Online Retreat Sharing
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A Place to Share
At any time this week, if you have anything you'd like to share, that has touched you, you can share it by leaving a note here, even anonymously.

The Latest Sharing

I’ve been intentionally reflecting on my young years in this first week. I’ve also read many of the shares. What surprises me is that so many retreatants speak of unhappy childhoods.  I did not know there were so many of us out there. My troubled childhood has always followed me. It’s part of my identity. Not to sound completely ungrateful — my parents loved me, this much I know- but alcoholism in the family was a true problem. I always felt different from my friends, thinking their lives were much better. But yes. I can see that God was with me in all of that. I fight sadness and anxiety as an adult  prayer helps. God is still there.

I'd like to share my Week One retreat with you. So far the retreat is going well, reflecting on my earliest memories until the present time. I was easily filled with joy at those happy times and the happy times I forgot I had, a joy infused nostalgia. One thing that stood out was that God was active at my early childhood through Art and Prayer; I remembered so strongly the time that I consecrated myself in prayer to Him at around 7 or 8 even though I had no idea what it meant, and its probably the reason that I could'nt forget my relationship with God altogether even though God took a back seat during the tumultuous life of puberty and early adult years.

Recalling the sad memories wasn't hard either and the painful feelings associated with it. Family misunderstandings, bullying, temptations, illness, etc. God was faithful at those times even when I wasn't. And when I was old enough to understand, it was through the same problem God brought me back to Him and now start taking Him seriously. My relationship with God is still a work in progress and I believe will always be, but one thing's for sure, God sure is not in the backseat anymore, thanks to Our Lady.

I started week one yesterday, after searching for a long time for a prayer programme that would help me commit to daily prayer that helps me get to know Jesus better.  I feel blessed to have found this online retreat in daily life.  I so often feel like my life is meaningless and I wish I could find what my purpose for life is, in the eyes of God.  Dear Jesus, please help me to persist in seeking your purpose for me, and help me most of all to keep my eyes on you, on your works rather than worrying about other earthly matters that so often distract me from what is more important.  Please also stay close to all those who are doing this online retreat so that they too may get to know you better and be able to serve you with peace and joy in their hearts. Thank you Lord for loving us so much :)

Week 34
So here I am sitting in my prayer place, the day after the retreat ended. Wondering how to begin? It has been an amazing 34 weeks of discovery, enlightenment, and grace. There has been pain, tears and regrets. But healing and hope have been present in abundance.
So where to from here? The road is there ahead of me, it hasn’t changed much, there are still twists and turns, shadowy dark areas, and obstacles to travel. But the difference is, my heart is lighter, and there isn’t any fear of the future as I have Jesus right here beside me, holding my hand guiding me, and He will pick me up when I stumble and fall.
Thank you to everyone who has made this retreat possible. I will pray for all who continue on the process of enlightenment.
God bless us ALL.
Jane NZ

Week 32
What a week this has been, beginning with the birth of a precious Grandson my net was filled to overflowing. Then a setback as he had to undergo an operation to repair a hernia with 4 days so far in intensive care. So the blessing and grace was to be able to appreciate all that Jesus has given me over the course of this retreat, and to be able to share it with family and others undergoing the same pain and suffering seeing their beautiful children struggling with pain and sickness.
So many times this week I have felt my Lord, my friend my companion at my side. Showing me the flock he is asking me to care for.
The journey for my Grandson isn’t over yet. But his healing has been filled with grace as each step has been overcome quickly. The repair was smaller than anticipated, his ability to breathe unaided was immediate after the ventilation was removed and he is going from strength to strength. Praise God!
Thank you for the richness of this retreat that has taken me to such a deep understanding of what it is to have God in me and me in God through the love of Jesus in my life.

I am working through Week 20 and am moved to share for the first time...

Something that jumped out at me from the Temptation reading that I hadn’t thought deeply about: “…the Spirit led him into the desert.”  It wasn’t an accident, but it also wasn’t as if he purposely went out to “test his strength” of resolve.  He went out led and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and after a time of fasting and prayer (during which, also, the devil tempted him, according to the text), the temptations we’re considering this week happened. 
And…  Unconnected directly to the theme for this week, a prayer from Bob Hostetler’s  One Prayer a Day blog posting that sums up pretty well how I feel about prayer most days:
Shepherd of the Stars,
Whole galaxies form your royal train.
The countless host of heaven,
blazing suns,
mighty planets,
dappled moons,
comets, asteroids, vapors, black holes,
all follow after you like so many ducks behind their mother.

And yet, Lord, my immense, mind-boggling, Star-Shepherd,
you condescend to me,
to sit with me,
whisper to me,
commune with me.
Such thoughts are too marvelous for me,
I cannot attain unto them!
But I praise you and thank you,
in Jesus' name, amen. 

Week 31
As we approach the end of this gift which is the retreat, I see myself on this road to  Emmaus.
This week began with a really deep joy when I stopped and allowed Jesus to break the bread for others when I was dealing with difficult situations at work. But then I caught a cold, and my arthritic condition flared up and I sunk into self pitying and absorption. I turned away from the bread broken and offered choosing to stay within my tomb.
But Jesus in His gentle and loving way found me, reminding me of His love and invited me out into the sunshine again.
I continue to struggle with my health, but with the bread given to me in the love of family, the wisdom of my Spiritual leaders and teachers, through God’s word in Scripture and the fabric of His Kingdom in Creation, I know I am never alone.
I can’t thank those who have organised this retreat enough. It has truly been a life changing experience for me.
I pray for all on the retreat, and that many more will accept the invitation.

God bless you all.

Week 30
Thank you for the blessing of this retreat, today I stood with Jesus in the garden of resurrection and saw a mass of butterflies swirling around His head. His arms raised rejoicing in the freedom of these beautiful creatures,he called me to join Him, and the feeling of joy I had was overwhelming.
I struggle to feel emotion and this Grace was such a gift. Thank you Jesus for your healing and love for me.
Happy Easter to all.. Christ has RISEN! Alleluia!

Jane NZ

I write this on Easter Saturday of week 27 after a very powerful week. Being there with our Lord, through His final day, seeing Him give His body and blood to the two men, one, the betrayer, the other the denier, knowing that they are both part of the unfolding of God’s will but loving them to the end. I was so touched by the depth of Jesus love.
I was also given the Grace of being able to understand how my own sinfulness ties in to My Lords death, how the hatred and scorn, the torture and the weakness, the mockery lies which led to His death, all of this present in me ... but I am forgiven!
 Yesterday’s service of the Passion of Our Lord touched me deeply, and my Veneration of the Cross was a personal one and filled with a deep gratitude for what has been done for me.
So I wait today for the Light to return, looking forward to next weeks journey on our retreat, with the Risen Lord with us!
Happy Easter to you all.

This week 28... It was painful, challenging but at the same  time a voice saying: surrender, do not give up. 
I had a disagreement and a misunderstanding situation this week with a person I care pretty much. Our feelings and emotions got out of hand to the point we don’t talk to each other anymore. 
I learned that I didn’t listen with my heart and this person didn’t either after we tried to talk again. 
Abandonment is what I am doing now. Letting God to act through us if our friendship is worthy. I have tried to approach and this person is silent completely. Everything is in His hands.

