Six members of my spirituality group spent three days at Loyola on the Potomac, a Jesuit Retreat House in Faulkner, Maryland. Loyola sits on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, surrounded by 235 acres of rolling woodland. To allow for Covid safety protocols, there was limited attendance at the program, which meant all attendees had a river view from simply furnished rooms — and thankfully included a half bath.
During the workshop, retreat leader Brother Mickey McGrath told stories using his prolific portfolio of artwork. The theme “Almost Home: Where Beauty and Justice Meet” featured saintly heroes, including Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and Thea Bowman. Brother Mickey’s presentation was interspersed with creative activities, so participants had opportunities to play with a bountiful selection of craft supplies.
From our vantage point on the banks of the Potomac River, Ginny, Kay and I saw “Sister” Eagle in a tree. Bright sunlight made taking a photo an act of faith — point, shoot, and hope for the best. [Blame the photographer for the tiny image.]
As we hiked up from the beach, we encountered “Brother” Snake on the trail. Kay described the creature as “Long – black – fast.” It didn’t like us disturbing its contemplation any more than we wanted to make its closer acquaintance. The snake saw us and executed an elegant U-turn, with all five feet quickly disappeared into the underbrush. Kay googled black snakes of Southern Maryland and confirmed it was a Black Racer.
After the program finished, happy hour started. Daytime creativity balanced by nighttime revelry. The retreat’s fellowship, fun, and food made for a winning combination.
© Joan S Grey, 14 May 2021 ∞
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