Friday, October 30, 2020
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CSJ Associate Retreat

Our CSJ Associate Retreat weekend began Friday evening on September 21, 2018 at Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre, Mississauga. The theme of the weekend was “The Place of Silence in Our Spiritual Life” and was presented by Sister Mary Mettler, CSJ. Twenty-seven CSJ Associates were in attendance. 
On Friday evening, Sister Mary’s presentation “Meeting the Presence,” invited us to silence our minds to be open to God’s grace flowing through us. 
On Saturday morning, after the candle-lighting for our deceased Associates and Morning Prayer, Sister Mary spoke about “Inviting the Presence.” “Silence is not an absence, but a presence.” This silent prayer requires much practice, and “letting go.” Grace filled the space created by silence. 
During Liturgy, Father Peter McKenna, SCJ invited us forward to “lay our burdens at the foot of the cross.” This was a very emotionally beautiful moment as many of us knelt before the Crucifix to give Jesus our cares and concerns.
After lunch, Sister Mary invited us to take a walk in nature and to “Feel the Presence” and to be “alert to our senses” -- sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste -- to be grateful for these senses and to let God’s beautiful Creation fill us with joy and gratitude.
We then entered the Chapel for Reconciliation, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Sister Mary‘s evening presentation, “Embraced by the Presence,” dealt with Guidelines for entering into Centering Prayer, after which Debbie Scott led us in a beautiful recitation of the Healing Rosary. 
On Sunday, after breakfast, candle-lighting for our Associates in Prayer and then our Morning Prayer, Sister Mary concluded her presentations with “Living Gratefully in the Presence.” She asked us to give thanks, to find joy and contentment in the small, simple things, to be always mindful of the Presence of God, and to remember that all is sacred.
Sister Georgette Gregory, CSJ Congregational Leader, and Sister Nida Chavez were also in attendance as Father Peter McKenna, SCJ celebrated Liturgy. Sister Georgette greeted and missioned each Associate personally to live our lives with Purpose, Depth, and Zeal. 
Thanks to Sister Mary Mettler, CSJ, Father Peter McKenna, SCJ, the Associate Leadership Team, members of the Holy Family Community and all who attended and contributed to making this a joyful, peaceful and grace-filled weekend.
Ellen Popkie & Debbie Scott 


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