Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS RETREAT

I'm getting stoked about the women's retreat I'm to lead this weekend at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois. 
LOURDES GROTTO
For those who, like me, are hazy on any U.S. geography apart from a coast, Belleville is across the Missouri, whoops, Mississippi River from St. Louis and my only regret is that I'm not going to be able to stay longer in a city that--who knew?--was once known as "The Rome of the West." In fact, searching for photos, I came upon the blog, Rome of the West, of one Mark Scott Abeln who, with the fervor of a true convert, has apparently devoted his life to cataloguing, researching and putting up photos of the gazillions of churches in the St. Louis area (thought, not, alas, as far as I could see, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows). 

I also learned that there are Our Lady of the Snows churches in Nulato, Alaska; Sun Valley, Idaho; Milford, Michigan; and Prague. In 1897 Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called "Our Lady of the Snows" that begins: 


A Nation spoke to a Nation,
    A Queen sent word to a Throne:
"Daughter am I in my mother's house,
    But mistress in my own.
The gates are mine to open,
    As the gates are mine to close,
And I sent my house in order," 
    Said our Lady of the Snows.


So Our Lady has the snows covered, the world over, and I look forward to the challenges, surprises, and it's to be hoped, fruitful discussion generated by the three talks I'm to give on:

1) Discovering God in Myself; 
2) Discovering God in My Family (the prospect of which  caused me to break into hysterical, not entirely mirth-filled laughter); and 
3) Discovering God in My Community. 

Organizers Rosalee Cavataio and Diane Green have done a bang-up job of getting the retreat together, keeping it affordable, getting the word out, and making me feel welcome in advance. So if you happen to be in Belleville Sept. 10 and 11th, come on by! I'll be there! And more to the point, so will Our Lady. 


6 comments:

  1. All I need is to rustle up some good Catholics who will fly me out and do it!

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  2. Heather - looking so forward to our weekend together. Thanks for the shout out!

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  3. Heather it was very nice meeting you at the retreat this weekend. You did a great job. I can't wait to read your books. Take care and God bless you.

    Linda (Diane Green's sister)

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  4. loved meeting you all, and especially the fab Green sisters!

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