UP Catholic 07 15 2016 E Edition Page 23

I t happened after I gave a talk on Gods modus operandi, how He be- fins things with family. From Adam and Eve, to Abraham and Sarah, to the Holy Family, to our individual families God starts each new work with family. Creation. Salvation. Redemption. Sanctification. After the talk ended, many people said they were ready for specific things God was asking of them within their own families, but one womans comment still plays in my mind. She told me a story. A woman she knew raised poodles. One day, the woman looked out the win- dow, and she saw the mama poodle resting on top of the dog house. The puppies clamored below her, but shed had enough. She couldnt give any more. She needed rest. The mama poodle hadnt abandoned her babies. She simply needed to retreat. The lady at the conference reminded me that I need that sometimes, too. And I do. I travel to Israel a couple of times a year. I create my Western Wall petitions with all the needs of my family and friends. Their needs remain in my heart just as those puppies were on that poodles mind as she peered at her offspring from the top of her house. But like her, I need time away where I can be restored and renewed. I need a retreat. Pilgrimage is a retreat, and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is the best retreat we will ever encounter. Recently, I traveled to the Holy Land with three other women. We prayed at all of the holy sites Cana, Mount of Beatitudes, Magdala, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Basilica of the Annunciation, Church of the Visitation. We walked where the Blessed Mother walked. We touched the waters of the Jordan River. But something amazing happened on the Sea of Galilee. Something amazing always happens on that sea. One woman was wrestling with a deci- sion, a kind of torment-riddled decision, the kind that is a stormy sea, a dark night, a search for a level of faith that helps the sinking heart walk on water. After following in the footsteps of Mary in Nazareth and Mary Magdalene at Magdala, we sat in that boat on the Sea of Galilee and wiped away tears. I have been on this sea a number of times. I have seen the hand of God restore mother-daughter relationships, turn a non-contemplative man into a contemplative soul, make even the most sto- ic, middle-aged woman dance. This, I had never seen before: My friend turned to the captain and asked if she could jump into the water. He nodded. Fully clothed, Lisa stepped onto the star- board side of the boat and jumped into the sea the same sea where Jesus calmed the storm, where He lifted Peter up from the waves just as the apostle was in a state of panic and helped him to walk on water, where Our Lord commanded the fish to swim into the nets so the disciples would haul up a catch so incredibly large that they would recognize Christ and leave those same nets behind. We stood together and watched Lisa, our iPhones capturing all of it. The Catholic Facebook Page, Holy Land Pilgrimage, posted the video and the clip went viral. Four Catholic women on the Sea of Gal- ilee encountered a moment of grace. That little moment touched the lives of more than 600,000 Facebook viewers, and the comment box is full of amens and allelu- lias. Pilgrimage is the ultimate retreat. We were renewed and restored. Rested and rejuvenated. A few days later, we had a guided tour under the City of David. We climbed through the underground tunnel that runs under Davids City to the Old City of Jerusalem. As we passed the Western Wall from the other side from under the ground we pulled out our petitions and slipped them into the Wall. And though we were under the City, we were like the mama poodle on top of her dog house. Dogs need a physical break from the demands of their offspring, but we need more. We need to be renewed in Christ, restored in a place like the Holy Land, rejuvenated by sacred waters. We needed to retreat and walk where Jesus and Mary walked so we are pre- pared to jump back into our lives and be swarmed by our offspring once again. Denise Bossert is a former columnist for The U.P. Catholic and many other Catholic newspapers. Her book, "Gifts of the Visitation: Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth" was released in 2015. She is the director of public relations for Israel Ministry of Tourism Midwest region. www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC RETREATS & SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS July 15, 2016 23 Retreats: a time to be restored, renewed GUEST COLUMN Denise Bossert

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