Siena E-Scribe, Newsletter of the Catherine of Siena Institute, Colorado Springs, Colorado


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November 2006


in this issue

New Offerings! A Day of Discernment
Discernment is one of the basic skills lay apostles need to have, but few people receive any assistance in this area. This new workshop offered by our co-Director Sherry Weddell is a great introduction to the basic ideas of discernment and vocation, whether you have attended a Called & GIfted workshop or not!

The Making of a Bi-Cultural Catholic
Sherry tells her remarkable conversion story on this new CD available from the Institute bookstore. Makes an inspiring Christmas gift!

The Leadville Effect
Running 100 miles on foot in 30 hours on breath-taking mountain trails at elevations of between 9,2000 and 12,620 in the boonies of Colorado sounds crazy. The fact that the winner receives no monetary award and no national spotlight makes it seem even crazier. Why do 395 people, some in their 60s and 70s even try? It's because of the Leadville effect!

Introducing Our Spanish Team
14% of the U.S. is Hispanic, with 49% of all Hispanics living in Texas and California. The majority of these nearly 48 million people are Catholic. What is the Catherine of Siena Institute doing for Spanish-speaking folks? Plenty, thanks to the help of our friends and collaborators.

How to Print Out the E-Scribe
You asked for it - here it is for PC users!

on the web

His Eminence Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap., is the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, one of the largest Archdioceses in the country and "ground zero" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. He just started a web log, or blog, where you can read his reflections on the events of his day to day life. September has some wonderful pictures from his trip to Rome, where he was made cardinal.

The Role of the Laity in Catholic Education - is an address given at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX, by Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P., co-founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute. In it, he argues, "The Catholic faith... enables us to judge the value and purpose of secular activities and to see the way in which they are ordered to the good of humanity. But to make such a judgment it is necessary that we are able both to grasp the principles that belong to secular pursuits and to receive what Christ has revealed concerning our relationship to God and to each other. And this is very precisely the task of the lay person in the Catholic Church." This address should be of interest to anyone involved in Catholic education - and Catholic teachers in public schools might get a few ideas from it, too!

called and gifted workshops

November 3,4
Englewood, CO
(Archdiocese of Denver)
All Souls Catholic Church
CONTACT:Rian Ross, Stewardship & Family Life Director, or the Parish office at (303) 789-0007 ext 2707.

November 10-11, 2006
Lansing, MI
(Diocese of Lansing)
Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church
CONTACT: Father John Byers, Pastor, or the Parish office at (517) 393-3030.

November 17-18, 2006
Covington, WA
(Archdiocese of Seattle)
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

CONTACT: Nancy Schmitt, Pastoral Assistant for Adult Formation & Stewardship, or the Parish office at (253) 630-0701 x108.

January 12, 13, 2007
Houston, TX
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)

St. Thomas More Catholic ChurchCONTACT: Suzie Hamilton, Pastoral Associate, or the Parish office at (713) 729-0221.

January 18, 2007
Menlo Park, CA
(Archdiocese of San Francisco)
St. Patrick's Seminary

A special, one-day Called & Gifted Workshop for seminarians. Not open to the public.

January 19-20, 2007
Clackamas, OR
(Archdiocese of Portland, OR)

Called & Gifted Workshop for member couples of the Columbia World Wide Marriage Encounter - Section 13 Conference. Not open to the public.

January 26-27, 2007
Colorado Springs, CO
(Diocese of Colorado Springs, CO)
Holy Apostles Catholic Church

CONTACT: Bill Sydow or the Parish office at (719) 597-4249.

January 26-27, 2007
St. Paul, MN
(Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN)
Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church

CONTACT: Randy Mueller, Faith Formation Director, or the Parish office at (651) 696-5454.

February 2-3, 2007
Seattle, WA
(Archdiocese of Seattle, WA)
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church

CONTACT: Marilyn Thornton, Director of Religious Education, or the Parish office at (206) 547-3020.

February 10, 2007
Dodge City, KS
(Diocese of Dodge City, KS)
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe

A special, one-day Called & Gifted Workshop for catechists of the Diocese of Dodge City
CONTACT: Becky Hessman, Vocations Co-ordinator for the Diocese of Dodge City, at (620) 227-1530.

