The Director of Sumedha Centre, Fr. Jose Parappully, was invited to facilitate the annual retreat of the Junior Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at Maria Assunta Convent, Pune, from 12th to 18th May.
There were 20 junior sisters, their experience in religious life ranging from one to five years, some of them getting ready for their final vows.
Fr. Parappully presented the retreat as a desert journey, giving the retreatants opportunity to reflect over and pray about the various milestones and experiences on that journey. Process involved somatic meditations that helped body-mind-spirit integration, input on desert journey as both “Wilderness” and Paradise,” the unique journey through the desert of those committed to religious vows and the reason for that unique journey, namely, fascination with Jesus of Nazareth. Movies, songs and creative liturgies and sacred rituals also helped to enhance and deepen desert experience.
The retreatants had ample time to be by themselves in the “wilderness” to confront their inner demons, be with the “wild beasts” of Mark’s Gospel and to pray, experience “paradise,” be with the “ministering angels.”
The retreatants appreciated the “very relevant inputs” that “flowed seamlessly into one another”, and which “provided answers to questions and clarified doubts,” “ample time to pray” using “meaningful Scripture passages” that were given and “freedom to organise time” in the way they wanted. It was “a retreat quite unlike” the ones they were used to.
Appreciation from the Junior Mistress
"It was wonderful having you here with us. I want to thank you for accepting to give retreat for my Juniors. It had been a powerful, gracefilled, rich and healing experience for all of them. From their sharing I can see that they have gained an enhancing and rich experience. Many of them experienced complete healing of their back pain, cough & headache and for some emotional healing (of hurts, anger, fear and sadness) during the healing service you conducted and they happened to share this experience with me during their personal meeting. On the whole that was a powerful experience for all of them.
I too found lot of change in them and some have already began to practise their resolutions made. For me personally I found your sessions and topics were very rich (new perspective/meaning/concept) and relevant and you could come down to their level. I liked your well organised, methodical, reflective, effective and relevant presentation. You made it very rich, experiential, healing and personal.
So thank you for the personal interest you took to make the retreat days very meaningful, rich & enhancing."