Retreats at Maryknoll Center in Eastbay Offer Unexpected Opportunity for community and silence
It is always amazing to me how quickly we bond to each other. The first night we start out with social time before dinner: a glass of wine or soda and a few snacks. During the winter, we build a fire in the fireplace, which adds tremendously to the sense of home. It is a great time to chat with people I know and get to know those I have just met.
For me personally, I love the mornings when everyone is around the breakfast table and it seems like I am part of a big family, which I did not have growing up. People are laughing and talking, drinking coffee or tea and helping each other with breakfast. Lunchtime is another chance to relax and eat, sit outside on the patio, read, or pray in the chapel.
Every retreat includes a spiritual ritual of some kind. The ways to encounter God are limitless. I am also greatly touched knowing others are encountering the Divine and that I am blessed enough to be present to that encounter. I have had some very profound experiences myself during our time together, under one roof, with the Spirit dwelling among us. One such experience was during our retreat on forgiveness when I realized I had been harboring anger over something from my childhood. With the help of the other participants, the ritual exercise, and of course God’s spirit of love I was able to forgive and move on. I experienced the joy of letting go of a tremendous weight and gained a deeper understanding of what Jesus meant when he urged his disciples to forgive: it’s not to benefit the wrong-doer, it’s for the victim’s freedom and happiness.
I have made many new friends during retreats and gotten the chance to know my long-standing friends on a deeper level. I look forward to every retreat!!