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2020 Virtual Pani Retreat

2020 Virtual Pani Retreat

30 Pani’s throughout the Diocese were blessed to be part of the 2020 Virtual Pani Retreat on Saturday, October 10th with His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory and guest speaker Presbytera Dr. Roxanne Louh. We began with morning prayers served by Fr. Stephen at Sts. Cyril and Methodios Church at Camp Nazareth. Then Dr. Roxanne Louh began her presentation on Tending to Self: Mind, Body and Soul. During the first of two talks she conveyed to us the importance of guarding our thoughts. Our thoughts shape our feelings and actions, which shapes our character, which shapes our lives. We must be mindful and pray for the virtue of discernment so that we may prevent the thoughts that may harm us from taking hold and doing damage in our lives. She went on to share with us that we are in a battle between our spirit and our flesh that we must be aware of so that we can confront the areas where our flesh is winning in order to strengthen our spirit. We nourish our soul through prayer, fasting, and the sacramental life of the Church. Dr. Roxanne gave many examples of how we must confront our thoughts by considering them and discerning how to handle them. Even negative thoughts can be beneficial if we can determine what messages may be behind them and whether something good can be done with them, like a new insight or plans to solve a problem. We are all called to bring our thoughts into submission to God. Dr. Roxanne further offered a formula of 3 Ts to Tune in to your thoughts as they occur, Test your thoughts in light of our faith, and Transform your thoughts by trying to put on the character of Christ in our interpretation of ourselves and others.

In the second talk Dr. Roxanne focused on self-care, not as self-indulgence but as daily choices to care for our health in a way that better supports our ability to put on the character of Christ. Our spiritual health is the center of our physical, emotional, social, and intellectual health. We can care for our spiritual health by putting habits into place that continue when our physical or emotional health is strained. If we find ourselves in an emotionally difficult or physical exhausted place we will have a much more difficult time acting according to God’s will, so knowing how to care for ourselves supports our ability to stay near God. Dr. Louh suggested four steps to self care, to nourishing your body to be a better vessel for your soul. Those steps are 1) Evaluate your doing; how do you spend your time and what do you prioritize? 2) Be intentional in your doing; align your values with the things you do and schedule things that are important. 3) Know when to stop doing; recognize your stress signals and schedule time for stillness with God. 4) Know yourself in your doing; question yourself to know what you need and plan for short, regular rest times.

In addition to these talks with Dr. Roxanne, the panis in attendance had time with His Eminence Metropolitan Gregory, who led a fascinating bible study in the book of Revelations and conveyed his love for and support of the ministry that the wives of clergy are called to by God. The retreat concluded with a Moleban to the Mother of God offered from Saints Cyril and Methodios Church at Camp Nazareth. We thank his Eminence, the Diocese, and Dr. Roxanne Louh for a beautiful day long retreat that was revitalizing for fellowship and spiritual growth

Pani Eleni Stagon