We, the young “Daughters of the Holy Spirit” nuns who had come to France to discover the Sources of the Congregation, began our retreat on 15 August 2023, a special day in the Catholic Church throughout the world on the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After taking part in Mass at Plestin-les-Grèves in the chapel of the Ehpad (Etablissement d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes) where our elderly sisters are based, we headed for the place where we were to make our retreat: Ile Blanche, a guest house surrounded by the sea…. where, no doubt, the Spirit was waiting for us to meet.
The retreat, led by Sister Françoise Lelièvre, took us on a journey of discovery and reflection from the very first day, with Jesus’ question in the Gospel of Saint John 1:19-39: “What are you looking for? Who are you looking for?”
On the second day, as in John 1, 40-49 Jesus called his disciples for a special mission, the Spirit made us see that by living out our baptismal promises in the religious life, it is He who also calls us, gives us companions and sends us on Mission.
The third day was a journey of reflection on community life and consecrated celibacy. Our eyes were opened to the love that excludes no-one – essential in religious life. That day we also took part in the sacrament of reconciliation as a way of reconnecting with God and with others.
On the fourth day, the Spirit led us to become poor and to share, a call to avoid over-consumption and the accumulation of material things. So, in our sharing, we must take care to hear God’s voice inviting us to solidarity in the midst of the world’s demands.
On the fifth day, we were called to examine what characterises us as Daughters of the Holy Spirit, that is, the spirituality of the Congregation as set out in Article 3 of our Rule of Life: “Even today we draw from adoration of the three persons of the Trinity and docility to the Holy Spirit the love that makes us live in the Church and serve our brothers and sisters”. May we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, through us and with us.
The beautiful surroundings, the high and low tides of the sea, accompanied us and helped us to reflect and pray.
On 21 August, we took stock of our days: sharing our experiences and the graces we had received, we were filled with thanks and praise. The Holy Spirit truly blows where He wills!
OLAWOYIM Busayo, DHS. Published on 24 August 2023