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Living the Graces of a Retreat

by Martina O’Shea, Director of Ignatian Retreats, Spiritual Direction, and Training Programs

Even though the retreats were made during the Lenten season, the retreatants will savor the graces they received on the retreat well into the Easter season and beyond! Read on to learn about their experience.

We have been offering The Lenten Retreat: Drawn from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola since 1988. The intention for the retreat then as it is now, was to help individuals prepare to make the full Spiritual Exercises or to be led deeper into their relationship with Christ if they made the nine month retreat. The following reflections were made by two of the twenty-six retreatants:

“I am changed by this retreat. It is like a conversion. Even though the meditation was only an hour per day, I was rethinking and feeling their impact all day long.”

“Be still…Be quiet… Listen to God and others. Find a community of like-minds for connection and service.”

In collaboration with Georgetown University and Georgetown Preparatory School we offered the Setting Captives Free: Racism and God’s Liberating Grace retreat. Twenty-one retreatants met for 90 minutes once a week in small groups to discover the ways in which they are held captive by their complicity with systemic racism. Graces from the Spiritual Exercises provided the framework in which they asked our loving God to reveal their complicity, gift them with contrition and sorrow, and by being transformed work to change unjust social structures.

The retreatants had this to say:

“God is transforming me … pulling me back into the Ignatian way and affirming me in the anti-racist work I am doing.”

“The God, Christ, Holy Spirit focus made this experience unique.”

One hundred candidates will be confirmed on May 7th! As part of their preparation, we invited them and their sponsors to participate in an Ignatian Retreat in Daily Life: Living in God’s Love. Five groups of about twenty students gathered on a Sunday morning, or for HTS students on a Thursday, to begin their retreat. They were given prayer material with which to pray for 20 minutes each day of the week. They gathered seven days later to share what they received. When asked how the retreat helped them, they said:

“I liked having a conversation with God. It helped me calm myself down.”

“The retreat helped me feel calm, mindful, and at peace with my routine, which I tried to pass on to others in my family.”

These retreats are made possible through the generosity of our parishioners, and the magnanimous spirit of our Ignatian Retreat Team and visiting retreat directors: Barbara Bordelon, Bill Plunkert, Bill Thompson, Father Brian McDermott, SJ, Debbie Husband, Fran Knoll, John Krambuhl, Judy Zielinski, Rev. Karen Johnson, Kate Haser, Kathy Maguire-Zeiss, Linda Arnold, Tony Mazurkiewicz, and Vicki Pedrick.


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