Archive for April, 2009

5:17 am

Triduum Retreat in Wales

Last year, I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the way in which the Triduum liturgy was handled at sv. Tomaš and speculated that I might opt for a retreat in an English-speaking country this year instead. Well, that’s exactly what I did: I went to St. Beuno’s, a Jesuit retreat house (excuse me, "Spirituality Centre") on the coast in Wales.

St. Beuno’s was originally built as a Jesuit college, and its main claim to fame is that it was home to Gerard Manley Hopkins at the time he resumed writing poetry.

The retreat started on Wednesday and ended Monday morning. The retreat itself was silent, though not individually directed. There was also an eight-day individually directed retreat (IDR) running almost concurrently that started on Thursday. Our group met every morning with the retreat directors (Angela O’Donoghue and Damian Jackson SJ), who gave us material and ideas for prayer for the day. There were about 20 of us in the Triduum retreat and similarly about 20 in the IDR.

The liturgies were really lovely. Quite simple, but very rich, and the materials that Angela and Fr. Damian gave us were well-chosen. The only downside was that, since there’s no parish community attached (although the liturgies were attended by a number of locals who apparently prefer St. Beuno’s to their own parishes), there was no one being received for Baptism or full communion. I did miss that. Indeed, it’s the main reason I’ve never done a Triduum retreat before.

The main entrance:

The rose garden must be lovely later in the year, but it’s rather bleak this time of year. My room was the fourth pair of windows from the left on the third floor.

Looking down from the garden:

The grounds are really lovely, too. The daffodils were in bloom for Easter.

There’s a Lourdes shrine in the garden:

They’ve started installing a labyrinth. It still needs work, but it is functional.

It’s not readily apparent from this picture, but there’s a chapel atop the little tree covered hill in the background:

Getting there requires crossing a sheep pasture. The sheep do not like being disturbed, though you’d think they’d be used to it.

The chapel:

And the interior:

The surrounding countryside is mostly given over to farms and pastureland.

The ocean is barely visible:

I may well go back next Easter (although perhaps for the individually directed retreat instead).

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