by Kristie Larson, Faith Formation Chair
In 2021 my twin sister and I had a goal of attending a spiritual retreat together. We put very few parameters on the search and ended up finding a retreat house in Louisiana that fit our schedules and interests. Although it was not our goal to embark on a silent retreat, we were excited for the challenge and looked forward to how the Spirit would work within us. On that first silent retreat I witnessed the power of silence and had an incredible experience of spiritual connectedness.
“Silence in all its forms and all its times will change us. Most of all, if we cultivate it, it will put down roots in our souls and engender peace in our lives.”
This excerpt from our 2023 parish book selection, The Monastic Heart by Joan Chittister O.S.B., is a brilliant reflection of the power of silence. Each chapter focuses on one of 50 simple practices for a contemplative and fulfilling life. Her Benedictine spiritual practices serve as the guide for this book and in chapter 10, she focuses on Silence. Take a moment to read (or reread) this chapter. I found it as a calling for incorporating silence into my life. Even if for only a few minutes a day, the healing power of silence can work wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.
Because my and my sister's everyday lives are noisy, cluttered, and chaotic, embarking on a weekend of silence was a welcomed escape. However, it was difficult, and at times frustrating, to stay silent. There were no phones, no electronics, no idle chatter at our meals and no time dedicated to sharing stories and perspectives on life and faith.
There was, however, time for contemplation, reflection, prayer and rest. The Spiritual Director shared insights and teachings throughout the day and Mass was celebrated each evening. The time of rest, reflection, and prayer were incredibly powerful and much needed. I noticed a renewal of my senses as I invested time in listening, seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling the space around me.
Sr. Joan Chittister also writes, “You face the call of silence to begin again, to become the kind of person you really want to be. It’s all there - but only silence can walk you through it to the end.”
Please join me and your fellow Visitation parishioners, as well as other Catholics from around the area, for this silent retreat on a beautiful October weekend at Conception Abbey. It is my hope to have a group from Visitation who might like to travel together and enjoy the experience of "Sabbath Rest & Benedictine Peace." To encourage participation, the Faith Formation Team is subsidizing $50 per person's registration fee.
WHAT TO EXPECT...
Silent Retreat Weekend: Sabbath Rest & Benedictine Peace Fri. Oct 6 @ 4:00 pm – Sun. Oct 8 @ 2:00 pm
Retreat leader: Br Mark Nelson, OSB In the prologue to the Rule, St. Benedict invites his readers to “seek after peace”. Amidst the busyness of life, this silent retreat explores the peace that arises from remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy. Meditations on the Sabbath in Sacred Scripture will prepare our hearts for a prayerful encounter with the One who invites us to rest in his loving presence. Pricing: $200* a person.
(*Vis FFT will subsidize $50 per person who registers with the parish group.) Retreat costs includes all the meals, a private room with its own bathroom and shower, linen and towels, retreat director fee, handouts and any private spiritual direction time. Prices are set to cover these costs. Anyone unable to pay the suggested amounts may leave whatever offering they can afford. Abbey Guest Center Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: (660) 944-2809
As the Muslim poet Rumi wrote, “Listen to the silence; it has much to say.” And Albert Einstein said, “the monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” How will the silence speak to you and how can it grow your spiritual life? Let's find out together! Space is limited. Please contact me to sign up: email@example.com or 816-674-6535.