Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1

This weekend, from Friday to Sunday, was my first foray into the land of Retreat-ville. I didn’t get to stay the whole weekend. I live 30 mins away from the retreat house, and came home each night to see my babies to bed and check in on my husband. My chapter president was very sensitive to the needs of my family and insisted that they come first. In fact, he always does.  I thought to share my weekend with you in two posts, the reception portion, and the retreat portion.


I was received after an evening mass in this chapel and it was wonderful. This is all mosaic. If you can imagine, there are gold pieces shining from the candles and other lighting.

Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @Cristina #3op #laydominican #catholic

Mike and the boys were there. He kept telling the boys that this was Mommy’s special day and when the boys saw me they made sure to tell me just how proud of me they were. Just call me Mary Magdalene, kidding. While that is that name that I took, you don’t have to call me that (although I call on her quite often!)

Reviewing what we were supposed to say for the reception with my Chapter President.

Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic

Mike was sitting pretty far back and took a ton of pictures (with video) posting them to his Facebook timeline.

Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic
I have no idea why Gabriel is making the duck face.
Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic
I love this photo he took of them. Love.
Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic
Getting my scapular on!
Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic
Father Rick and I grinning like mad!

During dinner, Fr. Rick asked the other Novice, who took the name St. Martin de Porres, and I what reading we chose for the ceremony. We looked at each other blankly. We didn’t know we were supposed to pick a reading. Then he rephrased it, “Well, what’s your favorite?” Without hesitation, I said “Let it be done unto me according to your word“. So, for the reading, at this ceremony, Fr. Rick read the Magnificat. How lovely.

Everyone was so happy for me and kept congratulating me, people that I met the year before meandering through NYC to attend Dominican mass and others that I hadn’t met prior. The love in the room was palpable, especially from my favorite guys.

Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic

We headed off to a talk on vocations, and my birthday twin, (also a chapter member) gave me the St. Dominic medal that I am to wear every day. She got it while in Fatima and had it blessed by a Dominican priest. I was also given the Rule books for the order, as well as the Lay Dominican cross and pin as part of my reception.

Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1 via @fillpraycloset #3op #laydominican #catholic


Fr. Rick spoke about vocations for his first talk and how vocations, whether they are to be a priest, nun, in the laity, a teacher, wife, husband, single person, what have you make you more of what you’re meant to be.

For example, I am a mother, that’s my first vocation and it makes me more of who I am meant to be: compassionate, patient, loving, disciplined and flexible (to name just a few characteristics of that vocation). He also noted how important it was that each of us in the room, wanted to be there and did what we could to be sure were could attend, to embark on this new beginning of refreshment and renewed commitment to walk humbly with the Lord.

I thought of Mike just then. He was working from home all day, like he usually does, but he feverishly went about his morning, made an appointment for the boys to get haircuts at noon, took them to their favorite spot for lunch and then went clothes shopping for all of them. He really wanted to be with me and I couldn’t have felt more loved. I commented to him how proud he looked of me in the family picture, and he replied “Of course I’m proud of you. I’m proud of anything you do. You’ve been through so much, that any good you do is something to be proud of. It’s important.” I just smiled and looked down at my feet.

Father Rich then told us to relax, pray, and refresh ourselves. How refreshing ourselves, relaxing and taking time was a good thing. In fact, he repeated “and that’s a good thing” throughout the weekend, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself.

We left just after the talk, around 9PM when they were to have the birthday party for St. Dominic – they had a whole sheet cake, candles and everything! Gotta love the Dominicans.

Tomorrow I’ll share how the rest of the weekend unfolded. Need a teaser? I wasn’t allowed to speak for at least 4 hours and, I cheated. Dun dun duuuuuuun.


16 thoughts on “Lay Dominican Retreat-ville Part 1

  1. So beautiful, Cristina! All of it. Where you are in this process, the support from your friends and your family. Beautiful! Excited for your next installment and for you! Congrats!


  2. Congratulations!!!!! So happy to have you as a sister in St. Dominic. :0 Twinsies on the Dominican cross! I wear mine every single day, without fail. Along with the Our Lady Undoer of Knots medal, you know why. 🙂 Can’t wait to read the second part! xo.


    1. My cross is pretty big so I can’t wear it every day. 😦 It’s not the largest one available, but closer to just over an inch and it’s gold. Most of what I wear is silver. I would love to wear mine every day! You know what that means – online search! :))) Missed you lots that night and I took a ton of notes for me, and you.


  3. This is so beautiful! I think I am tearing up. Lol. Congratulations!!! I love the way you were told to take care of your husband and children FIRST – what simple, loving order! Oh man – I think I am a tad jealous too. This story sounds like heaven on earth ❤ ❤


    1. Thank you Brittany. Putting my family first is part of what drew me to this order. There was a time when a meeting was scheduled, but I had to bring the kids. My chapter president’s response? “Bring them, we’re pro-life!” 🙂


  4. OH what a glorious experience Kristina!!! I love how much your family supports you and your incredible faith! Oh that hubs… you caught a good one!!

    I would have cheated too… 😉


  5. Congratulations! I am just starting the discerning process to possibly become a lay associate in the Sisters of Charity. Nervous but excited!


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