offers alternatives to holiday rush
While much of mainstream culture revs up for the holidays, December is one of the quietest months at the Monastery. With fewer guests, the monastic community embraces quiet anticipation of Advent.
“It’s a dark time,” says retreat facilitator Sister Lillian Englert, “full of wonder…the sun begins to set at 4 p.m. and fills everything with pinks and deep blues – the colors of Advent.”
Along with these traditional Advent colors, the great Advent wreath is hung in the Monastery chapel. The Community schedule is cleared of extra activity as everyone enters the time of waiting for Christ to enter the world.
“Waiting and wonder!” exclaims Sister Lillian. “What better time to do a retreat? Sometimes people think they can’t afford the time away from Christmas preparation but once they get here, they realize they gain so much more about the meaning of Christmas. The retreat prepares the heart, prepares the ground for seed to grow.”
The Advent retreat, “Silence the Christmas Noise,” runs from December 1 through 17. Within that time, a person can customize a retreat that fits his or her schedule.
Similarly, all are invited to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve at the Monastery in serene contemplation of the year that's past and the year that lies ahead. In “First Night: A New Year's Reflection,” participants will bring in the New Year with candlelight and bells and have the opportunity to reflect on the past year and as well as hopes for 2013. Join the Sisters for supper followed by an evening of reflection and prayer. Share in a New Year's Day Mass and dinner with the monastic community.
With all of the many options for holidays, the Monastery offers the possibility of quiet and contemplation. Learn more about the “Silence the Christmas Noise” and “First Night” retreats at www.Spirit-Center.org or call 208-962-2000.
The Advent Wreath in the chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.