Ursuline sisters, like most religious women and men, make a week’s retreat each year. People say, “silence for a whole week?,” but honestly, we love it. It’s a gift and not an obligation. I am just back from mine, made in a lovely hermitage in Indiana. The property was gorgeous: open fields and flower gardens, horses and alpacas, chickens and blue heron stalking fish on the pond. The setting helped settle me in body and soul so I could pause, be mindful of what matters, and listen to God. It’s a practice to incorporate into every day.
“We practice pausing to remember the sacredness of our names, who we are, and what we plan on doing with the incredible gift of our lives—and how we can learn to be in the midst of so much doing.” These words from Macrina Wiederkehr’s little book Seven Sacred Pauses are a description of living mindfully. She goes on, “all it takes is a simple pause to get us in touch with the One who keeps vigil with us.”
Every event, encounter and experience holds seeds of new life. Developing a habit of mindfulness, pausing for a few moments, opens eyes and hearts to wonders which are so often missed. “Each day we are summoned to be creators of the present moment,” Macrina says. Let’s not miss the opportunity!