Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Women's Retreat in Cracow May 2 -4/Rekolekcje Kobiet w Krakowie 2-4 Maja

I am very happy to tell you all, but especially those of you of Polish nationality or extraction, that I will be giving four lectures at a retreat for women in the Redemptorist retreat house in Kraków, Poland this spring. Behold.

The lectures will be in English and simultaneously translated into Polish by a translator, although I think I will try very hard to write at least part of one of them in Polish, and the translator can switch to English if there are any ladies there who don't speak Polish. The last time I participated in the Redemptorists' ladies' retreat, there was one brave American girl who is fluent in French and hopped over from France. She had a very nice time, I believe, in part because Polish women are very nice and have usually studied English, and at least one lady there was very good in French, and there was a Polish-Canadian girl about her age, and they looked at the sights of Kraków together.

Now one of the exciting things about Kraków, especially this spring, is that Blessed John Paul II lived there for a long time and was its archbishop. There is no big city in Poland that loves błogosławiony Jan Paweł Drugi the way Kraków does. So you can imagine the party that will erupt on Sunday April 27, when he is canonized in Rome. And the retreat is, conveniently, from May 2 to the afternoon of May 4. Thus, it may be well worth your while, if you have ever been tempted by thoughts of visiting Poland, to come to Kraków for a week.

The catch is that you would have to think about hotels before the actual retreat (when you could pay the very reasonable fee to stay at the retreat house) now, as the town will be likely to be packed with visiting Poles (as will be Rome). The other catch is that, except for my four lectures, the rest of the retreat will be in Polish. Polish masses, Polish other lectures, Polish-speaking meals, unless you sit next to me or other English-speakers. But, as I said, the Polish ladies will speak English: most of them will just be shy about it, as you are when you are called upon to speak French or Spanish, or whatever. But Poles do seem to like visiting Western female tourists, especially if they are well-behaved, so if you learn a few phrases, you would be likely to have a very good time indeed.

I shall provide you with more information, and the sign-up link, as I get it. Meanwhile, the subject of the conference is the Dignity of Women, so what should I lecture about? The priest leading the retreat wants to know the titles of my talks, so I thought I would ask you. I am especially asking the Polish readers for their opinion, because I will have to fit my lectures into a Polish context. Serdecznie dziękuję!


PolishTraveler said...

Oh how lovely! I wish I were back in Europe, I would definitely go! As it is I will have to resort to merely telling all my Polish friends not to dare to miss it!

For topics, how about "Being a single woman doesn't mean you are anti-family" or some other such reaffirming message? I especially think this is something Polish singles need to hear (and if you could give them short, pithy yet respectful responses to share with their relatives around the holidays/at Sunday family dinners, I'm sure they wouldn't complain!)

Also, maybe something about the importance of charity? in my experience, Polish spiritual talks towards young people are almost exclusively focused on how to stay chaste while ignoring other aspects of life, ie, how to stay charitable in a professional setting? How to be happy within your family as a grown person (setting boundaries)? How should young women be living professional vocations - in honesty, in contentment - while they are single?

I'm not sure how much of the above is related to dignity per se but those were topics I would definitely enjoy hearing about were I still in Poland and able to attend your retreat!

proverbialgirlfriend said...

Oooh...sounds like a great topic, and if circumstances were different, I'd try to make a trip of it. I like PolishTraveler's ideas. To me, it sounds as if they connect to a larger theme of "The Dignity of Single Women." Too often I think we can fall into patterns of thinking of our lives in a negative way because we aren't wives or mothers (remembering that Emily Stimpson article you linked to weeks back)>

Related to that will be rising salvo second half of the talk: once you've affirmed our dignity, you share 3-5 practical, but charitable ways to remind others of our dignity, even though we haven't been called to a vocation of marriage and possibly motherhood.

If it's not already being done, perhaps a lecture on the actual meaning of dignity. I think many people in secular culture are trying to make it mean something it doesn't. Last year, I once read a magazine editor use the word in his defense of publishing those photos of Kate Middleton. To quote Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Pearlmusic said...

I hope nothing will stand in my way, so I'm getting ready to come :)

As for topics, perhaps you could illustrate your lectures with some stories of godly, lay Single women. I have a feeling we sort of lack role models for good, Catholic Single (but not religious) path of life.

Seraphic said...

These are good ideas so far. Do you know of any Polish ones, just off the top of your head? (I know it may be difficult.) I know some great German examples, but not Polish ones.

Pearlmusic said...

She came to my mind. Blessed Natalia Tułasiewicz.

Seraphic said...

Thank you! That's very helpful.

Seraphic said...

And I will be happy to see you in Kraków! :-)