Holy, Wholly, Holy! was the theme of the third DignityUSA-sponsored women’s retreat. DignityUSA partnered with the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) to gather women at the Conference and Retreat Center at Bon Secours in Marriottsville, Maryland. Thirty-one women gathered at the event on Friday, June 13. Eucharist, song, prayer, dance, reflection and community were all part of a three-day weekend. Honour Maddock (Long Island, New York), was the mistress of ceremonies at this idyllic setting.
The created Catholic feminist spiritual space was designed to focus on the ‘saints’ and holiness of our lives. The discussions and conversations were focused on the opportunities in our lives to recognize holiness – in the people we live with, the people we work with, the people we meet every day, and in ourselves. Deb Myers (San Antonio), Emily Cohen (Seattle). and Mary Hunt (Silver Spring, MD), led a discussion on the Universal Call to Holiness. The conversation spoke of the instances where holiness appears in our lives and how easy it is to overlook those gifts. Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director, coordinated a conversation about Our Routes to Holiness and Our Personal Approaches. The conversations were rich with personal stories and wit- ness.
In addition to the registration fees, the gathering was supported by donations from the Sisters of Bon Secours, Dignity/San Antonio, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Dignity/Long Island, Dignity/New York, Deb Myers & Nickie Valdez through gifts from their 25th Anniversary celebration, and a number of generous donations from other individuals.
The beauty of the gathering is the community created in such a setting. Undeniably, the collegial atmosphere is the basis for a successful retreat. Sharing stories, shedding fears and loving each other came naturally to this group of women. The setting encouraged the women to be themselves, to share their gifts and to call on their strengths to witness the holiness of their own lives.
The women who attended Holy, Wholly, Holy! were most appreciative of the opportunity. The women left the gathering with connections to women from from Seattle to Boston. There were newcomers and women who have known each other since delegate days in DignityUSA. Some are members of Dignity chapters and others are connected to our virtual communities. The group is committed to carrying the energy of the retreat to their lives. DignityUSA is stronger with the blessing of these Holy, Wholly Women. The gathering was a success!