Saturday morning, I gave a mini-retreat for women at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina. I was delighted that so many women were able to come out on a cold morning to spend three hours with me, each other, and God.
I drew from Joan Chittister’s book, The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Women’s Life, as the basis for our time together. Chittister sees the biblical women Ruth and Naomi as metaphors, as models of all of the women of the world, and she uses their story as a way to identify the defining moments “that mark every women’s passage through time in a way separate from the men around her and that shape her as she goes.”
In the first part of the morning, I retold the story of Ruth and Naomi, with a focus on its revelation of the defining moments in our lives as women. I then focused on the first of the defining moments Chittister identifies in her book: loss, talking both about our experiences of loss and the invitation to change that flows from loss. Each of those talks was followed by a period of quiet reflection as well as small group sharing and large group discussion. I ended by talking a little about the final moment revealed by the story of Ruth and Naomi: fulfillment and our invitation to explore how we bring ourselves to fulfillments, and in so doing, make the world a fuller place as well.
I am enormously grateful to the women who participated in our mini-retreat. The sharing was rich and God’s graces flowed.
The Story of Ruth and Naomi:
Loss and the Change it Invites Us To: