Senior Reflections on Ignatian Retreats

Five Day“Going for the triple threat, are we?” Colleen laughed as we prepared to board the bus for the April Weekend Ignatian Retreat. She was right – over the course of my senior year, I have participated in all three of Georgetown’s Ignatian Retreats: the Prayer in Daily Life Retreat (twice!), the Five-Day Retreat and the Weekend Ignatian.

What draws me back? It’s difficult to put it into words – for me, no retreat was anythinglike the one preceding. Yet each time, I found myself transformed in some way by the great love that is God.

The Prayer in Daily Life retreat last October introduced me to Ignatian prayer. Timid at the start – you want me to imagine myself into Scripture? – I soon came to love my thirty minutes of quiet reflection with God. More importantly, I witnessed how these thirty minutes transformed my entire day. All of a sudden, I found myself being able to linger – to marvel at the sky in Red Square at dusk, to pick up a book of poetry at Lau that caught my attention, to let conversations with friends stretch on. By the end of those five days, I was hooked.

At the Five-Day Retreat in January, it was the silence that got me. Wandering the snow-blanketed grounds of the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, I could hear the whisper of God everywhere. As our skilled spiritual directors guided us through a series of meditations based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into the life of Jesus and the mystery of God’s overwhelming, unending and unconditional love.

It was this past April, however, that I realized what has been for me one of the deepest graces of the Ignatian Retreats – the community that they foster. Father O’Brien once remarked that one way we deepen our own faith is by witnessing that of others – by seeing how they live their faith in the midst of the beauty and messiness of their own lives. Hearing the reflections of the other retreatants, and witnessing God’s grace in their lives helps me to better see – and give thanks for – where He is working in mine. These moments of shared experience call and carry me back to Georgetown; ready to live out the graces of the retreat in the messiness of my own day-to-day.

To all those who make the Ignatian Retreats possible – thank you. To all those of you thinking about going on one – do it.

Katie Anthony (new window), COL ‘14

Mission and Ministry