Jodi Marlin
September 18, 2019 // Diocese

Friendship, unity found at Rejoice Women’s Retreat

Jodi Marlin

FORT WAYNE — Rejoice Women’s Retreat, an opportunity for women to allow Scripture and words of encouragement from other Catholic women to re-energize their zeal for the faith, has opened for registration.

The theme of this year’s retreat is “Mary, the Paradise of God and Temple of Holiness and Love.” It will be led by Father Kevin Joyce, a priest of the Diocese of Omaha, and takes place Dec. 6-8 at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center, Donaldson.

Father Kevin Joyce has given missions and retreats throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. He is currently the pastor of two parishes in Nebraska.

Of Mary, Father Joyce has said, “Mary is the perfect model of the interior life of prayer. She wants our hearts to be like hers: sinless, holy, and totally given over to God. Mary is calling us to be her holy offspring through transforming union. During this Advent season, she invites us to follow her into the depths of ‘Advent interiority’ so that we may become, like her, living tabernacles of the divinity.”

Participants at previous Rejoice Women’s Retreats have called the weekend “rejuvenative” and “healing.” Last year Andrea Kane of St. Joseph Parish, South Bend, said the new friendships formed also created “a sense of unity in the diocese.” “I love to make friends,” she said. “The whole year, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the women I met last year. (The unity) has stayed with me.”

Carol Miller, a parishioner at St. Matthew Cathedral, South Bend, said she looks forward to the Rejoice Women’s Retreats. She’s grateful for the opportunity to enrich her faith life

“I’ve been struck by the exuberance of the speakers calling us to a deeper relationship with God, and as Mary, to surrender to His will in our lives. Many of the Scriptures and words of encouragement still resonate with me today as I live out my daily life.

Several moments from past retreats remain at the forefront of her faith and inform her daily living.

“(They) encouraged us to allow God to capture our heart, to let Him exercise His love through us. Debbie Herbeck encouraged us to be Christ bearers in our own life whether at the kitchen table, neighborhood, work and so forth. She reminded us of the hope we have in God who is always present to us, encouraging us to grow more in faith.” Herbeck led the retreat in 2016.

“We were led to model Mary even more as Mary Healy (keynote speaker, 2018) unpacked the Scriptures. We, too, are empowered by His Holy Spirit. We were encouraged that God is always with us, and nothing is impossible with God.”

She learned that “We should know that God is with us no matter what He asks of us. Mary’s response to bearing our Savior was one of joy. We have a good reason to rejoice. We have received God’s grace and can be changed by God’s grace.

“As I’ve reflected on Mary’s qualities and openness to God’s will in her life, I have found my relationship with her grow and deepen.” The times of praise and worship and participation in daily Mass, eucharistic adoration and confession refreshed her spirit, Miller said.

Registration is open and fills quickly. Space is limited to 135 participants. Register online at or call Melissa Belleville at 260-399-1447.

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