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The Florida Catholic

Retreat inspires women to encounter Jesus

PORT ST. LUCIE  |  Women from all over the Diocese of Palm Beach attended the “Called by Name” 2022 Women’s Encounter retreat June 25, 2022, at St. Lucie Parish in Port St. Lucie. The day, sponsored by the diocesan Office of Family Life, included inspiring talks, Mass, eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation.

Some of the diocesan seminarians helped prepare a continental breakfast and lunch for the women. Father Daniel Daza-Jaller, director of vocations, celebrated Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Keynote speaker Shalini Blubaugh and worship leader Julie Hoy inspired the women with songs and presentations encouraging them to “encounter Jesus” in everyday life. They urged the attendees to recognize that, no matter what brokenness in life they may have experienced, Jesus is always there to pick them up.

“We are just so humbled by everyone who has come here today. This has been a year in the making,” said Rachel Sparks, emcee and one of the lead organizers. “

We started talking about Mary Magdalene and a specific episode in the series ‘Chosen.’ It was just such a Holy Spirit moment for us, which is how we came up with this theme, ‘Called by Name.’”

Kendel Quinlan, another lead organizer, said, “Today we are celebrating the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and we believe that she is really watching over us today and interceding for us. We ask for her intercession, and Mary Magdalene’s as well.” 

Hoy set the mood by playing the guitar and singing inspirational songs, including one she wrote titled: “That Still Small Voice.”

Blubaugh, a law school graduate and wellness fitness trainer, spoke about the meaning of an encounter versus a retreat, recalling Mary Magdalene’s “encounter with Jesus.”

“What does encounter actually mean? Google says to encounter is to come face to face, particularly in a moment of surprise or unexpectedness,” she said.

The speaker gave an example of an encounter by mentioning when her young daughter unexpectedly saw her friend, ran toward him and hugged him. “That’s an encounter,” Blubaugh said. “For her, being within eyesight wasn’t enough. She needed to be within arm’s length.”  

The speaker asked, “What does it mean for you to not only be chosen by Jesus, but to encounter him every single day of your life? To have a personal relationship and friendship with Jesus regardless of your past or present?”

“For many of us, Jesus is just within eyesight, but will you give yourself permission today to just let him be within arm’s reach?” Blubaugh asked.

Diana Pfeiffer of Emmanual Parish in Delray Beach said, “I wish I had brought my daughter to hear this. It was very aspiring.”

Martha Delatorre of St. Anastasia Parish in Fort Pierce added, “It was beautiful and very touching. I cried. We don’t really ever think of other people having ups and downs.”

“God is speaking to me here today,” said Mary Jane Finlay of St. Lucie Parish.

For more about the diocesan Office of Family Life, visit To learn about events in the diocese, go to  

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