"From the wellspring of contemplative prayer we (Dominican Sisters of Peace) draw the life-giving water that alone can sustain us in all that we do in our apostolic lives. Fidelity to contemplative prayer and study will empower us to be the Holy Preaching and to carry the saving truth of the Gospel to those with whom and for whom we live and work. Each Sister makes an annual retreat." (Taken from Constitution Directives of Dominican Sisters of Peace, 2009)
Does your pace change in the summer? Are you able to take a day or some days of vacation time? One of the many blessings of living Dominican life and consecrated life as a Sister, is the requirement, yes, requirement that we each take time every year for a retreat. Many of our Sisters participate in the preached retreats held at our Motherhouses, but sometimes Sisters choose to go to a favorite retreat house or spot located on the ocean or in the mountains or maybe even in the desert (although not likely during the summer months!). The time is set aside for prayer, solitude, reflection on the Scriptures, reflection on nature, celebrations of the Eucharist, and sharing with a spiritual director and companions.
This year I had the opportunity to begin my retreat time with the Dominican Sisters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a preached conference entitled, "Preaching with the Mind, Eyes, and Heart of a Woman," led by Sr. Barbara Reid, OP. A conference retreat open to both women and men participants, we prayed and reflected with the Scriptures in light of the experiences of women and the need to break open the Scriptures in ways that bring light and hope and do not oppress nor dominate. We can with God's grace creatively imagine how Jesus' message can bring life, love, justice, and compassion to each and every person in our world, and to Earth, too.
Often I find myself saying after retreat that I believe everyone in the world would benefit from such an opportunity to withdraw for a time in a beautiful space to remember and to re-center on the God-within whose love and care sustains us. Knowing that many of the people of the world live in poverty - poverty of food, shelter, time, resources, places of beauty, I hope to continue to live my life with the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates who pray and work for economic justice and stability for all peoples so that someday each and every person who desires may have the opportunity for a retreat!
If you are interested in exploring more about a retreat experience, check out the retreat houses of the Dominican Sisters of Peace at oppeace.org/spiritual-life. If you are interested in discerning a call to Dominican Life, consider attending our up-coming Labor Day "Come and See Retreat" which will give you precious time to spend in prayer while you deepen your understanding of your own unique call to holiness. Please contact Sr. Pat Dual, OP, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 614.216.7688 or call toll-free 855.313.3131 to register or for more information.