Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ever Considered a Silent Retreat? (Wernersville)



I know I'm the last person online to supply the link, but the Wernersville Jesuit Center made the New York Times Travel Section last Thursday.  For my friends who aren't Catholic, or Christian, or "anything in particular," as the author describes herself, the piece may alleviate some of the sense of mystery that surrounds a silent retreat.

My favorite part of the article is the portion in which the writer describes the manner in which her spiritual director for her five-day sojourn addresses her quandry, using words of the life of the spirit rather than those of modern-day psychology, suggesting that she feels "forsaken," rather than that she has "abandonment issues."  

We westerners are all accustomed to the language of the therapeutic community, and I doubt that any reputable spiritual director would resist a directee's engagement in therapy.  But many of our challenges are more spiritual than psychological in origin, especially where great trauma is concerned. Perhaps, now that I think of it, also especially where the utterly trivial is concerned. There are few people to whom we can turn in order to say, "God has completely forsaken me," and be assured of a hearing, whether the source of our conviction is the violent death of a child or a series of endless days of seeming meaninglessness at work or home.  And even fewer who, instead of offering concrete solutions or emphatic exhortations, will send us off with instructions and time to sit with God in the silence.

It is, quite simply, the thing to which I most look forward when it comes to finishing my cancer treatment: my return to Wernersville.  The sooner, the better.

(And like my friend Michelle, I picked up a new word from the article: adytum.  At least, it was new to me.  So I'm using the connected photo ~ the Wernersville Chapel, 2010.)

10 comments:

  1. and that's a great word! thank you!

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  2. Robin, the chapel is so beautiful. I have been fortunate for more than 35 years to make retreats at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre near Toronto, Canada and for the past 10 years, I have lived about 20 minutes away. For more than 25 years I was made to feel very welcome although I wasn't Catholic at the time. I agree about the value of spiritual direction as I'm blessed to have a Jesuit Spiritual Director. I'm off to a 5 day retreat in another week and I will pray that you will be able to make a silent retreat very soon. May you experience God's richest blessings in 2012.

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  3. Lynda, prayer and hope for a wonderful retreat.

    You have a wealth of resources up there - I've made a couple of retreats at the Jesuit Center at Guelph.

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  4. to amnswer the question; yes I do.

    before during, and after the retreats

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  5. On January 16 I head to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Conyers GA. Cistercian retreat center and Abbey. Such a place of peace for me. Silence. Prayer. Love. Hope.

    I have hopes for a Jesuit retreat soon!!

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  6. I am glad you have experienced this space- it was redemptive and healing for me and now I have the blessing of serving nearby. If you come back, please look me up! Meanwhile, prayers for your journey, and for your beautiful words which so often are exactly what God needed to say to me.

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  7. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are talking about! Bookmarked.

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  8. A slice of heaven! I can find no other way to explain the peace that comes from a silent retreat.

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  9. I like the portion in which the writer describes the manner in which her spiritual director for her five-day sojourn addresses her quandry, using words of the life of the spirit rather than those of modern-day psychology.

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