As I write these words, trees have lost their leaves and the days are getting shorter. Creation seems to take a natural pause. This invites us to stop and look back on the year that has almost passed and look ahead at the approaching new year.

In the church 2015 is the ‘year of consecrated life’. It inspired us to focus on the theme ‘I have called you by name’. We reflected on the ways in which each of us has been called and how we respond to this call. The feedback tells us that participants found it very helpful.

You are probably aware that we are approaching another special year in the church: the year of mercy. Pope Francis called for this year so as to help us highlight the mercy and compassion of God. This may encourage us to radiate this love and mercy in fresh ways.

Inspired by this invitation we have chosen the beatitude ‘blessed are the merciful’ as our retreat theme for 2016. Minsteracres is already experienced as a place of peace, mercy and compassion and we intend to build on that.

As we approach the end of this year I take the opportunity to thank you for your generosity and I hope you will continue to support us in the 2016.

I end by wishing you an inspiring season of Advent and a joyful Christmas with many blessings for the new year!