Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Annual Retreat

Each year I get time to visit my family, have a vacation, and have a retreat. I have just returned from my annual eight day retreat. I hope everyone enjoys my halo while it lasts! It is truly a gift to have these days of quiet to reflect on my life and my relationship with God. When I first came to the community, I thought I could never make it through eight days of silence. However, now I relish the time of quiet.

There are three different types of retreats available. The most common type is the preached retreat. This is where a retreat director gives a talk to a large group for a period of time each day. Individuals may sign up to visit with the director to talk or if it is a priest to have confession. We also had several sessions available to us for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Then there is the guided retreat. In a guided retreat, the group is about 10 people. The group meets altogether each day for a short presentation by the retreat director and maybe some sharing by the group. Those attending this retreat may sign up to visit the retreat director individually. Finally, there is the directed retreat. This is the one I now like to make. In a directed retreat, the director may have up to about six directees. Each day of the retreat the director meets one-one to with each directee. In addition to time with the retreat director we have liturgy of the hours together and Eucharistic liturgy also each day. A couple of days we can pray the rosary together and there are opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration--usually we call it Exposition.

I feel amazingly blessed to have this gift of retreat! As Daughters of Charity we seek to be contemplatives in action. Our annual retreat is a way to make sure we don't lose that contemplative side in the midst of the busyness of service of the poor. Each month we are strongly encourage to take a day of retreat. Usually this is done privately, but sometimes a local community (the Sisters with whom you live) will plan a retreat together. Globally, the Daughters of Charity are in retreat on December 31st as we reflect on the past year and the new one to come.

I pray that each of you can find some quiet time in which to center your life more deeply in Christ. I know most people don't have the wonderful opportunity for a long retreat. It would be great if everyone did! However, there are little ways to find some quiet. Sometimes, it could be as simple as not turning the radio on when you are in the car alone, take a couple of quiet minutes when you get up or go to bed, read the gospel of the day and ask God that it may speak to you personally. We need to seek those small opportunities to keep us growing closer to Christ each day--not just maintance!

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