Semi-Annual News from the Retreat House
A Letter from Fr. Ronald J. Boudreaux, S.J.
Dear Friends in Christ,
A Jesuit assignment is not meant to last forever, not even for long. Regardless of how successful we are or not or how comfortable we are in our work, there will always be time to move on. That is very much a part of religious life. Now, it is my turn to move on. Since 2007, I have served here at Montserrat Retreat House and hope that God has used me to do good here. In July, I will be reassigned to be superior of the Xavier Center in Denver. This edition of our newsletter allows me the opportunity to bid adieu to the friends I’ve made during my time here.
I had never preached a full retreat before I arrived in 2007. But I did know something about people and their desires. After all, the deepest human desires are pretty common across the board, I think. We all want to know that we are loved; we all want to know that even though we will die, we will also live on; we all want to know that in the end, things will work themselves out even if we are not in charge.
For the last several years, I have tried to strengthen that hope in our retreatants. To quote Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” I have tried to lead people to a better place in their own lives, simply because I am convinced of the greatness of God’s love for humanity in general and for each one of us individually.
You have entrusted to me stories of your lives, whether they be stories of joy or sorrow or pain. You have given me a better sense of your day to day struggles and of how much we all must depend on God to see us through. I have learned from you the bright and darks sides of human nature. You’ve taught me how very difficult life can be and how wonderful. Through it all, I continued to see God at work in every moment and in every person. That has been a source of my joy here.
I leave Montserrat giving thanks to God for having allowed me to experience true friendship in so many different ways and with the hope that I have been an instrument of God’s peace for all of you. All good things do come to an end; only the love of God endures. Thank you.
Ronald J. Boudreaux, S.J.
Montserrat’s Annual Giving Campaign
“A place for respite and renewal in my relationship with Jesus Christ.” This is a very common response from individuals to the evaluation question, “What would you tell others about your retreat at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House?” Since 1959, we have been able to provide a place of “peace, beauty, and spiritual growth” to you and other retreatants.
As we continue our Annual Giving Campaign and conclude our Fiscal Year on June 30, 2016, to date we have received $209,000 in pledges and donations to the Campaign with an established goal of $250,000. Montserrat is the beneficiary of a $50,000 grant from The Catholic Foundation with a portion of the grant from The Roper Fund designated for the renovation of St. Ignatius Chapel. Montserrat is also the beneficiary of a $3,000 grant from The Scanlan Foundation to be used for Financial Aid for retreatants. We are very blessed by your support and assistance.
As the renovation of St. Ignatius Chapel is near, we are in need of your help to continue to provide this spiritual sanctuary, where you and many other retreatants continue to receive instruction by the Retreat Director, administration of the Sacraments, deeper spiritual growth, and a greater prayer experience. To date, Montserrat has served approximately 112 retreatants for Silent Ignatian Retreats, who are financially unable to afford the spiritual food which Montserrat has provided to many. Through the assistance of the AGC-Retreat Scholarship Fund and the grant from The Scanlan Foundation, we have been able to provide financial assistance to a portion of these 112 retreatants, who either cannot afford the full retreat offering or can only afford a portion of it. Please consider your retreat experience and the effect it has had on your life, as you consider being part of Montserrat’s Mission to “bring the transforming Good News of Jesus Christ to individuals and society.”
|Summer - Winter 2016-2017 Retreats|
|#20 Men: May 19-22||#03 Men: Jan. 12-15 (2017)|
|#42 Men: Sep. 15-18||#05 Men: Jan. 26-29 (2017)|
|#50 Advent Men: Dec. 1-4|
|#28 Women: July 21-24||#46 Women: Nov. 3-6|
|#39 Women: Sep. 8-11||#07 Women: Feb. 2-5 (2017)|
|#44 Women: Sep. 29-Oct. 2||#10 Women: Feb. 16-19 (2017)|
|Open Retreats||Retreats for Special Audiences|
|5-Day Individual Directed Retreat: June 2-7||#33 Para Hombres, Mujeres, y Parejas: Aug. 5-7|
|8-Day Individual Directed Retreat: June 8-10||#04 AA Women: Aug. 19-21|
|#95 Open 2-Day: June 17-19||#02 AA Men: Jan. 6-8 (2017)|
|#98 Open 2-Day: Aug. 12-14|
|#96 Couples: Nov. 12-15|
|#99 Open 2-Day: Dec. 5-7|
The Mission of Montserrat Retreat House is to bring the transforming Good News of Jesus Christ to individuals and society.
· Our work is anchored in and grows from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We realize our mission primarily by offering silent retreats. This experience, culturally and ecumenically sensitive, helps establish and sustain the spiritual life of men and women.
· Montserrat's mission is also realized in the work of the St. Edmund Campion Jesuit Spirituality Center which offers programs and retreat workshops for the serious disciple, and those working in ministries in the church.
