No Two Retreats Are Alike

June is my usual month for my annual retreat and so it was last month.  I try to NOT have expectations - to be open to the Divine Spirit’s surprises.

During my years in Florida, it has sometimes been a challenge to find a retreat house for myself –  I minister at one all year!  In Tampa I found one that hosts a week long silent directed retreat every June.  Perfect!

Yet summer in Florida can be like winter in the northern states.  How so?  The weather – and bad driving conditions.  In Florida?  Each year – as I drive back and forth across the state for my retreat – I drive through torrential downpours.  There is a whiteout of a different kind that happens.  Everyone puts on their car flashers.  I talk to God a lot during these episodes.

Something else happened this year and with the support of my director, I attended to it.  I have had a long relationship with many Iraqi Dominicans – Sisters & Friars – because I have traveled twice to Iraq.  During retreat I was receiving frequent unfolding news from them about impact of the militia group sweeping down from Syria. While they tried to find safety, they were also trying to care for their neighbors.  My heart was breaking.  My retreat became a prayer vigil.

This was a very different retreat than I had expected.  Even so, I was grateful for a place to face the pain of the news, experience consolation and to grow in trust of God in my life and those I was praying with and for.

When has God turn your attention from what you had planned?  How did you respond?  Did you seek support?

Sr. Roberta A. Popara, O.P.

North Palm Beach, FL


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