Retreat Explores Spiritual Side of Job Search

Article excerpt

Byline: Nancy Luebke Daily Herald Correspondent

Looking for a job while unemployed or underemployed can leave one feeling isolated and frustrated. "Finding Work Without Losing Heart" is an overnight retreat Feb. 15-16 at Cenacle Retreat House, 29W012 Batavia Road in Warrenville.

"This is an opportunity for people to put aside the resume and focus on the spiritual and psychological aspects of job transition. This is a two-day opportunity to explore the deeper questions as they relate to job translation," said Al Gustafson, a leader of the retreat. "This is a unique opportunity, and anytime you bring 50 unemployed people together, something happens. People really leave with a high and are really recommitted to their job search."

The retreat has a goal of spiritual support and insight for those in job transition. It is being offered for the first time in DuPage County to residents as a local ministry outreach of St. Isidore Church in Bloomingdale, St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Margaret Mary churches in Naperville, Crossroads Center in Chicago, Workforce Ministry in St. Charles, the St. Joseph Employment Ministry in Glen Ellyn and Goldman Sachs, Inc.

Facilitators Gustafson and Sister Madelyn Gould will help those attending explore the blessings as well as the feelings of confusion and outrage that unemployed and underemployed men and women may experience during their job hunt. The retreat will follow a program that was developed by a Cenacle sister in Minnesota, and it has constantly been updated by Sister Gould and Gustafson. This retreat will include local people who have experienced job loss sharing their experiences.

Gustafson and Sister Gould, who work together frequently, have created a program that focuses on the spiritual side, not just the technical side. Gustafson, who grew disillusioned with the financial field after graduating from college, has experienced a job transition of his own. He is now a board member of a career center in Chicago, the Crossroads Center, where he is also a career coach.

Sister Gould, who is the adult faith formation director at Naperville's St. Margaret Mary Church, said there are many parishioners in her church unemployed or underemployed.

While this retreat has been held in Chicago for the last 10 years, it is a first for DuPage County. Members of area churches, including St. Margaret Mary and St. Petronille in Glen Ellyn, will be among the speakers at the retreat who address the issues that have affected them. …