Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Big Silence

Recently I spent a week in North Wales on an Individiually Guided Silent Retreat.  I went to St. Beuno's, near Rhyl/St. Asaph.  Apart from being very close to a major road (the A55), it is a beautiful rural location, with plenty of opportunity for walking - as well as silence and prayer.  St. Beuno's is run by the Jesuits and so uses an Ignatian methodology which I found very helpful.

I wondered what it would feel like to be in silence for seven days, a new experience for me, but one that I found extremely helpful in centring myself for the next phase of ministry.

I met with Richard, my retreat director, for 20/30 minutes each morning and we were able to talk things over and Richard suggested Scripture passages that I might use as a basis for prayer and reflection.  Meals were together but with background music and no talking - and the idea was not to do any other reading.  There was a daily Eucharist and a shared time of silent prayer (half an hour).  Otherwise the time was for each retreatant to use on prayer, reflection and, as you wished, walking and/or enjoying the beautiful and extensive grounds. 

This method worked for me - it might not for everyone - and it reminded how crucial it is to give space to God.

St. Beuno's was featured in the BBC television series 'The Big Silence'.

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