Sharing: Annual Retreat 08

As part of Orientation program, I attended a directed retreat on Jul 14 – 21, 2008 at Mariandale, Ossining – New York. As I decided to have spiritual director from Mariandale, I chose Fr. Ron Henery, OP as my spiritual director as he has experience in enneagram.

Spiritual Direction
I met Fr. Ron everyday at 1. 15 p.m. for 20 – 45 minutes depend on the conversation. It was a good time for me since I could have lunch at 12.30 p.m. and then meet him. I told my vocation story, community life, and prayer life on our first meeting, and I could not hold my tears when I told about my parents.
Fr. Ron gave me passage from the Scripture to be pray with every day: Psalm 139, Mat 6: 25-34, Is 43: 1-7, Mark 10: 46-52, Psalm 138, John 15: 1-9, John 20: 24-29, Psalm 27, Ef 3: 14-21, Psalm 91, 1 Tim 1: 12-17, Sir 43: 27-33. I could connect to the passage everyday because I had the experiences. It also fulfilled my wish to read the Bible during the retreat, I brought my Indonesian Bible.
He asked me what I wanted from God during the retreat, I could not answer it. Two days later, he asked me what I wanted if Jesus was right in front of me now, I could not answer it. I said that I usually only could say “Thank You” especially during Mass. He informed me that Meister Eckhart, OP said that if the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. Finally I told him that I want to stay in the Lord’s house forever (Psalm 27).
I asked Fr. Ron, whether he always gave Scripture passages to his retreatant because it was relevant with my wish to read the Bible during the retreat. I then realized that it was mentioned in the brochure.
I used to pray that I didn’t know what to say so I asked God to give wisdom. It was not easy to answer the question how was my feeling because I felt almost the same as at home, peace and quiet even though I cried three times on the second day.

Activities
I continued to edit my translation to Indonesian language of “The Ordinary Path to Holiness” by Thomas Richard, Ph.D. Finally it finished on Jul 16, 2008.
As my plan, I read my Indonesian Bible most of the times. I read several pages of “John the Cross for Today: The Ascent” by Susan Muto while waiting at reading room. I continued to read it when I found it at our cloister during my quiet time early August 2008.
I made a ribbon pink comforter pillow at creativity room. At first I did not want to make it since I do not want to collect stuff but then I thought I could use it especially for my train trip back to Chicago.

Foods
I could not hold my tear when we had mesh potato for supper on the second day. I thought about how God prepared me to eat mesh potato when I decided to feed Sr. Ruth Evans/Sr. Barbara Hendricks and then ate whatever meal at our nursing home including mesh potato. Several times I went to dining room hungry but then I could not eat a lot when saw the meal. The foods were various. We had rice three times during the retreat and I ate cup noodle every other night.

Closing
I started to cry when reading “The Expedition” of Anthony de Mello, SJ after my last spiritual direction. I realized that religious life is over my humanity but I don’t have any reason not to continue the journey because I know how great God’s love for me through many simple things. I cried and cried while compile the passage for closing Eucharist. This experience somehow deepens my conviction about my discernment with Maryknoll.
During closing Eucharist, I shared my experiences during the retreat from choosing Fr. Ron, the food, ribbon pink comforter pillow which reminded me of comfort from God, talk of Sr. Joyce Rupp about Spiritual Transformation and compilation of the passages: I will give thanks to you, with all my heart…because of your kindness and your truth, whose power now at work in me can do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine, to lead me in the way of old, and dwell in the house of the Lord (Psalm 138: 1a, 2a, Eph 3: 20, Psalm 139: 24b, Psalm 27: 4c). I showed my pink pillow too.
On the closing prayer, the song was “We are Called,” my favorite song and the only song I knew during the retreat. I experienced again that I got the insight of the retreat on the last days of retreat.

After Retreat
When I attended Mass at our nursing home, I just realized that the first reading was Mi 6: 1-4, 6-8. After Mass, I asked Fr. Ernest Bruenel, MM about his sermon and he closed our conversation with Mi 6: 8: This is what God asks of you: only this: to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.
I wished to have rice for my lunch two days after retreat and I got it through the kindness of Sr. Alice Vandenoever, MM and Sr. Len Montiel, MM, another experience of God’s love.

Chicago, Nov 15, 2008


Linda AB, M.M.

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible