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The Retreat House Part II
Wandering around between events, Catherine explored the large retreat house. She loved the life size statues of saints like St. John Vianny, one of her all time favourite saints ever! The house was large and beautiful, with large wooden doors that went to many places, a large dining room where all the retreatants ate, they call it a refrectory, a warm and cozy place by an old stove that used to heat the house, with many seats and cozy places to sit right next to a door that leads out to the beautiful grounds. Little rooms, where it used to be a seminary, for the retreatants. Each with a twin bed, a small sink, a desk and chair, a dresser, small closet, shelves, beautiful picture, crucifix, and statue, and of course a kneeler.
What peacfulness! But as time wore, on, she felt herself worried she might go crazy with the utter pounding sound of silence, except for the fan in her room, and the blessed sound of the insects outside....oh thank God for that!!! After a couple days, Catherine called her mom. From that day on, around 8pm she called every night. She didnt' care if she broke the rules, this is supposed to be a peaceful time, not torture! And she was going to enjoy it! She also skipped some of the conferences and slept late a few times. After all they were very long, and there were three a day with meditations after! It was just really tiring. She wasn’t used to this rigorous schedule and she really wasn’t prepared for total silence, it seemed a bit much.
Eating lunch on the first day, that Monday, was interesting. How inconvenient for her that there were assigned seats! Not to mention they had her right across from the priest while they could have put her anywhere. Being shy and nervous was bad enough.
As the meal was half way through, and no one was talking, and women barely making eye contact to avoid breaking any type of silence or meditative thought, she did notice one young blonde girl had a sour expression though.
The priest got up and started serving us! He had a pot of coffee and a pot of hot water for tea. Okay….Well, that's very gentlemanly! Each woman waited patiently as he poured hot water or coffee in her mug. They seemed a bit awkward and I smiled laughing silently to myself.
Well days went by. And days went by. And days went by. It seemed long so long and it was really only Tuesday! Oh, those sermons on hell were too much! I’m not going to hell!
Catherine wandered around the grounds daily and came upon a beautiful new church built not long ago for the parishioners. This is heaven, truly heaven! she exclaimed to herself as she explored inside. Finding her way though, it came suddenly into view: a huge white marble altar with amazing detail and statues of beautiful angels, Jesus, Mary and saints! And the windows, were various bright colors of stain glass, the ceiling was high like a cathedral! It was so amazing, she had never seen such beauty in a small church. Row after row of pews, and at the end a beautiful baptismal font, with a picture of Jesus being baptized in the Jordan above it. She could not imagine anything more beautiful. It must have cost millions, wow a little basilica right in the back yard and she was the only one there.
Down the stairs she went and found herself in a school house. As she wandered through the classrooms in the wings of the building she almost dropped dead seeing a life size statue of Mary in the doorway to one of the rooms. Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Like seeing a ghost, but she quickly contained herself and continued on her wandering.
General confession day was Wednesday. Catherine decided the chapel would be the easiest and most comfortable location to confess in choosing from the unairconditioned church and the two offices upstairs with little seating. She arrived first, by skipping part of the conference before.
After there was a feast! Barbecued meat, vegetables, rice, Coca Cola, and wine! Grand! Finally a meal to relish! But there was no wine glass in front of her. Frowning she grabbed another down the table before anyone else sat down. There was no way she was not having some wine after all this!
The meal was delicious. She relished every bite, feeling at last very comfortable.
Later that evening, one of the priests pulled Catherine aside. "It appears you have disturbed the other retreatants? Have you talked to any of them?"
"Yes. I was very upset the other night after the conference on hell."
"Oh, well since it seems you have been calling your mom at night time, is that right?"
"Yes, I do call her. I can't stand the complete silence."
"Well, try to call more quietly. Some of the woman heard you talking."
"Well, then, since you are calling your mother at night time, perhaps, you would like to talk to me at that time instead? Would that help?"
"Yes! That would be perfect! " What a great idea she thought.
"Okay, well after Compline, after 9pm I will be available. My office/room is on the second floor, across from Fr. Peterson."