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Summer Mystical Rose Gathering Focused on "Theology of the Body"


“This day changed my life,” one young woman stated as the Mystical Rose Daughter of Faith event concluded on Saturday. Approximately 85 women, daughters and moms from across the Diocese of Gaylord, gathered in Gaylord for a day focused on the theme “Created in God’s Image and Likeness: An Intro to Theology of the Body.” Each of the presenters for the day highlighted concepts from Blessed John Paul II’s integrated vision of the human person - body, soul, and spirit. Participants came from Gaylord, Traverse City, Lake Leelanau, Suttons Bay, Cedar, Roscommon, East Jordan, Alpena, West Branch, Interlochen, Elmira, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Buckley, Kingsley, and Hale.

DSC_0683.JPGThe day began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Bernard Hebda in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Mary Cathedral. Diocesan Vocations Director Fr. Don Geyman and Fr. Peter Wigton, Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral, concelebrated.

The group then moved to the Cooney Conference Center where Fr. Peter presented an “Introduction of Theology of the Body.”

Sr. Colleen Clair, a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco, returning for her second Mystical Rose Daughters of Faith event, having first come to the diocese in 2011 when the group for teen girls in 7th through 12th grades was launched. Sr. Colleen visited with participants at lunch, organized a game of wiffle ball on the softball field, and then shared insights about her day-to-day life as a religious sister.

A consecrated virgin, Amy Shank from the Diocese of Grand Rapids, was present throughout the day to answer any questions on her particular vocation which she has been living for the past ten years. Emily Hollabaugh, a young woman and Faith Formation Coordinator at Holy Rosary, Cedar, discussed her own discernment process as she contemplates her vocation and whether God is calling her to live as a consecrated virgin.

“The consecrated virgin offers the gift of her physical virginity to Christ, as a sign of the dedication of her entire being to Him," wrote Cardinal Raymond Burke when he was Archbishop of St. Louis. (Vocations to the Consecrated Life, St. Louis Review Online, August 13, 2004.]  A consecrated virgin does not wear a habit or veil, nor does she use the title ‘Sister.’ St. Catherine of Siena is an example of a saint who lived in the 1300s and was not a religious sister, but consecrated her virginity to God.

Elizabeth Gengle of Petoskey and Erin Peck of Traverse City spoke about their experiences as mothers and wives and how God has called them to live out their vocations.

DSC_0775.JPGCentral to Elizabeth’s talk was “Feminine Genius,” a letter that Blessed John Paul II wrote to women in 1995. She recalled his affirmation that “The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the ‘feminine genius.’…Putting herself at God's service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love.”

Both Erin and Elizabeth shared examples of how the young women can live out their feminine genius, including ideas such as having prudence with what they post on Facebook, exercising patience with younger siblings, and ultimately carrying out chores and all activities with great love.

One mother commented during the day that one reason she joined the Catholic Church was because she sees how the Church helps parents raise their children.

DSC_0704.JPG“It was a day full of blessings,” said Marie Hahnenberg, coordinator for the Mystical Rose Daughters of Faith. “I believe that Our Lady was present with us on this day and she speaks to us as we all continue to strive for purity and true womanhood. May God be praised.”

The Mystical Rose Daughters of Faith for girls and the St. Andrew Task Force group for boys are efforts of the Diocese of Gaylord Vocations Advisory Committee and supported in part by gifts to the annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). Both groups strive to help young Catholics strengthen and grow in their faith and to discern how God is calling them to serve the Lord and His Church in their lives. For more information regarding vocations in the Diocese of Gaylord, please call Fr. Don Geyman at 989.732.5147 or email him at .

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