A priest who presented on his first Retrouvaille weekend recently was moved to write this letter to his parishioners about the program.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last weekend I was away helping on my first Retrouvaille weekend. Using
a pattern and approach similar to Marriage Encounter, RetrouvaiIle is a program for couples whose
marriages are in trouble. I was asked [in the] spring if I would consider getting
involved with RetrouvailIe, and through the summer I worked on my talks. Fortunately I was ready for October!
Retrouvaille is more than a weekend. For a troubled couple
the program starts with a rather intense time of self-discovery and learning to
listen to one another; it continues with 6 to 12 post-weekend sessions over the
following three months. There are also monthly support group meetings on an
The Retrouvaille program is authentically Canadian. lt started
in Quebec about 30 years ago - hence the
French name, which is from the verb retrouver,
to find again or to rediscover. The movement very quickly spread to the
U.S. (where it seems to be strongest) and has now become international with
communities on five continents. That is a testimony to both the effectiveness
of the program and to the need for a program like this to help couples in
troubled or broken marriages.
Couples headed for cold, unloving relationships or divorce
have successfully overcome their marriage problems by attending the program. I
met some of those couples as they prepared for and cleaned up after the
weekend; it was evident that their marriages are now healthy. As they spoke of
their experience of Retrouvaille the word that came to my mind was
"healing." For many couples, Retrouvaille has been a healing
However, Retrouvaille alone is not enough for everyone -
things like counseling, support groups (e.g. AA), the sacrament of
reconciliation, etc. are also part of the healing journey.
Last weekend we had couples from different faith communities
and at different stages in their marriage breakdown (from wondering if they had
a problem to near despair). lt seemed to me that all of them found some help
and saw some hope. I pray that the post-encounter sessions will continue and
deepen what began on the weekend.
I look forward to continuing my involvement in this healing
ministry, and I invite you to pray for the Retrouvaille community and the
couples who seek their help.
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