A dear friend reminds me occasionally that what she calls “nun-speak” or “sister-speak” is not clear to the average layperson. For example when we say “slide” meaning the cafeteria counter where food is set out for selection, all kinds of images may come to mind, but probably not the one that we intend. Come to think of it the English language is like that a lot—many words need context to give them clarity, and context comes from history and use.
So, to the subject of this blog… the word “retreat” needs clarification on both sides. When a sister or woman religious plans her “retreat” she is usually imagining a six or eight day week long time away from her ministry spent in silent prayer. Often this time is arranged for a group of sisters. The retreat may be preached, guided or directed. All of which can require definition as well. But the point is that the more common professional concept turned out to be a challenge to my sisterly understanding. Businesses and similar groups use the word “retreat” to describe a one day coming together of their cohorts for serious planning, usually at a place away. So when Centering Space offers a space for retreat, there can easily be confusion.
The fact is we can accommodate a simple spectrum of these different ideas. From the beginning individuals have come for their own quiet weeklong time away. Some choose to have a companion meet with them during this time; some bring books to read for the enrichment of their silence. The gift of our retreat space, because we are not an institution, is the unique space one has to encounter the Holy Spirit within. It is more intimate and personal than the average institutional retreat house. The limitation is that we can only accommodate up to three overnight individuals at a time.
On the other hand, we are also the ideal space for a small group “retreat” of colleagues planning their coming year. What some staffs can find too expensive to consider, can be welcomed at Centering Space with affordable and comfortable conditions.
We aren’t a retreat house, but we do offer the conveniences of retreat for unique groups and individuals in unique circumstances. You are very welcome to check out our space. Give us a call. We can chat about the possibilities.