Christina Rossini in “The Millennial Corner”
(note from Randy: Christina is a participant in our monthly First Friday Book Synopsis, and a high-energy thinker and leader. Read about her at her LinkedIn page by clicking here).
A retreat house sits on 33 acres on the shores of Lake Lewisville in Lake Dallas. An expansive, manicured green lawn lies between the long boat dock and the retreat campus: a library and priest residence; two two-story dormitories with conference rooms; a dining hall; a chapel, and a central courtyard. Montserrat Retreat House, started in 1959, is run by the Jesuit order of priests. Its gates are open year-round for retreats held nearly every weekend, all of which are silent.
The cadence for the silent retreat at Montserrat is basically this: morning prayer; breakfast; 45 minute presentation from the retreat director on a spiritual topic, an hour-ish of meditation/journaling/reading/general quiet time; another presentation; meditation/journaling/thinking; lunch; more personal quiet time; prayer service; presentation; dinner; more meditation/reading/looking at the lake; bedtime. Wake up & repeat.
I participated recently in a young adult silent retreat here, the theme of which was “Contemplatives in Action.” There were 30 of us from across Texas, all looking to share some common denominators for 48 hours: peace, connection with nature, and an open mind to what we would hear over the weekend. We were encouraged to socialize at Friday dinner and Sunday lunch, the meals bookending the silence. We each had our own reasons for making the retreat; one thirty-something graduate student came intending to discern her master’s thesis topic.
Clarity. Composition. Contemplation. A welcome distraction from the distractions of our lives.
Intentionally creating quiet space forces us to be with our own thoughts. With this, we have the bandwidth to think through solutions for problems, form new perspectives, and focus on single-tasking. The by-product of all of which is peace.
At the final service Sunday morning, some members of our group shared some key takeaways experienced from the weekend. One young woman stated,
“I came here this weekend looking for answers. Instead, I learned what questions to ask.”
I couldn’t agree more.