The young women at Angela’s Villa celebrated the Advent season with our first ever Angela’s Villa Retreat called Conviction, Credence, & Constancy: Exploring our Faith through Others.
The retreat, which took place Dec. 16 and 17, allowed us to step back from our busy Christmas schedules and, for many, unwind after college finals. It seems like this season comes and goes faster than we can ever prepare for, so setting time aside to simply be with Christ in anticipation of His birth nurtures our spiritual lives.
The weekend consisted of getting to know one another better, sharing meals graciously prepared for us by Ursuline Associates, and meditating to music and visuals of the winter season. We also decorated mason jars to use for affirmations, listened to a guest speaker, watched and discussed a movie, celebrated Mass, and joined together in prayer. Instead of calling it a retreat, many of us simply referred to the event as Angela’s first slumber party.
We were blessed with the presence of our guest speaker, Sister Martha Reed, who brought along her friend Denise to share in the evening’s discussion. Sister Martha shared stories where she completely relied on Christ’s love and presence to not only “make it through” but to become stronger in faith than ever before. Sister Martha’s stories were both powerful and relatable, and her willingness to share was appreciated and valued by every one of us.
The movie we watched and discussed, The Shack, was for sure a 10 out of 10. I’d seen this movie twice before, but each time I watch it, my heart dives deeper into its subtle, yet powerful, details and messages. Although many may not relate directly to the movie’s plot, I can’t think of anyone who can’t relate to its theme: the need for spiritual healing during a difficult situation.
It was so refreshing to spend time during the busyness and chaos of the season to gather with each other and focus on God’s love for each of us. The one piece of advice Sister Martha wished for us to remember was this: “Please make sure God is the center of your life.”
It sounds so simple, but during times of confusion, chaos, and pain, this can be a real challenge. Taking the time to step back and gather in community, focusing on what’s really important, is one way we strive for spiritual growth at Angela’s Villa.