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Turn to Jesus (Article)

My Experience at the Women’s Formators’ Conference:
“I Had To Ask God to Stop the Torrents of Grace”

convention participants in Greenville
Convention participants during a small group workshop.

By Kelly Luttinen

Greenville, Rhode Island -- Something amazing happened to me last week.  I got a kiss on the cheek from Jesus.  I know - I know…it sounds crazy.  But, please suspend your reason for a moment, and read with your heart.

From April 14 to 18, 2010, approximately 145 women gathered at Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, Rhode Island, for the Women’s Formators’ Conference.  The event was entitled “Benedict, The Man, His Message and Our Mission.”  Providentially, the event took place at the time of the Pope’s 83rd birthday and the 5th Anniversary of his election as Pope.  (We felt so close to the Pope during the conference, it was like he was there with us! The cardboard cut-out of his likeness helped.) 

Mater Ecclesiae is the college that educates (and houses many of) the Regnum Christi consecrated women.  Those who attended received time for prayer, spiritual renewal and faith formation.  Some of the wonderful speakers on the agenda, not necessarily in this order, included:

Fr Julio Marti, LC, the territorial director for New York, and Communications Director Jim Fair, who both gave amazingly honest and humble accounts of the situation the Legion and Regnum Christi have been undergoing of late.

women convention Greenville 2
The convention participants pose with their special guest (back row).
John Bartunek, LC, discussed what he believes are the main themes of the Pope’s pontificate.  These include, but are not limited to, (a.) the “Primacy of Grace,” in which he said the most important part of our life as Christians is prayer and contact with God.  He also said the Pope emphasizes that those who pray never lose hope, even in difficult situations; (b.) the importance of looking at the history of the Church for context over time; (c.) that secularization is the main challenge of our age; and (d.) the importance of understanding and fostering a proper relationship between faith and reason.

Consecrated woman Joan Kingsland gave a brief overview of Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth).  She is a graduate of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, and it is my great hope to hear much more of her wisdom in the future.

Fr Scott Reilly, LC, the territorial director for Atlanta, gave a talk entitled “Joy.”  His pragmatic approach included the power of positive thinking enhanced by the grace of God.  (Click here for some notes on his wisdom.)

Finally, the presentation that was most fruitful for me came from Fr
convention in Greenville women
The convention participants outside the front door of Mater Ecclesiae in Greenville, RI.
Evaristo Sada, LC, who provided a “School of Prayer.”  My own prayer experience was enhanced greatly by his advice.  (Click here to read this advice in detail.) Father Evaristo mentioned that the environment where a person prays is important.  “It is wonderful to have this event in a formation center surrounded by women of prayer,” he said.  He assured all of us in attendance that the consecrated women had been interceding for us.  I definitely was a recipient of the graces from those prayers.

I don’t think I ever realized the gift it is to be a member of the Regnum Christi Movement as much as I did during that time.  My own spiritual journey has not been an easy one, with a great deal of my early life spent imbibing the toxic culture in which we live and losing a great deal of my innocence along the way.   It took me a long time to reach the point in time where I am confident in my faith and happily married to a wonderful man with four wonderful children.

During the conference, one of the consecrated women who lead the morning meditations in the lovely Mater Ecclesiae chapel asked us to ponder the Scripture passage of the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 1-11). That meditation spoke a great deal to me about the forgiveness that our Lord has given me in my own life, and perhaps is an icon of what our Movement and the Church are going through at this time in history.  The image of the scene from the movie The Passion of the Christ comes to my mind, with Jesus facing the angry men with stones in their hands.  Our Lord writes on the ground what some scholars claim may have been the sins of those same men ready to execute that woman.  In the scene, Mary Magdalene, with whom I greatly identify, looks up with amazement as our Lord takes her hand and helps her to her feet.  We all know the rest of the story.

The first night of the conference when I was sleeping in the dorm at Mater Ecclesiae, I had a dream that I was young innocent girl looking in the mirror at myself.  My eyes were wide and full of anticipation.  An open window was right next to me, and outside stood a teenage boy whose face was familiar, though I could not place it.  He leaned through the window and gently kissed my cheek.  I felt a rush of warmth as I blushed from head to toe.  I woke up, and instantly I knew the kiss had come from our Lord.  And I prayed fervently in my bed, begging our Lord to cleanse my heart and bring me back to that time of innocence once again.  From that moment on, the revelations of grace I received during my time in front of the Blessed Sacrament are beyond my ability to describe.  I actually had to ask God to stop the torrent of grace he was pouring into my soul. 

I can only thank God (as well as the consecrated women for their prayers) for the amazing experiences I received during that conference.  I hope there are more such events at Mater Ecclesiae.



Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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