My goodness, it has been quite a while since my last blog post – time for an update!
First things first, I guess. I survived the assessment at Southdown. It actually went really well. While I hadn’t been looking forward to the experience, thinking it would be invasive and perhaps unsettling, it was, in fact, very gentle. There were certainly some uncomfortable moments, relating more difficult memories and events from the past, but overall I found it a positive experience. I think because it was focused on preparing me for the future – for the novitiate that is coming up, as well as for my life, in general, as part of a religious community, it felt purposeful and not an unnecessary delving into the past.
The process was definitely thorough. I filled out a stack of questionnaires and forms and I met with several specialists. To be truthful, I don’t think I really learned anything new about myself (I am pretty aware of my behaviours and attitudes), but I feel like the assessment was a confirmation of what I know and it helped to outline some useful supports for moving forward.
I think what impressed me most about my stay at Southdown was the sense of community I felt, even during that short time. The staff were all very professional and supportive, but I was really struck by the collegiality and concern of the residents. Many of them were very open about their treatment programs and offered kindly advice. I felt immediately welcomed by them, and they encouraged me as I set about filling out my forms, rooting for me as the stack began to dwindle. It was also very touching to celebrate Mass with them, men and women who recognized their brokenness and were actively working on healing. The prayers felt very real and heartfelt.
Needless to say, it was a very full four days. I don’t think I realized how draining it was until I got home. As soon as I stepped into the Abbey entrance, I was overcome by exhaustion. I crawled into bed for a nap straight away. Thankfully, much needed diversion and entertainment were quick to follow. My friend, Melissa, came for a visit from Ottawa the next day for the Victoria Day long weekend.
Always amusing, Melissa’s enthusiasm and spontaneity boosted my spirits instantly. Over the weekend we escape the city – day trips to Cobourg (yes, I go there quite often but I hadn’t really looked around – they have 2 British stores full of yummy treats!!) and Niagara-on-the-Lake (Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour, an unusual restaurant, and Cow’s, among other sites) and a trip to the Toronto Zoo (which crazily, doesn’t have elephants!). And, happily for me, Melissa was able to stay longer into the week so we had a chance to spend more time together than expected. It was great to catch up! I’ve missed her a lot since moving here.
My next post will be on a guest we’ve had at the Abbey for the last week or so. Sr. Cyril Mooney, IBVM from Calcutta, India has been visiting us, and giving presentations on her work in Loreto schools in India. I attended one of her presentations today and will write about it tomorrow!