CSJ Associates Annual Retreat 2016
On September 16, 2016, the CSJ Associates assembled at the Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre in Mississauga for their annual retreat. This was a time for reflection, prayer and reunion with fellow Associates. Thirty-five people were in attendance. The theme for the weekend this year was Laudato Si', Welcome to the Garden.
Sister Mechtilde O'Mara, CSJ, currently the Ministry Director of Faith Connections, was our guest speaker. Sister Mechtilde has been with the congregation for over 50 years and is equipped with an extensive academic background. She provided us with ample education while also sharing with us her spirit of faith and good humour.
The Friday night presentation focused on the Holy Trinity and the relationships within it. Because the Trinity is such a difficult concept, Sister Mechtilde offered one approach that viewed God the Father as "for us," Jesus the son as "with us," and the Holy Spirit as God "within us." I think, for many, that was a unique and welcome message for the evening.
Saturday continued with an emphasis on nature and the "mystical meaning of nature." Drawing from Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si', we were reminded that we are now called to a "radical ecological conversion," because we are all intimately related to every living creature.
Sunday's presentation re-emphasized our responsibility to take better care of our environment. Convictions need to be made and "are a way of life." We need to "nurture a culture of care."
Father Bernie Carroll, SJ provided private consultation, sacrament of reconciliation and celebrated two Masses with us. We experienced a very meaningful Taizé prayer service accompanied by the beautiful voices of Doreen Wan and the Taizé Choir from St. Paul's Basilica.
Sister Thérèse Meunier, Congregational Leader, individually missioned the Associates present during the Mass on Sunday. She gave each one a Missioning Card to remind us to open our eyes to the misery of the world and to be a sign of mercy and hope through our compassionate presence to our dear neighbour and all creation. We thank her for her presence and support.
Many thanks to the St. Michael Community who coordinated this year's event, to the Associates Leadership Team and to all who assisted in one way or another. Special thanks to Grace Colella, our gifted pianist. Looking forward to next year.
Please click here to see more photographs.
By Denise M. Poirier