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The Retreat House
It was a misty afternoon/evening as Catherine arrived at the old retreat house. Drawn by an inner spiritual guide to get her life back together and find true meaning, she decided to go, even though the thought of complete utter silence for 5 days and 5 nights terrified her.
Here she was at the lovely sprawling grounds....exactly as it was twenty-two years ago when she was only fifteen years old! She strolled down to the bottom of the grassy field to the small pond area with the little canoes, and boathouse, around to the same drooping tree and sat on the ground and wept, in her nice black velvet skirt and stockings not caring about the dampness of the grass, thinking of the last twenty years of emotional torture. Perhaps this would be a do-over! And what a peaceful place, talk about a moment in time.
Walking back up to the Catholic retreat house in a secluded part of country, she said hello to the other female retreatants. One was a hefty woman a year older, Jane, who was cordial and friendly, and a bunch of other women of all ages, including some smug twenty somethings, who boasted having gone to a Catholic grade school and high school and traditional Catholic mind you!
Sigh! So here she was, reminiscing, soaking up the beautiful grounds filled with large green trees all around, it was late August, and she and Jane, her new pal, saw three little deer! How adorable and fitting for the start of a lovely retreat! So she thought...
This is going to be nice, I know it, she thought! I can't wait, this is going to be so peaceful....
Ring Ring!! 6am the bell rings like a bell in an old schoolhouse. Yes, the old familiar bell....that rings each time there's an event, or one about to begin. The schedule posted said, 6am Rise, 6:45 Morning Prayer in Chapel, 7:15 Breakfast, then conference after conference and meditations, lunch, rosary, Mass, prayer time, and free time! Time to sleep...Ahhhh! And time to walk around.
Her favorite parts of the retreat were visiting the quiet chapel on her own, when no one was around at various parts of the day, and long walks outside.
The Conferences were tiring and almost an hour long each about subjects she had learned years before, nothing new really, the same Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
The exercises she didn’t mind so much, it was her anxiety and nervousness that made it difficult to sit still for three one hour talks a day. But though she felt uneasy and uncomfortable, she decided to make the best of it, and stay as long as possible.
press play now........
Learning new things always excited Catherine, especially now that she was back on her feet and her mind was working properly again. And spiritually, she was always interested in bettering herself, that’s why she came! Her idea was that this retreat would help her know if she was to be a nun, or get married and just see how she could do after all these years. Personally, she was trying to get out of a rut and thought this may help.
Little was she to know....something unexpected would happen, and she would unlock the mysteries of that retreat house....something she had never done before, last time, when she was the innocent age of fifteen, when things were run a bit differently. This time being there alone made it doubly hard... Who was she to smile to when not even smiling at others was encouraged and the silence... it was becoming deafening. No music, nothing except prayer, and no talking except to the priest.
I Tim 4: 1-3 it says: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them with believe and know the truth.