26 February - 30 March 2017

On 26 February, the Tertianship group went to the “Enrico de Ossó” House of Welcome and Spirituality, which is run by the Sisters of the Society of St Theresa of Jesus in Rome. We arrived at this lovely and welcoming place to begin our one month spiritual exercises, accompanied by Sisters Denise Souci, Sofia Gorospe and María López de Carrizosa.

We had left our own house in Rome, partly with an eagerness in our hearts to meet the Lord during this special experience of the exercises and, at the same time, somewhat nervous because we knew that we were starting something new that would be beyond our grasp.  It was the moment for Letting God be God, so that He might do in us …

The sisters of the Council remained at the door and, with their hearts and smiles, blessed us and assured us of their affection and prayers. We felt the same affection from the rest of the sisters whom, we know, have been praying from us from faraway.

The house where we stayed was extensive and had a small chapel, which became more and more endearing to us every day. There was a large garden, full of trees and plants, which transformed from an end-of-winter bareness into the blossoms of spring. This process moved with us on our own journey of change, as Chofi expressed it so well at the end of the exercises.

We had two days of rest. The first was after the first week when we went to visit the Basilica of St Paul´s outside the Walls. The second was after the second week and offered a very special surprise: a visit to the chapel of La Storta.  There we prayed and, like St Ignatius, asked the Lord for the Grace to be united to His Son. We were most grateful to the sisters who facilitated this experience, especially at this precise moment which coincided with what we were living through in the exercises.

The Sacred Heart Fathers and the Assumptionist Fathers accompanied us with eucharistic celebrations in a way that was very tender and integrated into the retreat process.

Amidst the silence, which was a great companion during this month, we accompanied each other. We were able to experience how, in the silence, God nurtures communion, because, when we emerged from the exercises, we found that our relationship was stronger, we had more to talk about and we felt more united through our commitment to the Kingdom and the Congregation. We experienced a kind of communion born and nourished from our common source.

As we finished our retreat on 30 March, we felt grateful to God for his love, kindness and faithfulness; very grateful also to María, Denise and Chofi for their willingness to listen out for the Spirit in each of us and for their welcome and sisterly affection, and grateful to the Congregation that has given us this opportunity, to the sisters who have been praying for us and to everyone who has offered us their service during these days.

When we ended, we also felt open and available, assuming as our own the prayer of St Ignatius: “Take Lord and receive ….”, with that profound availability that comes only when you know yourself to be unconditionally loved and to have received everything freely.