Life in the convent continues to roll along as we find new ways to have fun together. Last weekend was out first Renewal Weekend at a cozy Franciscan retreat center about an hour west of the city. Il Retiro met all the usual retreat location descriptions in my head. When I go on retreat, I expect to drive a long time to some place I have never heard of on a two lane road that is winding and confusing. I expect to stay in a house covered in wood paneling and sit on a worn-out 70's era couch. And I expect to snack myself silly. Yup, we had all that this weekend. The cook outdid herself with gluten-free cookies, fudge cake, and even pancakes! It's a good thing we only stayed 48 hours, or I would have gained about 10 pounds.
The focus of the weekend was the results from our Myers-Briggs tests (I'm an INTJ, apparently.) Seeing our similarities and differences mapped out really helped foster some discussion and understanding. Just because people don't do what you would do doesn't mean they are crazy, they just process things differently.
For instance, no one else seemed to be thinking the same retreat-center monologue I was. As we drove through the trees past a run-down barn, everyone else's minds turned to .... horror movies! "Just wait, tonight we'll all get the urge to scatter in separate directions and then get picked off one by one." So, we spend a good part of our first night at Il Retiro hiding in dark corners trying to scare each other. It's not what I would have thought up, but hey, it was pretty fun. Different can be good.
I'm glad we didn't think to bring any DVD's, because it forced us to get creative. Besides the usual marathon Trivial Pursuit sessions, we played Sardines in the nooks and stairways of Sr. T's bunkhouse. (She was busy writing thank you notes on her Daughters of Charity notecards.) Nothing forces you together like being trapped in a closet in a spooky house.
Random songs lyrics have become another hallmark of VSC bonding. Jessica and I are the main offenders usually. She'll launch into something, and then I'll finish when she forgets the words. There is one song, though, that has lodged itself in everyone's brain. At least once a day, one VSC girl must turn to another and inform her:
"Girl, you can have whatever you like...YEAH" or
"I want your body(body), need your body(body)...to gather for group prayer."
It got so bad that Jess and I had to stop ourselves from singing the song on the way to visit the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope. Yeah, T.I. would not go over well in a real convent.
Our visit was great, and the real convent had the feeling of a calm spiritual oasis. I was touched when Sr. Rosalind ecstatically showed us their little chapel which had contained the Blessed Sacrament for three whole days. "Jesus is in there!" she giddily whispered before we peeked in. Over lunch, she revealed that she's also celiac, but has miraculously been able to receive a communion host ever since she visited Lourdes. Sr. Ros' unabashed love for the Eucharist reminded me not to take our own chapel for granted.
Shouldn't we all look toward our tabernacle and hunger for the Bread of Life? Shouldn't we say
"I want Your Body
Need Your Body
As long I got You I don't need nobody."