We were recently blessed with a very rich gathering of women for an overnight. Here are two reflections on that time.
By Karen Pulaski
The core community at Mt Irenaeus has been sharing deeply with one another the many ways that we “go among” to share the Good News. There are so many ways we do this in our daily interactions with others…it is truly reflected more in how we walk through the world than the actual path we take. I am continually reminded by my brothers that God grants me this opportunity anew every day. I wanted to share one such experience with you.
Fifteen women recently joined us for a Women’s Overnight. We began with introductions and an opportunity to voice individual needs; this was followed by quiet time “on the land” without any specific direction or destination, with the intention of just being…being present to ourselves, God and all of creation. We rejoined for fellowship and a shared meal with one another and some of our Mountain brothers that offered lots of laughter, conversation, hugs, and even some tears. Later in the Chapel, we moved into even deeper sharing around our theme “Just One Thing…A New Beginning.” We helped one another identify obstacles to spending meaningful time with God – as well as many ways that we might begin “just one thing” that could bring us closer to God, and through that, to those around us.
This was truly an amazing experience! It was both a personal journey as well as a communal one. There was something very special about creating a space specifically for women to join together; it was a wonderful reminder of just how powerful the Holy Spirit can be when we open ourselves up to one another in vulnerability – and how empowered we as women might feel to step into whatever God calls us to do – to know that we are children of God, we are loved, and we are enough!
By Anne Lee
The world is too much with us …
William Wordsworth’s poem all too often describes my life. I am always busy. I teach writing classes in St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Communication. I edit student work for the online TAPinto Greater Olean hyperlocal news site. I regularly drive no less than two hours — and sometimes six — to visit family and friends.
On the second weekend of February, I literally took a break from it all and enjoyed an overnight winter retreat for women at The Mountain. Two friends from my college years (both regulars at The Mountain) invited me. One I had roomed with at Bona’s, and at The Mountain we shared a bedroom, just the two of us, for the first time since 1974.
She and I talked, and we walked – alone with each other and together with the other 13 women also on retreat. The sun shone on both days, and it was not too cold. Our daytime walks were strenuous yet peaceful. The Saturday night walk uphill (and later, downhill) to the Chapel scared me. I had a hard time seeing in the dark as we walked single file, many (but not me) holding flashlights, lanterns or phones.
During the scheduled conversations, the potluck meals and informal chats, I realized I certainly was not the only person who felt the world too much with us. And I found myself getting to a more comfortable place.
Those 24 hours truly were a gift.