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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Appreciation in the Capitol
RC women and Legionaries sponsor events in gratitude for service of the consecrated women

Consecrated Women

Below is an account by Regnum Christi consecrated woman Catherine Smith about her shared experience.

Washington, DC -- Wiping out on black ice and feeling motion sick in an eight-hour bus ride is nothing compared to the excitement of going to the Capitol (Washington DC).  Not only did we hit warm weather (relative to the Northeast) and get to see important monuments and visit free museums, but we had nice meals with people full of gratitude for our work.

In mid-February some Regnum Christi women and the Legionaries of Christ in Washington DC decided that an appreciation dinner for the consecrated women was in order.  As plans evolved, the size of the local community of 10 consecrated women was just not large enough. Within a matter of days the consecrated members at Mater Ecclesiae College in Rhode Island were informed of the invitation: “We’re going to Washington DC!”

Thirty-six formation center members – all that were able – boarded the bus in the snow-chilled hours of Friday morning. With a good chunk of the weekend spent on a bus, Saturday was the day for the consecrated women to enjoy, and enjoy they did, thanks to all those working behind the scenes in hours of planning.

“I had never felt such guidance from the Holy Spirit as I did in planning this weekend,” said Jacqueline Gonzalez, a consecrated woman who lives in DC. “Our wish was that the consecrated members in formation experience the apostolic dimension of our vocation, since it is not complete until we give love and receive love through souls and our mission.”

We awoke to the smell of bacon on Saturday morning.  But before enjoying a delicious breakfast, we joined the local Regnum Christi women in making a Holy Hour of Reparation, held every first Saturday of the month at Our Lady of Bethesda retreat center.  A lively breakfast followed, attended by fifty consecrated women and eighty Regnum Christi ladies.  While people chatted and ate their bacon, eggs, and pancakes with syrup, some of the ladies gave testimonies of gratitude.  The MEC choir in turn sang a few songs, all immersed in a uniquely feminine atmosphere of laughter and tears.

“I was thinking as I watched them, that they are true witnesses to Christ, and this alone is a powerful sign to a tired and cynical world,” said Melanie Baker, one of the ladies who helped organize the event. “They are full of joy, optimism and hope, and that makes a very powerful statement despite their youth and inexperience.”

Next we grabbed packed lunches and hit the town.  Under a friendly sun, we broke into small groups and headed off in every different direction, walking to the Smithsonian museums and the impressive monuments of American history.  The city had much to offer with its water views, scenic drives and rich architecture.

The noise-filled bus arrived back at the retreat center with enough time for the MEC students to get ready for the evening festivities held just for us. Five o’clock began with an hour of hors d´oeuvres and drinks, served with a smile by the local Challenge Club and Leadership Training Program members.  A three-course roast beef meal followed.  Then came a litany of testimonies
In the Chapel
by Legionary priests and mothers and daughters who have worked with and been impacted by the consecrated women in Washington DC.  Also featured throughout the night were door prizes, poetry readings and music.

The group stayed up late, as young adults do, snacking, talking and playing the guitar.

Besides getting to sleep in, we found Sunday morning held more surprises.  Mass was concelebrated by six priests and served by three brothers of the Legionaries of Christ community in DC. Fr. John Hopkins, LC gave an inspirational homily. 

“Plans changed almost daily, and there were several kinks to work through, but it transpired as it did in an incredibly joyful way, because it wasn’t about anyone’s ideas,” said Caroline Lucas, a member of the consecrated community in Washington.  “It was about fulfilling our goal of making our little sisters feel so loved and needed by Christ, by us, and by those who have been touched by the vocation we have.”

Before leaving DC, the bus bound for Rhode Island stopped at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There we made a consecration to Mary as a group at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and sang the Ave Maria.

“It helped me to renew my trust in Jesus, especially at this time in our history, knowing that we follow in the footsteps of the ‘yes’ of Our Lady, who despite all trials, held fast to the Lord’s will with faith, hope, and love,” said Laura Kuhlman, a senior at MEC.

“I am so grateful for all those whose work and prayers made the weekend such a success,” said Cecilia Azcunaga, director of the formation center in Greenville. “I would like to thank especially the ladies of Regnum Christi, the Legionary of Christ community, the team of consecrated women in DC, the owner of the bus company who provided a bus and driver free of charge, the cooks, and the Challenge and LTP members who served us. We definitely experienced their love and appreciation!”



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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