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Women's retreat invites chaos, promotes belonging

Women's retreat invites chaos, promotes belonging - (04-03-2020)

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Photo: Benedictine Sister Kathleen Clare Lahl, OSB (far right) and Benedictine Sister Hope Rodenborn, OSB (third from right) had a terrific experience at the annual women’s retreat hosted by a local Methodist Church that invited participants across many denominations around the region to discuss the role of chaos in one’s life and a sense of belonging. (Credit: FUMC)

Two members of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration joined area residents for a women’s ecumenical retreat that focused on belonging.

“Everything Belongs: Experiencing God’s Love in the Midst of the Chaos” was held in late January at the First United Methodist Church in Maryville, Missouri. The event brought together participants from eight denominations representing 18 different churches in the area.

The day included fellowship, worship, embodied prayer, soulful art and presentations by Benedictine Sister Hope Rodenborn, OSB and Reverend Wendy Deering-Poynter, the worship leader at First United Methodist Church-Maryville.

This was the second year that Sister Hope and Benedictine Sister Kathleen Clare Lahl, OSB attended the event, which has quickly become a favorite of theirs. This year’s retreat focused on seeing chaos as the vehicle God arrives in before us rather than something to be endured.

“I’m so impressed by the positive energy that flows throughout the day, drawing the participants in closer union with God and with one another,” Sister Kathleen Clare said. “The presence and direction of the Spirit throughout the day of retreat was an uplifting and unifying experience for the participants who came from so many different Christian churches in the area.”

Sister Hope and Sister Kathleen Clare also helped plan the event, which took six months to organize.

“The topic was arrived at with many initial meetings of the leadership team centering on prayer, sharing what the Holy Spirit was saying to each member, and discernment through discussion,” Sister Kathleen Clare said. “The intent was always to listen for the voice of the Spirit…what was it that the Holy Spirit wanted to say to those drawn to participate in the retreat.”

“It takes a lot of teamwork to host one of these retreats, and the Methodist Church, its leaders and parishioners should be commended for the tremendous work they did,” Sister Hope said.

The retreat was a wonderful way of uniting women of all ages from varying backgrounds and providing opportunities to share in their faith and their lives.

“I loved the openness of the ladies and their connection with one another,” Sister Hope said. “The flow of the whole morning, the energy of the Spirit, which was within everyone. We formed the Body of Christ.”