February 9-13 while Olympic athletes spent themselves for gold in their sport, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Mary Ann Spanjers and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan witnessed UW Stevens Point Catholic Newman Parish members pouring themselves out for everlasting ‘GOLD‘ for a Busy Student Retreat.
What was so heroic? About 64 students already busy with the normal activity of classes, assignments, jobs and in some cases burdened with illness or tragedy in their families, gathered for Mass, night prayer, a half-hour of one-on-one spiritual companioning, and evening meal. (Some even took time for a cold bit of their own ice skating!) Most important was an additional half hour on one’s own for God alone. Other members of the parish not on retreat, not only delivered needed food items, but prepared healthy, home-cooked meals on site. (Talk about a lot of dishes!)
Newman pastor Father Tom Lindner and campus minister Wendy Mitch also invited another diocesan priest, Father Bob Cook, to inspire at liturgies and preach, and more consecrated religious for heart-listening as the retreat team (Brother Pat Douglas, SJ, Society of Jesus, Omaha, NE; Sister Bernadine Gutowski, OSF, Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, Springfield, IL; Sister Marla Lang, FSPA, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, WI; Sister Lucy Nigh, SSND, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Douglas, AZ; Brother Alan Parham, FSC, Christian Brothers, Chicago, IL; Sister Deb Weina, SSJ-TOSF, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, Stevens Point, WI.)
It was quite a memorable experience of Church for all involved!