It has been a full summer, with several major projects undertaken. The goal was to complete them by the end of August, before retreat season begins again in earnest after Labor Day.
The Bookstore has been moved from the North hall to the front entry, and we have already been welcoming shoppers. The gazebo now has water, power, a new light and fan fixture, and a new roof. It, too, is ready to welcome guests. The new website has been launched, and although there are a few kinks still being worked out, first reactions have been very positive. The landscaping work by south end of the pond is completed. Only the logging project remains because we are at the mercy of the loggers’ schedule and the weather.
With the beginning of another retreat season just around the corner, it seems we barely have time to take a deep breath. But as I look back in the 1952 House Chronicles, I see that although they were also quite busy, they paused to go on retreat as the students began their new year:
Retreats Classes [began Monday, August 18 and] continued uneventfully until the ordination retreats. . . . On Thursday, August 28, the retreat began for the presbyterandi (priest candidates), six days, and for the first year men who have not made a house retreat this year, three days. Fraters Malcolm and Pierre made [the retreat] under the additional title of preparation for solemn profession. The remaining ordinandi (students preparing to receive Holy Orders as deacons or acolytes) began their three day retreat on Sunday, August 31. The table reading for the various retreats is a book on the priestly vocation entitled “The Greatest Calling.”
As a spirituality center, our mission and ministry is retreats. Most of the year, our focus is on providing the opportunity and sacred space for others to go on a retreat, to allow our guests to take the time to deepen their connection “with God, self, others and creation” as our mission statement says. One day a year, we pause and take the time to enter into our own retreat time as a team, to minister to each other and ourselves.
This year, that day will be Wednesday, September 7. Just as the friars’ retreat was an opportunity to prepare themselves to commit to each of their vocations, our retreat is an opportunity to prepare ourselves to once again commit to our vocation as a part of this ministry. We will close the Center and our offices on that day in order to step away from the demands of our work and take the time as a team to relax, recreate, rest and rejuvenate.
What will transpire on our retreat is unknown except to the planners, Adele and Candy. Jackie K. may have some inkling, but she’s not sharing. For the rest of us, we are to take the advice we sometimes give to retreatants: don’t anticipate, participate. Rest assured that this Chronicler will report on the events of the day after the retreat ends.
For the gift of time to experience retreating for ourselves as we prepare for the opportunity to continue in this ministry for another retreat season, and for the graces and blessings we trust will come from that day, we say Deo Gratias!