Nashville Retreat, Part IV: Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon

Noon: Prayers and lunch

1:15: Recreation with the Novitiate

2:15: Refreshments

2:45: Conference #3

3:30-5:00 Free time

Noon prayers at St. Cecilia’s are a collection of things: A litany to St. Dominic; a prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas; a prayer to St. Joseph; the Memorare, and the prayer to the Infant of Prague. After that, it was lunch time, which was pasta and salad–the pasta had the most glorious  meat sauce. Oh my gosh. And we all liked it, because it was gone after I had my seconds, and I literally scraped the pan clean!

Recreation was next, which meant frisbee, basketball, bocce ball, kickball, etc., with sisters in the novitiate. Now, I didn’t do recreation, and neither did some other girls. My muscle were NOT HAPPY with the climbing around I’d done that morning (the sisters’ convent, as you can tell from the pictures is set on a hill, so there were hills, and lots of stairs, neither of which make my body supremely happy). So I used the time to read, pray, and journal, from my window seat. 🙂 A few others girls used this time to talk to Sr. Peter Marie or Sr. John Thomas, the vocation sisters (Sr. John Thomas is the Vocations Assistant, while Sr. Peter Marie is the vocations director).

I had noticed after noon prayer that the sister sacristian (the one who is in charge of preparing for Mass and preparing the sanctuary) was placing flowers on the altar. In Lent, there aren’t flowers, but this Sunday was Laertae Sunday. Like Gaudete Sunday in Advent, it is a time to rejoice–we are in the fourth week of Lent, we are approaching Holy Week and Easter. Flowers and instruments are brought out. And St. Cecilia’s statue wasn’t neglected either!

Peonies for St. Cecilia

Peonies for St. Cecilia

After recreation, we had another conference. This time, the topic was “Responding in Love: Prayer”.

Some of my notes:

  • We must stop and go and prayer and be with God
  • Ask the sisters about their prayer lives–how they integrate prayer with their duties as teachers, and their duties within the convent itself.
  • CCC 2558: Prayer definition.
  • “He who humbles himself will be exalted” Humility–> foundation aspect of prayer
  • Christ prays in all circumstances, good and bad (Father used the examples of the Transfiguration and the Agony in the garden)
  • Even those close to Christ didn’t succeed in prayer all the time (i.e., sleeping in the garden)
  • Sometimes you’re going to fall asleep: “It’s going to happen.”
  • Spend committed time in prayer–at least a half hour every day.
  • In our prayer time we are giving Him the best gift we can give.
  • Father on Lenten penances: “It’s always a good idea to do something that helps you live out your vocation to the fullest.”
  • Have to be practical about our schedules
  • The more you pray, the more it becomes a part of you.
  • “Prayer is basically spending time with our Lord.”
  • “If God wanted it done perfectly, we wouldn’t have anything to do with it!”
  • We need to be people afire with Love for Christ.
  • “Go out into the world and show the love of Christ.”

Of course, this all reminded me of my favorite of the various Dominican mottoes: “Contemplate, and share with others the fruit fo your contemplation.”

After the conference, we had another set of free time: more writing, prayer, and journaling for me! This ended with the five minuts Vespers bell. I had started reading the Summa of the Summa, because what sort of Dominican would I be if I didn’t try to tackle  St. Thomas’ masterwork? Not a good one!



One thought on “Nashville Retreat, Part IV: Saturday Afternoon

  1. I hadn’t done evening prayer yet, so you inspired me to go do so. Now that I am back, I am really enjoying the description of your retreat. It sounds like a truly amazing place! (Can non-Catholics go?) Not that I can afford a cross-country trip currently….

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