A prayerful break for the province staff

23 people gathered at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales from 28-30 June 2019 for the first province staff retreat organised by the Jesuits in Britain.

The group was a mixture of lay staff and volunteers from a variety of works of the Jesuits in Britain – parishes, schools, chaplaincies and communities, as well as Jesuit Missions and Campion Hall – all of whom were invited to spend time with God, each other and creation over the course of the weekend.

The original idea came from Ruth Holgate, part of the retreat team, who suggested to do something for the staff similar to the weekends of the Friends of St Beuno’s. The format was indeed inspired by the one used for those retreats: inputs about the history of the Jesuits in Britain, positive psychology, and praying with art and creation were offered in between time for prayer and sharing with one another.

Pete from Saint Francis Xavier Church, in Liverpool, said: “I left St Beuno’s feeling encouraged, enlightened and valued. It left me wanting more… so much so that I’ve booked another residential retreat there independently! It was great to meet up with gifted people working with the Jesuits in Britain in so many different areas. The weekend and its input really helped with my own personal reflection, growth and commitment.”

Many of the retreatants were visiting St Beuno’s for the first time, and were in awe of the house and its surroundings, which provided the perfect location for the weekend. The overwhelming sense among the group at the end of the weekend was one of gratitude – for the opportunity to spend time in the peaceful and prayerful environment, and for the chance to meet and get to know their colleagues, including the retreat team.

Director of St Beuno’s, Roger Dawson SJ said, "I've been delighted by the feedback, a lot of which said there was a real sense of belonging and family, which was a wonderful thing to hear. We will definitely be doing it again.”

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