By Sr. Raphael Ann Drone ASC

Recently, I led a group of women in marking the upcoming nuptials of a young woman who met her husband while both served as missionaries in Liberia. Our weekend together was a different take on the traditional bachelorette party; we didn’t roast and toast the bride-to-be with old girlfriend stories and bottles of wine, but looked at ourselves as “God’s Holy Women” within God’s Great Story of Salvation History.

Rachel, the bride-to-be; Jackie, one of the bridesmaids; and I had lived together in Liberia as lay missionaries with the Society of African Missions from 2010 to 2012.  Rachel met her future husband, Chris, in Liberia, where he also served.  For both Rachel and Chris, service among the most needy is central to their living an authentic Christian life.

Rachel asked to hold the retreat at the SMA Mission House in New Jersey.

Rachel had asked me to guide her and these women special to her, in a weekend reflection on the important role of lay women in God’s Story of Salvation. God blessed our efforts. Praying for 95 percent, we experienced at least 400 percent.

On Friday, we worked off the premise that we are holy because we are made in the Image and Likeness of God.  We discussed the connection between wholeness and holiness.  They were asked to sleep on the idea of their own holiness.

On Saturday, we discussed the Holy Women of the Old and New Testaments and reflected on the “holy women” they know. We put their bios in a small container for Rachel to keep.

Rachel, at center on couch, is surrounded by her mother, future mother-in-law, bridesmaids, and Sr. Raphael Ann Drone, second row, left.

Later, they created colorful Mandalas based on Scripture references on love and marriage and those were collected and given to Rachel.  On Saturday evening, the SMA Fathers hosted us in a social replete with wine, chocolate, nuts and other snacks.

On Sunday morning, we reflected on Proverbs 31, about A Worthy Woman/Wife and updated it for contemporary life. Several of the women found it very powerful.

What this weekend meant to these holy women, in all stages of married life (the mothers and three bridesmaids are married), only God and they could tell you.  I know only one Word to explain the lot of them:  God and their love and respect for each other.

Please pray for Rachel and Chris who will marry on June 6, 2015.