, I knew I was right where I belonged. — Cindy

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