Two weeks ago, the novices came back from a very special retreat in Aston, Pa. We had followed the Rule of St. Francis for Hermitages for 10 days.
The first five days of the retreat, Paul O’Keeffe and Erick Lopez worked. We cooked, baked bread, and served the others like Martha, while Cidouane Joseph was on retreat. During the last five days, Cid worked while Paul and Erick enjoyed the silence of their hermitages, broken only by occasional visits to Clare House for Mass at noon, vespers at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m., and compline after dinner with the community.
The hermitage experience allowed us to be in the presence of God, in silence, reading, praying, and in praising God for nature and the beautiful things God has placed in our hearts.
During that time, we experienced the spectrum of emotions and feelings as is so common when one takes time for serious reflection with God.
Joining us for the first week were Sisters Etta and Barbara from the Poor Clare Monastery in Chesterfield. Barbara was making her solemn vow retreat.