With much anticipation, members of CLC SA gathered from 28th to 30th May 2021 at the Sevenhill retreat centre for a weekend retreat on the renewal of the vision of our lives. Facilitated by Fr Iain Radvan SJ, the retreat theme, “Recalibrating your compass”, celebrated the start of the 500th year of the conversion of St Ignatius of Loyola. The retreat was well-structured, offering opportunities to reflect, reminisce, reconcile, break bread and share peace, and then to look forward with openness as we transition and step out in faith to where God is leading into the future.
Fr Rob Morris SJ, and the team of staff and volunteers at Sevenhill retreat centre, supported us in every way, from making sure we met COVID-safe requirements to serving us delicious meals with Inigo wines from Sevenhill Cellars, including a relished salmon dinner on our arrival.
The sessions flowed seamlessly, a reflection of all the efforts that went into the planning and coordination beforehand, particularly by Paris Huffman and the SA Exco team. In their talks, Chris Hogan, Iain Radvan and Judy Foster openly shared experiences from their life and heart, with sentiments that stirred in us. This reminded us to appreciate everything as gift. The greatest gift of all – Eucharist together – celebrated by Fr Chris Horvat SJ, our Jesuit link, unified and uplifted us.
The rustling of the eucalypt leaves in the late autumn winds, the chirping of birds and themooing of cows with their calves became familiar sounds of the peaceful and spiritual surroundings at La Storta, as we spent our personal prayer times reflecting and being in the sacred place we were in. As Helen Cantwell put it: “a space like the centre of a ring formed from a stone dropped into a still pool, to travel indefinitely into the lives of those privileged to experience the retreat, and on to the lives of those they meet”.
The weekend was an enriching experience, stimulating new excitement for CLC SA for the future. As Helen Cantwell shared, “Joy’s energy, and the direction and strength of cohesion marked, for me, the promises and hope of the retreat into the future as I’ve never felt to the same extent over 40 years of C.L.C membership.”
When the retreat ended, it felt more like the promise of a new beginning, providing hope and heralding new ways, paths, and journeys. The road ahead, although untrodden is awaiting, and already lined with the beauty of flowers yet to bloom, gifts we are blessed to be offered.
Back row L-R: Fr John Herd, Chris Hogan, Fr Chris Horvat, Helen Cantwell, June Duffy, Carol Sutherland, Jeff Baker, Margaret Baker, Petranel Ferrao, Wendy Talbot,
Front row L-R: Judy Foster, Peter Laffan, Fr Iain Radvan, Louise Howell, Michaela Cantwell, Geraldine McAskill, Paris Huffman