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Archives Women’s Rosary Retreat to focus on healing

July 20, 2022

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Staff Writer

OGDENSBURG – A retreat is a time-honored way to step out of the busy routines of daily life to make more room within ourselves for God. The women’s retreat scheduled for October 6-9, 2022, at Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg offers this opportunity with a specific focus on healing.

Sponsored by St. André’s Sisters, the women’s group of St. André Bessette Parish in Malone, this retreat has been a long time in the making.

Kathleen Nichols, spokesperson for the retreat committee, explains that the idea for such an event originated in a Judith Retreat she attended several years ago in western New York.

“I realized how wonderful it would be to offer a healing retreat to the women of our own diocese,” Nichols said. “St. André’s Sisters really helped make the retreat a reality. With our ongoing focus on women gathering to grow in faith through prayer, study, and fellowship, our group was immediately enthusiastic about the retreat. By last October, a committee (including Charlotte Broeker, Darcye Gervais, Charlotte Broeker, Judy Pelkey, and Kelly McGivney-Petrelli) had formed, and work began in earnest. After seeking and receiving permission from Bishop LaValley, we were fortunate to have the help of Father Joe Giroux, and of Father Kevin O’Brien with respect to the necessary paperwork.”

With the groundwork laid, the organizers began planning for the retreat itself. They were blessed when Father Bryan Stitt agreed to serve as chaplain for the retreat, with Capuchin Sisters of Nazareth Sister Kelly Francis and Sister Grace Marie serving as speakers and prayer leaders. Dave McClow, M.Div., LCSW, LMFT, a clinical associate for the Pastoral Solutions Institute, brings more than 30 years’ experience to this retreat. His counseling specialties include depression, anxiety, trauma, and the building of practical skills to cope with such emotions. McClow has always recognized God as the source of healing and has integrated his faith into his counseling practice.

The retreat, which begins Thursday evening and concludes with 11 a.m. Sunday Mass, likewise integrates faith with insights gained from psychology and counseling. Holy Mass (including one with Bishop Terry R. LaValley on Friday afternoon) anchors the daily schedule, along with Eucharistic Adoration, selected Hours of the Divine Office, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and time for personal prayer and reflection. Complementing these daily prayer opportunities will be talks, meditations, and small group sessions led by Dave McClow, Sister Kelly Francis, and Sister Grace Marie. They will also be available at stated times for those desiring spiritual guidance, as will Father Stitt, who will also hear confessions. To ensure the privacy of participants, cell phones are not allowed during group sessions; retreatants also make a pledge of confidentiality.

This retreat is open to all women, aged 18 and over.

“All of us are wounded and in need of healing,” Nichols said. “And it is difficult with the daily routine of life to address that. Whether our wounds are spiritual, mental, emotional, due to our own sin or the sins of others, or to our fallen nature: This retreat is time set aside to allow God to enter in and heal what he desires to heal, to make us whole – especially in our relationship with him. Without time set apart, it is hard to fully surrender our fears, hurts, and wills to God’s healing mercy.” In fact, the retreat has been purposefully placed under the patronage of three women who knew great suffering – but also profoundly experienced the mercy of God: Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Josephine Bakhita.

The retreat committee expresses their gratitude for the great outpouring of support – prayerful and financial – the people of St. André Bessette Parish have contributed to this effort. The final prayer project will begin on the Feast of the Assumption (August 15) and finish on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7) as St. André’s Sisters and others pray the 54-Day Rosary Novena for God’s blessings on all those participating in the retreat. All prayers are welcome. Anyone wishing to join this prayer can google “54 Day Rosary Novena” for various format options.

Registration for the retreat will open by the end of July on the diocesan website, rcdony.org. For further information, please contact Kathleen Nichols at jnichol1@twcny.rr.com or at 518-651-6895.



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