Week 20.  After dawdling around, procrastinating etc.,  ‘doing' this 20th week … I finished it 12 days after I began!  
The last two days were horrific: I flunked temptations left and right.  
But on my knees at the end, came love and peace and grace as He has promised!
I am the Bread of Life.  Amen to nervous snacking.
But I am convinced that there are times when he allows us to be led …
Into temptations in order for us to identify with Him in the Wilderness!!!
Deliver us from evil.  He does.  
Kingdom, Power, Glory, as in heaven so on earth, in me, as I serve him.
Week 20 helps you keep your priorities in line!

Week 27 has been a challenging time for me, when I read the introduction on Sunday I thought I would be focusing on the Eucharist.. but this wasn’t the Spirits plan. I have been caught up with Judas betrayal of Our Lord.
I work supporting disabled people to have the services in their home and community so that they are able to live as independently as possible. During this week as Judas travelled with me I saw how I am tempted to betray Jesus in the person of my clients by trying to be a follower of the laws of my employer to gain recognition and praise rather than seeing the true needs of the person before me and taking up their cause.
I have made some changes to my practice and pray that God's love will continue to help me grow in Faith and courage to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth.
Thank you so much for this place to learn of God’s love and Grace in my life. Jane NZ

In your divinity, I am in awe of you...
In your suffering journey, I am in awe of you...
In your humility of service, I am in awe of you...
In your willingness to be patience in love, I am in awe of you.,, In your graciousness to envelope me in Your presence , I am in awe of you...
In your presence on this earthy landscape, I am in awe of you...
In your all encompassing energy of light and peace, I am in awe of you...
      I am in awe of you and I love you more than life itself, Oh Dear One...

So many Graces in this weeks reflections, that I still have the vainglorious hopes of being someone special! That although I think I see what God is calling me to, I think that my sight often is shortsighted and I fill in the bits I don’t see clearly. But there is also clarity as I now understand why Jesus my friend refers to Himself as the Son of Man in the third person, as he has now given himself completely to God, there is nothing of the man Jesus left. He is now serving God alone, and ready to do all that is asked of him.
AnotherGrace revealed shows that after each person is healed, Jesus leaves them to make their own decision on what to do next, which direction to go. You are healed. Go your Faith has healed you.... no; Come and follow me, no; now you are my disciple, you have to do this. Some were given instructions for their own good, to be cleared by the leaders so that they can rejoin society, but nothing  about following Jesus. That is left up to us entirely, whether we go back the way we came, or set off in an entirely new direction, or take up our cross and follow the one who has all the answers. Reveals the truth, and gives hope, peace and joy to our struggles.
Thank you Jesus my friend my Love
Jane NZ

In New Zealand this week we have been mourning the loss of 50 martyrs who were massacred while at Prayer.
50 families grieving for their loved ones.
A nation gathered together as one people, united to stand firm against the blindness of ignorance and fear. To drink together from the well of God’s love and grace, and to pray for those who died with thanksgiving, that our Heavenly Father will receive them into his arms in His Kingdom.
That these beautiful people were Muslim, makes no odds, we are all one in God’s sight, and with the light of Christ to guide us, we will clearly see our brothers and sisters and reach out in love to them all.
Praise God for the readings this week, they have been a blessing.
God bless you all
Jane NZ

My sharing for week 25 is that I never appreciated the Scrutiny readings before. Thank you for bringing them alive. Love this lesson. I can see Jesus wanting to heal parts of me that have dried up and gently untying the bindings holding me cold and frozen.  I pray again with renewed zeal on what have I given up on and doubted Jesus could transform. The last three weeks have been very powerful. One thing I heard from a podcast this week that helped with last week is that Jesus may have used very strong language with the Pharisees and Sadducees but before that he had developed a relationship with them.  Jesus he had eaten with them and had conversations with them.  So his rebukes came from a respect of the Pharisees and Sadducees as people worthy of engagement.  I struggle with how to be authentic in love.  Thinking about developing a relationship built on what I can agree with a person on first, is very helpful to me. 
What is so amazing about the online retreat is that it is deceptive.  You start and think "this is all there is?" and yet it is so very impactful.  Having a sharing group has been key for us.  There are times in our busy lives that one of us glosses over a week but the sharing with the others helps us to stay on track.  And we all gain something from the week, even when we have been distracted. 

Week 24: This week listening to Jesus speak from His heart, so passionately about the truth of God’s love and the false teachings of the leaders of the church has helped me to understand that my own self imposed rituals and patterns are also being exposed by Him.
The freedom to follow God’s love and to be guided by Jesus is so exhilarating. I no longer chastise myself when I fall, but see Jesus there reaching down to pick me up. When my mind wanders during prayer or Mass, I see God gently smiling at me patiently waiting for me to return.
This retreat has been such a wonderful journey for me. Thank you to everyone who has worked to bring this blessed time to our lives.
My prayers for all on the retreat continue.
Jane NZ

Week 23: Firstly I just want to thank everyone who has made this retreat possible,  because it is through your love for God, your own discipleship in Jesus Christ, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you that you have brought so many people to know and love our Lord personally.  THANK YOU.
This week has brought so many graces, healing for my little niece from her severe allergic reactions.  Allowing me to be free of the demon who was constantly provoking me to question my faith and beliefs. 
Showing me that it is not me who does the work,  but Jesus working through me. 
I have just found out that I have to have a knee replacement and the pain I am suffering will not be fixed quickly.  But I have been able to give thanks to God as at least it can be healed,  I live in a country where our health system will look after me and I have many people who love and support me to care and help me. 
So once again thank you for helping me to find the person who is Jesus and to love Him as my friend and my lover.
Jane NZ

There is something about this retreat that keeps me engaged in it. I believe it is the feeling of companionship on this journey. I read and reread the lessons throughout the week, but if you asked me what they were about I would say, “sin” or “mercy” or “forgiveness” or “acceptance” -- standard stuff.
I believe what strikes me most about the retreat other than, it is totally well prepared and planned out is the amount of love and time it took to put it together. A lifetime of caring, praying, and self-sacrifice has gone into this retreat. When you throw in the intense amount of sharing, the mere participation in this retreat is an entrance into a love-fest (dating myself here). I pray everyone devoting time to this retreat knows not only the love of God but also his will for you because walking together with God’s Spirit is the best journey ever.

Week 22
Wow it’s only the first day of the week, and how wonderfully I have been blessed by the Holy Spirit in coming to see Jesus reaching out to heal. Casting out the demon from the man, I recognised that demon’s voice in my own life. The demon of self doubt, the one that puts me down, telling me that I am not good enough, not doing things properly. The demon  of self righteousness, telling me that I am already doing what Jesus is asking of me, I don’t need to change. The demon of judgement, criticising others seeing their faults to boost my own ego.
Jesus I come before you in awe of your healing power. Fill me with the Grace of your love to reach out in your name to bring that healing to those people in need of you touch in my life.
Blessings on all those who have made this wonderful journey possible, and to my fellow travellers.
Jane NZ

I am ending week 20 and have learned some lessons about myself that I need to address. It was heartening to read in the sharing that I am not alone in these.

The first is how I can be the person of satan, when Jesus told me he was to Fast for 40 days I was incredulous! I harped on and on that he couldn’t do this that he needed to eat, that he would become too frail and sick to carry on with the work He has to do.
How often I do this when I think I know what people need to do, when I feel I have all the answers! I need to let others be themselves and travel their own journey, and learn that there are other ways besides mine.

