By Melisa Preuss Muñoz
The Marian Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from McComb hosted its ninth Annual “Speak Lord I’m Listening” retreat in Chatawa July 29-31. The group is part of a national movement based out of Clearwater, Fla., and hopes to build its Mississippi membership through retreats and word-of-mouth.
The founding association, the Marian Servants of Our Lady of Divine Providence, model the life of Mary as servant. As Marian Servants, members emulate the life of the Blessed Mother, who is always obedient to the words of her son and who freely and humbly accepts God’s will.
The mission of the Marian Servants is to bring Catholics to a deeper understanding of their mission in Christ, the church and in the world. It follows a rule of life established by the parent organization. The rule consists of the call to holiness, obedience and service.
The lay apostolate of the Marian Servants is beginning to grow throughout Mississippi. In 2013, the Diocese of Jackson established the Marian Servants of Jesus the Lamb of God at Jackson St. Therese Parish and has since added members at several other parishes. The ‘Speak Lord, I’m Listening’ retreats are a way for all the members to gather and strengthen their bonds.
Charlene Brown, assistant director of the Marian Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, said the theme of this year’s retreat was taken from Ephesians 2:3-5, “Rich in Mercy” to mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.
Using the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the retreatants pondered scriptures after placing themselves in the presence of God, while praying for the graces to allow God to act freely in them, to see themselves as God sees them, and to give God their whole beings: mind, heart, soul and body. After prayer and contemplation, the retreatants met in small groups to share their prayer experiences.
Tom Edwards, a lay minister of evangelization, presented the idea that we are living stones with Jesus as the Corner Stone. Using the example of the building of Solomon’s Temple, he said that we, here on earth, are in a quarry being chiseled into beautiful and perfect stones which will eventually be used in God’s kingdom. He noted that according to biblical tradition, laborers prepared the temple stones in quarries underneath the city – representing earth – to respect the silence and holiness of the temple – representing heaven.
Saturday night, participants adored Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and took part in a healing service led by Father Bill Henry, the spiritual advisor of the Marian Servants in Mississippi.
Next year, ‘Speak Lord I’m Listening’ retreat will be held in Chatawa July 28-30, 2017. “I would like to extend an invitation to all, especially those in the Jackson diocese,” said Brown.
Anyone seeking more information about the Marian Servants should contact Mike or Charlene Brown at McComb St. Alphonsus Parish, Teresa Preuss at Jackson St. Therese Parish, or Maureen Roberts at Magee St. Stephen Parish.
(Melisa Preuss-Muñoz is the Administrative Assistant in the Office of Vocations for the Diocese of Jackson and member of St. Jude Parish in Pearl. She holds a Masters of Education from Dominican University in Chicago, Illinois.)
By Melisa Preuss Muñoz