Father Cassian asked each of the sisters who attended our recent retreat to write a two-paragraph summary of what we discussed during our sessions with him. He is compiling them all together along with his own reflections, for the benefit of the sisters who were not able to attend. It is difficult for me to limit myself to such a short synopsis, (there was sooooo much more to the retreat than can be discussed in 2 paragraphs), but here is a short summary of some of what we discussed:
What an incredible, Holy-Spirit-inspired week it was with Father Cassian and the Daughters of Mary! We spoke of many things, but the centrality of the Eucharist in the Church – the source and summit of our faith – was addressed especially, and at great length. Father Cassian was resolute in his belief that Eucharistic Adoration, especially perpetual adoration, were a necessary component of Marian Spirituality, and at the very heart of the Daughters of Mary. Adoration is inextricably connected, heart to heart, Sacred to Immaculate, as Mary perpetually adores the Sacred Heart of her Son. What greater act of love can there be for each of us, but for the lover of Jesus to gaze upon her Beloved in His Eucharistic presence? Father Cassian has promised, and other religious communities stand as beacons of truth and evidence: Communities who institute Perpetual Adoration see
a great increase in holiness and vocations.
Among many of the other topics of great importance to which Father Cassian directed our attention, was a discussion about the mission of the Daughters of Mary. By way of example, we are called by our inspirational mission statement and creedal statements to defend and protect life. I wondered how zealously are the Daughters of Mary doing this, and if there is more that could be done to protect children and adults in need? Father Cassian said unequivocally, that to live out our mission, we must know the Church, inside and outside, and the writings of our Holy Father, and the current difficulties and challenges facing the Church. He advised most strenuously that we must be committed to continual formation throughout our religious life. There is never a time to stop learning, growing and re-adjusting to the changing times and needs of our world. Per the Vita Consecrata, religious life is essentially prophetic by nature, as it proclaims the Gospel. Again I pondered if our quiet witness is our only means of proclaiming, or must we be the voice who cries out in the wilderness? Father Cassian suggested that we meditate on the mission statement. As I contemplate the beautiful words of the Daughters of Mary mission statement, I am drawn to how Mary went in haste to her cousin, Elizabeth. I too, long to go in haste, as a Daughter of Mary, to bring the loving and healing presence of Christ into this world of so much poverty of faith and spirit and resources, with conviction and the gentle courage and faithful commitment of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Thank you, Jesus and Mary, for a wonderful retreat!