Fifty members of the Couples for Christ-Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) assembled at the Seminary, Mt St Benedict for their annual retreat, September 29–October 1.
The atmosphere was one of camaraderie, anticipation and devotion. The organisation of this event – accommodation, meals, lectures, discussions, testimonies, Holy Mass, confession and leisure showed evidence of thoughtful time management and empathy.
Five sisters and a brother lectured on ‘Emotions in Christian Life’, ‘Christian Life and Human Desires’, ‘True and False Humility’, ‘Guilt and Repentance’, ‘Righteous and Unrighteous Anger’, and ‘Fear’. Their presentations were well researched as they supported their exhortations with Old and New Testament passages.
Attendees emptied themselves of deep-seated emotions (repression/suppression) and shared their responses as the speakers analysed human desire versus Christian love; lack of self respect; self-worth and self-confidence; traits which reinforce freedom from fear; handling anger (a God-given human response to obstacles). The participants’ testimonies evoked tears as we were moved to do some soul-searching.
On the Saturday evening we celebrated the ‘Lord’s Day Supper’. This was followed by self-generated, communal activity – dance, poetry, song and modelling and ‘a good time was had by all’. The celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday brought the weekend to a fitting close.
The Handmaids express their gratitude to the ‘chef de missions’ Neil and Claire Peters; our Spiritual Director, Bishop Malcolm Galt CSSp; presenters Tricia Hudlin-Cooper, Barbara Wafe, Lisette Khan, Hazel Theodore, Claire Peters and Bro Colin Jackson CSSp, the seminary staff and seminarians whograciously endured our presence, and members of the preparation /maintenance teams. – A participant