The theme for our parish retreats this year has been ‘Sacred Journey’. The intention of this journey was to become more aware of God’s presence in our everyday lives. Happily many travellers came along to Minsteracres to join us on this special expedition – some for just a day, many for a weekend and two groups came for a whole week!

Our travels began in the chapel where a beautiful brick path had been laid out, symbolizing the sacred journey. There we spent some time becoming aware of the holy ground we stand on and that it takes attentiveness to be sensitive to the wonder and mystery surrounding us daily.

The next stage of the journey consisted of a talk which was embellished with a power point presentation. It addressed the subject of ‘Sanctifying the whole day’ which is about becoming aware of God’s presence in the ordinary, in common encounters with the world and the people around us. In order to practice this awareness, everyone was invited to spend some time being completely focused on some sites that had been designated for this purpose in the grounds of Minsteracres. Afterwards we invited people to share what they had seen and experienced. For many this exercise led to remarkable new insights.

In the continuation of the trip, we dealt with the obstacles we all encounter as we travel through life. So many negative circumstances can make us feel disconnected from each other, God or any sense of the Sacred. How to deal with these situations and ‘make the obstacles in our lives stepping stones to You?’  Everyone was invited to pick a rock symbolizing their own obstacles and then to leave it at the cross.

In the last gathering of the retreat we asked people to choose a picture from those laid out which most particularly spoke to them of their own sacred journey. This prompted the sharing of many significant observations. We ended the retreat by offering each other a paper cut-out of our own foot containing a personal blessing for the journey we had undertaken.

by Elisabeth van Dijl