February 18, 2007
Garden City, KS
(Diocese of Dodge City, KS)
St. Mary's Catholic Church

A special, one-day Called & Gifted SPANISH Workshop for catechists of the Diocese of Dodge City
CONTACT: Becky Hessman, Vocations Co-ordinator for the Diocese of Dodge City, at (620) 227-1530.

February 23, 2007
Mukwonago, WI
(Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI)
St. James Catholic Church

A special, one-day Called & Gifted Workshop for Catholic school teachers.
CONTACT: the parish office at (262) 363-7615.

February 23-24, 2007
Piedmont, SD
(Diocese of Rapid City, SD)
Our Lady of the Black Hills Catholic Church

CONTACT: Fr. Mark McCormick, Pastor, or the Parish office at (605) 787-5168.

Day of DIscernment

December 2, 2006
Denver, CO
(Archdiocese of Denver)
John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization
For Such a Time as This: How to Find and Live God's Purpose for Your Life.
A day devoted to the practical art of discernment with Sherry Weddell, co-Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute.
LOCATION: JP II Center, Conference Room #125 on the first floor of the Administration Building 1300 S Steele St
Denver CO 80210 (303) 722-4687
Mike Dillon, Program Coordinator, at the Catherine of Siena Institute office (719) 219-0056.

Speaking engagements

December 1-3, 2006
Lake Mead Resort
Diocese of Las Vegas, NV

Fr. Mike Fones will present a retreat for HIV+ clients of the St. Therese Center of the Diocese of Las Vegas titled, "Unwrapping God's Gifts, Discovering Your Call."
CONTACT: Fr. Joseph O'Brien, O.P., director, at (702) 564-4224.

January 3, 6, 2007
Dodge City, KS
Diocese of Dodge City, KS

Sherry Weddell will participate in an interactive television presentation titled, "Reaching your true happiness through being Called & Gifted" to the catechists and parish staffs of the Diocese of Dodge City.
CONTACT: Mike Dillon at (719) 219-0056.


February 25-March 1, 2007
Mukwonago, WI
(Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI)
St. James Catholic Church

830 County Rd NN E
Mukwonago WI 53149
Fr. Mike Fones, O.P. will be presenting a Lenten mission Sunday evening through Thursday morning.
CONTACT: Parish Office at (262) 363-7615.

Interviewer Training

Learn how to help others (as individuals or in small groups) to discern their charisms.
* Basic listening skills and spiritual maturity (best if practicing Christian for 2 years prior)
* Must have attended live Called & Gifted workshop or listened to CDs or audio tapes, took Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, did some personal discernment, had a one-on-one personal Gifts Interview.

November 17-18, 2006
Colorado Springs, CO
(Diocese of Colorado Springs)

Catherine of Siena Institute
CONTACT Mike Dillon at (719) 219-0056

November 17-18, 2006
Houston, TX
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)

St. Thomas More Catholic Church
CONTACT: Suzie Hamilton, Pastoral Associate, or the Parish office at (713) 729-0221; or the Catherine of Siena Institute office: (719) 219-0056.

March 9-10, 2007
Greenville, SC
(Diocese of Charleston)

St. Mary Catholic Church
CONTACT Mike Dillon at (719) 219-0056 or Kate Tierney in Greenville, at (864) 297-8232


This is a workshop for pastors, parish staff, and other lay leaders who would like to explore how to foster a culture of intentional discipleship and discernment in their parishes. The formation provided will help participants learn how to evangelize parishioners who will then worship, pray, give, study their faith, and discern God's call for them out of a loving relationship with Christ. For information or to make reservations, contact Mike Dillon at the Institute office.

July 29 - August 2, 2007
Colorado Springs, CO

Sunday evening through Thursday noon.
Location: The Franciscan Retreat Center, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies just north of Colorado Springs at 6500 ft elevation. The Retreat Center provides panoramic views of the Rampart Range and the Pikes Peak region.

November 4-8, 2007
Kearneysville, WV
Sunday evening through Thursday noon.
Location: Priestfield Pastoral Center. Enjoy the splendor of autumn color in scenic West Virginia, just outside the Washington, D.C. metro area. Situated on a large wooded property along the Opequon Creek, the overall serenity of Priestfield is complimented with well-maintained walking trails through the woods and along the creek, water gardens, outdoor decks and patios providing many choice places for quiet reflection. Rooms with private baths and hermitages are part of the facilities.


