Oblates Gather for Advent Reflection

Over 40 Oblates recently gathered at the monastery for an afternoon retreat led by Oblates Joanne Cahill and Barb Roseborough. Music was offered by Sister Jean Wollbert. The theme for the afternoon - My Soul in Stillness Waits - invited the participants to ask: What does it mean to wait? For what do I long? In particular, participants considered those times of waiting in life that are not planned and often not wanted: waiting for medical test results, waiting for drug therapies to work, waiting for relationships to heal, waiting for a wayward child to “come home”, waiting for death. Such times test our worst fears and limited trust, yet are ripe with the possibility for new growth. Such times invite us to yield and surrender to something that is not part of the plan. Such times are about our own ripening and unfolding into the hands of God.

“Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you...”
Isaiah 48:6

Participants were encouraged to consider these words at such times, to enter into the uncertainty of waiting, to let go of the illusion of control, and to trust. Group Lectio provided the structure for the Oblates to ponder the words of scripture and the text of their own lives. A review of other monastic practices such as silence and solitude, hospitality, community, creative work and leisure were also considered as the grounding needed during dark and uncertain times. Finally, the Oblates made a small manger - empty and waiting for the Christ-child, yes, but also symbol of their own deepest longings.

Contributed by Joanne Cahill, Oblate

Photo: (l. to r.) Oblates Sharon Mosher, Mary Jo McEvoy, Glory Piovarcy, Marlene Trambley, Joanne Cahill, Kathy Pforr, and Barb Roseborough.