Secondly the need for approval, that I am doing things the right way. Throwing myself into action to gain the approval of those around me, so that I can satisfy myself with a pat on the back, and a polish of my halo!

I need to learn that the only thing I need to do is to trust in God, that he has all I need all I could ever want. That my journey with Jesus is unique, that as long as my focus is centred on Jesus and I am following his ways I can never be lost.

I am heading out to reconciliation to clear the air, ready to start week 21 tomorrow! May God bless all of us and especially those people who have brought this wonderful Grace of this retreat to us.

Week 18

What a week this has been, right from the start I was graced with insight to the attachment I have to my marriage, which has led to my husband and I living in different cities. My constant need to get reassurance that I am not the one who has caused this from all who I speak to... this led to me coming to realise that I am very attached to the need to be seen as a “good “ person. Still trying to make amends for my failings of my youth.
God spoke to me in my prayer and said I need to turn from being a “do gooder “  to a “good doer “! This was reinforced when a situation arose at work, where my own desire to DO GOOD caused a family to have raised hopes that were dashed. The pain and suffering I caused in that moment made me understand just how much, my own needs drive what I do.
Lord Jesus you know me through and through, I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. Help me to live quietly, justly and without fear, open to your will at all times.
Thank you so much for the gift of this retreat. May God bless us all as we continue on the second part of this journey.

Weeks 17 and 17a
Graces received these 2 weeks:
EVERYTHING is a gift from God, I have been chosen. Nothing I own or do to gain honour or praise from others is to be compared with the peace of knowing Gods love and mercy in my life. All I want is Gods love; by the bucketload!
Thank you so much for this wonderful retreat and the opportunity to learn about and come closer to my Lord and God.
Jane NZ

Contemplating Week 28 here in West Virginia.

When I read of the disciples expressed willingness at the last supper to die with Jesus, I wondered why they all ran away in the garden.  Even if Jesus was only a person, he was a close friend and teacher and others have lain down their lives over the centuries to protect/support such men. I like to think that I would have.  But the thought struck me, they had come prepared to fight for him and die with him, but they had yet to fully grasp that he was the suffering servant. When they saw that there would be no fight and heard his instruction to “put away your sword,” they did not understand and fled. It would certainly have been the harder, more confusing, route for me to accept, rather than fight.

Jesus, help me in my struggles with my anger and lashing out at those whom I may feel deserve it.

This is the beginning of a new year and I hope, a new direction in my life. The last ten years have had their challenges. It contained the end of a thirty-five year marriage; the purchase of a new home, ( which has been named the Cloister) the returning to an empty house each day, the breaking of bread each day, alone. I live in a province where I have no family. We had no children.

There are many close and wonderful friends, friends that have been the warp and woof of my life, for over four decades. I have two amazing siblings who live in different provinces, but with whom I have regular contact. My life is an abundant one. Over these last ten years I have led groups, done the Camino, visited Oberammgeau, travelled extensively, hiked, read, prayed and grown. I have learned to change furnace filters, set up my sprinkler system, buy items such as hot water tanks, air conditioners, appliances and floor coverings. The  kitchen and baths have been remodelled and I purchased a new vehicle in the frozen depths of an Alberta winter.

As I begin this online retreat, I look back on a life that for the most part was full, rich and filled with God’s graces. My parents were strong Christians and from a very early age, I was aware of the goodness and graciousness of God’s presence in my parents’
lives.  We lived a comfortable middle class life and the cozy family embrace of life in the fifties and early sixties, cocooned me.  My time at University challenged me and also provided many good times, filled with friends and activities. 

This is a new decade for me, a decade for last hurrahs. I am 71. I am active and healthy.
There are no medications in my bathroom drawer and for all these things, I thank my God, Mary, my Guardian Angel and Saints. They have enveloped me with love, patience and graces, far beyond, what I deserve. Each day I thank God for His countless blessings, His goodness and His providence in my life. There are so many with so little, I have received much.

Week 15a
Coming to the end of these 2 weeks over Christmas it has been a wonderful experience to meet Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah. The shepherds, and Inn owners as well as the Wise Men. A very full time of reflection, prayer and contemplation.
Entering the stable during the past week to visit our Lord it has been very disconcerting to not be able to “see”  him, I just couldn’t picture his face and was troubled by this. But yesterday the thought came to me of the scripture John 20 vs 20: Blessed are they that have not seen, and still believe.
I am truly very blessed!
God bless you all
Jane NZ

Week 14 has been so filled with Grace and finally an understanding why God had to send his Son as a baby to us. And how much love Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah had for God and how much support they would have been for each other. My reflection on Matthew’s reading gave me such insight into St Joseph, someone I have never really put into the picture other than in the background, yet without his response to the angel in his dream, would our Saviour have been born?
Happy Christmas to you all, may the peace of our Lord Jesus fill your lives not only at Christmas but throughout the year.

Jane NZ

Week 12 begins today.  Amazing meditations. 
First Day of the week … "Whatever is this week about?  I just don’t see where we are going.”
Seventh Day of the week … “Well!  Glorious.  Marvelous. Hallelujah!  Blessings abounding!  Thank you Trinity!

Here is some of my reflection from week 13 this week has certainly been a week of Grace for me Waiting for the King, The hope of the nations. A “quick” fix! Where all of the struggles, pain, sorrow and suffering will end.

Were you supposed to come on a golden chariot Lord, waving a magic wand? Making everything new and taking your people to a magical place like the city of Oz?

And what if you had? What if the coming of the Saviour of Man had been a quick transformation, and hey presto; everything was made right!

I think it wouldn’t have been long before we went back to the old ways and patterns of sinfulness, and the pure and sacred would have been spoiled just as the Garden of Eden was by Adams turning away from You.

Lord thank you for coming to us as a Child, as a little baby. Taking your place in a long line of your ancestors who had been faithful to the call of God. By growing up in a community, by the people around you as you grew, understanding that you were different, set apart. They could accept you as you spread the message of the Kingdom of God as a man. Thus the disciples dropped their nets, left their boats and followed you.

You were a person; you still are that person, so when you died and rose again people knew you and the wonder touched them. Touch your world today Lord as we wait for you .

Jane NZ

Hi, I'm revisiting the spiritual exercises online, having undertaken it face to face -- a very, VERY long time ago -- with a spiritual director. I'm happy to see that, apace with today's connectivity, you can avail of more resources as well as bond and share your experience with other journeying souls.

I'm on the fourth day of Week 1. My learning so far is to try to live serenely in the sacrament of the present moment, to dwell in full trust and faith in who I am here and now. Because, as it is written, wherever we are and however we got here, "the place on which you stand is sacred ground." The Lord, who is "Himself the deepest Ground" of our being, "in whom we live and move and have our being," is in us, ever one with us, and looking out for us.

It kind of puts a momentous twist into how we inhabit every second of our lives.

Did you see the scene in the movie, "Dr Strange," where Tilda Swinton, as the Ancient One, and Benedict Cumberbatch slip into eternity and share a serene, unhurried conversation on a hospital balcony the very second before she dies on the operating table...?

I'm very excited at the prospect of getting back on track. Things happened, as they tend to do in life, and I've been knocking about on various side roads and alley ways. I do remember my first Ignatian retreat as soul-opening... as scary and thrilling as rollercoaster ride.

