Unbranded: Women’s Ministry rebrands annual mini-retreat

Veronica Novotny

Assistant Editor

Women’s Ministry hosted an event titled “Unbranded” with a Mass, talk and holy hour in Finnegan Fieldhouse Saturday evening, with over 100 women in attendance.

The Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, celebrated the vigil Mass with the Rev. Shawn Roberson, TOR, concelebrating. Pivonka’s homily focused on how Christ rebrands the human heart with his love.

“The world tries to brand you with something else,” Pivonka said. But “there’s something about seeing (Jesus) that we recognize our deepest self. That’s where we find our (true) branding.”

After Mass, alumna Amber DeMatte, a 2007 Franciscan graduate and coordinator of adult ministry at Damascus Catholic Mission, gave a talk on rejecting lies, embracing the truth about personal identity and living in Christ’s freedom.

“If you knew who you were, you would be jumping through the rafters of this place,” DeMatte said. “You are absolutely, absurdly incredible — chosen and cherished and definitely needed for such a time as this.”

“You’ve heard that saying, ‘If you were who you should be, you would set the world on fire.’ I’m here today to tell you (that) you are who you should be. Let’s get the fire blazing. … Now is the time.”

DeMatte said that we often believe the lie that we are too broken or not holy enough to start living a great life, but that in reality, we don’t need to wait to be great.

“Jesus looks at you with eyes that see wholeness, not fragments,” DeMatte said.

“Sometimes we get this brand in our head of what a daughter of God looks like, … like a timid little girl holding onto Jesus’s hand, right?”

DeMatte said that in reality, Christian women can be loud or quiet, confident and strong, and should embrace their personalities.

“The world needs you to be you, to shine the light the way you shine the light, not like me,” DeMatte said. “I’m not here to give you something you don’t have, sisters. … I am here to give you permission from God the Father and the Holy Spirit that’s dwelling in you to release what’s there, to release who you are for the world who needs Jesus.”

DeMatte said to avoid labeling oneself with lies or lauds. A woman ought to find her identity in being a beloved daughter, not the “good Christian girl” or “someone who started their own household,” DeMatte said.

“We turn these lies into labels and the more we say them, the more we believe them,” DeMatte said. “Your words are powerful. … We can sit and we can dwell in the lie and we can prove to ourselves that the lie is true, or we have the power to say ‘no.’ We have the power to say, ‘Get behind me Satan. You’re a liar.’”

Following DeMatte’s talk, Pivonka led a holy hour with praise and worship and a Eucharistic procession, similar to a Festival of Praise.

Freshman Anna Imarino said, “The freedom that the Spirit brings (stood out to me tonight). The change before and after the talk, the demeanor of the women — the whole aura of the room changed. The Spirit was totally alive.”

Women’s Ministry hosts a similar event every February, and this year it departed from its traditional name “Beloved” to introduce this semester’s theme: unbranded.

Women’s Ministry is organizing small groups for the spring semester, and its next campus-wide event will be a holy hour Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.