Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

BELMONT — Young women are invited to take time this summer to grow spiritually while enjoying fellowship with each other at the second annual Duc In Altum discernment retreat June 26-July 1 at Belmont Abbey College.

Open to high school freshmen to college freshmen, the retreat sponsored by the Diocese of Charlotte is designed to give young women the tools to listen to the voice of God in their lives, said retreat organizer Sister Mary Raphael.

“We are striving to give the girls an opportunity to dive deeper into their prayer lives, in their present vocations as daughters, and in an openness to whatever vocation God has for each of them – whether to consecrated single life, religious life or holy marriages,” she said.

“Duc In Altum” is Latin for “put out into the deep.” It refers to the words Jesus spoke to Peter in the Gospel of Luke, encouraging him to let down fishing nets for a catch.

A goal of the retreat is to help young women develop an authentic femininity based on the role model of the Blessed Virgin Mother, Sister Mary Raphael noted. In honor of this year’s 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, the retreat will explore ways to grow in faith, hope and charity after the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to pray for the conversion of sinners.

Priests and religious of the diocese will lead the Duc In Altum retreat. The agenda includes talks, daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and a candlelit rosary procession as well as social activities, such as games, crafts, Irish dancing and a movie night. Attendees will be supervised by full-time, female chaperones.

“This is a camp for girls in their own ‘diocesan backyard,’ with priests, religious and lay women from their own diocese to begin ongoing mentoring relationships,” Sister Mary Raphael said. “We want these girls to know they have spiritual tools to use and people who care about their spiritual welfare who are willing to walk with them in their discernment.”

The inaugural retreat last year was well received with 50 young women attending, she said. Organizers are planning for at least 70 attendees this year.

The retreat costs $150 and is sponsored by the diocesan Vocations Office. Registration deadline is Friday, June 16.

For more information and to register, contact Sister Mary Raphael at 704-602-4809 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or go online to www.charlottediocese.org/vocations/duc-in-altum.

— Dina Wilson, correspondent