But, by golly, and I know this to be true: If you let God, you may rise, you may fall and, like Dr Strange, you may grope, fumble, and stumble. And, yes, you may just get a chance to step into eternity.

So here I am at the end of week 10 Praise God!

Each week I have been blessed with grace love and wisdom which can only come from a desire to give myself more and more to my Lord. I can only thank God for calling me to do this retreat, as it is opening me to a new relationship with Him and others in my life.

The call to serve has been very strong for a number of years now and although I would love to pack my bags and head off to the Yemen, Afghanistan or any one of a number of countries in the world needing practical help, I just don’t know if that is what God has in mind for me.

I have been reflecting on my own family and how so many have “watered down” their Faith or turned away from God completely. I wonder if this is where God is asking me to work?  I chose the first reading this morning in our list and it was Jesus returning to Nazareth and reading the passage from Isaiah to friends and family. He was rejected and ridiculed, and am expecting nothing less. But if this is where God wants me, I will stay. God will provide, and I will expect miracles.

Thank you for your prayers I continue to pray for you.
God bless you ALL

Jane NZ

I am starting this retreat today. At present I feel I am in the desert with my spiritual life. I have said yes many times but I seem to take it back. Please help me with your prayers to start a new. I do not know where I would be without my Faith and I'm hoping in doing the retreat I can becoming deeper in it and use the gifts that God has given me. I have a lot of stress in my life at present and I want to get closer to God so I can handle it better and learn ways to deal with it by having God in my life.
God Bless

I have finished Week 9, and decided to share some of my thoughts and feelings. I think, after having experienced the Exercies in daily life many times, that I have finally come to a deep sense of my sinfulness of selfishness self centeredness and the fear and anxiety this causes. Flowing from this fear and anxiety is an absence of love in my relationships. Instead, they are selfish, controlling and  protective of self and the things I consider mine: money, property, pretstige. I hope God can heal some of this at age 68, so my remaining years can be in service to God and God’s creation.
God bless you all.


The end of week 9 and as has been my practice, I have just read through the sharing for the week.
I have been heartened by 2 people commenting on how they have been unsettled by the week. I have just not had the same experiences of past weeks where God has been so present to me.
The reading from Hosea spoke to my heart and is the reading I have used for most of the week, but have been praying it using my name instead of Israel. That has been very powerful, and the picture has held great importance as I am able to put myself in there.
So why the unease, the feeling of distraction? Maybe This is what learning to live with God in my daily life is about. That life goes on and I will become busy and distracted, but in those moments when I lift my eyes from my work, and look out, I can see God is there, patiently waiting and loving me.
Thank you for your prayers, I am praying for you.
Jane NZ

Week 8
“The quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rains from Heaven “.
I learned this in my studies at high school in my English class learning Shakespeare. It has always remained with me .. the only thing I remembered, and now I understand why.
Thank you my Lord for welcoming me into your arms.
Thank you for your prayers, I continue to pray for you.
Jane NZ

The end of week 7! Thank God! This week has been a really difficult one and I found myself caught up in self condemnation struggling to see how I could be forgiven. All of the sinfulness in my life seemed to stem from my need for acceptance. Acceptance from others, people who I saw as meaningful and wanting to be like them, I abandoned the cross and followed their rules.
I felt the need to go to reconciliation and in this wonderful Sacrament God’s mercy finally shone through.
Our Parish Priest is a beautifully observant person who noticed my deep sighs even after the absolution. He said that it is important not to become self absorbed. To become so focused on yourself that you can’t see Gods love there for you.
I had been prepared to remain with week 7, but after speaking with him am moving on, into Gods loving Mercy.

Thank you Lord for the gift of reconciliation and the wisdom of your loved ones.

During this first week, this quote appeared in my Facebook feed, and it seems particularly appropriate:
“One of the qualities that you can develop, particularly in your older years, is a sense of great compassion for yourself. When you visit the wounds within the temple of memory, you should not blame yourself for making bad mistakes that you greatly regret. Sometimes you have grown unexpectedly through these mistakes. Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments are the mistakes. They have brought you to a place that you would otherwise have always avoided. You should bring a compassionate mindfulness to your mistakes and wounds. Endeavor to inhabit the rhythm you were in at that time. If you visit this configuration of your soul with forgiveness in your heart, it will fall into place itself. When you forgive yourself, the inner wounds begin to heal. You come in out of the exile of hurt into the joy of inner belonging.”  John O'Donohue, Excerpt from Anam Cara

Greetings from England. It is such a privilege to take this retreat in daily life , and I have to say, that the generosity of the Jesuits, in making this course available for free, is staggering .!!

I have just come to the end of my first week . Very uncomfortable airing painful memories, but taking Jesus with me and imagining Him there as the events took place was a great comfort. Just to see Him walking with me in the times when I thought I was abandoned, and to see the Lord carry me when I was too exhausted to go on, was a revelation. As for the times when I made idiotic decisions and regretted all the mistakes I had made, Jesus' response was compassion not judgement. This brought so much healing !  A week of being invited to forgive those who hurt me and to seek forgiveness too. I am so thankful for the love God has shown me !

I love the story of  Zacchaeus because it gives me great hope that I will be forgiven and reach Heaven at the end of time.

I’m late to this... but I don’t want to just jump in on the current week so I’m going to start at week one. 

My earliest memories were mixed.. coming from a family of 5 girls there was a lot of sugar but also a lot of spice.  My 3 older sisters could be very catty and mean and my mother rarely came to my rescue.  And so I tried to be invisible through much of my childhood.  Until I discovered... horses (no not boys : ).  My younger sister and I saved up our birthday, Christmas and allowance and bought a horse, Gina.  I can honestly say I sailed through adolescence because of that old mare,  but more than that, she taught me so much; ability to not take a back seat in my life, and yes, acceptance.  It always floored me this huge beautiful animal let me ride on her back when she could easily just say “no” and toss me off.  I’d like to think it’s about trust more than controlling another entity.  They say a horse needs to “accept the bit” in order to be a good ride.  But I think it’s about accepting the rider.  It’s humbling to think of the acceptance of these beautiful spiritual creatures and how they accept us... and how much more powerful to know that God accepts me. 

Week 4

The question was asked:  Are we free enough to face our unfreedoms?  And we are told "Be not afraid"..

My gallery included:

1.   Sister Norma Pimentel:  She is serving the migrants at the border.  "The Caritas Campaign is a great opportunity for promote and encourage others not to be afraid, to welcome, to understand why (migrants) come, and not simply block the idea that they are people, they are human beings like you and me".
2.  Pope Francis : "If you follow these 3 ideas (Go, Do not be afraid, Serve), you will experience that the one who evangelized is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith received joy."
3.  Mother Teresa:  "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one".
4.  My Mother : She stayed faithful to her faith, she was humble, persistent, wise.
5.  St. Francis of Assisi :  "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Thank you so much for this on-line retreat. AS I reflect back on my memories of my life I am immediately taken to my childhood where I was abused. Thank you for the grace to see today- that God did not cause it. Thank you that today I know I was not alone. He was with me helping me to survive. I am grateful.  

Week 3 Reflection

The bigger picture.   Last night at sunset I was struck by the colors in the sky. It was the color of a fillet of a fresh caught salmon and an indescribable turquoise blue. I was sure I've never seen anything like it before. I was sure I had not ever seen such a vibrant color of blue. Perhaps these colors were in the sky many times before but I didn't have eyes to see. Maybe it was God providing me a moment of grace to help me with this week's lesson because it did draw me to ponder the greater picture. It did make me ponder the fact that I was created for a purpose, and my life somehow fits into his great plan for all creation. I found solace in the moment.

