When Mary DeTurris Poust wrote a blog post about being “broken, beautiful, and beloved,” the content was deeply personal. A Catholic writer since 1984, Mary had been the managing editor of Catholic New York (she’s still a columnist) and she was in the process of penning a book about food, self-image, and God. The writer has three children and a comfortable life in Upstate New York, yet, she grappled with accepting God’s love in spite of her own flaws.
She quickly learned that she wasn’t alone in the struggle.
Responses poured in to the blog post, the National Catholic Reporter commissioned a successful piece on the topic, and Mary began to give talks and retreats on the theme of being “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved.” On Saturday, May 9, Mary brings the one-day retreat to Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center for a day of prayer, reflection, community, music, and creativity.
Below, Mary shares her thoughts on the retreat and her experience of facilitating it.
Who do you think is a perfect fit to attend this retreat?
It’s good for anybody who is dealing with the incredible stresses our daily life puts on us. We’re constantly connected to whatever it is— we don’t take time to step away from that and reflect and be quiet. It’s for people who are feeling like they need to step away and get a new perspective on themselves and maybe a new relationship with God, and it’s an especially good, unintimidating way to explore one’s creative side.
What do you hope retreatants will take away from this retreat?
I like to laugh, so it won’t be all serious and somber! There will be time to share as well as to just look at ourselves and the ways we can be so hard on ourselves. We’ll support each other, talk about our own struggles, and find ways to get past some of them. And, yet, it will be fun.
What do you hope you will take away from this retreat?
Its nice timing –it’s Mother’s day weekend— and I’m hoping to really connect with people [in that regard]. I can tell other people, ‘You are loveable as you are,’ but I can’t always hear the same thing myself. It’s an ongoing challenge. You don’t deal with it once and then it’s done. We keep going on and learning new things.
Too often, people feel isolated or they feel like they’re the only one who feels the way I do. When I start talking about my own struggles, it lets people see we’re all the same in sharing brokenness. We’re all struggling with similar things.
I will tell you that, after I give these retreats, I almost always drive home just so happy. I leave having learned something pretty important.
Hopefully, the May retreat will grant others a positive experience, too.
More on the “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved” retreat is available on Mariandale’s website.
Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center is a full-service center with 40 beds, located on 63 natural, beautiful acres on the Hudson. The center is available for group and private retreats and offers spiritual programming throughout the year. For more information about Mariandale, visit the website at www.mariandale.org. Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center is a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope.