Laudato Si’ Retreat

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In this year of Laudato Si, around 60 participants, religious women and men, along with several lay persons from Despins Residence in St. Boniface, slowed down to reflect on “the call to universal communion” (#76 Laudato Si’) proposed by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’.  Sr. Lorraine St-Hilaire, SNJM facilitated these few days of retreat from June 7 to 11, 2020, in the spirit of Sabbath (#71 and 237).

The retreat was also offered to the SSMI community in Winnipeg from August 16 to 20, 2020. They too had to cancel their retreat due to Covid-19.  The following is a brief summary of the retreat.

« The universe was at play with God.  It was the Sabbath.”

(Prayers for the Sabbath)

For four days, it was the Sabbath. It was in that spirit that we slowed down to contemplate the mystery of creation and to discover greater depth in life. (114) As stated in the encyclical, Laudato Si’: “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.” (233)   Enlightened by readings from the Encyclical, Laudato Si’, and short talks, we prayed to deepen the call to a spirituality of communion, being one with God, with ourselves, with others and with the environment. Music, poetry, dance and beauty enriched our experience of personal and communal prayer.

At times, we also contemplated Earth, our mother in distress (2) and we approached certain great ethical questions presented in Laudato Si’.  We opened our hearts to conversion, (8) a call to change our vision, our attitudes and human behaviors that contribute to the earth’s devastation.  On the other hand, we reflected on our deep convictions and motivations that inspire us to protect the Earth and to take care of it.

We called this Sabbath “Delight”! (Exodus)  May it shed its light (237) on our daily lives that we might live in deeper communion, embraced by the creative Love that pervades the whole universe.

Due to social distancing there could only be 25 people in chapel; others participated from their apartments using closed circuit television and suggestions for personal reflection and prayer.

Dancing to the Canticle of the Sun, Joëlle Brémault, employee at Despins,
inspires us by her love for planet Earth.

Lorraine St-Hilaire SNJM, retreat facilitator.