EMBRACING OUR CALL 2019
October 27th was a rainy fall day, with folks from five Marist places around the USA travelling to the Marist Brothers Center at Esopus for the 2019 Embracing Our Call retreat. The leaves were in full foliage, the Center was ready to welcome its first Province Adult Program of the season, and people were excited to be “coming home.”
After some introductions and a welcome by Val Savino, Director of Operations for the MBCE, we started as we always do with Mass celebrated by Fr. Richard LaMorte. Ed Kennedy then began the presentations with an introductory reflection on “The Longing.” Ed is the Outdoor Adventure Retreat Coordinator for the MBCE.
Val Savino then invited the participants to take advantage of the various contemplative practices available to them throughout the retreat. These included contemplative art activities, the indoor and outdoor labyrinth, walking in nature, icon gazing in the chapel, journaling, and silence.
They then moved into Grand Silence, introduced by Matt Fallon. Phones were ritually placed on the altar during night prayer. Silence was kept until after morning prayer on Monday.
The exploration of the theme of “Called to be Mystic, Prophet and in Communion” began to be examined on Monday morning. Maureen Hagan presented on the mystic piece. Beth Riehle, from El Paso and Br. Dave Cooney presented the prophet piece. The late afternoon was spent making “soul collages” and using the other contemplative practices.
A bonus on Monday was a visit from the Brothers from Champagnat Hall, who shared lunch with us. They also took time to have a prayer in the cemetery. On Tuesday morning, Br. Owen Ormsby shared his PowerPoint on Communion, and the importance of being attentive to what is happening in our Province as we move into this next century of our institute, with Lay and Brothers together taking responsibility for our future.
Some of the comments from participants included:
“The talks triggered a lot of sharing in the group. A great few days with nice people!”
“To put it simply, it was restorative, physically and spiritually.”
“Embracing Our Call was a unique contemplative experience. A much-needed re-centering in prayer. The time I spend in contemplative prayer in my daily life has gone up and stress has gone down.“