This week we attended a retreat that our region has every year; needless to say it was our first. We really didn’t know what to expect because we weren’t sure if it would be all retreat or retreat/business. It turned out it was all retreat.
We arrived to the retreat center Monday afternoon in time for lunch; it was about an hour away. There were about 23 people there, I think we are a little over 30 in total in the region, and the person leading it was a Jesuit priest from the States, although he has been here a long time. It was fun for me to hang out with someone from the States because I am the only person in the region who is from there. The retreat center was beautiful! It was surrounded by mountains and it was far enough away from Lima that we had blue skies and sun every day.
The retreat was the type the Jesuits like to put on. Lots of contemplation about how God works in our daily lives…but from a simple point of view. Meri and I had been introduced to this style of retreat while in Los Angeles and we liked it…and this time we liked it even more. The natural surroundings of the retreat center added to the experience as well.
The other thing we liked was that it was a laid back week. Although it was a retreat it wasn’t silent and we also had time for recreation/entertainment every day. The second day there I decided to join a couple of people to climb to the top of the hill/mountain right behind the center, it looked like a hill when we started but as we were climbing it seemed more like a mountain to me. I made it about 2/3 of the way up before opting not to continue. It wasn’t that it was super hard to climb it was that I was nervous about the journey down because it was so steep. It took me the same amount of time to climb down as up so I was happy for my decision. When I was on the ground again the other two had made it to the top and I could barely see them. It was funny because when I was watching them come down I could hear one directing the other about the safe route…like I said it was super steep!! We also watched movies every night and it was fun to spend time together.
As the week came and went we both agreed that the retreat was a great energy boost. We were able to spend time in prayer and reflection about our lives, spend time with friends/colleagues (who actually seem more like family), and relax. We were both sad that the week had gone by so fast but we were rewarded last night with the smiling faces of the kids we work with in one of our communities…it felt like we were back home and that felt good.
Next stop…Cusco!!! We leave to visit the Columbans who work up there and will also have some time to do some site seeing like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. We leave on September 28th and return on October 13th.