By Dave Jolivet
DIGHTON, Mass. — In its tireless effort to introduce and encourage the discernment process in the lives of young people, the diocesan Vocations Office is offering young women ages 14-18 the opportunity to escape for one day in the serene surroundings of the Dominican Sisters convent in Dighton, to pray, listen, share and reflect on their lives.
“Called By Name To Serve,” the day-long retreat, will take place on April 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “This retreat as well as the others in the ‘Called By Name’ series, supports each person’s search to find God’s plan for her and on how to respond to that plan throughout life,” Dominican Sister Paulina Hurtado, associate director for Vocations for the diocesan Vocations Office, told The Anchor. “We are called to fullness of life as a gift from God which starts with our being created by God in His Own image, growing in relationship with Him though our whole lives and reaching the fullness of life when He calls us to Himself for eternity.”
Sister Hurtado explained that for young people, being with others on these days of retreat, listening to their stories, praying together and celebrating the gifts and talents each brings along with them allows the girls to develop the ability to listen, observe, reflect and open one’s heart “to all what is life, beauty and love.”
The time away from all other distractions and being with like-minded peers helps the girls also develop the ability to look at each other and at the world with greater appreciation and to value each one as a gift from God, not only to be received, but to be given to others as well.
“The day helps them develop a gradual discovery through their reflections, of new values in each other and of new possibilities, a call that only each person can recognize and respond to, or follow,” added Sister Hurtado.
She told The Anchor that God calls each of us in many different ways, among which include: through everyday events; an experience of nature; conversation with others; something one reads; work or other activities; music; silence; dreams; prayer; the needs of the world; and the example of others.
“Feeling drawn to a certain decision, relationship or action, or finding joy, peace and willingness to respond in like manner, shows ways in which God is at work in us. Becoming aware of these and wondering the why and how of this awareness starts the process of discernment of what we are called to at a specific time in life,” said Sister Hurtado.
“These retreats cultivate the processes of awareness and of discernment throughout the growing years of the person to help her or him make the small and the more definitive decisions in life. It is a process of fine-tuning the ability to discern and to respond to any vocation, especially because all vocations come from God, to serve Him in a direct way as in total dedication to Him in consecrated religious life or the priesthood, or through service to Him in maintaining a strong family life, as well as in society, through service in a profession such as science or art, letters or politics.
“Through these calls the plan of God is revealed to us, and our plans in turn fulfill God’s plan for us.”
The cost for the day of retreat is $7 at the door. Reservations are required by March 24, by contacting Sister Hurtado at Sr.Paulina@dioc-fr.org, or by calling 909-496-2033 or 508-675-1311.