Week 2 has ended and a week which was filled with Gods love, presence and Grace. I was attending another retreat but the tenure of each day totally fitting the subject of this retreat, and I felt God holding me in His love each and every day.
Gods blessings on everyone who is taking part in this retreat Jane NZ

Growing Well here I am at the end of week 1, and I praise God for answering my prayer to receive the Grace which was sought for this week. It hasn’t been easy, but I was able to find times of joy and love where in the past there has only been pain, sorrow and resentment.  Thank you to all who organise this retreat.
On Thursday I walked in the fog on the beach in the early morning, and it came to me that during my life there was a time when I was walking in a fog where God wasn’t able to be seen. He would occasionally come into vision but I would pass Him by unnoticed. He remained with me throughout this time patiently waiting for me to recognise him, welcome him and set up a conversation and relationship with HimSteadfast and loving me even though I was living a life far from his ways of love.
Now that my relationship with God the Father,Son and Holy Spirit is established and  growing, I can see how God has blessed me through the good times and bad. Today is an amazing day and I look forward with confidence and hope to the coming week.
God bless you all


Last week our four kids told us what they would like for their next birthdays. They asked us if we would be willing to respond to a question they posed every week and write about our life story. That would be our gift to them. I was overwhelmed that they would want to know my story, that they would consider that a gift to them. I felt I counted, I felt greatly loved. 
Then on Sunday with Mary’s help I took Communion to some people in a local nursing home. We approached a lady who was just lying in bed and who seemed disinterested in the world. We identified ourselves and asked her if she would like to receive Communion. Her whole face lit up with a big smile.  After a short prayer service and Eucharist, she told me she was just thinking of all those people who could get out to church and she was feeling sorry for herself that she couldn’t - and then we appeared. I felt so honored to be present to her. I felt I mattered. Her smile was a gift of love to me.
I did not grow up feeling loved and it wasn’t until I met and grew to love Eugene that I came to know what it feels like to be loved and to know God’s love. In the readings this week I have come to realize that I was always greatly and deeply loved by God and by my parents too but somehow I just didn’t feel it. It is humbling and warm and comforting to be so loved.

There is something about this retreat that keeps me engaged in it. I believe it is the feeling of companionship on this journey. I read and reread the lessons throughout the week, but if you asked me what they were about I would say, “sin” or “mercy” or “forgiveness” or “acceptance” -- standard stuff.
I believe what strikes me most about the retreat other than, it is totally well prepared and planned out is the amount of love and time it took to put it together. A lifetime of caring, praying, and self-sacrifice has gone into this retreat. When you throw in the intense amount of sharing, the mere participation in this retreat is an entrance into a love-fest (dating myself here). I pray everyone devoting time to this retreat knows not only the love of God but also his will for you because walking together with God’s Spirit is the best journey ever.

This past weekend I spent three and a half days in silent retreat with Fr. Larry Gillick. It was humbling, yet uplifting. I pray that I may continue on the right track, Christ’s track for as long as possible. I hope that this on line retreat will assist me in doing so.

Dear JB.
We  must be related! When  you said  that you could not recall memories, for years I felt that I had no past!.. It seemed that my life was the present day and of course the details of the immediate present. Just pray, all the past will come forward. But ask for the strength to accept each memory as it comes to you.

Follow the suggestions given, you will feel a whole lot, but I would be greatly surprised if you do not eventually see your past, both good and bad.

But do what I do, practice emotional control. I can emote!!!! Big time, but what controls me is the obvious and undeniable fact that apart from being loved and blessed by God, my cross has been ever so light! Look around and you will see greater problems in the lives of others!
Blessings on you.........BT

Week 6: the daily sins that we commit, sins against charity, as an example, are forgiven by the penitential rite at the beginning of mass (i.e., Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy). These are sins failing to see Christ in every person. These are the sins against the unity of the Holy Spirit (e.g., divisiveness, cynicism, neglect, selfishness). Meditating on sin at this level is to hear Christ preaching: "The thought of adultery is committing adultery"; "The thought of murder is committing murder." If one reflects on the thought of sin of committing as offensive to God, then a new relationship of holiness, of spiritual perfection is taking hold in one's heart. This level of spiritual maturity is a late stage perfection of the individual spirit.

Week 3 Only a personal loving God would have created this universe for me, which is why I don't subscribe to intelligent life beyond earth. There is the very real problem of the as yet undeveloped technology that can overcome incredible distances. (Star Trek/Star Wars are such outrageous fictions in retrospect.)
I believe that we are so precious to our Lord that he has created just us: we have been singled out; we share his life form. 
Anyway, if there were some other life, Jesus is their Savior too: there is only one, begotten Son of God who saves us; no one else is coming; except Him, who is meeting up with us again on his return trip.

[Week 3] God intensely desires to reveal to us his purpose to save the world with our help. It is difficult to accept that we could matter as much, but this is what is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. 
How else could we ever know God's saving plan if he did not show us? Jesus Christ is the fullness of God's plan to restore the harmony and peace lost through sin. Are we on this mission with Christ to win back our Father's lost creation? -- Richard

Week 2: By God's grace I am who I am for myself today. --Richard

I'm beginning the retreat today. Acceptance is trusting, tolerating the annoyances, doing the task instead of complaining about it. Doing it for Christ rather than for another's appreciation, recognition. Richard

I'm just about to start week 3 and having read through everything, I thought that I would read some of the sharing for this week. There had generally been in weeks 1 and 2 so many positive comments that I wondered why I didn't feel necessarily the same. Reading week 3 sharing, I found myself very moved by so many of the comments and wanted to thank so many who had courageously expressed their struggles. May God bless each one of you. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability which has encouraged me in my own journey. Thanks be to God.

Week 2: As I read the shares and answered the questions in week 2, I realize I am not unique. What happened to me in my early life is not so different from others, but still damaging to the being God brought into this world.  I am tired tonight so am not going to share a lot, but I do want to say I am grateful.  Everything in my life feels so overwhelming and hard to carry but through the last two weeks I now believe that God will carry it for me to lighten my load so I can be the woman he meant me to be. My first step is letting Him lift this heavy weight.  Not  sure what this weight is but do know it is strangling me.  Thank you for being there for me to share.

Thank God I found this retreat on line.  I wanted to go on retreat during spring break, but was working so hard, I didn’t take time to make plans.  So I found myself at home online trying to find a place to go on retreat.  When I could not find a place near my home, I finally decided to try to find an online retreat.

Wow! Was I lucky!  The Jesuit influence in my life has been huge!  So when I saw the word Jesuit I clicked on Creighton’s online retreat and there was an answer to prayer.  This first week has been very difficult to me with so many sad memories from my childhood, but memories still of a mother who tried to do her best to create a home filled with FAITH AND GOOD FOOD despite being repressed and abused by my father..  Despite the dysfunctionality of our family life and our poverty, she took us to church and gave us a good formation in the Catholic faith.  I will be forever grateful to her for those two gifts.

What has finally emerged from the memories is a realization that even though I did not open myself in prayer to God, HE was always working  through other people and my own perseverance to help me grow and survive. 

