Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Posted in Events on July 30, 2013

In the middle of the month dedicated to Our Lord's Most Sacred Heart, over one hundred friends of the Institute from the four corners of the United States came to the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago for the annual national retreat of the lay Society of the Sacred Heart from June 14-16.

Society of the Sacred HeartMonsignor Wach with Society members
wearing the Cross of Saint Francis de Sales

The Society has its roots in a lay group of Benedictine spirituality from the first half of the 20th century which counted among its members the late Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand and several other prominent Catholics from Germany, Austria, and America. In the early 1990s the Bavarian house in which the Society, or Gemainshaft, had met over the years was given to the Institute of Christ the King. Its members continued to meet under the spiritual leadership of the Institute, into which finally the Gemeinschaft was incorporated in 2004 at the request of its members. On the feast of Saint Benedict, March 21, 2006, members of the Gemainschaft were among the first to receive the Cross of Saint Francis de Sales in a ceremony which officially established the Society of the Sacred Heart as a lay association of the faithful in the Institute of Christ the King. Today the Society has numerous members in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, and Italy, and is also rapidly growing throughout the United States.

Preached by the Institute's Founder and Prior General, this year's national retreat was a soul-satisfying family gathering in the presence of its spiritual father. Monsignor Gilles Wach gave an insightful reflection on the Year of Faith in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales. His second conference focused on the encouraging development of the Institute apostolates in the US and across the world, as he expressed deep gratitude for the daily prayers of the Society members and postulants which make possible this positive progress. Exhorting them especially to pray continually for Pope Francis in this very important time for the Church and the world, Monsignor Wach further emphasized that the divinity of the Church founded by Christ is the basis for strong faith and unshakable confidence in the Barque of Peter.

Sacred Heart SocietySolemn High Mass

The national chaplain of the Society, Canon Matthew Talarico, also gave a conference explaining how the members and postulants are to read and meditate on the works of the Society patrons, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Benedict. These saints offer 3 complementary ways to discover the divine treasure of grace in Our Lord's Sacred Heart.

On Friday, June 14, Monsignor Wach offered the Solemn Votive High Mass of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The next day Monsignor conferred the cross of Saint Francis de Sales to 17 new Society members who, having attended the general retreat of the Society the previous year, had now completed their year as postulants. The canonical Hour of Compline being part of the daily prayer life of Society members, this night office of the Church was chanted as well.

On Sunday, June 16, the hundreds of faithful assisted at Solemn High Mass celebrated by Monsignor Wach for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Afterwards a festive reception was offered in honor of Monsignor in which the faithful had yet another opportunity to greet the Institute's spiritual father and founder.

The retreat concluded on Sunday in the early afternoon with an informative question and answer session conducted by the chaplain, Canon Matthew Talarico, as well as by the governor general of the Society in the United States, Dr. James Sutherland.

Regular meetings of the Society are held in the Institute apostolates under the direction of the local priest. In addition to the daily Office of Compline and daily Mass or spiritual communion, Society members make the total consecration to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and pledge daily prayers for the members of the whole Institute family throughout the world.

After a year of discernment during which postulants practice the Rule of Life in accordance with their particular state in life, one becomes a member by receiving the Cross of St. Francis de Sales which hangs from a blue cord, symbol of the Marian consecration. Neither an award nor a badge of honor, this cross is meant to be an outward sign of interior consecration of love and service to Our Lord's Most Sacred Heart through the practice of the daily Rule of Life, as well as a visible sign of one's devotion to Holy Mother Church and of one's dedication to the spiritual family of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. A 2010 decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary states that both plenary and partial indulgences can be obtained by members who receive this Cross of St. Francis de Sales.

Click the images below to enlarge them.

Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
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Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine
Annual Lay Society Retreat at Shrine