We began our 33 day retreat in Porvenir de Tacubaya, Mexico, by the lead of the Holy Spirit. The people desired to understand their already strong devotion to Mary. Having a Spanish translation of the book 33 Days to Morning Glory offered us the opportunity, despite our limited knowledge of Spanish, to make use of some deep material. The retreat was amazing! Every day we arrived at the village and gathered with the nine women and their children. We started with praise and worship songs; we prayed inviting the Holy Spirit to lead us. We shared scripture and how the Lord was speaking to us in our personal prayer time each day; we read the daily material of Fr. Michael Gaitley’s book, sharing the parts that caught our attention and their significance to us.
At first the women didn’t share much, but soon our one-hour meetings became two hours because they’d share so much – getting off topic sharing home remedies for insect bites and recognizing they were married in the same year just months apart. The Spirit was building community. They might have seen each other around for years, even decades, but now they were experiencing one another and encountering the Lord together!
The women made extraordinary sacrifices to be in the chapel every day, waking up early to complete their daily chores and staying up late to cook dinner for their husbands after our time in the chapel. By the end of the retreat each woman shared her testimony. One shared that she only read the Bible once a week, on the days we would come for our weekly prayer meetings, but now she reads the Bible every day. The smile on her face attested to the joy she received in her heart from the Word of God.
The Spirit was moving through the whole retreat, especially in our scripture sharing: several times two women would feel lead to share the exact same scripture. The themes of our scripture sharing were always cohesive, the Spirit speaking to all of us in the same way. One day all the scriptures reminded us of the importance of loving our neighbor, another day on the need to fast as a way to prepare ourselves for Consecration Day. And we received constant reminders that God is faithful.
“The smile on her face attested to the joy she received in her heart from the Word of God.”
But by far the greatest change in these women was their missionary impulse. Halfway through the retreat one woman asked us, “When will you go to Fermin (the neighboring village)?” I turned the question back to her, “When will you go there and tell them of what the Lord has done in your heart through scripture and this retreat?” We heard in our scripture and our retreat the need for going forth, inviting others to seek the Lord and encouraging more people to strive for sainthood through a consecration to Jesus through Mary.
The day after Consecration Day in the pouring rain we braved the ride to Fermin with the nine new disciples the Lord made in the retreat. In total we were 25 people, including kids, in a 12-passenger van! The women went off two-by-two inviting people to the chapel. Diana, 14 years old, MC’d the prayer meeting. Three women from our original group shared testimonies of encountering the Lord; three others shared scripture; and all of them prayed over the visitors to the chapel. Their invitation to the ladies of Fermin to participate in a similar retreat was received with pleasure and enthusiasm. In the months to come, the women of Tacubaya will lead a retreat for the women in Fermin! God is ever faithful and ever good.
General Cepeda, Mexico
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