Happy New Year!
I am in this world as in a great temple…
Saint Raphaela Mary
As St. Raphaela contemplated the world around her, she saw in everything the presence of God, the presence of God desiring to irrupt into history, into every corner, every situation, every heart. She saw God’s presence, and all that awaited the fullness of God’s presence. She saw - and understood - that she was not only witnessing something greater but was also part of it. As God was creating and bringing anew and healing and drawing all to his own heart, she too was part of that work. She desired that which was in God’s own heart: that all would know, receive, and be transformed by Christ’s love. She dedicated her whole being to this, because love – that kind of love – allows us to believe that such is possible. St. Raphaela understood that she “was in this world as in a great temple” – she saw the world as a sacred place filled with God’s presence and with God’s sanctifying grace.
The staff community at St. Raphaela Center, in living out the mission of the Handmaids, has been gifted with this spirit, this way of seeing the world. Together, we work – each in our own way – to allow others to experience God’s presence in their lives and in our world, and to go forth from their retreat experience with a deeper experience of God’s love. Here, people are given reason to hope, and the possibility of seeing themselves “in this world as in a great temple.”
Though it is difficult to say farewell to two such women, in December we gave great thanks and sent forth into retirement two dedicated, faithful women who have lived out the mission of the retreat center for years. They have, in many ways, become the “faces” of the retreat center. Sr. Mary Carboy, SSJ, has served as a Spiritual Director for 23 years. Widely recognized for her careful, on point, hope and faith-filled accompaniment, we could not be more grateful for her way of “being in this world as in a great temple,” of recognizing the holy presence of God in the many people who come through our doors. Thank you, Sister Mary, for making this retreat center a place of self-realization and renewed relationships that offers honor to God.
Mrs. Jean McDonald, throughout her 27 years of service, has served in just about every capacity in the daily runnings of the retreat center, and – as she points out – knows the house and its history better than anyone else. For many groups, she has been the face of hospitality, caring exceedingly for the practical needs of the retreatants. She has been like a mother or grandmother to the retreatants, and a sister and friend to the Handmaid community. As part of our family, your spirit will always be present here, Jean, and we’ll try to have enough coffee and desserts for everyone.
As we enter 2019, we are happy to share with you some of the new developments at St. Raphaela Center.
With the developments and new programs of the retreat center, our website had needed a corresponding renewal. We will soon be launching our new website and will encourage you to explore our new offerings that will appear there. The renewed image reflects the same rich experience that has always been offered at the retreat center, an experience that is continuously reimagined, meeting others where they are today. After all, “New wine must be put into new wineskins!”
The extension of St. Raphaela Center at the House of Hope is now open and welcoming individual retreatants and small groups! There, we have created more space for private, silent retreats throughout the year. We welcome you to come for a quiet, peaceful time of prayer and care. The new space has also opened up more programming possibilities, including a variety of day retreats for young mothers, ministry teams, and those seeking to engage in a holistic spirituality of spirit, mind and body. Please keep an eye out for the new programs and opportunities for spiritual growth.
One of our desires in expanding the ministry of St. Raphaela Center was to offer more to others from Ignatian Spirituality. With the additional space, this summer we are delighted to offer a conference style Ignatian retreat, a weekend retreat (June 14-16) and 8 day retreat (June 10- 18). While still a silent retreat, this conference style offers points for prayer each day, and is a sacred introduction to or renewal in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Peter McIsaac, SJ will be offering this retreat. Fr. Peter is greatly appreciated internationally for his accompaniment of the Spiritual Exercises. He provided our Advent Day of Prayer this December, and the many in attendance came away renewed in their faith and inspired in their hearts. We are happy to share that Fr. Peter will also offer our Lenten Day of Prayer on March 27. Please visit our website for more information.
May this new year be one in which each of us – and all of us together – more deeply understand that “we are in this world as in a great temple.”
Blessings of peace.
Sr. Lyan Tri, acj and all of us at St. Raphaela Center