Elissa Bjeletich gave three very interesting, invigorating, lucid and exciting lectures, which inspired very lively and constructive discussions.
Elissa was the main speaker of the Lenten retreat entitled “Living the Faith in Our Daily Lives,” which took place at St. Sava Mission in Jackson and at Elevation of the Holy Cross Church in Sacramento, California, on Saturday and Sunday, March 11 and 12. The retreat was organized very well by Protinica Betsy Tumbas and, although it used to be organized for years as a women’s retreat, this time was open to everyone.
Mrs. Bjeletich has written three books (In God’s Hands: A Mother’s Journey through Her Infant’s Critical Illness; Blueprints for the Little Church: Creating an Orthodox Home; Welcoming the Christ Child: Family Readings for the Nativity Lent) and authors a podcast on the Ancient Faith Radio called “Raising Saints.”
The retreat gathered around 60 people of different ages, from a dozen of Orthodox churches, including 9 clergymen.
A special blessing was the presence of His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America, who arrived on Friday evening and departed on Sunday afternoon. He gave his initial archpastoral blessing for the retreat and participated in its activities, which were crowned with divine services of Vespers on Saturday evening and Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at St. Sava Church in Jackson. Father-bishop Maxim addressed particularly the new parish priest of St Sava, Fr. Marko Bojovic, and invited him and his parishioners to "receive one another" as a criterion for their daily life and their actions, and wished that the Mercy of the Lord strengthens them all, so that whatever seems impossible may become possible for us through God.
During his stay in Jackson, he met also with the members of St. Sava Mission Foundation and discussed their present state and plans for the future. After the meeting, everybody was very much encouraged and pleased with its results.
Altogether, this blessed weekend was a perfect opportunity for Orthodox Christian fellowship, spiritual nourishment and growth.
God willing, the retreat will take place again next year, at the end of the second week of Great Lent.