Last Thursday, Sr. Pat and I were invited to give the sophomore retreat day at SJA. Six hours with 165 girls in their gymnasium. As you can imagine it was both blessing and challenge. The theme was "My Authentic Self," so we began with the beginning in Genesis, pointing out from the start that we are all made in the image of God and we are good. We walked through the things about ourselves that should make us most proud, looked at the timeline of our lives in terms of people, places, and events that have most impacted us, and through a reconciliation piece, before looking at taking our authentic selves out to serve a world in need. For myself (and I think I could include Pat) it was a really good experience to plan the day together; I would have done it one way, she would have done it another, but we did it together.
Friday, we then left for Topeka, KS for a weekend visit with Sisters Anna Marie and Jean (Concordia CSJs) with whom I lived my first year out of college. From Topeka we were headed another hour and a half west to a little, rural cottage the Concordia CSJs own for a nice, quiet weekend. The snow was intense when we first left Topeka and we almost didn't go, but we made it, only to arrive to a cold house as the heat in the building wasn't working. After a call to the heat man, sticking my hand in the furnace to give the blower wheel a start (under obedience that I do it only when we were sure the unit was off), and a quick prayer to St. Joseph the heat did indeed kick in. We played cards, fixed meals, read, prayed together, and even built a snowman. It was a wonderful visit.
I am, however, glad to be back with no big projects to be working on and no long trips for a couple of weeks at least. I painted some yesterday and have a new paper mache project I think I might start this weekend. Pat and I met around the book we are reading and had a really great discussion this afternoon about shadow and ego and letting go. A session on communication in community tomorrow and a session with Ronald Rolheiser on consecrated celibacy on Saturday should give me plenty to pray with. Wonderful days hopefully getting lighter longer and warmer.