Tomorrow morning, I will log off the computer, climb into a car with Sr. Mary, and she will drive me to the piney woods of southern Mississippi for 30 days of retreat. For one month, my computer screen will be a darkened shadow, and the only glow in my eyes will be that of the sun, the moon, and the hermit stars scattered like solitary pixels across a darkened screen of southern sky.
Periodically, every Sister makes a retreat of some sort. Annually we have our community retreat, a week of silence for all of us. We gather for liturgy and talks from a retreat director, but otherwise silence reigns in the monastery as we take a break from work and other non-liturgical routines. Some Sisters make an additional retreat at some point during the year, perhaps driving to another monastery or retreat center to spend a few days in sustained prayer.
And then there are special times of retreat made at major turning points in one’s life – perhaps at the time of a major change of ministry, or some other significant transition point. For me, this retreat comes near the end of my period of initial monastic formation. It is to be a time of sustained silence and solitude in order to enter more deeply into prayerful communion with our dear Lord as I contemplate the major step before me – perpetual monastic profession. As is our retreat tradition, I will meet daily with a retreat director with whom I can speak about the movement of the Holy Spirit within my heart.
So, dear readers, this blog will be silent for a few weeks as I ‘live the tradition’ of preparing for the next step of monastic commitment. If you wish a few words of Living the Tradition while I am away, I invite you to explore the archives at left, just clicking on a random entry or so every now and again. Whatever entry you happen to encounter, I’m sure whatever it references will still be current in some way as our Community continues to daily live our Benedictine charism with faithfulness and joy.
I will pray for readers of this blog while I am away, and I ask for your prayerful support during these coming weeks as I seek God in a retreat hermitage in the piney woods of southern Mississippi. Please also continue your prayers for our monastic community, our renovation project and our capital campaign. Sr. Therese will be posting regular updates of renovation progress on our Community News page along with other news of the Sisters, so don’t forget to check that page occasionally as well. May God bless you!