The Catherine of Siena Institute is a religious non-profit with 501C-3 status. We receive no financial support from any diocese or from the Western Dominican Province, but are entirely self-supporting. Your donations and gifts-in-kind are essential to our ongoing operations. To learn how you can help us, please contact our Development Officer, Mr. George Martelon at (303) 847-7052.

For Reflection

All Saints

No one is called to be another St. Francis or St. Teresa. But there is a path to holiness that lies within our individual circumstances, that engages our own talents and temperaments, that contends with our own strengths and weaknesses, that responds to the needs of our own neighbors and our particular moment in history. The feast of All Saints strengthens and encourages us to create that path by walking it.

- Robert Ellsberg, All Saints


Thank You...

Thank you to Mark Cesnik for editing the new CD of Sherry's conversion story and seeing it through the design process.

Once again, thank you to Anna Elias-Cesnik and Patricia Mees Armstrong for their help in editing this edition of the e-Scribe.


A new program: " A Day of Discernment"

Are you at a turning point in your life? Wondering if you have a larger purpose? Wanting to discern God's call but not sure where to begin? Then come to A Day of Discernment conducted by the Catherine of Siena Institute. Drawing upon our experience of helping 23,000 Catholic adults of all ages and life experiences discern, A Day of Discernment will help you begin to recognize the signs of God's call. This workshop is especially useful for Catholics in transition:

  • Young adults just out of college/beginning their careers
  • Those considering a call to priesthood or religious life
  • Adults who have just entered the Church or are returning to the practice of the faith
  • Women returning to the marketplace after raising children
  • Adults who are between jobs or changing careers
  • Older adults nearing or in retirement

The day-long workshop will cover four essential areas:

You are on a Mission From God
All baptized Christians are apostles, “sent ones” who have been anointed by Christ himself to participate in his work of Redemption. A brief introduction to the Church’s teaching on the apostolic mission of the baptized.

You Have Been Gifted for Your Mission
When we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, we also received charisms – supernatural gifts of the Spirit which empower us to be instruments of God’s love, mercy, healing, and provision for others. Charisms are both clues to our unique call in life and supernaturally empowered tools that empower us to carry out our mission. An introduction to the basics of discerning your charisms.

There is No Such Thing as Vocational Unemployment!
If I have a mission and it is so important, how come God hasn’t told me what it is? The practical steps of discerning a personal vocation.

Getting out of God’s Way: The Art of Releasing Control
An exercise designed to help you recognize how the ways you learned to control life as a child get in the way of using your gifts and living your vocation as an adult.

This lively, engaging, and fast-paced day is not a substitute for the Called & Gifted workshop, nor is it necessary to have participated in a Called & Gifted workshop to be able to enjoy and benefit from this day of formation. At present, we have scheduled two Discernment Days at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization in Denver, CO. The first will be held December 2, 2006, and the second will be offered on May 5, 2007. Please contact the Catherine of Siena office if you would like more information, or if you would like to host a workshop in your hometown!

At long last! Sherry Weddell's conversion story on CD

CD Art At nearly every Called & Gifted workshop for the past 9 years, Sherry Weddell has been asked to tell the story of her conversion. In this one hour CD, she shares the long road from her childhood as a blue-eyed baby Baptist in southern Mississippi to her entrance into the Catholic Church. Sherry talks about her time as agnostic, Quaker, and missionary Evangelical, and how the Easter Vigil liturgy and the Sacraments gradually drew her to the Church. She tells story of that remarkable Advent when she actually entered with her old friend, Mark Shea. They haven’t finished RCIA, it’s nearly Christmas, a tragically abused baby is dying, and the Holy Spirit is on the move. What else could you call it but "the Advent of the Three Miracles? The CD is avaiable for an introductory price of only $5. Order through the Siena Shop or call 888-878-6789.

Feature article: The Leadville Effect
by Sherry Weddell, co-Director

Leadville , Colorado is a perfect setting for human drama.  It started life as a classic, wild-west town packed with miners in search of fabulous wealth.  As the highest incorporated town (10,200') nestled along the highest mountain range in North America, it is short on oxygen and long on superlatives.  The steeple of the exquisite Victorian Catholic church (where the famous “Unsinkable Molly Brown” was married) is, naturally, the highest church steeple in North America.

