Live Out Loud – Leonie’s Longing Retreat

Live Out Loud – Leonie’s Longing Retreat

One of the highlights of Leonie’s Longing in 2023 was the in-person retreat that some of the women of our community were blessed to attend. One of the participants shares her thoughts about this beautiful experience.

by Carryl

The cozy evening skies of Kittery welcomed us as the car rolled up to the Leonie’s Longing retreat. Theresa, Sally, and I were met by Roberta and Elise with warm smiles and tight hugs. As we entered the house, the day was closing behind us. We heard the indistinct mooing of the cows in the adjacent barn and felt the soft evening breeze caressing us with sweet country smells from the wheat fields and pine trees.

The idyllic wooden cabin was festively prepared prior to our arrival by Elise and Roberta (assisted by their families). They showed us around, and we stored our bags in our respective cozy rooms. The living room had pictures that told a story of centuries past, and the old rustic iron cast stove stood in the living room as if an elderly grandparent could be welcoming us home in the country.

We had dinner and talked at length, getting to know each other and sharing the unique stories that providentially brought us together. After dinner, we retired to the living room for a brief discussion of the retreat schedule, followed by a surprise “goody bag” with lovely little notebooks, pens, and chocolates, among other things. The day concluded with a prayer of thanksgiving.

retreat group at the lighthouse


The next morning was quietly exciting as we visited the beach and a lighthouse in Maine before proceeding to St Martin’s Church in New Hampshire to officially begin the “Live Out Loud – Leonie’s Longing in-person retreat, 2023.” After a delicious dinner, we headed inside the church for Adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Peace filled my being as I sat before my Lord and thanked Him for bringing us together in His name. After this grace-filled commencement, we headed back to the house for our nightly discussion and closing prayer.

The weekend was the highlight of the retreat.

Saturday started off with a heart-warming private Mass celebrated Fr. Andrew Nelson at St. Mary’s Church. Fr. Andrew spoke to our hearts with words of serenity, joy, and encouragement, urging us to continue bearing witness to our vocation beyond the convent. God’s work keeps progressing within us even after leaving a religious order, and Fr. Andrew emphasized that God is not done with us yet. God’s mysteriously beautiful plan is being fulfilled in our past, present, and future, and we have much more to do in our own unique vocations. This was the first step of our inward journey of healing and acknowledgment. Then, after Mass, Roberta led us through guided meditation to reflect on ourselves, our strengths, and our values.

Later in the evening, we participated in a relaxing session of “SoulCore” (led by a friend and instructor, Monica). This involved a series of stretching exercises synchronized with praying and meditating on the holy rosary. After SoulCore, we were so relaxed and yet energized that we decided to take a stroll in the fields behind the house to breathe in the fresh air of the Kittery countryside and to pay a visit to our friends, the cows. Interestingly, Elise received a big kiss from a very hungry cow.


After this little backyard adventure, we returned to the house, and Elise led us through our next session of guided meditation. She used the progressive muscle relaxation technique to calm and center us so that we began an inward journey to the core of our being to tap into our past and present and to ponder our inert ambitions and dreams. This exercise was deeply refreshing and enlightening. We wrapped up the evening with a few quiz-like games and closed the day with another prayer of thanksgiving.

Sunday was the last day and the climax of the retreat, as it was the wonderful feast of the Divine Mercy. We attended Mass again at St. Mary’s Church. This time we met Fr. Andrew’s mother, who had also left a religious order a long time ago! After lunch at a nearby diner, we returned to the same church for the Divine Mercy chaplet, beautifully sung by the choir.

I must include a personal note here, as I was touched on this day by a combination of the Mass readings, homily, personal discussions, and confession. I was reminded of the undying and everlasting love of the Heavenly Father and how He is always with us. He is with us in our joys, in our struggles, in our confusion, and in our times of forlornness. He is always there, and it is freeing to trust in Him and constantly repeat the words of St. Faustina, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

The next morning was the dreaded time of farewells and “Monday blues,” but thankfully, we were still brimming with the warm joy of the grace-filled weekend. After long-drawn, heartfelt hugs, we parted ways with hopeful sentiments, eagerly awaiting the next in-person event or retreat. Until we meet again, may God’s Divine Mercy be always with us!

group in front of Divine Mercy image

Ten Years of Leonie’s Longing

Ten Years of Leonie’s Longing

Today Leonie’s Longing celebrates ten years! Thanks be to God! Our website officially launched on April 29, 2013, in honor of St. Catherine of Siena. For ten years, we have been here for women who have left religious life. We have shared our experiences of sorrow and joy with one another. We have been an online resource to help women know they are not alone in the path of reassimilating to lay life.

