When the St. John Paul II Office for the New Evangelization first brought the retreat Healing the Whole Person to the Milwaukee Archdiocese two years ago, the response from participants was more profound than organizer Margaret Rhody was expecting.

Dr. Bob Schuchts

“We had a large number of parish leaders participate, and so many said that they had come to better learn how to accompany someone else through pain and suffering, but were surprised that God also wanted to personally give them so much personally,” said Rhody, associate director of the Office for Evangelization.

It was Rhody who had proposed bringing the conference, offered by the Florida-based John Paul II Healing Center, to Milwaukee in the first place. She had been searching for programming that would equip pastoral leaders to “walk with people who are hurting.”

“So many of us don’t know that Jesus offers us healing for life’s hurts through his Catholic Church,” she said, “and we haven’t been taught how to prepare our hearts to receive it.”

When she found the Healing the Whole Person retreat, she was attracted by the solid theology and adherence to Church teaching, she said, describing it as “good theology and good psychology, wrapped in prayer.”

Healing the Whole Person will return to the Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center from Thursday, Feb. 6, through Saturday, Feb. 8. The retreat will be led by the John Paul II Healing Center founder Dr. Bob Schuchts, who has been a therapist for more than 30 years and is the author of “Be Healed: Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life” and “Be Transformed: The Healing Power of the Sacraments.”

Dr. Schuchts will be joined by co-presenter Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, who has written, presented and spoken extensively on the healing power of God’s mercy.

The retreat is ideal for those who are struggling or desire to better support others who are struggling with things like anxiety, depression, anger, addiction, illness, or patterns of sin they find difficult to break, or for anyone grappling with “the wounds that we get just by living in a fallen world,” said Rhody.

In short, this retreat is for everyone.

“It’s about helping people come back to God to receive all the love and healing he wants to give, to bring us more fully into that person he’s created us to be,” she said.

The timing of the conference has been coordinated so that it will be accessible to people who are working full-time. The events on Thursday and Friday run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s agenda begins with optional daily Mass at 8 a.m. and concludes with Sunday vigil Mass at 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included.

Regular registration is open until Feb. 2 and costs $150. Space-permitting, walk-in registration will be $170. Full scholarships are available for priests, seminarians and religious. Fifty-percent scholarships are available for leaders in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, for college students and for those with a financial need.

After the retreat, eight-week follow-up sessions will be held at both Three Holy Women Parish — Holy Rosary Church in Milwaukee and St. Joseph Parish in Big Bend for those who wish to continue learning and applying the tools presented on the retreat.