Sign up now: Sisters’ lives in troubled times

July 30, 2010 by

As both the Church and women religious face complex and troubled times, Manna House of Prayer in Concordia, Kan., has developed an intensive program for sisters who are earnestly searching for deeper meaning in their lives.

“I believe this program can make a significant contribution in awakening our awareness of both the mystical and the prophetic nature of consecrated religious life,” explains Bette Moslander, csj, who has helped develop “Deepening the Mystery of Religious Life” and who will be one of the presenters.

“Deepening the Mystery” is a four-week intensive retreat at Manna House this fall, designed for women religious who are “moving into a time when they’re thinking about the rest of their lives,” Sister Bette adds.

The program is designed specifically for women religious who entered their communities before 1990.

“Women get into their stride in ministry and works, and can lose sight of their original reasons for choosing religious life,” says Janet Lander, csj, another of the program’s presenters. “This is 30 days to step back and refocus.”

It is also an opportunity to see the “traps of complacency and workaholism,” adds presenter Marcia Allen, csj. “We get so caught up in what we do that we forget who we are.”

The presenters and spiritual directors — all staff members at Manna House — want to give participants the opportunity to remember, and to feel again the love that grasped each heart in her original consecration. To that end, the subtitle of the program is “A Renewal of Heart.”

Questions at the center of the program include:

  • Are you competent and successful and yet feel there’s something more to be gained from your life?
  • Has your work these last 20 or more years dampened the fire of your passion for God?
  • Are you at an impasse in how to live your religious life?
  • Are you yearning for a deeper relationship with God?

For the last dozen years, Manna House has hosted the “Sarah Sabbatical,” a much-recognized program for women religious making the transition from active ministry to retirement. Most of the sisters who developed the new program have also been leaders in the Sarah Sabbatical.

But “Deepening the Mystery” is not simply a Sarah Sabbatical for younger women; rather, says Carolyn Teter, csj, “This is about our lives, as we live them today, and the mystical and prophetic nature of religious life. This is about the questions we ask ourselves.”

“The substance of this program pertains to all women religious,” Bette adds. “This is about the passion that brought all of us into religious life.”

The program is from Sept. 13 through Oct. 10, with an optional 10-day directed retreat following it. Registration is $500. Room and board at Manna House, a nationally recognized spiritual retreat center in northwest Kansas, is $1,400 for the four-week program or $1,900 for the program and directed retreat.  The maximum number of participants is 38, and the registration deadline is Aug. 15.

For more information on “Deeping the Mystery of Religious Life,” go to or call Manna House at 785-243-4428. You may also CLICK HERE for a printable brochure.


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