Flipping through the photo album held many surprises. I saw things that I hadn’t remembered for a very long time, delightful things. With an overall impression of a sad childhood, this was a grace. As I continued through the years, the photos got more difficult to look at. Even the happy moments had an undertone of pain. I didn’t want to continue the exercise. I never made it to present day photos, and I think that’s ok. I think that’s all I can handle. Today I begin Week Two, with a bit of trepidation, but I will begin. 
Linda in MO

In my second week, I have found a real rich relationship with God.  I just cannot wait to see my dreams to come true.  I love the questions and the signs from God.

I'm so glad I'm doing this retreat. Even in the times I feel like I don't want to keep it up, or it's not really doing it for me, once I get back into it, I'm refreshed. I think one of the best things I've gotten out of it so far, is how I look at the MS in my life. It's only taken me 3 years (since being diagnosed), but I've finally figured out that it doesn't define me. And in the end, being healthy or not doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter. Living my life to serve God is what defines me. And following Jesus on my path to heaven is what matters. And that happens regardless of MS, or really regardless of whatever struggle I have. I must take up my cross and follow Jesus. And I'm thankful to be on this journey, where everything is a gift, but above all these gifts, is the giver of all gifts.

So, all that is easy to say, but harder to live every day. So I guess I'll just take it one day at time!

As I read “Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness,”  from week 6, a few rogue (yet sacred) thoughts came to me which brought me deeper awareness and compassion for my own sinfulness and goodness, as well as a greater receiving of Christ’s Love and compassion.  
Here is a portion of the insights I received …

The cross – the arms on the cross –one representing our deep sinfulness and the other God’s great Love – the suffering causes them to be as far apart as humanly possible – humanly.  Yet – the Love of Christ compels this suffering to come to a final conclusion – death.  This death allows the arms to be brought together - ending the separation.  And further more it compels the arm of the sinner and the arm of the Divine Love from that cross to not only come together, but around us.  Around me.  The embrace of Love.  Bringing together death and life – rejection and love – humanity and divinity.  The final acceptance of both is within myself.  
I am so grateful for this LOVE.  I welcome this embrace.  Thank you Jesus for your welcoming Presence.  
B Hubbell

I've started week 1
I love the picture. At this time in my life, my best friend, with whom I always talked "spiritual talk" with whenever we would go on our neighborhood walks together has pulled away from me. We've been walking/talking partners for over six years. 
She's starting pulling away from me back around Advent and it hurts.
However, I've concluded that maybe we've changed; that I have become kind of tiresome. Perhaps I need to be a better listener.
Anyway, this first week leaves me with the feeling that God's my friend. He's so accepting. Always has been. 
I'm looking forward to walking and talking with Him, and all of you on the journey.
I'll keep you in my prayers. God go with you all.

Week 1 - My birthday is tomorrow. My mom visited with me.  She always reminds me that it was  very cold the day I was born and how happy she was that I was her valentine baby; how I  was special because I was her first born.  Hey, there are graces and difficulties that come with that so I'll take the graces too😊. She always speaks so lovingly of how blue my eyes were and how platinum blonde I was ( cotton top) and how she longed to hold me.  She had a cold so back then she could only look at me for several days as a precaution.  Today she also talked about how my grandpa would ask if I was sleeping better at night because she said I moaned and made fussy noises all night which woke her repeatedly. When she'd honestly tell him " not really", he would just silently nod his head in acknowledgement of her struggle. So like my pa-pa.❤ In those days it wasn't common for men or fathers- in law to bother with such things but then he wasn't just any grandpa. He had a soft heart and he had a soft spot for me because, u see, I was his first grandchild. It renews my faith in the power of our souls to persevere for I was born during difficult times. In spite of that there were tender moments of caring and  love galore. God blessed me with a family who loved me and each other unconditionally.  Not perfectly of course for difficult times bring out the good and the bad in each of us. But they loved faithfully.- to each other and to our Lord.  And so they taught me and now I teach my family to love the same way.  What a huge blessing God has bestowed upon us.  That, in a "nutshell", is the story of my life.

Week 19 - As I contemplated the story of Jesus' leaving his home in Nazareth and then entering into the sacrament of Baptism, I remembered a time when I left home to do mission work. I eagerly left my family, because home wasn't a happy place. I went to Switzerland first, a foreign country with a language I had studied in school but was only learning to speak. Being immersed in a different culture, in a position of service--I worked as a maid and kitchen assistant in a retreat center, it was like being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

I was the only Catholic and had to take a bus or boat to Mass every week. The prayers were in German, but they were still familiar. The familiar was merely expressed in a different language.

I spent the second half of that year at a Navajo mission in New Mexico. Again, I left home eagerly, heading out to serve the People in the name of Jesus.

In both of these settings, the work was hard, and Jesus bore me up. 

The cultures were completely different from each other and from my own. I learned to respect people and take the time to get to know individuals.

I experienced Jesus in a new way that has never left me. I've never been the same.

Week 17 - I am confused by the juxtaposition of this week because I don’t believe that God gave us each talents so that we might play “small” in life.  Wanting poverty that is.  We are here to improve the world by using our gifts - and for some, that may bring wealth, recognition and fame.  I believe the challenge is to remain humble and not enslaved by the trappings of ego.  The trick is to always remember that we need to be a light and the hands of God.  I am working on myself to be able to put situations in perspective, to resist being ego driven.  I am a leader at work - and it is important to give praise and recognition to others to encourage others development and attainment of goals.  Everyone wants to be happy and have enough - it’s everyone’s job and challenge to help those that need it.

I have found my real love to God through the Jesuits.  I also want to share about my crisis as a pain in the Cross of Jesus and it has a merit.

As I read “Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness,”  from week 6, a few rogue (yet sacred) thoughts came to me which brought me deeper awareness and compassion for my own sinfulness and goodness, as well as a greater receiving of Christ’s Love and compassion.  
Here is a portion of the insights I received …

The cross – the arms on the cross – one representing our deep sinfulness and the other God’s great Love – the suffering causes them to be as far apart as humanly possible – humanly.  Yet – the Love of Christ compels this suffering to come to a final conclusion – death.  This death allows the arms to be brought together - ending the separation.  And further more it compels the arm of the sinner and the arm of the Divine Love from that cross to not only come together, but around us.  Around me.  The embrace of Love.  Bringing together death and life – rejection and love – humanity and divinity.  The final acceptance of both is within myself.  

I am so grateful for this LOVE.  I welcome this embrace.  Thank you Jesus for your welcoming Presence.  
B Hubbell
Lancaster, Ohio

I am meditating on Week 23, Jesus as lover and healer, and it is so cool because my Kingdom Community (who is not doing the online retreat) went down this path in our prayer hour yesterday. Jesus as lover and healer! We had a week of prayer and fasting in our churches this week and 200 people are showing up every night for prayer. Jesus is healing. Love how this intersects with where I am in the online retreat.

Week 31

Hi, I'm Anne and I have been blessed to find this retreat and have benefited from everyone's sharing.  I would like to share with you all a meditation on this weeks theme that can be found in the book THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE by Morton Kelsey entitled "The Road to Emmaus".  It is a beautifully written meditation that complements the material presented.  I hope you can all get a chance to read it.

I am in the 3rd week of my retreat. It had been a busy week and there were times I could not reflect on the task for the week. However I know our Lord is still with me and showing me that even in the busyness of daily life He is present with with me each and every moment.

