Franciscan Sisters and Cistercian Nun Discernment of Spirits Retreat Review

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

May 05, 2017

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and Cistercian Nuns collaborated for a recent Discernment of Spirits Retreat. 12 young women responded to the invitation to learn more about St. Ignatius’ discernment process. Franciscan Sister Jacqueline Spaniola facilitated the retreat.

We share feedback from two questions asked at the end of the day-long  silent retreat held at Valley of Our Lady, Prairie du Sac, WI. We hope the young women’s responses, ages 18-33, may encourage others to consider this opportunity.

What touched your heart during this discernment day?

  • I appreciated the information of objectively being aware of thoughts and feelings over the course of a greater time and how to use this in discernment in life. was also in my heart not to over analyze.
  • Taking the time intentionally to examine my life and uncover more of who I am in order to continue my pursuit of Christ.
  • I realized that I am very blessed to have learned a ton in such a short amount of time. I am glad that God is God. I have had the opportunity to see that Satan has been making me miserable from time to time. This will help me overcome future occurrences!
  • I appreciated interacting with and being around all the Sisters and praying with them (Sext and None).
  • Being in community during prayer time (listening to the Sisters chant).
  • Learning that God desires good for us and that confusion, discouragement and depression come from evil spirits influence, not good spirits. And I need to pray more.
  • The opportunity to just spend time with Sisters-that isn’t something that happens in my parish. Few female role modes in the local Church.
  • I was touched by the Sisters’ generosity, sense of humor and joy. These handouts and exercises were also deeply insightful, and I hope to be able to share them in some form with the youth I serve as a youth minister.
  • I realized I need to spend more time in silence with God. I talk too much in prayer.
  • Listening to the Sisters pray and just getting some time for silence.
  • Most of all, I appreciated the long times in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

What part of the day did you find the most helpful?

  • I liked the time we were given to pray and use the reflection booklet about the rules.
  • I was able to really dive into the rules that needed the most addressing in my own spiritual journey and discernment.
  • Listening to the talks. It was all very organized and informative. With the handouts I didn’t have to worry about taking a ton of notes.
  • Talking through discernment: ways to prepare and how to put it into action.
  • Going over the rules(with great examples!)
  • It was very helpful to go through the steps of discerning God’s will.
  • Learning about the more subtle ways the devil can influence our decisions and discourage us.
  • All of it-especially examples of personal discernment. Good idea to have two different orders cooperate on a retreat and active/contemplative.
  • I really appreciated having such ample opportunities for silence, processing and journaling. It felt like just the right balance between content and solo processing time. The handouts were excellent, too.
  • Going through the rules and then having time to spend in silence and prayer.
  • I think in the future I’ll really appreciate knowing some rules!

Considering a Discernment of Spirits Day? Register for May 13 silent retreat in Iron Mountain, MI. Click here and view other options.

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