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Dominican Sister leads Seton School girls’ retreat

The annual Seton School girls’ retreat, led by Dominican Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, was held at the school in Manassas March 22. Sister Joseph Andrew is the foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist — an order she helped form in Ann Arbor, Mich., which now has nearly 140 sisters.

Sister Joseph Andrew led three different meditation talks during the retreat, which included many profound and beautiful insights. In between the first two talks, the girls were separated into groups and attended breakout sessions that included adoration in the chapel, prayer journaling, lectio divina, how to keep your faith in college and rosary making. Confessions were also available throughout the entire day.

Sister Joseph Andrew’s first meditation talk was about virtue. She spoke about how we can know our faith and fill in the blanks on a religion test, but we really need to live the Catholic faith in our everyday lives. She said, “If (the faith) does not become a part of your being, what’s the point? That much more will I be accountable before God, that he spoiled me and gave me the truth.”

The virtues are our way to live out the faith. Joseph Andrew discussed how various saints, including Sts. Agnes, Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) and Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, lived lives of virtue. She added that we should look to the saints and pray to them for us to grow deeper in virtue.

Sister Joseph Andrew also discussed the value in suffering. She noted that St. John Paul II referred to “such a blossoming of goodness in the midst of the suffering.” She added that we are strong when we endure suffering well and we need to remindourselves that God has a reason for our suffering,even though it might not be apparent at times. She then compared the idea of suffering to the mysteries of the rosary. She included that we all like the joyful, luminous and the glorious mysteries of the rosary; however, she added, “If you’re going to get to the glorious, to see God face to face in heaven, you have got to get through the sorrowful as well.” In her second talk, Sister Joseph Andrew spoke about the four personality temperaments of each person — sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. She explained that the temperament God gave you is what makes you who you are. She related each temperament to a saint who had that same temperament, and how they used it to praise God in their lives. Following the first two talks, the girls had adoration for one hour, followed by a lunch break. After lunch, Sister Joseph Andrew gave her final talk, answering questions that the Seton girls had written a day earlier. Most of the questions were related to vocations and how to discern what God is calling each person to be. Sister Joseph Andrew’s greatest piece of advice was to pray for your vocation unceasingly. The retreat concluded with Mass celebrated by Father James R. Searby, chaplain at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Seton junior Grace Vestermark enjoyed the retreat, saying, “I liked the retreat because it offered many different stations for people to be able to go and develop their faith in areas that they think they need to improve. I really enjoyed the talks from Sister because I thought it expanded upon things that will help deepen our Catholic faith and prepare us for going out into the world, understanding ourselves better, and becoming closer to Christ.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019