Every year, the USA/ESC Province holds a Holy Week vocation discernment retreat (usually attended by 6-12 young women) in the provincial house in Boston. Since the retreat could not be held with the physical presence of the participants this year, our sisters decided to try an online version of it.
The upcoming event, announced via social media, immediately generated a lot of interest and dozens of emails were sent in requesting information and registration. In the end, 43 young women from the U.S. and Canada registered to participate in the retreat. Some “live” parts of it were available only to the registered participants, but the retreat talks and prayers guides were available to anyone interested.
(The material is still posted at www.daughtersofstpaul.com/HolyWeekRetreat2020.) Data shows that approximately 1,500 navigators accessed the site during the retreat, that each video was viewed an average of 150 times, and that each prayer guide was downloaded an average of 140 times. The site also provided links for live-streaming the Holy Week services and a live-streamed adoration in chapel. A recorded video provided a reflection on cultivating an apostolic heart and gave users a virtual tour of the publishing house.
In addition, the registered participants received a personal phone call from a sister during the retreat. On Saturday afternoon, there was a live question and answer session, at which three sisters answered questions posed through Facebook and Twitter.
The retreat concluded on Easter Sunday with recorded Easter greetings and a final downloadable prayer guide. The young women enjoyed this creative discernment experience and one of them wrote, “Through this retreat I have felt the embrace of God.” Several of them want to remain in contact with the Daughters of St. Paul so as to carry out a more intensive vocation discernment.