· We make the facilities and services available to the local churches for use by groups of Catholics and those of other faiths.
The Jubilee of Mercy by Fr. Anthony Borrow, S.J.
The Jubilee of Mercy is a time to celebrate God's loving mercy. Mercy is rooted in the heart. It literally means a type of heart suffering. When we reflect on God's mercy, it points us to a profound experience of the God who creates and sustains our being. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius encourages us to imagine the Holy Trinity looking down and seeing the many ways people suffer and fall into sin. The Trinity determines that the best response is to send Jesus into the world to immerse himself in this human endeavor. They embrace the whole of humanity, in all of its diversity: the joys and pains, the sick and the healthy, from birth to death. In looking upon this reality, they say “Let us work the redemption of human kind”. God's response to human frailty is the person of Jesus who comes to embrace all that is human through his incarnation. In becoming flesh, Jesus reveals God's mercy to sinners by actively seeking them out to bring them healing and forgiveness so that they may be reunited with their community.
We are called, at all time, but most especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, to imitate Jesus in bringing the transforming Word of salvation to all people. This year is a special opportunity to look upon our world and to see the wounded, the suffering and the division among us. We are invited to let that painful reality touch our hearts and move us to determine how the Spirit continues to call us to respond with loving mercy to the often sinful reality in front of us and to labor with Christ in bringing about the healing and redemption that characterized His life and led him to the Cross.
This heartfelt concern for all of suffering humanity is what Pope Francis invites us to consider in Misericordiae Vultus as he writes “How many uncertain and painful situations there are in the world today!” He invites us to bring healing and to “cure them with solidarity and vigilant care”. We are called to avoid indifference and cynicism about the challenges we face. As Christians, we are filled with hope and courage to look at the misery in the world but to see God's redeeming work taking place as we reveal Christ's presence through the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In this spirit, let us feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. Pope Francis also reminds us to “not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead”. In doing so, we give witness to the loving mercy we have received by imitating Him whose heartfelt suffering has brought and continues to bring about our redemption.
Here at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, we labor to help foster this heartfelt encounter with Jesus who labors to heal and redeem our world. Jesus asks us to remain in Him and to allow His love to remain in us. May we continue to live in and share this merciful love with one another.
Reflections on “Care for Our Common Home” by Fr. John Payne, S.J.
“On Care for Our Common Home” provides the English title of an official document of Pope Francis known as an “encyclical.” The original title “Laudato Si” which means “praised be you, Lord,” comes from a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in exuberant praise of the Lord of Creation. This English translation captures the broadly inclusive concerns of Pope Francis calling everyone and especially Catholics to a deeper sense of adoration of God, appreciation, wonder and care for other species, other people—particularly the poor—and the earth itself. He means this teaching to have the highest level of authority as an integral element of living as faithful followers of Christ.
Naomi Oreskes, a professor at Harvard and an astute analyst, thinks that “On Care for Our Common Home,” so convincingly addresses the urgent issue of ecology at every level that it can affect the kind of change that Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for slavery in the 19th century and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring did for the initiation of environmental protection over a half-century ago.
Pope Francis does not present himself as a professional scientist. However, the evidence he offers as a context for thinking about the whole sphere of life constitutes irrevocable proof that an ecological crisis already exists. The issues of biodiversity, safe drinking water, climate warming, the growing divide between rich and poor destructively converge to poison the nurturing earth, other species, human relationships and our sense of gratitude to God for His splendid gifts in creation. That crisis threatens to lead to a hoarding mentality and violence if not checked. He writes of “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (no. 49)
From a spiritual vantage point, we believers have to abandon any selfishness that recklessly abuses the creation that flows with innumerable blessings to us. Our lifestyle needs to be scrutinized for all excess that contributes to the needless depletion of resources meant for all of God’s living creatures—our fellow humans and our animal companions on earth. Clearly Pope Francis thinks the mantra, “less is more,” applies to those of us living in the developed world.
The connectedness of all creation asserted pervasively (nos. 70, 91, 92, 117, 120, 137, 140, 142) demands that the realms of religion, science, economic systems, and political life engage in dialogue and support for what protects the welfare of the earth and dignifies all life on it. Simplistic and naïve assumptions or greedy rationalizations that justify the ravaging of nature for mere expediency constitute sinful exploitation. Humans, influenced unconsciously or by unbridled desire for gain, can be guided by a “technocratic paradigm” (no. 106) and pursue objectives that are temporarily workable but selfish and sabotage the common good.
Pope Francis seeks cooperation on an international, national, local and personal level to address the ecological crisis. He practically recommends that“we avoid use of paper and plastic, reduce water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonable be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transportation or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off lights, etc. “(no. 211)
The Pope realizes that God wants a change of heart and behavior and only grace can enable that conversion. (no. 217) We need to pray, listen and act.