By RENEE WEBB
When women of the Diocese of Sioux City attend the next Magnificat Meal, they may notice something a little different from the other gatherings held thus far in the diocese.
According to Julie Storr, coordinator of Magnificat Northwest Iowa Chapter – Mary Undoer of Knots, both men and women are invited to the dinner and presentation that is slated for 6 p.m., March 10 at Pocahontas Catholic School in Pocahontas.
While Magnificat is a ministry to Catholic women, Storr pointed out that on occasion they are allowed to offer something to men and she believes their guest speaker would be of interest to all.
Dr. Margarett Schlientz holds a master’s in theology and spirituality and a doctorate in psychiatric nursing. She is a spiritual director and consultant to dozens of religious communities and dioceses. Together with Msgr. John A. Esseff, Schlientz co-founded the Pope Leo XIII Institute in Mundelein, Ill. She serves as a consultant and instructor for the Institute for Priestly Formation, a summer program offered at Creighton University and is an internationally-known retreat leader and speaker.
Evangelization will be the focus of the speaker’s talk in the diocese.
“Pope Francis has been asking every Catholic to evangelize by owning the power of their faith no matter the circumstances they find themselves in,” Schlientz explained. “During the Year of Mercy he really opened that up in a special way. We all have an obligation to evangelize, to bring the power and presence of Jesus Christ into the secular world wherever we are and to let people know what it is to be a Roman Catholic.”
The speaker will also work the power of healing into her message and the importance of praying with people for healing.
“As Catholic Christians, the Lord role-modeled that for us all the way through Scripture,” Schlientz said. “He healed all those who came to him and so when people are struggling and need prayer, people in Magnificat ought to be prepared and be comfortable enough to pray with people whether it’s for physical illness, emotional or psychological issues or relationships.”
Praying with others is not only a gift, she noted, but is another aspect of evangelization.
Through Schlientz’s message, Storr believes it will help both men and women deepen their faith. The Magnificat coordinator said the speaker addresses many women at conferences and retreats, but works with seminarians and priests each summer.
“She relates well to men and women – her message hits to the heart of all of us,” Storr said. “We are in a time when even around the world our faith is being challenged. The secular world is a tough place right now and Dr. Margarett’s message transcends men and women – calling us to be disciples and evangelizers for the church.”
Following dinner, there will be a time of prayer for the needs of all present and then the speaker.
“Magnificat is open to any Catholic woman. If someone like to be a member – it’s actually a spiritual membership. People are invited to be part of Magnificat as we pray for our other Magnificat sisters and chapters,” explained Storr. “With Ministry 2025 coming, the basis of our faith is so important. Church is more than just a Mass time, it is a relationship with Christ. The Magnificat ministry is geared toward helping women deepen their faith and share that with others.”
The guest speaker pointed out she has had the opportunity to address several Magnificat groups including a gathering in Omaha that drew about 350 women.
“Magnificat is a national call to women. It was started in Louisiana,” said Schlientz, who added that it is a ministry that “brings the power of the Blessed Mother through her prayer of the Magnificat into the spirituality of women. It’s a very powerful ministry.”
Chapters of Magnificat, the speaker noted, are starting in dioceses throughout the country to teach, evangelize and bring women into holiness through the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
The ministry, Schlientz noted, “can awaken in people the goodness within them, the many blessings in their lives and how the Lord is calling them into greater depth.”
Learn more about the ministry by going to Magnificat-Ministry.net or check them out on Facebook. Other board members of the Magnificat in the diocese include Deb Troshynski as the assistant coordinator and historian, and Michelle Leiting is the secretary/treasurer. The ministry has been up and running for just over a year in the diocese.
The next Magnificat will be held June 10 with guest speaker Denise Bossert of St. Louis, who is author of the book Gifts of the Visitation.
Anyone is invited to attend the dinner and presentation on March 10. Please purchase the $10 per person ticket by March 3. No tickets will be sold at the door. Priests and religious sisters are welcome to attend for free; however, an RSVP to Leiting is appreciated. Contact Leiting at 19546 Aspen Ave., Westside, IA 51467 or (712) 663-4584.