The Gift of Sacred Stories: Dorothy’s Reflection

Nov 30, 2022

Finding Hope: My First ISP Retreat

by Dorothy Celestin

In 2018, I was coming out of the hardship of drug addiction. I had nowhere to turn, I didn’t know which way to go, and I didn’t have much to live for. I was staying in a halfway house full of chaos–until I was invited on my first ISP retreat. That retreat changed my life, and I believe God led me straight there.

After only 2 days on retreat, I started to feel hope. I found God in the place of quiet and peace, the sharing, the experience of the care of the facilitators, and especially the witness talk where I saw mirrored my own story of abandonment.

That night, the witness on the retreat came to talk to me. She asked me about my future, where I wanted to go from there. She could have gone to talk to any of the other women, but she came to me. I truly believe it was all the work of God. It was a beautiful weekend.

I received so much hope from my retreat experience that I wanted to stay connected to ISP. Now I’m so happy. I want to give back; I am a witness and facilitator for my ISP retreat team and I just joined the ISP Ambassadors of Hope program. I get to share my hope and share how I live my faith with my higher power. I’ve received so much joy in meeting others from around the world. I’m learning new ways to listen, to observe others and their feelings. I’ve even taken my first plane rides to New Orleans and then Chicago with the ISP team. I’m ready to fly anywhere and everywhere!

Questions for Reflection:

When have I received an invitation that I felt was coming straight from God? What was my response to that invitation?

Where am I looking for hope as I begin my Advent journey?

Advent Prayer:

God of hope,
awaken our hearts to you
this Advent season and fill our hearts
with hopeful anticipation of your coming.<


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