I am in the first week and grateful that I found this online retreat. I need to discern as there are stirrings inside me that I need to take on a different pathway of my life to move into mission and humanitarian service. As I reflected on my past life for the first week I realized how our Lord had been with me guiding me gently in the ups and downs of my life.How in the past years, events had actually happened so that I would grow stronger in my faith. It’s been difficult to focus on the retreat in the busyness of my life but even while I struggle I know our Lord is there guiding me. I find the prayers and readings in the first week particularly helpful.

Penang, Malaysia

I am a prayer guide for the Exercises. And these past two weeks I have found myself in such desolation. I had my adult daughter here at Christmas and for whatever reason she was unrelenting in her unkindness towards me. I began to doubt (not a sign from God!!) my ability to guide anyone in the retreat, wondered whether I was supposed to even be doing any of this. The susipe seemed to mock me and I began to go inward and pity my situation. My son died unexpectedly a year 1/2 ago, my husband of almost 50 years has developed two kinds of cancer and with my daughter's unkindnesses, I felt overwhelmed and unworthy. BUT! The lessons of Ignatius are very clear about what to do and what not to do in desolation and I took those lessons to my heart ~ I have made no major decisions, have prayed more, have rebuked the enemy of my serenity, have brought back to mind the comforts I've experienced during times of consolation and have reminded myself over and over of God's enduring love for me. While there is desolation, the Exercises have taught me how to sit with the pain and the discomfort and the emptiness, have taught me how to recognize this for what it is, and not to allow it to run roughshod over my heart. I know God is with me, loves me, and that I love Him, and the rest will play itself out. I have asked for the grace of consolation, knowing it is nothing I can create for myself out of sheer determination or the like, and have prayed that whatever it is I am to be learning from this experience at this time be revealed in a way I can absorb. So while the Exercises do not guarantee a trouble free, or desolation free life, they do teach us how to manage when things are difficult, how to recognize what is happening and give us the grace to somehow find an acceptance within oneself that this is all part of the process of being human ... and at the same time, allows me to remain in love with our Lord. That is the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the generosity of Ignatius, that was given anew to me this Christmas. 

Week 16 — proves an enigma to me — try as you want Jesus is God and the second person of the Trinity — I would love to know much more about the hidden 30 years but quite frankly putting Jesus as another kid on the block who cheated at something stretches the imagination a bit — the hidden years a hidden for a reason — I have often wondered about the trip to Egypt and their lives in Egypt — the part that particularly disturbed is where I read that Jesus and His Father had to rethink something that they thought was a good idea at the time but needed tweeking!!! Excuse me is this the god we pray to and created the universe. Imagination is good and thinking about Mary pregnant is something that I never thought about — however, angels coming to you. Being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit etc. I am sure Mary and Joseph fully realized what needed to be done and kept all things in their heart — imagination is good and if it helps fine — but somewhere along the line while letting our imaginations run wild, we must realize that is God and not some 2 year old throwing a terrible twos tantrum — while I have learned much week 16, its readings and sharings have left me wondering if we truly understand what God has done for us — Remarkable, extraordinary, and loving — imagination about the lives they touched while in Egypt — imaginings what was God’s plan for Egypt and not somewhere else — are inviting — Jesus as a rough neck — bare chested stud — please!!!!!!!!!

Week 27

As I contemplate the Last Supper this week, I feel as if a terrible thorn pierce my heart. Wanting to convert to the Catholic Church, after some years of thinking, praying and having catechesis , the Eucharist itself forms the last obstacle. E.g., it is my state of being remarried to a woman, who herself is remarried too, - it is this, which makes my conversion so extremely difficult. Having both our first marriages nullified would be very hard for some people, and, besides, my wife does not think she has a good reason for having her first marriage nullified. I can do little or nothing about all this. I just pray Jesus to have mercy upon me in my situation. I am a Catholic in my heart, but I now have the choice of either converting to not being able to receive the Eucharist or being in my Lutheran Church, with my heart elsewhere. It is not as simple as some think, to get marriages nullified. It has some human costs for people involved.

Please pray for me.

Greetings from Norway.

Week 12:

To my Retreat Companions,
Thank you so much, each of you, for sharing from your hearts.  I believe we gain so much in many different ways from each other!
This week I have been physically sick, but I have had the opportunity to be able to go online and read and reflect some. And God has has been swirling in my thoughts and being as He always does.  
I think the first idea that The Lord brought to me this week is stated quite obviously in the title (and writings) of this week, but God needed to do a little work in me to fully begin to comprehend with my whole spirit. “God’s Compassion Missions Jesus”.  I began to fully realize the meaning of this statement while my brother shared about a CLC morning of reflection he attended that I was unable to participate in.  He said that Fr. Kevin Schneider brought up the point that Jesus ASKED the Trinity to be with us! -To be incarnate. In my mind, I had pictured God like a general fighting a war,  commanding Jesus to be with us and He went dutifully.  But No! The Trinity  in all Their love and compassion looked on us, and Jesus ASKED to be with us, with me! With tender love, compassion, and affection He said I want to  be with you, every one of you that I have created and you, dear Kristen, I want to be with you in the joys and the sorrows of your life, with you in sickness and in health of your life, I want to be with the better part of you and the worst part of you throughout your life, and then that you will ultimately be one with me. Will you help me to complete this mission that I have been sent?  ...How can I say anything but Yes! Yes to all that companionship and love and purpose!

As today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception I would like to add this.  A few years ago I attended a funeral of a mother of my daughter’s classmate.  I did not really know her because of her sickness with cancer and subsequent death, but she has left a beautiful mark on my heart.  The priest, during her eulogy, spoke of the Virgin Mary’s Fiat and of this woman’s personal fiat.  During that mass I asked the Lord, what is my fiat?  I believe that night as tragedy struck my family to the core God began to reveal what mission he wanted me to help Him with and I answered yes.  And so it has become over time, my personal fiat to love, forgive, be merciful as only I, a broken, conflicted, human person can do,  with Jesus. I am to guide, protect, preserve and rebuild my family in hopes that one day the hardships, sorrows, and wounds will melt away like snow leaving only beautiful blooms of love on my family tree- strong and  full of faith, love and mercy for the world.

Week 12: In my 20's I had the opportunity to work at a Navajo mission in a tiny place called Thoreau, NM. The most important lesson I learned was to serve Jesus in my work there. If I try to serve people, I get burned out. I got that notion from the writings of Henri Nouwen.

Anyway, working with the very poor people in our own country and learning about their culture changed me for life, or, as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps says, I was "ruined for life."

I have also worked extensively in a public charter school in Nashville. Again, I was blessed to work with the working poor. I also approached that job as service to Jesus.

We're called to be priests, prophets, and kings, but some say shepherd in place of king. I think we're all called to serve Jesus in our interactions with each other. If I serve him, I can follow him and do his will. In this way I can answer God's invitation of love and be with him always.


Week 1:
Just stumbled on this online retreat by chance tonight before going to bed. As it happens, I was putting together a photo album of pictures of when I was a child tonight-strange coincidence then that the first theme used this analogy. Then I read one of the readings about God being with us as we walk through the fire - I again coincidently was reading that passage in a book last night by chance.
Gives me hope that God has used these synchronicities to show he is with me. I need hope … I believe, help my unbelief!

