Area Director, Anthony DeLorenzo, shares about joining the Big Sky Spirituality Retreat in early June:
The Big Sky spirituality retreat took place the first weekend of June just outside of Bozeman, Montana. Two guests, Fr. Joseph Retzel and Fr. Bob Eriksen from Hays, MT, joined the Jesuit Volunteers for a weekend to reflect upon and celebrate the past year. For both the JVC Northwest staff and JVs, the Jesuits became a highlight of the trip as they started each session with a song and dance number with music from the 1940s and lyrics that had been rewritten to honor the volunteers!
Many of the schools where Montana JVs serve had finished their academic year, so for many at the Big Sky the retreat, this was also the first step in the process of wrapping up their year of service. The weekend became a sacred place to mourn leaving the year together, to pray, and to tell stories about the previous 10 months. The weekend ended with a beautiful send off of all the volunteers into whatever path their next steps take them.
Area Director, Danielle Bastien, shares about her journey north to join the Alaska JVs on their spirituality retreat in mid-June:
From June 15 – 18, all 27 Alaska JVs gathered at Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat on Kenai Lake for our spirituality retreat. We were joined by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, a spiritual director from Sitka, Alaska, who facilitated the weekend. Lisa provided tools and activities for contemplation, focusing on reviewing the year, but offering exercises that can also be carried forward to one’s personal spiritual practice. During the retreat, we practiced walking meditation, creating mandalas, centering prayer, dancing our prayers, silence, and journaling.
Every JV created a mandala for each of our four core values (spirituality, simple living, social and ecological justice, community), using words and images to represent their experience of the value, while the process of creating was meditative in itself. In addition to these spiritual practices throughout the weekend, we shared delicious meals together, celebrated mass, went hiking and to Seward, Alaska, and enjoyed some time around the campfire, listening to the talents of many of the JVs. Thanks also to Megan Bell, Mountain West Area Director, for accompanying us on the retreat.
To see more photos from the June Spirituality Retreats, click here.