A “Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious” Retreat with MCCW — with photos too!


MCCW insignia

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to share the themes from my new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious at the annual Military Council of Catholic Women’s (MCCW) retreat held at the chapel on the post at Carlisle Barracks, where the US Army War College is located.  What a wonderful group of 68 women! Most of them are wives to either active duty or retired military personnel. I met a few women who even wore a service uniform themselves, or had children currently serving our country.


Yours truly at the luncheon.

On Friday we had Mass together and shared in a luncheon where I gave a presentation to get the women pumped up for the weekend ahead.

Later that night we prayed the Stations of the Cross, and shared a simple meal of soup and salad.

I learn a lot about army life, the heroes who nobly serve our nation, and the joys and heartbreaks that military families experience. As I toured the post, I learned the history of Carlisle Barracks and the top rank officers who are selected to study toward further advancement at the college. As a guest, I stayed in the VIP quarters on post at Washington Hall — named for President George Washington, who as an army general led missions from the Barracks back in colonial days when Carlisle PA was the western-most outpost of the country.

Fr. Gregory D’Emma, the Chaplain at Carlisle Barracks, explained some of the religious history associated with the armed forces, including a fascinating story of a chaplain who may one day be declared a saint! You may be interested in the story of Fr Emil Kapaun – a military chaplain who was a priest, a soldier, and a hero during the Korean War. His cause for canonization as a saint is underway, and there’s a short video describing his life.


Mary is the “feminine genius” par excellence!

On Saturday the women and I had a full-day of retreat together. We opened with morning prayer and recognition of Our Lady of Good Counsel, the patroness of the MCCW chapter in Carlisle.

Then I offered three talks, along with slides and music, based on the themes drawn from three parts of my book – the blessed dignity of women, the beautiful gifts of women, and the bodacious mission of women!

Some highlights of the retreat for me included listening to three inspiring women – Rebecca Burbridge, Katie Hester, and Kathy McQuaig –  who courageously offered their reflections on the different subjects of our womanly dignity, gifts, and mission. Great spiritual fruit was also found in the chapel, both with confessions and in quiet in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The retreat also included opportunities for personal sharing and group discussions, and great food and fellowship at meals.

I’ve even come home with some cool swag from my time at Carlisle Barracks — a great coffee mug and bookmark from the college — things every reading-writer needs! Plus a fabulous polka-dot scarf that tied up the gift basket I received.

"Bea" on BBB

“Bea” on BBB

Only the keen eye of a sensitive woman would know about the polka-dot dress on the woman on the cover of Blessed, Beautiful and

 Bodacious! I was really touched by it all.


My latest accessory!

So, naturally, I had to model it for the “bodacious” talk and share my new favorite accessory with the women!

If you or your group is interested in having a “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious” retreat, check out the details here, and contact me. 

Enjoy the gallery below. You can click on any photo to view it in a larger mode. And, please, let’s remember to pray for our troops and their families!

9 comments on “A “Blessed, Beautiful, & Bodacious” Retreat with MCCW — with photos too!

  1. Looks like it was a super fantastic event! Thanks for sharing, Pat. With all that these ladies have gone through / are enduring, they sure do deserve to know about their blessedness, beauty, and bodaciousness. 🙂

    1. Pat says:

      You are so right. They inspired me on every level.

  2. Bego says:

    You are wearing cowboy boots!

    This is why I like you. You put the “B’s” in Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.

    1. Pat says:

      I have quite an assortment of footwear when I’m on retreat. 😉 Love my boots.

  3. Kim says:

    Can not THANK YOU enough for spending the weekend here in Carlisle. The retreat was just AMAZING. Hope you can make it back


    1. Pat says:

      So good to see you Kim — and Jim and the kiddos! Thanks for all you did to help get the ball rolling, and for sharing your life with these bodacious women!

  4. Nancy Loney says:

    Your Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious retreat truly inspired me and all of us here at Carlisle Barracks! We are so grateful we found you (thanks to one special BBB friend).
    God Bless and Thank you!

    1. Pat says:

      You are unforgettable. Thanks for your friendship and your service to the community on that weekend.

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