Every August, hundreds of outsiders descend on Leadville to kick up its inherent drama a few notches.  They come to tackle the highest ultra-marathon in North America : The Leadville Trail 100, “the race across the sky.”   Runners seek to cover 100 miles across a mountainous course that rises as high as 12,600 feet, and to finish within 30 hours.  They begin the race with a shotgun blast in the pre-dawn darkness at 4 am on Saturday.  To be counted as a “finisher” you have to run, walk, or stagger across the finish line before the final gun goes off at 10 am on Sunday.  To finish on time, runners cannot sleep, and must run or walk all night up and down steep mountain trails in temperatures that routinely drop into the 30s.  This past August, 199 runners – 51% of those who started - finished on time. 

I first heard of the Leadville 100 from the bemused owner of a bed and breakfast in a tiny mountain town which serves as one of the race’s primary aid stations.  The poor man described dazed runners who were so exhausted that they had to be pushed in the right direction or they would simply miss the trail.  The whole thing sounded so extreme - so utterly crazy - that I couldn’t believe that rational human beings would take part.  I have since found out that nearly every person – including those who now run it - reacted nearly the same way when they first heard about the Leadville 100.  Everyone thinks it is crazy until they actually witness one and experience what I have come to think of as the “Leadville Effect”.

When a community promotes, models, and intentionally supports outstanding achievement in its members, people change. This transformation, and the extraordinary achievement that results from it, is what I mean by the “Leadville Effect”.

  • People begin to see themselves and the world differently.
  • What they assumed to be “normal” and “possible” begins to change.
  • The result: “ordinary” people begin to imagine, aspire to, and accomplish extraordinary things.

Let me try to explain.

First of all, no one attempts the Leadville Trail 100 alone.  The secret of the race is the very high level of community support behind each runner. There are a minimum of two supporting workers for every participant.  Hundreds of people staff aid stations all day and night, handing out water, Gatorade, power gels, cookies, and hot potato soup to all.  Volunteers time runners in and out of aid stations, weigh them and assess their condition, give them a chance to warm themselves, to change their clothing and gear, and if necessary, insist they stop before they hurt themselves.  Teams on mountain bikes follow behind the runners “sweeping” the trail in the dark to make sure that all stragglers are found and no one gets lost. 

In addition, most runners have their own personal team of supporters.  Many have “pacers” who can run beside individual participants for the last 50 miles.  Pacers are not competitors but often run the equivalent of an ultra-marathon themselves simply to support someone else.  Throughout the night, pacers can be heard softly talking, encouraging, challenging; making sure their runner keeps hydrated and doesn’t get lost, and if necessary, telling their runner when to quit.  Family and friends, often wearing matching sweatshirts with mottos like “Ted’s team,” meet the runners at aid stations with specially prepared food, changes of clothing, and sun block.  They massage and bandage battered feet, provide dry shoes and socks, and offer a stream of encouragement. 

The whole drama culminates at the finish line between 9 and 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.  The über-athletes have long since finished and gone but the crowd just keeps getting larger and more exuberant.  They know that the last hour is the most moving because so many of the late finishers are ordinary men and women who are attempting something extraordinary, perhaps for the first time in their lives.  The “race across the sky” is not just for the young and extraordinarily fit.  Runners in their 40s, 50s, and 60s compete every year.  Finishing Leadville is not primarily about speed; it is about courage and heart and the power of community.

At the finish line this past August, I could not help but notice a large support team of perhaps 40 people all dressed in brilliant scarlet t-shirts.  On the back of each shirt was the phrase “already finished.”  I was intrigued and asked a couple of the team members whom they were supporting.  They pointed to the writing on the front of their shirts: “In loving memory of Daryl Bogenrief.”  Twenty-five year old Daryl had been killed the summer before in a white water rafting accident.  His young wife of 10 months, Angela, was running the Leadville 100 in his memory.  A few minutes later, word spread among the team that she was two miles away with only an hour remaining.  Instantly, Angela’s army set off to meet her. 

I waited by the finish line.  The minutes passed.  One by one, runners crossed, often running hand-in-hand for the last 100 yards with the spouses, children, and friends who had made their achievement possible.  Grizzled, grey-haired men broke down and wept in joy and relief within seconds of finishing.  Each one was cheered vigorously by the hundreds of on-lookers who had by this time formed a kind of human tunnel around the finish.  But I kept my eye on the ridge of the last hill, looking for signs of Angela. 

