Last weekend, close to 200 women gathered from Ottawa and the surrounding region (I met some participants from PEI and Montreal, and feel sure there were others from other distant places also present) to take part in a Women of Bethany retreat guided by Dr. Mary Healy, scripture scholar and professor at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit.
Women of Bethany affords women a chance to step back from the normal routine and enjoy the company of the Lord as Lazarus, Martha and Mary did in their home at Bethany. Opportunities for prayer and praise, rosary, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist were offered under the planning a direction of Lorie O'Reilly (chair of WofB) and Father Vincent Pereira (chaplain for the weekend).
Mary and I serve on the editorial board of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series (published by Baker Academic), in which she has published the volume on Mark's Gospel and is preparing the commentary on the Epistle of the Hebrews. Her knowledge and love of Pope John Paul II's magisterial teaching on the special charism of women in the Bible and the Church underlies her book Men and Women are from Eden.
As I was tied up most of the weekend, Lorrie, Mary and I shared luncheon earlier on Friday and I was able to attend Mary's first presentation on Friday evening and offer the attendees words of welcome and a blessing. My understanding is that the whole weekend was a great experience for all involved. Some photos from our lunch meeting and my brief participation at the event at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel: