More than 100 women and men gathered at the Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas Dec. 6 to hear Dr. Margarett Schlientz give her testimony and talk about her life as spiritual director, psychiatric nurse, and executive director of the Pope Leo XIII Institute on the campus of Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.

In her talk, which was sponsored by the San Gabriel Valley chapter of Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women, Dr. Margarett described her community growing up as very safe. She had 16 years of Catholic education, including four years at Marywood Academy, taught by “very holy and loving” Dominican Sisters.  

“When you have had that kind of love, it does something to you: it continues to be the basis of who you are,” she said. At Marquette, where she obtained her BS in Nursing, she again lived in an environment “which was very spiritual: much prayer and many retreats and days of recollection coupled with wonderful teachers who prepared us students for Vatican II.”  

In 1970, when she was a student at the University of Maryland, she went home on a Christmas visit.  She and her mother had lunch with the wife of the town’s physician, who introduced them to the Charismatic movement. In the 1980s, she began to be a consultant to many religious communities and travelled extensively.  

On one occasion, she was invited to meet Blessed Mother Teresa and became a spiritual director to Missionaries of Charity throughout the world.  

After taking the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, her entire approach to therapy changed.  She began to see tremendous changes and healing in people once they encountered God.

“We are beginning to find out just how much evil has entered into the lives of people without their even being aware of it,” she said, noting addictions — not just to alcohol and drugs, but to video and smart phone games and TV. “A lot of lay people don’t understand the depth of their sin. So many people are into occult practices.”

Magnificat seeks to help Catholic women be open to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment to love, service and sharing the good news of salvation. The next Magnificat breakfast will be in February. For more information, call Clara P. Luera at (626) 963-5532.