Twelve Step Spirituality Ministry
In 1992 a Substance Abuse Committee was formed by the Sisters of St. Martha in Antigonish. Its purpose was to provide assistance for women who needed help with addiction recovery. Early on, the Religious Congregations in the area were invited to join the Marthas in this endeavor. In response, a Sister of Charity of Halifax, a Congregation of Notre Dame sister, and for a brief period of time, a Sister of Les Filles de Jesus, joined the Marthas. From the very beginning it was an Intercongregational venture. In 1993 and 1994, workshops and seminars on addictions were planned and offered in the Cape Breton and Antigonish areas. As time went on it became clear that the participants needed a more focused Twelve Step Spirituality program. With further development, the Twelve Step Spirituality ministry began in 1995 with a committee of a Sister of Charity of Halifax, a Sister of Notre Dame and two Marthas of Antigonish. In this year of 2016, the Twelve Step Spirituality Ministry continues still!
The program consists of a Twelve Step Retreat weekend for women at Bethany Center in Antigonish which is offered twice a year, usually in May and October. The weekend is available for women in various Twelve Step programs, i.e., AI-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, (ACOA), Gambling Anonymous, etc.
The Retreat Weekends are facilitated by committee members, and consist of presentations on the Twelve Steps with time for prayer and reflection, sharing in small groups, and sharing with facilitators. More recently, women from the group have been doing some presentations and have done an excellent job. On occasion a speaker is brought in to facilitate the weekend, presenting on a topic related to the Twelve Steps and/or addictions. The hope and energy of the retreat weekends is directed to assisting women in Twelve Step programs to maintain ongoing recovery by living Twelve Step Spirituality in their daily lives.
It is well known that our society has great need for Recovery Programs. These weekend retreats are one form of response to need. They are very much appreciated and valued by the women who seek assistance in this Spiritual way of life.
For those of us who facilitate these sessions, the experience is very life-giving and a source of growth and development. "To watch the eyes of women open with wonder as they move from darkness to light, to see their lives quickly fill with purpose and meaning, to see whole families reassembled, and above all to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives"....* These happenings are what we all receive as we carry the message of the Twelve Step Spirituality to others. Truly a wonder to behold!
*Twelve Steps, pg. 110
Sister Ann MacKenzie