WESTERN ASSOCIATES ANNUAL RETREAT

September 29 – October 1st, 2017

Martha Center, Lethbridge, Alberta

The annual Fall Retreat for the Western Martha Associates was held Sept. 29 – Oct 1st, 2017. Amid the beautiful backdrop of the coulees, a wonderful gathering of 18 Associates, 1 journeyer, 3 Sisters of St. Martha, plus two guests from the East, Sr. Claudette Gallant, Director of Associates and Julia Townsend, Co-Director, participated in a Retreat called: “The Vocation of the Baptized”. The sessions were presented by Bishop Gerald Wiesner, a retired Bishop who lives in Saskatchewan.

Bishop Wiesner gave us much reflect and ponder. These are just a few points that he shared with us.

  1. God is with us. Jesus demonstrated throughout the Scriptures that God was with Him. Jesus spent a good deal of time alone in prayer and solitude. Just like Jesus, we cannot live our Christian lives without spending time alone with our God. We need to be quiet and let God speak to us, to be recharged.
  2. Our Baptism is an essential Sacrament, yet it seems to be lived less than any other Sacrament.
  3. Religious are credible witnesses of God in the world. As Associates, we are part of the CSM and their Mission. We are to join them in being God’s witnesses in the world.
  4. Pray with gratitude and the grace to live as we should, as a people of God, to live with joy, peace and hope.
  5. How are we called to deepen our Baptismal and Confirmation call? How does the Church really teach us? As baptized Laity, we play a part in the mission of God, we are “Priestly, kingly, and anointed”. We are to be a leaven in the world to work for the glory of God. Vatican 2 has said that the Laity is to assist with the spread of the Gospel and to share this work with our Pastors. We are to participate in the Missionary work of the Church. We are to cultivate a concern for the Diocese and the work of the Church. Family is vital, we live our Christian values and pass them onto the next generation.
  6. We are to be signs and symbols of our Christianity. We must deepen our Faith journey, deepen our baptismal journey. The Laity is essential in bearing witness to Christ. God has confidence and trust in us!!
  7. We are prophets for God. We are a witness to the living God to the best of our ability. “ God has a mother’s womb-like love for all God’s children”. We are loved unconditionally. Our journey is a constant response to this love.
  8. The summit and source of who we are is in the Eucharist. We are baptized t celebrate the Eucharist for it is within the Eucharist that the Paschal mystery is made present to us. “ The Eucharist is Jesus perfect prayer to the Father on our behalf. We join Jesus in His prayer to the Father. All of the Faithful should take full, conscious, active participation”
  9. Questions left for us to ponder:
    • What can I do to improve my living out of my Baptismal call?
    • How do I work together with my Pastor to foster respect and mutual sharing of ideas?  Do I assist, encourage, gently question, challenge or affirm my Pastor?
    • What can I do to celebrate more fully, consciously, and more actively the central dimensions of my Faith?

Bishop Wiesner celebrated the Eucharist with us twice over the weekend. He was truly a beautiful example himself of what it means to live our Baptismal call.

On Sunday Morning, Sr. Claudette presented “ Our call to Baptism”. The Associates, both east and west have now had the opportunity to hear Sr. Claudette give her yearly presentation. The Western group was very appreciative. We also included a short business meeting on Sunday morning.

It was a wonderful weekend. Many thanks to our Western Hosts, Sr. Theresa Parker, Sr. Josie MacLellan, and Sr. Josephine Keyzer, as well as all the Associates for making us feel so welcome!