Then I saw it: a scarlet phalanx formed at the crest of the hill a quarter mile away, and began to marching steadily towards us.  As the group drew closer, I could see that they had formed a solid, cheering, human wall around a young woman with long brown hair.  Angela’s pacer was beside her.  Her friends were carrying all her gear but a single water bottle, freeing her up to focus on one thing alone: Angelafinishing.  Angela was limping but her face was radiant, as she crossed the line 18 minutes before the final gun went off.

The power of the Leadville experience has stayed with me because it has such obvious implications for the formation of lay apostles.  I know many “Angelas,” men and women who are doing astonishing things for the Kingdom of God because, and only because, they have the active, sustained, enthusiastic support of the Christian community – a sort of ecclesial Leadville effect.

For instance, one of my closest female friends has lived in conservative Muslim countries for the past 25 years.  She and her husband are "tent-making" missionaries: Christians who work at a secular profession that enables them to live in a place where no overt ministry is possible in order that some living witness to the love of Jesus Christ might be found there.  She is a missionary disguised as a quite ordinary, middle-aged, five-foot nothing housewife and mother.  She speaks the language fluently, has deep friendships with Muslims, and routinely goes places no western women ever go.    

My friend is most certainly not going it alone.  She has been constantly supported in her efforts, not just by her husband but by many friends in the States and elsewhere, by her American church, and by a para-church organization.  But when I tried to tell her story in an article on lay vocation, the editor of a national Catholic magazine told me to take it out.  "None of our readers could hope to aspire to such a ministry" he said.

The odd thing is that non-Catholics aspire to it all the time. I myself come from a quite ordinary family of Southern Baptists.  We do not have any missionaries or pastors or evangelists in our background.  Yet my sister turned 20 in Nigeria while serving as part of a team sent out by a Protestant congregation just a couple blocks away from my parish.  One of my cousins spent 10 years in Moscow evangelizing and planting Protestant churches.  My roommate in seminary spent 5 years as a lay "tent-making" missionary in Turkey.  And I could tell many more such stories.

My evangelical friends and family are not made of different stuff than lay Catholics.  They are not braver, more holy, more creative, or more gifted than lay Catholics.  But I do think they are beneficiaries of an ecclesial Leadville Effect.  They think of themselves as responsible for the mission of Jesus Christ to the world because their local congregation constantly encourages them to recognize that they are.  Evangelicals pick this up as naturally as Catholics pick up devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  Most of us don’t have charisms of evangelism, but if you spend enough time in the evangelical world, a fundamentally mission-oriented stance toward the whole world seeps into your very bones. 

Most people are not innovators but will respond to visible and obvious alternatives directly in front of them.  In a community where mission and evangelization is constantly being discussed, modeled, and held up as an ideal for all, and where “How do I discern God’s purpose for my life?” is a commonly asked question, people change.  The bar of their imagination, of what they can conceive of as “normal” and “possible” for an ordinary Christian, is raised to a whole new level. 

All of which raises an obvious question: Can we build a culture of intentional discipleship, discernment and vocation in our parishes that enables large numbers of ordinary Catholics to become disciples of great faith and holiness and apostles of extraordinary influence?

We have found that it is surprisingly easy to introduce the Leadville effect into Catholic parishes.  Last summer, I received a letter from a recently retired pharmacist named Claudia who had attended a Called & Gifted workshop in a South Carolina parish. As a result of her discernment, she had volunteered to serve as a lay missionary in Tanzania.  There she would teach pharmacology at the very first medical school in the country. Claudia’s mission: to enable Tanzanians to qualify for funding for AIDS medications by training them to administer the drugs in question. This woman’s skill and expertise could conceivably save the lives of an entire generation and change the course of a whole nation. When I told her story at a small group gathering in my parish in Colorado Springs, one woman blurted out “She’s like Esther! Who knows but what she has been prepared for such a time as this?” 

Claudia is an Esther and she has obviously been prepared for just such a time as this.  And yet, the irony is that such a possibility was beyond anything Claudia had ever envisioned for herself. As Claudia put it, “I was deliberating what to do next and whether there might be some purpose for my life.” Discerning her charisms “set me on a path that I’d probably taken years to find on my own.”  It was an experience of a discerning Christian community that enabled Claudia to first imagine, then aspire to, and then do the extraordinary thing that will change so many lives.

Our Catholic parishes are filled with anointed but unconscious Esthers and Dominics, who have been prepared for purposes beyond anything they can now imagine. As Catholics, we have a beautifully rich theology of evangelization.  But our evangelical imagination as individuals and as a community is stunted because we haven’t seen it lived at the local level.  Can we imagine what the Holy Spirit would do in our midst if our parishes were spiritual Leadvilles that challenged all the baptized to imagine, aspire to, and live their God-given vocations?

