Clergy Reflection – February 17, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As I watched the snow fall last week, it was with a peaceful heart as I did not need to drive in it! Last week I was on retreat at St. Margaret’s, an Episcopal convent in Duxbury. Every day I worshipped throughout the day with the nuns, ate my meals in silence with them, and spent the rest of the time in prayer, walking, or reading. We had morning prayer at 6:00am (which I confess I routinely slept through!), 7:30am Eucharist, 12:00pm noonday prayer, 5:00pm evening prayer, and 7:30pm compline. The Sisters have a lovely updated convent by the ocean, while the guest house is a converted farmhouse with charming rooms and facilities. Each retreatant receives their own room for the duration where we may use our time as we wish without the distractions of the outside world. The two other guests sharing the farmhouse with me were both Episcopal clergy women. One was there, like me, on retreat, the other was staying for a month as she wrote her doctoral dissertation. Retreatants can be men or women, lay or ordained. All are welcome. People go on retreat for all sorts of reasons: to rest, to write, to read, to pray, to be nurtured, to be refreshed, to step outside of the routine of life while drawing closer to God.
I share this with you because it may be that some of you might benefit from a retreat. Perhaps you need to get away and spend some time alone, even for a little bit. Retreats may be for any duration, even just a weekend. Each retreat location has their own schedules and patterns. Some are at convents or monasteries while others are stand alone. Some have themes with a leader and meetings, some are self-directed. In addition to St. Margaret’s (http://societyofstmargaret.org/duxbury-mother-house/)there are other Episcopal retreat locations including both the Cambridge monastery and the West Newbury hermitages of the brothers of Society of St. John the Evangelist (ssje.org), or Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY on the Hudson River (http://www.holycrossmonastery.com/). In the summer months, the seasonal Adlynrood Retreat and Conference Center in Byfield is open with a great selection of themed retreats (http://www.adelynrood.org/). A wonderful non-Episcopal local retreat house is the Jesuit Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester (easternpoint.org). These are the ones I can recommend personally, and there are many others.
Sometimes we can get lost in the busyness of life. The spaciousness of a retreat is what is needed to bring us back to ourselves and to God. Is God calling you?
You are very dear to me and to God in Christ.
Faithfully yours,
Stephanie+