A retreat for moms and daughters

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Mothers and daughters can share one of life's most cherished relationships, one that begins at birth and deepens into adulthood. But there are rough patches, especially during adolescence, when family life becomes especially hectic and teens are given and assert more independence.

A retreat sponsored by St. Timothy Church in Chantilly Jan. 30-31 will be a chance for fifth- through 12th-grade girls and their mothers to step back from the busyness and nurture their bond through time shared with each other and Christ in the sacraments.

"It's a chance for participants to quiet themselves, to remove themselves from the chatter and noise in the world and that sometimes is just in everyday home life," said organizer Angela Maria Velásquez-Kanazeh.

Held at San Damiano Retreat Center in White Post, the retreat will include ice breakers, workshops, eucharistic adoration and Mass celebrated by Legionaries Father Jeremy Lambert. Led by two consecrated women of Regnum Christi and two Regnum Christi missionaries, sessions will address gratitude, feminine genius and how to love your mother/daughter.

Members of Regnum Christi serve at St. Timothy and with the Legionaries of Christ run Our Lady of Bethesda, a Catholic retreat house in Maryland. The Legionaries and Regnum Christi form one of the ecclesial movements in the Catholic Church.

Velásquez-Kanazeh, who leads the St. Timothy girls club, attended a retreat at Our Lady of Bethesda with her 11-year-old daughter last year. That experience and the words of Pope Francis inspired her to organize this year's program.

"The pope has been saying to us we need to go out and make noise and to meet people where they are," said Velásquez-Kanazeh. The retreat is "making noise" by sharing, listening and having meaningful conversations grounded in faith, she said.

"The teenage years can be full of a lot of confusion and maybe even a lack of communication between parents and teens. And as moms we don't always want to have those sometimes uncomfortable conversations with daughters; we delay them or say we don't have time for them," said Velásquez-Kanazeh. "Setting aside time for daughters shows them they are a priority … and helps (a daughter) know how much she is loved."

Carla Sola signed up for the retreat with her 17-year-old daughter, Emily, a high school junior. Sola said since she and her husband will be "sending Emily out into the world in a couple short years," the retreat is an opportunity to savor meaningful time together away from typical weekend activities.

Sola said it's also a chance to shift slightly from her parenting role and have "the two of us learning together, mutually sharing in spiritual growth."

Amelia Hoover, one of the consecrated women guiding retreatants, said mothers and daughters face a number of challenges.

"From a very competitive and demanding culture to the good desires of wanting to excel and feel she has a place, moms and daughters are constantly having to find and choose the stable foundation they can put their own security and self-worth in," said Hoover. "So it is crucially important that mothers and daughters are given the space to receive the affirmation of their own worth and gifts."

Velásquez-Kanazeh said she prays the retreat will provide such a space as well as spark a dialogue that continues beyond the weekend.

"I hope mothers and daughters will continue to have conversations based on love and understanding," she said, "and really based in Christ."

To register

For more information and to register, go here.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016