McCOOL JUNCTION (SNR) - National Vocation Awareness Week was observed Nov. 5-11, the annual week-long celebration of the Catholic Church in the United States dedicated to promote vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education.
Inspired by the Blessed Mother and her “fiat” of acceptance of God’s call, Fiat Ministries was created in order to foster prayer, self knowledge, and authentic discernment in young Catholic women through a true relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fiat Ministries started in the Diocese of Wichita, Kan., with the blessing of Bishop Carl Kemme. Fiat Ministries’ discernment retreats are held several times a year for young women discerning God’s call for their lives. The retreat is led by a team of lay people from Wichita, and consecrated religious from communities throughout the United States assist at the retreat by giving talks, leading small groups, giving their testimonies, and providing a joyful witness of what it means to be a consecrated religious sister.
In September, Fiat Ministries traveled four hours north and held its first Fiat Ministries discernment retreat in the Diocese of Lincoln, at Camp Kateri Tekakwitha near McCool Juncion. Representatives from five different communities were present: Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Mercy, the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln, the School Sisters of Christ the King, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George from Alton, Ill., and the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ from Prayertown, Texas.
The religious sisters present helped the 46 young women on retreat to refocus on Christ and what it means to live a life of holiness.
Sister Serena Deters, a member of the Marian Sisters of the Diocese of Lincoln and vocations director, said one of the retreatants called the Fiat retreat a “beautiful” experience.
She said the young woman recounted, “The sisters on retreat with us were a beautiful witness of what it looks like to live out your vocation. Seeing the joy they all radiated made me want to come to know more fully my identity as a daughter of the King even if religious life isn’t what He is calling me to.”
Sister Serena said another participant said this retreat was her first opportunity to really get to talk to sisters and see how different each sister is and how joyfully and fully they live out their vocations, making the idea of religious life “less scary.”
The young women heard talks and testimonies by the religious, but they also were given a chance to spend free time and recreate with them. The grounds provided plenty of space for reflection and for one-on-one walks.
These “Emmaus walks” were very beneficial, giving the young women the opportunity to talk to a sister one-on-one.
In addition to learning about active religious life, the retreatants were also able to video chat with a Cloistered Poor Clare from Rockford, Ill., and to learn about her life.
“We love including cloistered nuns as part the retreat,” said Emily Savage, founder of Fiat Ministries. “Contemplative life is a unique vocation that most retreatants have never been exposed to.”
Another sister said, “I believe this is one of the best discernment retreats I have ever helped on, and I have already seen fruit coming from the weekend.”
Single women ages 18-26 are invited to attend the next Fiat discernment retreat in Wichita Dec. 15-17. For more information, please visit www.fiatministries.org.