By Angela E. Pometto, Special to the Catholic Virginia

The word Fiat refers to Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel in Luke 1, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” During the 2017 Fiat Days Retreat, Servant of the Lord Sister Fiat Miola shared several other moments in Scripture where the phrase “Let it be done” is found. In the Book of Genesis, the refrain of “Let there be” as God creates the universe is a variation of this Fiat. Jesus also speaks these words during his agony in the garden when he prays, “Not my will, but let your will be done.” Sister Fiat’s reflection on her namesake shed new light on this word for the participants in the second Fiat Days Retreat in the Diocese of Richmond.

Dominican Sister Mary Sabina DeMuth leads the participants in Night Prayer on Thursday night. The various communities each took turns leading Liturgy of the Hours prayers and explaining the customs and traditions of their community. Sister DeMuth explained the Dominican tradition of reciting the prayers in “choirs” from one side to the other.

Fiat Days 2017, held at Shalom House in Montpelier on July 26-28, hosted 18 youth participants from nine parishes. This year’s retreat was led by seven religious sisters from three communities: the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia from Nashville, TN; the Sisters, Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará from Washington, DC; and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Immaculata, PA. These sisters participated in the full retreat by serving as small group leaders, speakers, and prayer leaders.

The retreat walked through the life of the Blessed Mother, starting with her Fiat at the Annunciation and traveling with her to the foot of the cross. As the sisters shared their thoughts on Our Lady, they also shared their various vocation stories with the youth. In the final talk, Sister Mary Sabina DeMuth, OP, explained that in whatever vocation the Lord calls the youth, they will be able to accept his invitation in freedom, and they will know it is the right decision when they experience peace.

The small groups led by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are all smiles at the end of the Fiat Days Retreat.

Father James Glass, chaplain from the College of William and Mary, was present throughout the retreat to offer sacraments. Mass was celebrated each day and confessions happened throughout the retreat. The youth participated in Eucharistic adoration on Thursday of the retreat with music led by Katie Yankoski, youth minister from Saint Edward the Confessor in Richmond. The religious communities took turns leading Liturgy of the Hours throughout the retreat as well.

But the retreat was not all prayer and spiritual talks. Youth Ministers Ginny Gazewood from Saint Bede and Yankoski served as emcees for the retreat and led the group in some fun activities, including Super-Duper Musical Chairs and a Photo Scavenger Hunt. Free time during the retreat found the girls playing board games, hiking around Shalom House grounds, playing Frisbee with the sisters, and enjoying craft time together.

On Thursday, the retreatants were joined by representatives from two more religious communities: the Comboni Missionary Sisters and Madonna House in Roanoke. When women feel called to the religious life, they must first discern the call to the consecrated life and then discern a particular community in which to answer that call. All five of the communities shared stories about their history and charism during a panel discussion to shed some light on the many varieties of communities available within the Church.

The small group led by the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará take a group photo during one of the opening activities of the Fiat Days Retreat.

“My favorite part of the retreat was just being in community with the sisters and praying with them,” said Megan Magyar from Christ the King in Norfolk. Carmen Clem from Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Newport News said she most enjoyed the vocation stories. “I loved hearing all the different ways God calls people,” she said.

Pometto serves as the Associate Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Central and Western Vicariates. Fiat Days is sponsored by the Office for Evangelization and the Office for Vocations. For information on next year’s retreat, please contact evangelization@richmonddiocese.org.