We are grateful to God for this mission, and we pray for all the women who have crossed our path over the years. In the coming days, we will be sharing more content in honor of this occasion.

Has Leonie’s Longing had an impact on your life? Please let us know in the comments. We love to hear from you!

Leonie’s Longing Intern: Meet Abbie Anne!

Hi everyone! 

My name is Abbie Anne Truesdell and I am the new summer intern at Leonie’s Longing. I am currently a student (senior) at Clemson University in South Carolina. My major is in Psychology, while my minor is in Non-Profit Leadership. While I am greatly anticipating graduation from college, Clemson is actually not where I started.  

I was born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina, where I spent 18 years of my life. I spent all of high school discerning a call to religious life, and immediately entered the convent the summer after high school graduation. I was extremely blessed with my time there, but I ended up leaving the community to pursue a personal issue, with the intention of returning shortly after it was resolved (though that did not end up happening). I immediately began attending Immaculata University in Pennsylvania, which was a blessing in itself because it was so close to extended family. Though the transition to lay life was a bit rocky, I ended up gaining many friendships and my personal insight grew immensely. However, after one year at Immaculata, I decided to leave and take a year off to focus on my mental health. It was after that year off that I finally decided to attend Clemson University. All of this being said, my path has been far from traditional, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way! 

This summer with Leonie’s Longing, I will be focusing on mental health. I will be creating a mental health portion of the website with information and resources, as well as writing blog posts on topics related to mental health and life in/out of the convent. I pray you find the information and posts helpful. I am thrilled about getting the opportunity to meet many of you through various platforms over the summer, and please reach out to me at abbieanne [at] if you have any ideas, questions, or just want to say hi! God bless! 

 St. John Neumann & St. Margaret of Castello, pray for us! 



Community Novena Archives!

A huge thank you to those who joined us in the novena during June 2019! We’ve now archived the prayers and condensed them into one page so that you can come back and pray the novena whenever you wish. This page can be found here.


Hello Everyone!

You’re invited to pray a novena with us June 20-28.

Listen to the audio invitation below for more information. Each day I’ll post a new reflection on this page.


Hi Everyone, it’s Theresa!

I’d like to invite you to be an active part of our apostolate by praying with us for two minutes per day for nine days starting on June 20 and ending on June 28, The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

June 16 is Leonie’s feast day so I thought it would be a great day to announce this exciting opportunity.

Each day I’ll post a 2 minute recording with a short prayer and a time of quiet reflection.

I’m confident that at the end of the novena, things will happen. I can’t wait to hear about what God says to you in your prayer and what comes up in your heart.

Please join us June 20-28. God bless you!

Novena playlist can be viewed here

Welcome to Our New Website!

Hello all,

It’s been a pretty tough year for Leonie’s Longing, all told. Every time we got a tech issue fixed after the hack last October, it would come back with seven others worse than itself – the malfunctioning email system, the broken links, the corrupted text on every single page… it was dire.

That’s why our Technology Coordinator has been re-building the site from the ground up, clearing out any remnants of the hack and giving it a more sophisticated, modern look in the process. It’s taken many, many hours of hard work, but what you see before you today is the end result of that labour of love.

Please take a few moments to celebrate with us! You can watch a video about Leonie’s Longing, specially designed for the official launch of our new site…

or simply have a look around and try out the new drop-down menus; why not have a click through the archives and re-discover some of your old favourites?

As ever, you can get in touch with me for all blog-related matters at blogcontent[at], or for anything else, please visit and drop us a line.

Thank you for all your prayers and support – here’s to a brighter year ahead!

God bless,