Patricia A. Merlo, M.P.M.

Patty, you have been called by God to share his Good News with others.

Thank you for actively listening to engage individuals througout the days' presentations.

Liked your tie-in of introvert/extravert to how to evangelize – very well done!

Today's retreat helped me to sit back, remember the important transformative moments in my Faith Journey and how important those moments were in bringing me into a more intimate relationship with God.  From sinfulness to Grace/Mercy, to Conversion/, to following Christ and learning more about Him,

I have been on a wonderful journey where I can share, even in a quiet way, my own experience with those I encounter.  God's love is great! God's intention, God's timing … if we are open to the Spirit, God reveals His plan for us.  I loved the retreat.

I thought the listening experience this morning was especially helpful to me.

I truly enjoyed the day.  A lot of what you spoke about validated how I feel about my relationship with Our Lord.

Thank you for an enjoyable and enriching and relaxing day.

I found helpful your references and examples in explaining God's mercy. Your presentation was clear, concise, and thought provoking. Your visual aids reinforced the ideas presented.

Overall I thought the retreat was a very enriching day. It gave me a lot a clarity in my life when I needed it most.

Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences with us. I learned a lot about the Church as well as my faith.  I would love to have you come back and lead retreats again with us.

Patty Merlo is a very well trained, experienced, confident, perceptive, and focused Spiritual Director.

I met Patty by chance (God Incident) at daily mass at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, FL.  We clicked immediately, and I felt a very  strong rapport with her.  I also learned that she was completing a two  year program in Ignatian Spiritual Direction.

We have stayed in touch over the years as one does when she is  blessed to meet a sister in Christ. Last fall, I began making  the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises [as a part of a small group]. I thought of Patty when I recognized that I also needed an individual Spiritual Director. Because we live in different states, she suggested we try direction via Skype.  It works beautifully.

We begin each session in prayer which helps me center myself to receive  what I need. Patty helps me to relax in quiet intimacy with our Lord.  She encourages me to zero in on and trust the word or vision I am receiving from Him. Patty often suggests I dig deeper into a message  that has come to me, to sit with it for a longer, quiet period of  listening.  She also encourages me to pray freely, and to have  confidence in my prayer and messages from the Lord.

Patty's direction, support and encouragement help me develop a  deeper, much more profound relationship with God.  I consider her  Spiritual Direction a blessing and a gift from God.

-- Mary

I first wish to thank you for the time you spent with me over the last nine months. I am truly grateful for your efforts and professionalism.
Initially, I really wasn't sure what to expect as a "novice directee." However, any doubts I originally may have had soon evaporated and I now feel like enormous progress has been made in my spiritual life.
Sometimes I see my goal at the end of a long path, winding upward over many obstacles. Remember, we spoke frequently about this in relation to my solo three mile hike (each way) in the Upper Penisula. There, however, I was just trodding along not really knowing the way. While I did eventually make it to the end and back safely, it wasn't without sore feet and dealing with a little trepidation (bear cub in a tree - where's momma?). So it was with the spiritual direction, at first.
I don't know about titles, but have thought of you as a knowledgeable co-navigator on a somewhat different winding path. The end isn't totally in sight yet, but I can now at least see the shapes in the mist and know the path I'm on is, indeed, the right one. You at times confirmed the direction and at other times asked me to check my compass as I might be getting off track. In both cases the ultimate choice of direction was left to me to decide as it was still my trek.
I'll now go on with another guide for the continuation of the next phase of the journey toward the end goal.
The Holy Spirit is the real guide for all of us and as long as we keep asking for help, I do trust we will receive it.
Again, thank you so much for the many excellent discussions and for your caring. It meant a great deal to me and I will keep you and your family in my prayers as I hope you will do for me when you think of me.
God bless you on your own journey,
Your friend,

I have been seeing Patty for over a year and a half, and I feel so fortunate to have her in my life. Meeting and talking with her, as she so attentively listens to me, has been and is a blessing!  If you are confused about what is happening in your life, Patty is there to guide you. She is truly "an angel on earth".
-- Anne

Prayer of the Heart

Mary has always been a part of my life as I prayed the rosary with my family  listening to Father Peyton’s evening radio broadcast that promoted the idea that,” the family that prays together, stays together”.  Most Tuesdays, my mother and I attended Our Mother of Perpetual Help Devotions at our parish.  I renewed my Marian experience by attending Father Michael Gaitley’s program – “33 Days to Morning Glory”, which ended with Marian Consecration just a few years ago, and renewed that consecration last year. 

