DANBURY– Acknowledging regrets and focusing on faith to create a fulfilling life was the message shared with more than one hundred women at a prayer breakfast gathering sponsored by Magnificat.
The Triumphant Heart of Mary Immaculate chapter of the ministry to Catholic women, hosted the event at the Ethan Allen Inn in Danbury earlier this month. The invited guest speaker and author of, “Retreat from the World,” Kathleen Keefe, shared her personal faith-filled journey and advice on dealing with inevitable regrets along life’s path.
“Even the smallest regrets find a nesting place in our hearts and if we don’t look at them, it becomes debris of the heart if left unattended,” Keefe said. “God can’t use us if our hearts are filled with debris.”
Keefe, who was a teacher for 23 years in the South Bronx, has been involved in the teaching and healing ministry since 1987.
Keefe held up a small jewelry-sized bag labeled regrets and explained how she has it hanging on a statue of Lady of Fatima in her home. She said she writes down her regrets, places them in the bag and prays.
“If we are not humble, if we do not pray for Divine Mercy every day, that’s where contamination will seep in,” Keefe said.
Everyone has regrets – from sins in our lives, to choices we make and the impact of other people’s choices on us, she said adding, regrets are often dismissed, repressed or denied.
Keefe said she was inspired to share a story of regret from her childhood that she only recently came to peace with.
She explained that her brother, who suffered a brain injury at birth, had chosen Saint Aloysius for his confirmation name. With her 13-year-old wisdom at the time and two weeks of relentlessly trying to get him to change his mind as only a persistent sibling can, she succeeded, and he took the name Brian – a name she thought was better for him.
He went to be with the Lord almost two years ago and she realized she regretted ever changing his mind about his preferred confirmation name. After praying on it, she was assured that although the earthly name chosen was Brian, the heavenly name he received was Aloysius.
“Special children, God puts on this earth as examples,” Keefe said, reflecting at times with tears in her eyes, humor and poignancy, on how her brother was an example to all who knew him.
Although she said her initial intent was to talk about humility, obedience, forgiveness, love and trust, she was moved to share this childhood story as an example of all those things.
Magnificat breakfasts were happening around the world on this day, and the women in Danbury lifted their voices in unison with them and were accompanied by the praise and worship musical talents of, “Still Small Voice,” who led participants in musical prayer throughout the morning.
Magnificat, which in Latin translates to “(My soul) magnifies (the Lord)” is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary. The Magnificat is a ministry to Catholic women sharing stories of how God is working in their lives. There are 180 chapters around the world.
“It’s been a beautiful journey,” said chapter coordinator Fran Hood, reflecting on the privilege for the past eight years of leading the group and selecting speakers to share their faith-filled journeys. Hood is stepping down from the position and the chapter is actively seeking a new leader.
Guests at the breakfast gathering were each greeted with a table setting that included a rosary and a Magnificat monthly prayer book. A prayer basket was also present on every table for guests to leave their prayer intentions for themselves or others.
“Everyone has a different journey in life. Their experiences may help you in your life,” said Monica Segura, of our Lady of Guadalupe in Danbury. Segura, who has been coming to the Magnificat breakfasts for the past four years brought her friend Ana Guevera to introduce her to Magnificat and all that is has to offer.
“The speaker was very inspiring. I think I will take some of the advice she shared and apply it to my own life,” Guevera said. “If I could do what she said, I could improve my own life.”
At the conclusion of the breakfast, Hood and Keefe were presented with hand-made prayer shawls and women in attendance were given the opportunity to pray with prayer partners.
Keefe met with women after the breakfast exchanging additional stories, words of support for their journey of faith and signing her book, one of dozens of Christian books available for purchase at the event.
“It’s important to ask the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit to show us where the regrets are in our lives,” she said, urging everyone to say the Rosary every day and make reparations. “Regrets are opportunities for healing