Posted September 18, 2014 in MH Robin Hood's Bay, England:
Notes From Near and Far: England

by Cheryl Ann Smith.

When I return from the directors’ meetings, we always take the notes from those meetings into a little retreat. This year the discussions and soul searching have continued beyond those three days.

The call to examination of conscience, repentance, and inner conversion was one theme that struck us.

Another challenge we heard loud and clear was to ask the Holy Spirit about specific situations and to listen for his answer.

For example: we suddenly had fewer people coming to stay with us. Visitors, retreatants, and guests sharing in our life have been so constant that it made us wonder…

But where we once might have wasted time thinking we were doing something wrong, we now just asked the Spirit to show us what he was saying. The answer came in our hearts. We all began to sense a call to delve more deeply into our Madonna House spirituality and to give more time for our family life.

When we are so busy, we focus our energies on service to our guests, but for the time being anyway, we had more time to read and reflect together on Catherine’s writings and the gift of her spirituality.

And with fewer demands and more "free time," we had to ask ourselves the following questions:

Do we see one another as "work," a burden, a duty? Do we allow distractions and "my needs" to fill the extra time available? Are we willing to pour our energy and heart into our life together and into our prayer?

As we each open our hearts to the Spirit’s probing, I sense a deepening of our family life. This quiet may only be for a time, renewing our hearts to embrace those who come, or perhaps the Lord is slightly shifting our apostolate here in Robin Hood’s Bay. He will show us.

Another word that struck us from the meetings was to have confidence in our Madonna House way of life and to share that treasure more with others.

This past weekend, we spoke to the Friends of Catherine, a local group which meets to discuss the writings of Catherine Doherty. As part of a yearly exploration of the Little Mandate,* we spoke about the line, "Preach the Gospel with your life—without compromise."

From that talk came two things: an invitation to speak to a regional prayer group about our Madonna house spirituality and the idea of giving a course on it in the fall.

P.S. OK: a confession. We all had a sense that the quiet might be quite temporary, and even as I wrote the preceding words, I had the feeling I might soon be eating my words.

Sure enough, we now have a number of people scheduled to come over the next few months. Most are seminarians and priests.

Listening to the Spirit is an ongoing thing.

*Little Mandate: A 3x5 card containing God’s words to our foundress, Catherine, a card which contains the essence of Madonna House spirituality.



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