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An Invitation to Behold

I was recently blessed to attend a beautiful conference called “Given.”  This Catholic forum  is the fruit of prayer of many who desired to not only expose young women ages 21-30 to the lives of women in consecrated religious life, but also to affirm these young women in their Catholic faith so that each would then go out into society and live, work, marry and witness to the strength of women living in the faith in all areas of life.  I went in the capacity of a volunteer for the forum and also to lead SoulCore classes.  I was invited to attend all the talks and encouraged to immerse myself in all that Given had to offer… and it had SO much to offer!  One of the highlights that I was drawn to were the sessions entitled, “Behold – Visio Divina” led by founder Katie Weiss, who had actually attended her own Given forum several years earlier.  Part of the forum is that each woman is asked to develop an action plan.  This action plan is the beginning of a heartfelt desire in each of these women to bring to the world.  It is something that she builds upon, with her assigned mentor, at the forum and then meets for a year to further bring this plan to fulfillment.  Katie’s vision was to bring women together to celebrate their dignity and femininity and to deepen their faith through communion with one another using sacred art.  

I found that sitting with each image and really praying, asking Jesus to reveal to my spirit what He wanted me to see and feel and open up in my own heart with the particular image was so beautiful.  I was able to place myself into the scene of the image and to really feel the presence of God in prayer.  I had never prayed with art before and I found that it was something that I really enjoyed and began to appreciate for the way it opened my heart in a new way.  The images chosen were not always images that I would have been drawn to, but that didn’t mean that I got nothing from them.  And listening to the prayers and the ways that others received the Word of God in the images was also so beautiful and uplifting to me.  All looked at the same image but did not necessarily see the same things or receive the same responses.  Through the sharing of others, I was able to open my heart even more to see the way others see and to accompany them in their prayers.  I experienced such an outpouring of support, love and encouragement from those I was praying with and in turn, I was able to do so for others.

Hope’s Garden is so full of His Roses… in every shade, shape and situation.  I had a strong sense that this type of prayer would be something that the Roses would especially benefit from, and I am so blessed to have come into friendship with Katie through this process. She has been such an inspiration in her work, and I am so looking forward to praying with those who feel called to share this Visio Divina way of prayer.  I would encourage you to join our group which is now forming and will begin on Monday, October 10th at 8pm.  We will meet for 6 sessions and pray through the book called, “Encountering Christ – From Trust Unto Surrender.” To register and order a hard copy or a virtual pdf of the book, click here.  

God bless you in your discernment!

Copyright 2022, Nicky Verna

Nicky Verna is a Catholic wife of 28 years to her Deacon husband, Tom, and mother to their 4 young adult children. She entered into the fullness of the Catholic faith in 1992 at the age of 25 and has been studying, learning and growing in her Catholic faith ever since. She graduated Cum Laude with a Masters degree in Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's School of Theological Studies. She is a daily communicant and a member of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Drexel Hill where she is Director of the New Evangelization. She is a catechist in the PREP program, facilitates Adult Faith Formation and Scripture Studies, occasionally lectors and is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. She has served the Church as a substitute teacher for area Catholic schools, is a Catholic speaker whenever invited, a prayer intercessor and leader for Unbound, Queen of the Rosary Ministry,  a board member for AbbeyFest Ministries and is part of the planning committee for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Women’s Conference. During the lockdown, she served as a weekly host for the Archdiocese’s Rosary Campaign. Nicky is also a leader, regional ambassador and Discovery Retreat facilitator for SoulCore, a Marian prayer apostolate which combines movement, core strengthening and functional exercises with the prayers of the Rosary. She is genuinely in love with Christ.

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