I made my annual retreat over the past week. I say “annual”, and usually it is, although there are years where all I get in terms of retreat are my Lay Dominican chapter’s day of recollection around St. Dominic’s Day on August 8. Not that that’s bad, but it’s not the same as a weekend retreat, especially a weekend silent retreat.
This year I attended our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s retreat, led by Fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP, who is stationed at St. Gertrude’s near Cincinnati (where our province novitiate is). The theme of the retreat was “Mary, Mother of Sorrows/Mother of Grace”, and how those two titles aren’t mutually exclusive.
As much as I love to talk, I also love–crave–the silence of retreat. How is God supposed to be heard over the noise of daily life? Remember, Elijah didn’t hear God in the earthquake. He heard Him in the “still,small voice” (1 Kgs 19:11-13). The silence isn’t absolute. It usually starts after dinner on Friday and then there’s an optional Saturday social, with the silence ended after Mass on Sunday. You can also ask questions during conferences. But, in general, silence is the rule, so that everyone can spend time immersed in God, listening for His voice, and spending time in prayer. Continue reading