Love, the driving force: a journey of discernment

Chronicling my formation with the Loretto Sisters (IBVM)

30 days in paradise

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We’re back from retreat! We’ve been back a week already, taking time to settle back into our regular community life routine. It has been slow going for me. The retreat was an incredible experience, filled with so many gifts and loving revelations from God, and I’ve been trying to hang on to those feelings and graces this week back in the real world. Consequently, I’m not quite ready yet to share a lot about the retreat just yet on this blog. I still need time to reflect and ‘appropriate’, as it is termed. Time to come to a fuller understanding of how my relationship with God changed during the retreat, and believe me, it sure has changed.

So with that teaser for future posts, I offer you a selection of photos from the retreat centre, a true paradise. Set in the outskirts of Quezon City, Sacred Heart Retreat Centre was like entering a whole other world. Peaceful, beautiful, and gracious. I’m posting photos of the retreat grounds today, and I’ll follow up with photos of the gorgeous plant life and the entertaining wildlife in the next few days.

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A warm welcome from Jesus to all those arriving at Sacred Heart.

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The cloistered wing of the retreat centre (i.e. retreatants not welcome), home to the Jesuit novices and their novice masters.

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Rear courtyard with a shady sitting area. A lovely place to sit in the rain.

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The kitchen, on the ground floor, where our many meals were prepared. Breakfast, morning merienda (snack), lunch, afternoon merienda, and dinner.

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The beautiful fountain in the courtyard.

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Swings are set up throughout the property to help retreatants relax and meditate.

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The tree house! A great place for bird watching, contemplation, and people watching.

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We were so lucky to have this beautiful pool at our disposal. It was a treat to float around and pray or swim laps surrounded by gorgeous tropical flowers and trees.

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Mary and Joseph kept watch over us.

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A painting in one of the dining halls. St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed to Mary to ask her to intercede to God to place him with her son. This painting shows the Trinity’s embrace of St. Ignatius and Mary’s intercession.

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The Jesuit cemetery on the retreat grounds, a beautiful and peaceful place to pray.

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I enjoyed looking at the gravestones and I have to admit that I was overjoyed to find someone with the same birthday as me. Each day I walked to the cemetery to greet my ‘Birthday Brother’ – born on the same day, only 86 years apart!

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Fr. Thomas Green, SJ wrote a number of books on Ignatian spirituality and prayer.

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I am currently reading a book by Fr. John Carroll, SJ  -a collection of editorials he wrote for the Philippines Enquirer on politics and social justice in the Philippines. It’s a fantastic book.

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Recreational opportunities abounded – here’s the basketball court.

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And the badminton court. (I forgot to take a photo of the tennis backboard.)

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And bicycles!

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Strickly for females.

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And all of the equipment a retreatant could need.

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A bit of nightlife at the retreat centre. Jesus all lit up.

 

6 thoughts on “30 days in paradise

  1. Lovely photos, Sarah! I’m so glad it has been a good experience. I met Father Tom Green many years ago when he gave a workshop in Toronto..

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  2. Appreciate the composition of place, the spaces that fed you, body and soul, and the pace of your days.

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  3. For those who believe that great things happen when God mixes with us, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not, no explanation is possible!

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  4. Thank you for sharing so much. It sounds as if the time was a great experience filled with many blessings!

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  5. Delighted to catch the spirit of your blessings on retreat! Enjoy the everlasting friendship and its mission. Frfrancisdo

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  6. Sarah,
    Lovely photos. But perhaps a bit more contemplation required to soften the wit. “Nightlife” …. “Jesus all lit up”. Really?!

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