We started the week with two days on The Affective Life: An Attachment Perspective. We were guided by a lady (psychologist) from Malta called Clarissa Sammut. She came across as a lovely person; warm, affectionate, and keenly interested in our Jesuit lives and in our growth as individuals and as a corporate body. The sessions were a mix of theory and practice. We drew our Genograms (family trees) and based on that pondered aspects connected to intimacy and attachments. It was a very relevant and well conducted programme.
11th Jan was the last day for us to go over to Manresa for lunch. We thanked the community during the meal. On 11th Jan we also received the news of the demise of Fr Connla O’Dulaine, an Irish Jesuit. We offered a mass for him.
We watched a delightful movie called, A Prairie Home Companion (2006). It had music, laughter, some below the belt stuff too☺, but overall a deep spiritual message concerning life and how we are called to live it graciously and with attention to each moment.
On Wednesday we carried on with our discernment on the experiments. We met in two sessions, and it seemed that most felt we could end the organized programmes of tertianship earlier (probably by March 14th) and then leave for experiments either in Dublin or elsewhere. Paul the next day gave us an updated plan for the final weeks of the tertianship.
In the evening we watched a documentary called The New Dream Team.
On Thursday Tom did a session on Adapting the Sp Exercises. He shared adaptations of his own down the years. He got us to recall and ponder how we have been adapting the Exercises in our own contexts.
At 1:30 pm (14th Jan) all had a slightly rushed lunch in order to attend a half-hour online prayer service for Fr Stan Swamy SJ (RAN) and others who have been in jail now for 100 days. Fr General, Arturo Sosa, made a special prayer for him and also thanked God for this moment which challenges the rest of us to be true to our own Jesuit calling. He said that this was a great opportunity for us to renew and revitalize our own personal calling.
On Friday, Fr Michael Holman, an English Jesuit, guided us in a discussion on the Jesuit Priesthood. The session was very well appreciated. Michael blended personal experience with points from GC34 to give us a very balanced yet inspiring account of the Jesuit priest today.
Regular class has resumed. We had a reflection on the Christmas break. And then we had an evaluation of the Tertianship year thus far. The sharing was heartfelt and sincere. Most said that they’re living out the graces of the retreat, and that they now see things with new eyes.
In the evening we watched a very powerful film called Capernaum. It’s about the struggles related to child trafficking in Syria.
On 5th Jan we began a discernment on our tertianship experiments. This will carry on in the next week as well.
Tom took two reflective sessions on the Dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises. In creative ways he also got the tertians to ponder what were for them personally high points in the retreat.
Herminio Rico (POR), Socius to Franck Janin, did an informative two sessions with us on the Society in Europe. He presented statistics, and helped start a discussion on the state of the Society in these parts.
8th Jan night seemed the coldest night in Ireland this winter, with temperatures in Dublin dropping to a freezing -3 and -4 degrees C, while in some other parts it even dropped to -8 degrees C. The water in our little pond has been mostly frozen these days.
Over the weekend we also removed the crib and other decoration. The wise men have made their journey back taking another route. Liturgically we’re now back in ordinary time. Our daily Eucharist continues to be a time of spiritual enrichment.
At haustus Michele continues to surprise us with something new and inviting – this time it was a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream & Caramel Popcorn.
Michele also cooked for us a few Italian delicacies over the weekend – Lasagna, soup, pasta. We also watched the Italian movie, Nuevo Cinema Paradiso. Seemed quite an Italian weekend☺!
Ireland now started experiencing really cold and wintry conditions. We had light snow too on one of the days here in Dublin.
We watched a few movies during this period – ‘The English Patient’ was one of them.
On New Year’s eve we had haustus that went on way into the night. We sang for a long time and also said a little prayer together at midnight thanking God for the year gone by, and asking for God’s blessings on the year ahead.
A strict new lockdown (level 5) got imposed here in Ireland once again as covid cases kept rising. The covid vaccine is in sight though. We’re all hoping and praying for the best.
On 3rd night Michele cooked Lasagna for the community. This turned out really well, so much so that the chef himself was impressed and surprised to see how well it turned out.
We have also received news of Dublin now having a new Archbishop – Dermot Farrell.
We completed our 30-day Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, a beautiful journey with the Lord, on Dec 20 2020. After two days of brief sharing on our experiences, we are now preparing to celebrate Christmas.
With deep gratitude, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your great support and prayers for us during our Exercises. May the good Lord continue to bless you all, and grant you and your family a joyful grace-filled Christmas and a happy New Year.
For Christmas mass on 24th night and for lunch on the 25th we joined the Manresa community. This was live on zoom for a few people who are in regular touch with the retreat house. The mass was celebrated by Fr Mike Drennan. His short reflection was directed towards us all noticing Christ’s birth in the world today, especially in situations that need urgent attention. He urged us to live the spirit of Christmas.
Before the mass we sang carols just outside the retreat house. A number of people from the neighbourhood gathered to hear us sing. It was a lovely moment with them. And this was a first here at Manresa.
Lots else happened during the Christmas week and the week that followed:
The tertians travelled to Glendalough on 23rd Dec on a cold rainy morning. The place was beautiful though.
The tertians (a few days earlier) also visited Ardgillan castle, the National gallery of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire, and a few other locations. Lukas in particular was delighted to see the famous painting of Caravaggio at the National gallery. This painting was previously held in a Jesuit house in Dublin, and is now loaned indefinitely to the museum.
One day the tertians together cleaned the kitchen too.
Some of the tertians’ families and friends sent them sweets and other goodiesfor Christmas.
Some of the tertians became chefs for a day – Michele made some lovely Tiramisu for the community. Lukas cooked steak for the community. This was much appreciated.
We watched movies too during this period – Wolfwalkers (at Manresa house), Soul, and Dunkirk
We watched a music festival on TV of Irish performers performing traditional Irish songs.
We started having our noon meal with the Manresa community. This arrangement will carry on for some time. This has been an excellent chance to mingle with the retreat house community and talk with them about their ministry and other things.