The summer months usually see a lot of activity at Minsteracres. Individuals and groups will come and spend time here.
Despite this busy time, the Centre manages to maintain an atmosphere of silence. This is essential for creating the right ambiance for a retreat. The outer silence helps to find an inner silence. Here we find the space to listen to what is going on in life and to listen to the voice of God.
Although most retreats have elements of silence, at the beginning of May Minsteracres hosted a retreat that went a step further and was held in complete silence. It was the seven day International School Retreat with retreatants coming from all over the world including America and Australia. For many, it was their first visit to Minsteracres. It was led by Fr Laurence Freeman, Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation (www.wccm.org).
Christian Meditation is a way of meditating which makes use of a mantra, a word which is repeated interiorly during the time of meditation. This gives a focus and helps us to enter into the inner silence.
Sr. Cecilia was one of the participants in this retreat. “I have had my faith enriched by silently opening my heart and mind to the inner Christ”, she said. “It was intensive, providing a rare opportunity to benefit from the sustained silence and stillness of meditation over an extended period. Each day there were eight sitting meditation sessions without readings or music, with contemplative walking sessions between them. A short teaching in the morning and a contemplative Eucharist in the evening helped the silence to reach its full potential. Retreatants also had an opportunity to have a daily fifteen minute ‘one to one’ meeting with one of the retreat leaders.”
For those who didn’t take part it was also an enriching experience. At times it was also challenging as everyone was expected to observe the atmosphere of silence.
This year Minsteracres offers another opportunity to experience the practice of Christian Meditation. Terry Doyle will lead this weekend retreat on 28-30 September.