By: Evette Franjieh
The “Radiate HIS Light” Retreat with the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light is a time in my life in which I will keep close to my heart and in my memory forever. Sister Marla Marie and her two postulants, Tresa and Therese, prepared a wonderful time at their convent where I and four other girls learned to open and feed our spiritual hearts and ask Jesus to come into our lives.
This remarkable retreat included lectures and reflections about Jesus’ Light and how it provides warmth, guidance and purification for our souls. Lectures by Tresa and Therese consisted of our history as Maronites, the Maronite Saints, Scripture and The Cell Phone versus the Bible, which put our daily lives into perspective. I was thankful that we were not allowed to bring cell phones, makeup or iPods, because it was an escape from the frantic world and the distractions from Jesus.
This retreat was not only comprised of lectures, but also fun activities which coincided with the main topic of the retreat. We played games like Marco-Polo, to ensure in us that we need Light to be shown our path in life and guidance through Scripture. We also had the pleasure of painting pots to grow our own plants (which also need light to grow).
By the end of the retreat, the other girls and I connected all the activities and lectures around His Light. We also attended liturgy and prayer with the Maronite Servants. Father Nadim Helou conducted Liturgy, provided a lecture, a time for reconciliation and shared a wonderful meal with us. At the end of the first day we watched a movie highlighting a young girl’s journey in choosing to start her vocation and we concluded with a traditional Dabke dance and a midnight prayer. We awoke the next day and were greeted by blessed weather, where we took a brief walk with Therese and Tresa to a nearby pond.
The retreat was so peaceful and very much needed in this hectic time in my life, dealing with being a senior, college, exams, graduation and the unnecessary drama of school. Sister Marla Marie and her Postulants were very inspirational and encouraging. They introduced to us new inspiring songs that got stuck in my head for the rest of the week.
I was very saddened to go, but we did not leave empty handed. Sister Marla Marie, Tresa and Therese not only gifted us with a goodie-bag but with the chance to open our hearts and invite Jesus into our lives. This was an amazing opportunity for young Maronite girls, like myself, to learn more about our rich history and become closer to Christ.
I will share with you one quote which sums up what I took away from my time at the convent, and has become my favorite quote that was focused on during the retreat “ Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a Light to my path” Psalm 119:105.
(Evette is a member of the MYO at St.Theresa Parish, Brockton MA.)