by Deborah Caby

“Fun, informative and spiritual” and “What are we doing next year? Can’t wait!” were two phrases we heard from many of our guests for the first St. Matthew’s Series of the Soul Sisters Retreat at Grace. This retreat was a continuation of previously held retreats from St. Matthew’s. If the women were expecting a quiet retreat, they were very much surprised!

The day offered an innovative way to explore two women saints of the church by allowing the participants to perform readings and exercise their acting skills. Marcia Whitney-Schenck, a Chicago-based writer, artist and performer, used interactive theatrical experiences to create presentations to introduce us to St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila.

In between performances, we broke into groups to explore questions that would encourage us to look deeper into ourselves and share some of our thoughts regarding
struggles/weakness/and strength in living a life of faith.

Sabine McDowell argued effectively as Celine (St. Terese of Lisieux’ sister), while Shirley Browne played the part of Fr. Maurice, reading letters he wrote to encourage and support St. Therese’s ministry of finding grace in the simplest of acts.

Marty O’Leary stole the show as the mayor of Avila, staying in character the whole second half of the retreat. Much hilarity ensued as The Inquisitor (Chrissie Rush) and Teresa of Avila’s best friend, a noblewoman (Anne Perkins), switched sides because they voted for the establishment of a new convent with their own hearts instead of staying in character.

The celebration of the Holy Eucharist by the Rev. Pamela Dolan (Church of The Good Shepherd) used readings from the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila, allowing us to worship, celebrate and reflect on our unique, feminine perspective in hearing God’s Word.


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