Religion can be a strong comfort throughout life. Keeping your faith and participating in religious life gives you opportunities for service, provides a framework and community support for navigating life but what happens when you question the relevance of your religious rituals or your values change as you mature?
Can you be a good Catholic without adhering to the ritual or traditional rules that conflict with your personal values or circumstances? Are you losing faith?
Former Catholic Nun and Spiritual Guide Andrea Dean, says mature women often experience a disconnect from the church as they age for three reasons:
- In maturity our faith and spirituality changes
- The Catholic Church has a predominantly male view on religion
- The church restricts itself to a certain way of being Catholic
Andrea says she experienced this disconnect despite being part of the “inner circle” of the Catholic community for more than 25 years as a Sister of St Joseph.
“My religious life has gifted me in so many ways,” she said.
“But gradually as I matured I saw that, in some ways, I joined the group to maybe avoid some of the tasks of growing up and finding my own way to live my life.”
Andrea says this feeling disassociation was devastating and it took many years for her to come to terms with why her faith in the church had changed. However, she realised that she didn’t need to turn her back on the good heritage that can come from good religious traditions, just simply explore her feminine spirituality.
In her journey, she has connected with many other women that had the same struggles and evolved to become a spiritual guide and a facilitator for Catholic women who feel on the fringe of the church.
Andrea is leading a retreat in Mittagong on the weekend of June 9-11, 2017, for mature Catholic women who feel on the fringe of the Catholic Church. Exploring the theme “ Mind, Body and Soul”, the program will include semi-structured activities with the whole group, as well as opportunities for individual prayer, reflection, and access to an experienced spiritual companion.