My experience and relationship with Mary took on a whole new level of intimacy and depth when I attended Patty’s morning session of “Prayer of the Heart”, a time of learning about contemplative prayer, prayer of consideration.  The focus was on the story of the Annunciation from the Gospel of St. Luke.  As I recounted the words of the story and put myself wholeheartedly into the experience using all my senses, I had this beautiful encounter with Mary, the loving, faithful handmaid, the Daughter of God, schooled in the Temple, dedicated to hearing and living the Word of God.  I experienced the physical setting of her home in Nazareth, saw her postures, her body language, her facial expressions. I felt the emotions which must have surrounded this incredible moment of the Incarnation of the Word within, the awe, the movement of life within her, the immense power of the Spirit surging through her, changing Mary forever.  Following her encounter with the Angel, I witnessed her conversation with Anne and Joachim, the grandparents – to-be.  I related all her joy, and anticipation to my own feelings as I remembered my experiences of pregnancy and motherhood.  Mary and I renewed our bond of motherhood, and I recalled the words of the Magnificat and realized how grateful I am for the continuing blessings that God bestows on me.  The experience didn’t end there as I continued to consider (ponder) this story into the next day with new thoughts presenting themselves.  Now as I pray the Rosary, the Joyful mystery of the Anunciation, has taken on new meaning.   I am beginning to get a glimpse of the prayer experiences of Saints Theresa of Avila,  Terese of Lisieux, and John of the Cross. I can pray like these saints.  I can get a glimpse of Heaven and the powerful, deeply intimate, fulfilling, and loving relationship I can experience with Jesus, Mary, and the Saints for eternity.


The Second “Prayer of the Heart” Experience    

The second experience united the Old Testament reading from the Book of Wisdom, (chapter18:14-16)  to the New Testament Nativity story  in a powerful, experiential way as I imagined both scenes interwoven with each other.  Jesus, the Word as powerful as a two-edged sword, lying helplessly in a feeding trough for animals, the Bread of Life bringing nourishment and light to a world dead with sin.  The contemplation took on sacramental aspects as I entered into the scene with my senses, saw the signs representing the message behind the story, ponder the words of each passage, and felt the grace of the moment unfolding to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  Mind, heart, and body all connected, embraced by, and drawn into deeper relationship with the Trinitarian God.     

Anne Dziuba

Comments from the Forgiveness Workshops

Here is what others have had to say about the Roadmap to Forgiveness Workshop:

  • Good, solid material. Well planned and conceived, good visuals, thought-provoking.
  • This presentation showed me that the feelings I have are valid and important. And, that it is vital to forgive in order to grow personally.
  • Hearing about people who have been through so much and have been able to forgive, helps me to forgive.
  • I learned that it is okay to forgive, but not be okay [reconcile] with the person who hurt you, and that I can forgive someone who has passed on.
  • You were awesome!
  • The presentation made me look at myself non-judgmentally.
  • There was a proper balance between theory and practical application.
  • The presentation was very complete and well organized. Points were illustrated with real life examples; she shared her personal “lived experience”.
  • It was most useful to learn that: 1)  forgiveness doesn’t mean being a doormat, 2) forgiveness is helpful to the person who was hurt, and 3) the forgiver can become the hero [of her story], not the victim.
  • I now realize I have a lot of issues with forgiveness. I plan to explore your website and the resources listed there.
  • This presentation opened the door for self-exploration in regards to forgiveness.
  • She made it clear what forgiveness is and what it is not.
  • I wasn’t going to stay for the whole presentation, but I could not break away. It was so interesting.
  • I liked the presenter and her down to earth attitude. I appreciated all the examples of her own struggles and learnings. I would have loved to have had more time.
  • This helped me to search within myself and not to blame others. I always felt like the victim; it helped me to see others were victimized too.

(Page last updated 5/2/2020)

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