Introducing Our Spanish-speaking Team
by Fr. Michael Fones, O.P.

It's a familiar story for many parishes in the Southwest, California, major urban areas around the country and in a few scattered agricultural areas. The local Catholic parish is filled with families whose names betray their European ancestry, but who assimilated into American culture generations ago.  Now the next wave of immigrants has crashed upon them, and it speaks Spanish and is overwhelmingly Catholic, but it is Catholicism with a simple, devout, yet passionate heart.

Demographics listed on the U.S. National Catholic Council of Bishops website indicate the extent of the change in the U.S. Church.  In 1999, 39% of U.S. Catholics were Hispanic, in 2002 20.6% of U.S. parishes had a Hispanic majority, but there were only 2,900 Hispanic priests in the U.S., of whom only 500 were U.S. born!  The ratio of Catholics per priest was 1,230 to 1, while for Hispanics to Hispanic priests the ratio was 9,925 to 1!

Spanish-speaking Catholics are an underserved population in the U.S. church, so it should be no surprise that many are leaving the Church for evangelical and other Protestant churches that welcome them into their communities and that are literally speaking their language. 

Many people do not know that the Catherine of Siena Institute has the Called & Gifted workshop available in Spanish! Not only have the Inventory and Discerning Charisms book been translated, but we have a team that teaches the workshop in Spanish.  Gustavo Amezaga, Gloria Varela, and Alma Rojas joined Sherry Weddell, Mike Dillon, our business manager, and me last July to talk about the future of our outreach to the Hispanic community.

Gustavo has found teaching the Called & Gifted workshop to be a wonderful experience and sees tremendous potential for it within the Hispanic community.  He says, "Lot's of people don't know what God has given them, and this workshop helps them discover those gifts and begin to discern what the Lord wants them to do."  Like many pre-Vatican II Anglos, "the older generation has the idea you go to church to pray and ask God only for what you need."

Gloria, along with Gustavo, is our first Spanish-speaking teacher. She commented that "Hispanics are used to retreats, so they approach the workshop like a retreat, except that there's no music and less prayer."  When we talked about the follow-up to the Called & Gifted workshop, Gloria was adamant that "the interviews are extraordinarily important.  Without them, the people say, 'That was nice, but I'm Alma and Gloriastill not sure what it all means.'" Yet the idea that the gifts God has given us are an indication as to how we should be involved in the parish and local secular community has changed the lives of some participants in the workshop. Gustavo related that Fr. Oscar Diaz, associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church in Napa, CA, had said that before the Called & Gifted workshop there "everyone was working on lots of different things, everyone was busy, busy." After the workshop, he found that the Hispanic parishioners were much more focused with their time, doing more of what they felt called to do.

One startling bit of information that came out of our meeting was that recent immigrants to this country make up about 80-90% of the Spanish-language workshop attendees.  Bilingual Hispanics, particularly those whose families have been in the U.S. for more than a generation almost always choose to attend the English-language Called & Gifted program. On the other hand, "those new to this country are searching for community and affirmation, as well as a sense of what God wants from them, and the workshop is extremely helpful and well-received in that regard," Gloria told us.   In general, a much lower educational level has set apart these recent immigrants from other bilingual Hispanic attendees. This is especially true in one rural diocese that has offered a Spanish-language workshop with each English-language workshop. Taking the inventory has been a challenge for these immigrants, and often the teachers have had to spend time after the Friday evening workshop helping attendees completely comprehend it.

Alma loves working with the newly arrived to this country. "They desire to fit in, find a family, feel at home, and they're looking for that in the Church.  They are willing to learn if there are those who would teach them."  She agreed with Gustavo and Gloria that because of the Hispanic focus on family and community, the small discernment groups will be key. Unfortunately, although the Discerning Charisms book has been translated, we don't have enough Spanish-speaking interviewers to serve the needs of the Hispanic population. 

If you are bilingual in English and Spanish and would be interested in interviewing Spanish-speaking participants, teaching how to interview in Spanish, or if you are interested in training to become a teacher in Spanish, please call the Institute office at (719) 219-0056, or e-mail Mike Dillon.







The Catherine of Siena Institute is affiliated with the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California