Thursday, July 3, 2014


I am winding up Week 1 of my 30-day Ignatian Spiritual Exercises  at the magnificent Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass. Every day has been action-packed.

Gull watching. Wave pondering. Napping.

Even so, I feel like I am always barreling through the halls and grounds, ratcheted up to warp speed while the other retreatants prayerfully, mindfully, move at barnacle pace and write thoughtfully in their journals.

Notwithstanding, I feel a deep and affectionate bond toward the folks with whom I'm sharing this experience in silence. Up by 5 most days, I've come to know all the other early birds, spread out in the dining room with our coffee, gazing silently out to sea.

Whether I'm wandering the outdoor Stations of the Cross, clambering over tidal lagoons, or hanging clothes on the line to dry in the bright ocean air, some other welcome, comforting human presence is almost always close by.

We gather each afternoon at 5 for Mass. Yesterday the delightful Rev. Harry Cain, S.J. presided and I learned, among other things, that I've been pronouncing demoniac (t's de MONE ee ack, not deh mone I ick) wrong all these years.  

Current reading includes Zbigniew Herbert's Still Life with a Bridle,  Carlo Carretto's  The Desert in the City, and James Martin's Jesus: A Pilgrimage. The library also has lots of interesting picture books of Gloucester after hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and crippling blizzards.

the window seat in "The Fireplace Room" where Mass begins each afternoon at 5.

I mean come on, right? this is just one of many such beautifully-appointed rooms
the breezeay connecting the main house to retreat wing.
diet cokes for sale ($1) in fridge at opposite end
St. Ignatius of Loyola in a niche
the view from my window on a foggy morn
the wall my me bed. I noticed Jesus had some dust on His
pore head so I got right up there and groomed Him.
wildflower bouquets--a big plus
hi, I need some spiritual direction!


  1. Ooohhh, that selfie at the end is my favorite! The cross is beautiful too and takes second; but I figure the latter contains and expands the former quite admirably...

    1. Now that is just the kind of connection I look for! Me and the cross...One of my favorite all-time Gospel passages today: "Healthy people don't need a doctor; sick people do....I came to call not the righteous, but sinners"...Thanks for accompanying me on my journey, Paul and Nonnie!

    2. Thanks Heather! Actually, this is Dave A. who has emailed you recently. I am the 6th child of 13 kids and was born 4/29/69. My dad, after the 5th child told my mom we should not have any more kids to which she replied he could go scratch if he wasn't going to be a responsible parent -good Irish stock, my mom! He is a good man a decided she was right.
      So if you do the math, i was conceived during the week (maybe the exact day) of the promulgation of Humanae Vitae. My simple mom, who is by no means simple in worldly terms saw the connection and gave my middle name after the great Pope Paul VI, who steered the Church through the murky battles against abortion and contraception!

  2. is the time going by as fast as it seems to me the reader? I admire and rather envy you for this retreat. thanks for sharing

    1. Yes! In fact, the days go by even more quickly than they do in the middle of L.A., go figure. We had an exciting flashes-of-light storm last night and this morning I was up at 4:45 to watch the sunrise....

    2. I love electric storms...! All i can see in them is God's powerful beauty. My daughters, all 4 of them, disagree. Thankfully, my only son (15 months) is in full agreement: the louder the bang the more he laughs! As long, that is, as he is tight in my arms

  3. Liked your photo view from my window on a foggy morning. Brings to mind the quote - We walk by faith and not by sight.

  4. Your blog posts appear to be helpful for readers, but ought you not be forgetting us for three more weeks so that you can go deeper into the Lord ?

    1. Probably, but I'm so shallow I'm afraid my stats will plummet. Thank you, all you dear folks who sustain and encourage me!

    2. Heather, of all the things you may or may not say about yourself, shallow is not one you can affirm

  5. Thank you ..I count on your writings to inspire and ground me, and they do. Kate

  6. There's a great anecdote about Fr. Alfred Delp, one of my heroes, who was imprisoned and executed by the Nazis basically for being a Jesuit. At one point the Nazis were brutally beating him while calling him a liar and he thought, "Father, why are you allowing me to be subjected to this terrible treatment?" Then he thought some more and started realizing, "You know, I actually AM kind of a liar"...And I actually am kind of shallow.

    Nonetheless, I can hardly describe the depth of my experience here. And still 20 days to go. Again, thanks to everybody for the good wishes and concern.


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