Not long before the pandemic began, I had the chance to attend a conference for Spiritual Directors with Fr. Joseph Tetlow, SJ, a renowned expert in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. One of the great benefits of attending this conference was an opportunity to sit down with Fr. Tetlow and review my presentation outlines and handouts from my retreats.
During that long conversation, Fr. Tetlow provided some great insights and suggestions, which I begin putting into place as soon as I was able to begin leading retreats again after the COVID restrictions were lifted. The feedback from those making my retreats has been great, which I owe in large part to Fr. Joe.
During that sit down with him, Fr. Joe asked if I had led an eight day retreat in the Ignatian Tradition, and I responded that, although I had made more than a dozen 8 day retreats, I had yet to lead one. He told me that he thought I should take that next step, so when I got back to Maryland, I made an appointment to speak to my contact at the retreat center I use. She told me that with the pandemic still causing havoc, I would have to wait awhile to get something scheduled, but we set dates for one in the summer of 2021. I’m happy to say that the wait was worth it, and with the help of two other spiritual directors, we led a wonderful retreat. It was a graced experience for me and I was humbled by the experience. Not long after this first experience, I began prayerfully preparing for the next one, which just occurred last week.
As it always seems to happen, we had a very diverse group of retreatants, including women religious, ministers and pastors of other Christian denominations, some folks who made the first retreat last year ( a great sign), and plenty of new faces. In fact, this retreat was sold out months ago, another good sign that people want to experience this Ignatian retreat, rooted in the Spirituality flowing from the life and conversion experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius’ conversion began after a serious battle injury 500 years ago.
Because the Catholic Church in the United States began a two year Eucharistic Revival just last month, I knew I wanted to do my part to help people not only come to know Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, but also have time to pray daily during a time of Eucharistic Adoration. We’ve done Adoration in the past on my retreats, but I wanted to make this year’s experience more powerful, more beautiful, and more memorable. As this photo shows, I think we accomplished all three objectives.
If you’ve never been on an Ignatian retreat, or if it’s been a long time, please consider making one sometime in the next year. I know you’ll be glad you did.