Women's retreat

St. John Catholic Church is hosting its annual women’s retreat Feb. 29 with the theme: “Cozy Mountain Lodge: Where women find shelter in God.” Preparing for the event are retreat organizers Belinda Winkler (seated left), Sue Murphy (seated right), Anne Gregory, (standing left), Annette Kuhlman (standing center) and Ruth Ann Baker.

St. John Catholic Church in Defiance will host its annual women’s retreat Feb. 29 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The retreat, which is open to all women, will be held at the St. John Parish Life Center, located at 510 Jackson Ave.

This year’s theme is: “Cozy Mountain Lodge: Where women find shelter in God,” which is based on the Book of Ruth. Attendees are asked to dress in comfortable clothes, be ready to relax, and enjoy some good food, according to Belinda Winkler, Sue Murphy and Mary Roehrig, members of the retreat planning committee. A freewill offering will be taken to help offset the costs of the event.

“We want women who come to be very comfortable, so dress in pajamas, sweats, slippers, because we’re going to make it very cozy,” said Murphy. “In the morning we’ll have a small breakfast, there will be lunch, and when it ends at 4:30 p.m., all of the women are invited to attend Mass at 5 p.m.”

Said Roehrig: “I’m looking forward to seeing the ladies come to a place they can relax, meet someone they don’t know and make new friends, and be in a place where they can be comfortable in their faith.”

There are seven sessions planned for the retreat.

• Session 1 — Each woman will unpack how everyone is given different “building materials” in life as the group explores the first chapter of Ruth. Women will discover that no matter what life gives them, they can all choose to make God their firm foundation. Session 1 also includes a time of worship, a fun group activity and Bible study.

• Session 2 — Women get to know each other and build friendships, as they play familiar board games with a few new twists. Women will gain insights on how to approach constant change in their lives, as they consider the Bible account of Ruth and Naomi.

• Session 3 — Women will laugh through a silly skit that serves as the launching point for discovery and discussion about the importance of being surrounded by supportive friends. There will be worship, silly fun, a closer look at the story of Ruth and Naomi, encouragement and prayer.

• Session 4 — Women will consider the hardships of Ruth and Naomi’s lives, before moving into a time of service as they demonstrate love and compassion for others by making hearty bean soup mixes to be donated to those in need.

• Session 5 — Women will discuss how Jesus is our redeemer, and how He provides covering and protection, like the covering Ruth needed through Boaz. Women will look at what Boaz did for Ruth, and how it’s an example of what Christ did for all through the gift of salvation.

• Session 6 — Women will grow closer to God through a quiet time of prayer and reflection on God’s word. Women will visit five unique stations where they will experience God’s love, peace, comfort and guidance. This time is focused around Psalm 23.

• Session 7 — A celebratory session, women affirm some of the beautiful qualities they see in each other. This session is complete with “warm fuzzies,” worship and a look at Ruth 4.

“It’s a day for women to let things go, to not worry about daily life, to relax, get comfortable and to learn that God is here for all of us,” said Winkler. “It’s an opportunity to be with God, to find him in those moments, and to find comfort in God. This day is for all women, and it will be a spiritual day.”

For more information, or to register for the retreat, call 419-782-7121.

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