Virtual retreat

I like going on retreat to Mercy Convent, a home for retired Sisters of Mercy. I’m fortunate that this place is about thirty minutes from my house. I wish I could go here every month. Honestly, I wish I could live here. The last time I was on retreat (11-15-14) I took several pictures so I could share the feeling of being there virtually.



The statue of Mary and Jesus is straight ahead
mary statue

The parlor where you will meet with the other retreatants is just to your left.

If you turn to the left of the statue, you are walking to the dining hall and the chapel. Pictures of those follow in a bit.

Turning to the right of the statue, you are walking down the hallway to your room.
main hall

On the way to your room. At the end of the hall is an intersection with some plants, a Pieta nook, and a display cabinet with Mercy history.

The hallway ahead is the A wing. The B wing is to the left, and the C wing is to the right.

This is looking down the A wing.
A wing

The Pieta corner is at the intersection of the three wings. It is nice to sit here at night.
pieta nook1
pieta nook2

One item in the display cabinet.

The TV room for the nuns. Off limits to the retreatants. Panning right. This is at the corner of the A and B wings.
TV room3
TV room2TV room

The stained glass windows marking the library. This is at the corner of the A and C wings.
library window2library window1

In the Library

Down the hallway of the B wing is the small chapel.
small chapel

The stained-glass window there.
small chapel glass

Welcome to your room.

The cross on the wall as soon as you open the door.

bedroom cross

The room. Most are laid out like this. They all used to be rooms for the retired nuns. After they “started going to heaven” as the director euphemistically says, members of the community asked if they could use the area for retreats. They said yes, as hospitality is part of their charism.
bedroom 3bedroom1

The pictures on the walls are different in every room. Some are similar. Many are of Mary and Jesus. There are usually about 4 pictures. These are various ones I’ve seen over my many times here.
bedroom art2bedroom art

Mercy rules

A close-up of the Mercy Cross.
Mercy cross

The bathroom.

Even your soap is friendly.

Your desk.

On the wall in the hallway near your room in the C wing.

On the way to the day room – handrails

The day room for retreatants is in the C wing.
little kitchenlittle kitchen2

Opposite the day room – an open porch. Don’t forget your key – you’ll never get back in otherwise.
open porch

Walking back to the dining room and chapel area.

Mary inside, near the dining hall and chapel. The dining hall is right, the chapel is left.
mary inside2Mary inside1

In the sacristy. A dispenser for Holy Water.
holy water1

In the chapel, just before communion. It wasn’t dark, but I had to play with the settings to get the stained glass windows to show up.


The aumbry, with key.


Random prayers in the Missal that I found interesting.

In the dining hall
dining room

The buffet line

The quiet area for dining for retreatants (also where the art supplies are)
small dining room

Art supplies for retreatants

The sun porch at the end of the dining hall – looking left

Looking right

Looking straight ahead

Go outside and see the yard.

A pan around the yard outside. Panning right.
yard2yard3yard4yard5yard6<a yard7yard8yard9yard10yard11<a

Mary outside
Mary3mary2mary1Mary feetMary hand

In the yard – a feather

Because it is winter, you can see the nearby farm with cows.

An interesting hackberry tree – note how it grows around obstacles. This is in the back yard.

An interesting bit of old tree with lichens.


Waiting for a hero

Maybe people are waiting for the Messiah for the same reason they are sick all the time. They think somebody else is going to rescue them. They think they don’t have to do anything about their lives. They stay children, stay passive, stay asleep.

They refuse to take care of their health, and then they are surprised when they have a chronic disease. They pray for a miracle. They expect the doctors or God to save them. How is this any different than how we live, waiting for the Messiah to make the world better? In both cases, the power is in our hands. It requires daily work made up of thousands of tiny bits of effort, not a sudden one-time push from an outside source.

Jesus didn’t want us to live like this, dependent, expecting others to rescue us. Jesus tells his disciples (that is us, by the way) that they (we) have the same powers he does. We are able to heal through our faith. We don’t have to wait for the second coming. We don’t have to wait for a Messiah.

God didn’t want the Jewish people to have a king in the first place. He didn’t want them to have a person over them. He didn’t want them to give away their power. They insisted, and God gave them what they asked for. Their history with bad rulers is well documented in the Bible.

The idea of the Messiah is that he is to be the best king. The interesting part is that Jesus came to do away with the idea of kings. He said to not have anyone over you but God. Jesus came to restore the true Ruler, who is God. Jesus came to erase the mistake of letting a person rule. Jesus came to erase all hierarchy.

Even Jesus doesn’t want to be in charge. Jesus isn’t going to come again to save you. Jesus came to tell you that you have all the tools you need, already, to do what needs to be done. Don’t think you are up to the task? He says you are. Just thinking of the possibility of making the world better is the tiny spark that is needed. It is the mustard seed.

Jesus says you don’t need to be saved. Jesus says you aren’t lost.