Young women, men gather for a closer look at vocations

| Bridget Ryder | August 28, 2014 | 0 Comments
Helen Casselius (from left), Aviv Stella and Grace Aho were three of the 65 girls at Daughter of God: Retreat for Young Women Aug. 16 at the St. Paul Seminary. Bridget Ryder/For The Catholic Spirit

Helen Casselius (from left), Aviv Stella and Grace Aho were three of the 65 girls at Daughter of God: Retreat for Young Women Aug. 16 at the St. Paul Seminary. Bridget Ryder/For The Catholic Spirit

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ first retreat for young women drew 65 girls ages 12 to 17 for a day of eucharistic adoration, Mass, confession, small-group discussions and camaraderie Aug. 16 at the St. Paul Seminary.

“The retreats are meant to help the young people to begin the thought process on their individual vocation — whether that is married life, single, or a religious order, discerning who God is calling them to be, helping them to recognize and begin thinking about their vocation at a young age, as well as exposing them to the clergy, seminarians and religious orders,” said Nancy Schulte, family and laity outreach coordinator with the archdiocese’s Office of Marriage, Family and Life, which sponsored the Daughter of God: Retreat for Young Women.

As a follow-up to the Totus Tuus Summer Catechetical Program with emphasis on vocation, the retreat talks focused on the love of God the father and responding to that love.

Sisters from Pro Ecclesia Sancta and the Dominicans of St. Cecilia, who are stationed at parishes in the archdiocese, assisted with the retreat. The girls’ event was held simultaneously with the Office of Vocations’ retreat for young men at St. John Vianney College Seminary, also in St. Paul.

The retreat did get the young women thinking. Aviv Stella, 14, who attends Transfiguration in Oakdale, said she has thought about the religious life as a vocation, and knowing that religious women would be helping with the retreat piqued her interest in attending.

“I don’t have a preference about my vocation, and I think that is a good place to be; I can let God lead the way,” Stella said. “But seeing the sisters, it seems such a beautiful way to live that I’d want that, too.”

“It was eye opening,” Helen Casselius, 15, of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, said about getting a glimpse of the lives of the sisters at the retreat.

Read more reflections from participants.

The times of prayer and fellowship added to participants’ day.

“It’s really nice to be in an environment where you know everyone is going to help [you] grow in your faith,” Casselius said.

For 14-year-old Grace Aho, a parishioner at Epiphany in Coon Rapids, that support made it easier to pray.

“I came to get closer to God because it’s so hard to find peace,” she said. “You can go to adoration, but it’s easier, in a way, with girls your age. It’s given me lots more peace.”

Stella said the retreat also provided a place where she could grow closer to God and listen to what he might have to say about her vocation. None of the three has made a definitive decision about their vocation, but they are ready to share what they learned.

“Today has been a good reminder that all of us are princesses of God and that God is our loving Father, but also our king. We can help other girls know they are princesses, too,” Casselius said.

“We have to help other girls know about Jesus and know that they are appreciated,” Aho agreed. “We are meant for great things.”

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