Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Rooted in Love" - A Retreat for Catholic Homeschooling Moms

 I was blessed to be part of a beautiful retreat this weekend. More than 50 Catholic homeschooling moms gathered at our diocesan retreat center to begin the new school year with prayer, inspiration, and support.

On Friday evening we heard a powerful talk by a passionate young priest. He spoke to us about the devotion to the Sacred Heart. We had the joy of participating in Adoration, Benediction, and Confession.... without the distraction of our little ones. After that we had a great time visiting with old and new friends, snacking, and doing a bit of spa pampering. It was like a giant slumber party and we all stayed up too late!

On Saturday we listened to beautiful talks by two amazing homeschooling moms. They were so uplifitinng and encouraging. I really felt inspired and strengthened in my vocation. We spent time sharing in small groups, attended Mass, prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and participated in breakout sessions with other moms who are in similar places on the homeschooling journey.

The "Rooted in Love" theme was based on Ephesians 3:14-21 ---
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,m may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

We were reminded to stay focused on our MISSION as Catholic homeschoolers.... nurturing our families, forming our children in the Faith, practicing and joyfully celebrating that Faith as a family. Truly, it is Jesus - the tender, generous, faithful, awesome love of Jesus - that is the heart and root of who we are. Love of him surpasses all knowledge. For us, all that we do and all that we are is from him, through him, and for him.

All of the participants were divided into small groups for discussions. Each group was named after a patron saint (all of whom were related to motherhood or education in some way). It was wonderful to get to know new women and share our insights, experiences, and prayer intentions. At the end of the retreat we were each given a peg doll of the patron saint of our group! So cool! (I got Saint Thomas Aquinas.... and I also purchased a Saint Joseph doll, so I was able to give one to each of the boys.)

It was great that so many husbands took on the responsibility of watching their children for the weekend so their wives could get away. (We have some really big families! At one point we were trying to add up how many children we had among us as a group... it was a BIG number!) We prayed a lot for our husbands as well as for moms who weren't able to attend.

I just love this next picture of so many moms with babies! I have been on retreat at this center many times, but never with so many little ones in tow. It was beautiful to have the littlest ones with us.

And so, as Moms, we were blessed to be renewed and strengthened in our vocations. Thank you, Lord, for this special grace-filled time. I pray for all of my companions on this journey, and for all of our families as we begin this new school year.  

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