Week 10:
“I am listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?
All week I have been thinking I would like to do something for Jesus, however small, to start. God must have a sense of humor because in the middle of the week, before Mass, I was asked to be altar server as - Joe, a retired parishioner who serves at weekday morning Mass -  did not show up that morning.   I am also retired, with limited altar serving experience from a long time ago, but was assured that the priest would give signals on what to bring to the altar, etc.  So I agreed and proceeded to join our Pastor in reciting the Prayer Before Mass during which I could feel my heart burning or about to burst, a new or rare experience for this 66-year old.  The experience was repeated while praying the Prayer After Mass. What joy!

Week 12.  A sense of alienation from the retreat has been growing over the past few weeks. I find the idea of concocting an intimate love relationship with Jesus very off-putting; even creepy. At best, it feels fake and forced for me to generate an image of a male Jesus to fall in love with; it seems to me this will inevitably lead to idolatry—fashioning God after my own image of what I think I want in a love interest. Inextricably entwined with this is my awareness that the catholic church—to which I have tried my very best to belong, for some 35 years— is lorded over by men, men who insist that their maleness makes them God's chosen stand-ins for Jesus Christ on earth. Stand-ins for the God they call Father. I have suffered significantly—professionally, emotionally, and spiritually—at the hands of these men and and their attitudes and actions toward me—a woman. All this whipped-up devotion to a male Jesus makes we want to scream and vomit. I’m reading The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women by Katherine Dyckman, Mary Garvin, and Elizabeth Liebert as a companion in making this retreat. I am working with a therapist and a spiritual director as I once again take stock of the impact of parental neglect and decades of sexual harassment and abuse on my work and life, and try to move forward in hope and renewal. We’ll see where it leads. It is no fun. It is not “attractive” in the Ignatian sense.  I do believe that God has given me my particular experiences, perspectives and insights as gifts of power and grace for the world. I got just as wet as any man when I was baptized. It is “my duty and my salvation” to keep faith with these particular gifts. So perhaps a next step here is for me to proceed with the retreat’s invitation to imagine Jesus by imagining her as a woman—or better yet, a post-gendered person. Or perhaps—me.

Week 11 – I am loving this retreat. My heart is YES, YES, YES! God may be calling me to be a support for my abandoned nephew. Our family can offer so much more stability than my brother’s family can at this point in time. I am still listening to God about this, but I am willing.

WEEK 7: I have deeply realized the pattern of mistakes, which have touched my heart. Yet, I am a loved sinner. Jesus is truly accommodating. He is in my many life angles. " O, God grant me grace to desire more your Son in many ways and patterns of my conduct."

My 10th week blessing came in timely with my mother's confinement in the intensive care unit. She had congestive heart failure and still unstable. The call to be with me resonates the call of my ailing 98 year old mother. My siblings and myself after dialogue with my mother's physician agreed not to submit to extraordinary measures prolonging unnecessarily her pain and stresses. The call to be with me is my prayer that we will be around with my mother when her earthly time is going to end. It may be soon or not too soon. I ask our Lord to lead the way and give light if we are in the dark as far as journeying with my mother is concerned.

Week 32 "Dear Lord, I love you and I trust you.  I lay all of my troubles, worries, and concerns at your feet.  I wish to serve you.  I wish to share your Easter Joy with all of those around me.  Give me the strength I need, Lord; show me the way.  Thank you for your great mercy and love.  Amen"

Week 9: There was some resistance to moving ahead.
I lingered on the lost sheep
How the Lord left the 99
To go find the one that was lost.
What joy there is in being found,
Rescued, redeemed.
A loved sinner.
Thank you.

Am on week 9 and just read the reflection. What moved me was relating to God's love, forgiveness and healing by using the analogy of driving to a doctor for healing advice. I am battling cancer and am driving to Chicago tomorrow to get test results from a specialist. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. 

Week 8
During the last week, I really wept for my sins. In so doing I found that this act was almost synonymous with experiencing God's mercy - so much love burst through that I was unable to fully focus on everything I had done wrong (even though I do have some awareness of the scope and depth of the patterns of my sins)! This week I have realized that the way in which I encounter God is predominantly tactile - it feels like being hugged tightly by a loved one. I was very moved by the image of the repentant son reciting his apology being met by his father, who has spotted him from a long way off and run as fast as he could towards his child, his arms open. I feel like my experience and understanding of God as a loving parent is becoming more secure - I can almost relax in the presence of God's love now.

WEEK 4:  My life has been in many ups and downs, particularly during my younger years. Now, this Retreat, made me more to feel conscious on how to balance.  That it is God’s Will as it comes to me through people and events in my daily life.  Fine tuning is needed in order to stay in Harmony with God and Jesus Christ.  I realized that Harmony in all dealings with living things and non-living items is crucial and that, I must always see the presence of God.  There is purpose for each object, nature’s condition, environment change, people’s movement around me and that I am responsible to making sure that my thoughts, desires, and every activity throughout the day are in harmony with God’s Will.  Hard though, but impressed by his holy Will.  They say, “it is a jungle out there”; “fast lane”; day-in day out”; “people change”; “tweet”; “holy macro”;.. and many more.  Harmony: Living in Balance.  This Guide has indicated to me the importance of my own Freedom, that when I come low in tuning, right up I have to exercise my freedom to consciously surrender my erroneous tendencies; that I then stay course in the Habits of my Heart with God.  Yes, God always call me wherever I am, for He is faithful to me.  Could I be always, that’s the fine tuning towards Harmony.

Dear Companions,

Week 7: I regret that this is only my second time I have written to all of you!  I have received much from your sharing and feel compelled to now do so for you in hopes that God may bring about blessing for you from it. 

These last few weeks have not been easy contemplating sin. There were times I avoided contemplating it, avoided talking with Jesus about it. But deep in my heart, I had a desire to be with Jesus and so I took some time with Him.  As always, Jesus loved me through it!  He graced me with the ability to truly open my heart to him and from there He gently and simply opened my eyes.  

Lord, show me what I need to face - Oh I sin in so many ways and my heart is so conflicted! I have caused others to suffer because of my actions and inactions!  And what have I lost or what have we lost because of my temporary gratification from sin?  Please forgive me!
And His love and mercy were there! Oh dear Jesus I am so grateful for your forgiveness! I can not live without you in my life!

God also gifted me with the interceding presence of St. Monica through this week as we prepared and celebrated All Saints Day and I am most grateful!  Thank you Papa God! Thank you for continuing to love me!

WEEK 6: I contemplate imaginatively being the prodigal son. Each time, I sin, I tend to go away from my Father. After all, it is the prodigal father as the main flesh in the story. My Father understands my vulnerabilities.  He welcomes me each time I come back to Him. My Father, is faithful, forgiving, compassionate God. His love and generosity cannot be outdone. The love of the Father, is revealed by the death of his Son, Jesus on the cross. Over and over again, my sin is washed off by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. I am always being His prodigal son.













Sharing Archive

Read the Sharing for each week of the retreat, as people have shared their graces over the years.

Week 1 (Part 1)

Week 1 (Part 2)
Week 1 (Part 3)
Week 1 (Part 4) 
Week 1 (Part 5)

Week 2
Week 2 (more)

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Weeks 15

Weeks 16-17

Weeks 18-19

Weeks 20-21

Weeks 22-23

Weeks 24-25

Weeks 26-27

Weeks 28-29

Weeks 30-31

Weeks 32-34