Staff Retreat

Aug 30, 2015

“Good morning, this is God.
I will be handling all of your
problems today.
I will not need your help,
so have a miraculous day.”
                               – Wayne Dyer

This little quote seemed to be the theme for me over three days of retreat at the Mount Saint Benedict Centre this August. Surrender to the quiet and listen.

I arrived at the centre with Sophie, my colleague, from Santa Maria College, Melbourne on the Tuesday evening. We decided to make the trip the day before so that we wouldn’t be rushing on the Wednesday morning. This turned out to be most fruitful.

We were greeted by Sister Meg and Monica after our drive from the airport and shown around the centre. We were shown our rooms and left to settle in. The library was near my room so after settling in I had a look around at the wonderful books and resources that were housed there.

I caught up with Sophie, had a cup of tea, chatted for a while, then after checking in with our respective families, thought it best that we head off for an early night. This proved to be the making of the retreat for me.

The next morning was chilly but bright and full of sunshine (note: Melbourne wasn’t). After breakfast I gathered together with the other participants, twelve in all. We began with prayer and the call to…

“love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”

After prayer we took turns at introducing ourselves. We all had such varying roles within our schools; lab technicians, teachers, administrative assistants, and learning support officers. There were those amongst us with many years of experience in Good Samaritan schools and those like me, who are new to the charism of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.

How did we come to be here? Some saw the advertisement in the staff newsletter and seized upon the opportunity for a little “timeout” while others were tapped on the shoulder, not quite sure why, or knowing what to expect.

Prayer Through Art Session

Prayer Through Art

What was truly great about the retreat was the space. While we were guided through a variety or activities there was quite a bit of time for quiet and time for our own reflection. I think this is why having the opportunity to arrive the night before the retreat started was so good, I had managed to begin to enter that quiet, leaving the worries of a busy school life behind. I was ready to listen and welcome what was on offer.

The days unfolded in much the same way; a short prayer and exploration of our spirituality – always through the lens of the Good Samaritan mission and Benedictine way.

“Let Peace be your quest and aim”

While each day was full, there seemed to be plenty of time for community; chatting, storytelling, sharing, laughing and eating. It is at this point that mention should be made of the great hospitality that was extended to all of us. We were welcomed, invited to pray with the sisters and provided with beautiful meals. It was around these meals and the pre-dinner gatherings that friendships were made.

Jeff and Helen
Jeff and Helen
2015 Staff Retreat Group

Staff Retreat Group

After three days away, arriving as strangers, uncertain of what lay ahead we parted as friends, members of a larger community. Maybe we will see each other again, maybe we won’t. There will be a connection, an inspiration to place the other at the centre, to make a place for the stranger at the table.

I hope we can all find quiet in our day to sit with God and listen.

 

 

Jeff Mifsud
Learning Support Leader
Santa Maria College, Northcote, Melbourne