‘Called By Name’ retreat hopes to spark relationships with God

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

WAREHAM, Mass. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” Next month, the Vocations Office of the Diocese of Fall River will sponsor a “Called By Name” retreat for women ages 18-30 entitled, “Spark! It is Time to Ignite Something with God,” in order to spark the flames that will illuminate the darkness of this world.

The Called By Name retreats for women have been a summer staple in the diocese in recent years, providing young Catholic women the opportunity for prayer, reflection, relaxation and fun, at the peaceful and picturesque Sacred Hearts Retreat Center grounds along Buzzards Bay.

“This year’s theme comes from the well-known quote of St. Catherine of Sienna, ‘If you are who you should be, it will set the whole world on fire,’ Dominican Sister Paulina Hurtado, associate director of the diocesan Vocations Office, told The Anchor. “The ability to set the world on fire begins with the spark of life which God has ignited in each person and the gift of His very life and love at Baptism.”

The weekend, which runs from August 12-14, is designed to help young women discern a possible vocational call, be it Marriage, ministry as a religious, or the single life. “The course of life one is invited to follow in search of happiness and fulfillment will give this spark the freedom to expand and grow,” continued Sister Paulina, “for as St. Catherine also says in one of her letters, ‘Do not be satisfied with little things, because God wants great things.’”

Young women attending the three-day weekend will have the chance to take the time to reflect on what God may be asking of them and begin or expand upon the thought process of their vocation in life. And all of this is done in a relaxing, scenic and serene environment of summer fun and peace sharing with other young women similar feelings of hope and doubt about the future.

As in past Called By Name weekends, there will be presentations, prayer and daily Mass.

This year’s guest speaker is Jennessa Terraccino. “Jennessa is a passionate servant of Jesus, a dynamic speaker and writer,” Sister Paulina told The Anchor. Terraccino earned a master’s in Theological Studies from the Christendom Graduate School in Alexandria, Va. She also holds a certificate in Youth Ministry (accredited by Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio). She spent a number of years serving as a coordinator of Youth Ministry in the Arlington Diocese. She currently resides in New England with her husband and children.

In a conversation with The Anchor, Terraccino said, “In today’s culture, God’s people are bombarded with an array of noisy temptations. If we aren’t careful, we can easily trade God’s Kingdom for an earthly one. Spiritual vision is lost, or perhaps never gained, when held captive in the virtual world that’s always at our fingertips. 

“Ladies can awaken their hearts by dwelling in beauty, the beauty that God made, and the Spirit wrote through the authors of Sacred Scripture.” She added that wireless technology can be a distraction towards becoming who God desires us to be.

Christine Smith is the Faith Formation director at St. Patrick’s Parish in Wareham. She has served on Called By Name team before, and is again a member of this year’s retreat. “A weekend like Called by Name is very important because it provides an opportunity for these women to pause the busyness of their everyday lives which will allow them to hear the voice of God in their hearts,” she told The Anchor. “God has a purpose for all of us, and He gave us this purpose so we can live life joyfully and to the fullest. Women of this age group begin to ask themselves the big questions: ‘Who am I and why am I here? Who do I want to become? What is my purpose in this world?’

“During a retreat like Called by Name, they can start to discern these questions in the light of their Catholic faith. As they sit quietly with God, or listen to speakers, they may begin to hear God’s voice and be lead to the vocation they were created for.” 

Terraccino and Smith agree that young women today encounter a barrage of distractions that can prevent some from hearing what God is asking of them.

“If we are open to God, He will lead us to a ‘mountain-top moment’— a place of quiet, and an encounter with Him,” continued Terraccino. “Throughout Scripture, this is precisely what God does. Some of the most powerful realizations of God and commissions were found in the wilderness. Sometimes all it takes is a good retreat, an Adoration hour, and some solid Spiritual reading.”

“There are so many distractions and pressures in the lives of young women today,” added Smith. “They live in a world that drowns out the voice of God. Finding the time to stop, listen, and respond to God’s call is counter-cultural. As Church, we need to turn that around and make being in God’s presence and responding to His voice the norm for these young women because not only will it change their lives for the better, but it will change the world as well.”

Sister Paulina encourages young women to “come enjoy a summer weekend of fun and peace, while at the same time giving yourself space for reflection and enlightenment on where God is leading you for happiness and fulfillment.”

Smith said she says “yes” to being part of Called By Name retreat teams because, “as a Catholic Christian I feel called to help others hear the voice of God and to experience the wonder of our Catholic faith. Each woman may be called to a different vocation whether it be religious life, married life or the single life, but no matter what vocation they are called to, they are all called to invite God into their hearts. A weekend such as this will encourage them to do so, and I am excited to be a part of it.

“I believe Mother Teresa said it best, ‘When we look at the cross we our reminded of how much God loved us then. When we look at the Tabernacle we are reminded of how much God loves us now.’ To know God’s true love, these young women need to take the time to reflect on the gifts God has given to them. As they discern and follow their calling, they will find that the love God has for them is abundant and never-ending. Knowing this, they will discover the peace, joy, and fulfillment that comes when they hear God call them by name.”  

“Through the grace of God, I have been blessed with some opportunities to speak to young women, and get to the heart of what really matters,” said Terraccino.

The weekend runs from Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m. through Sunday, August 14, ending at 1:30 p.m. at the Sacred Hearts Retreat Center, 226 Great Neck Road, Wareham.

The cost, including all meals, is $70. Young women interested in going should make a reservation by August 4. To register or for further information, contact Sister Paulina Hurtado, O.P., via email at Sr.Paulina@dioc-fr.org, or call her at 508-675-1311.

© 2020 The Anchor  †  887 Highland Avenue  †  Fall River, Massachusetts 02720  †  508-675-7151