I spend a long weekend, Thursday-Sunday, on my first ever individual retreat.

I am incredibly grateful for the warm hospitality of the Benedictine brothers at Holy Cross Monastery, and for their cozy guesthouse with its maze of nooks and crannies, arches and icons. In that place a two hour train ride from New York City but a world away, I was able to find silence, the kind of deep, profound silence that brings peace and healing. 

Before I went on the retreat I was nervous about what it might be like to spend that sort of time with no agenda other than the monastery’s daily cycle of prayer and meals. What I found was that the schedule anchored me while setting me free to spend the time however I needed to. Nobody had expectations of me, and while I hadn’t planned on a silent retreat, I wound up not speaking for just about the entire time. The monks were around and friendly if needed but I was on my own, to find my own way and do what I needed to do.

In that beautiful and quiet place I found rest for my body and soul, and a beginning of healing from the heartache from all the transitions in the past 7 months and from caring for the dying. In the middle of the last night before I left I was able to go to the chapel and kneel in front of the tabernacle, hands outstretched, palms open, and, sobbing, finally feel safe enough to let it all go.

I have returned from the retreat calmed, refreshed, and ready to take on the next set of challenges and the chaos of the Christmas season.  Thanks be to God!


~ by Sophia on December 7, 2009.

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