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Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Report on the Retreat in Daily Life Program

by Tina Mossessgeld

The Retreat in Daily Life Program for the cycle 2004 – 2005 was launched on September 4, 2004 with the first of two prayer workshops at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Out of the 81 applicants accepted into the program, 79 were able to start their retreat. The women outnumbered the men retreatants 3 to 1. Their diverse backgrounds – young professionals, members of charismatic renewal communities and communities inspired by St. Ignatius, Ateneo alumni, senior executives (both retired and active) – and the wide age range (22 years old to 71 years old) proved to be a challenge in matching the 51 retreat directors guiding the retreatants.

The RDL Directors

20 Jesuit scholastics, 9 Jesuit priests, 16 lay persons, 3 religious sisters, 2 religious brothers and 1 seminarian (later ordained as deacon)

Retreatants’ feedback as of October 2, 2004

The majority of the 58 participants found the RDL to be generally life-giving, enriching, inspiring and encouraging. Many experienced God’s deep love for them in prayer, found their prayer more affective, and experienced themselves moving to a listening stance in prayer. A good number also said that they experienced peace, comfort, and gratitude in prayer.

Difficulties and Distractions

The most frequently named difficulties are finding the time to pray and being faithful to it; distractions such as one’s daily activities, concerns and workload, and attaining and maintaining focus in prayer. Some of the retreatants also mentioned physical stress or tiredness, not knowing how to pray with Sacred Scriptures and persevering in prayer. These difficulties are not surprising from people who are beginning their retreat.

Retreatant’s feedback as of November 2004

The frequently given responses to how they are finding the RDL at this point are: illuminating / enlightening/ revealing; readings are very helpful, good, enriching, fruitful, freeing and increased desire for prayer, for God. The majority (64%) was pleased with their retreat guides and said that meeting with the retreat guides was most helpful. The retreat guides were able to help them become aware of significant movements in their prayer and relationship with God that they were initially unaware of. What was least helpful was the inability to keep regular prayer time due to busy work schedule.

Problems with retreat guides

Mostly, the problems arise from the difficulty in finding a common time to meet.

Update as of February 13, 2005

28 have completed the 18th annotation retreat while 31 are continuing their 18th or 19th annotation retreat. 10 have discontinued the retreat while the status of 10 retreatants is unclear or not yet reported.

Some retreatants wrote us to share the fruits of their RDL experience. CIS also requested a couple of retreatants to write about their experience. The excerpts of their sharing below bear witness to the transforming power of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.


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