Six of us Daughters of Jesus are doing a refresher course in Manresa, “When we are approaching the ages of 65, 70…”, an encounter to strengthen the “spiritual experience” in order to vigorously assume the penultimate sections of life. We have already gone through half of this course and we would like to share our experience.
We are a very diverse group of 29 people. There are religious men and women, priests, lay persons, a married couple, a mother and her daughter, and even a bishop. We also come for very different places: Argentina, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, and different parts of Spain. A great richness in every way.
It is turning out to be a time of grace for us, an experience and school of gratuitousness. We hope to become good disciples.
We have already dealt with the autobiographical part, based on the Autobiography of St. Ignatius. How overwhelming to hear the different stories! They are truly stories of salvation, “sacred ground”. This has created a harmony and empathy in the group, making us feel like a family.
We have imbibed the life and experiences of Ignatius, the places where he went, the experiences that marked him… We have visited Montserrat and the Ignatian Barcelona, and in all of this, “reflect to take advantage”.
But the highlight, the peak experience, has been the Spiritual Exercises very aptly directed by Xavier Rodrigues, SJ, and accompanied by a first class team. How much we have to be thankful for!
The richness of the Spiritual Exercises is inexhaustible; there is always a newness to be discovered, and the Encounter is deeper each time.
The image of St. Ignatius in Santa Maria del Mar… That emptiness… has affected us deeply. We thank God for St. Ignatius’ legacy to the Church and to the Congregation.
Now we have entered the final stretch. We still have other topics which will help us, without any doubt, to realign ourselves in this stage of our lives. What a gift! Encounter with oneself, going deeper into our trajectory, with persons who are so different and yet in unison and on the same wavelength… encounter with God… the Cave and the Cardoner, as witnesses of those days… How much there is to be thankful for and to experience!
How does one put into words so much good received? This is a great enrichment, on the personal as well as the group level. It is a time of grace and a great gift from God and from the Congregation.
Mª Dolores Álamo, Ana Mª Baeza, Inmaculada Eceizabarrena,
Asunción Hernández, Ana Mª Jódar y Flora Valdivieso