Charisms are gifts of the Holy Spirit

From left, Janice Rafie, Simone Killian and Monica Rafie gather outside St. Mary Parish in Davenport while attending a seminar on charisms.

By Barb Arland-Fye

Through discernment and study, Simone Killian of Nova Scotia has discovered that intercessory prayer and teaching are her charisms, or gifts from the Holy Spirit. Teaching is her profession and prayer is an important part of life for this wife and mother of five whose in-laws live in the Davenport Diocese.

Simone Killian and her mother-in-law, Leslye Killian, were participants in a daylong seminar earlier this month in Davenport that focused on training to help other Catholics discern their charisms. “I can’t wait to bring this back to my parish,” Simone Killian said.

Monica Rafie and her mother-in-law, Janice Rafie, both from the Chicago suburbs, also participated in the Davenport seminar hosted by St. Mary Parish in Davenport on July 10. “All of us have charisms, but few of us know we do and even fewer know what they are,” Monica Rafie said. She said she’s still in the early stages of discovering her own charisms, which at this point appear to be administration and hospitality.  She said it will be interesting to explore the gifts of others at her parish in Lombard, Ill.

The seminar at St. Mary’s was the midpoint of a series of training sessions that  about 15 lay people in the Davenport Diocese are participating in through the Catherine of Siena Institute’s Called and  Gifted program. Participants come from Our Lady of Lourdes and St. John Vianney parishes in Bettendorf, and St. Paul the Apostle, St. Mary, St. Anthony and Holy Family parishes in Davenport and Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, said Bernie Vogel of Our Lady of Lourdes.  The institute “is an affiliated ministry of the Western Dominican Province dedicated to equipping parishes for the evangelization and formation of lay Catholics for the sake of their mission in the world,” according to its web site.


Vogel is one of the organizers of Called and Gifted in the Quad-City area. The purpose of Called and Gifted, he said, is primarily to help lay people discharge their baptismal commission — whether in their neighborhoods, at work or in the family.

The first part of the series — five meetings of 2-1/2 hours each — “laid the foundation of the role of the lay people in the modern Church with a billion Catholics, but only a half-million ordained,” said Vogel.

“This a new program to enable lay people to live their baptismal commission in the world,” he continued. “It must be individualized because they are individuals in different work and community situations and with varied training and skills. Charisms are keys to our individual vocations, which address ‘What part of the plan of salvation have I been assigned to?’” he said.

The purpose of the training sessions is for each participant to establish with certainty which charisms he or she has and to begin putting them to use. Vogel said there are 24 charisms. “We’re not saying these are the only ones, but the most common ones.”

Jim Connell of Prince of Peace Parish said his charisms are wisdom, encouragement and teaching. He’s looking forward to his parish undertaking the Called and Gifted Program. And, “I’m interested in knowing more about God’s plan for me.”

Julie Davenport, of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, said: “I want to discern God’s direction in my life and to be of help to others.”

Discerning the gifts of the entire community is another dimension of the mystical body of Christ, Vogel said.

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