Renewal Retreat Review
Last month, Mercy International Association hosted our first virtual retreat. More than forty participants from across the world participated in the three-day retreat, bringing together our Mercy community for reflection and prayer. The Mercy Spirituality Renewal Retreat featured daily speakers, diverse prayer experiences, and time for small group conversations.
On the first day, Mary Wickham rsm opened the retreat reminding participants of our strong Celtic roots and providing vivid imagery of the streets of Dublin. While we still cannot gather in person here in Ireland, Mary set the tone that wherever Mercy is gathered, the red doors of Baggot Street are open.
Day two’s speaker, Nellie Mc Laughlin rsm, guided the group through the gentle intertwinement of ecology and spirituality. Nellie reminded us all that we are made from earth “the salt in your blood and in your tears comes from the ancient seas” she said. This connectedness with nature, drew us closer to our retreat experience.
On the third and final day, Julia Upton rsm presented spirituality during COVID. Julia’s presentation was a brilliant balance of both medical fact and spiritual groundness. She reminded each of us of our global reality and the importance of acknowledging a global spirituality during this time of pandemic.
Each day ended with a different spiritual practice, a new way to feel connected amidst it all. Art journaling, body prayer, and meditation were each highlighted. Our spiritual practices can be the most authentic faith expressions and so walking through these experiences together, across the world, was an incredible moving experience.
One participant, Mercy Associate Mona McHenry, wrote “All presenters shared a wealth of resources in quotes, poems, writings, and art from many sources ranging from our Pope, the bible, and Catholic writers to writers from various Christian churches, religions and cultures, and secular writers. After the presentations there were small gatherings of the participants. These were so much fun. Imagine talking with ladies of Mercy both sisters and associates from around the world. It was wonderful and interesting to get to know them a bit and to hear their stories.”
While the staff at Baggot Street is very eager to welcome all in our community back to Dublin, gathering virtually has brought many blessings. In the coming weeks and months, we hope you continue to engage with online programming from MIA. Join us for a retreat, justice workshop, or conference. For now, you may not have Irish soil beneath your feet, but you are always walking on Holy Ground.
Messages to: Elizabeth MacNeal - Head of Heritage & Spirituality