This was a bitter-sweet day. We had a great week and we all wanted to go home. Yet we did not want to leave one another and we certainly did not want to leave this beautiful campus and monastery.
Being the last full day did not mean being a slow day. We had our second Disciplinary Group. We had two Small Group sessions. All of them focused on the practical. That included saying good bye and deciding how we could continue this journey at our own institutions and how to make it useful. We also talked about how to maintain balance in our lives. I am a psychologist who focuses on disaster mental health, this is important to me. My students would say “self-care” is my mantra. It also fits in with our Benedictine setting.
Our final prayer group before Eucharist was our “Sending Forth” ceremony. Each Small Group went to the front of the chapel. The mentor then privately gave them a message, prayer or blessing and lit a candle they each held. Then the larger group raised their hands and said:
Let the effect of your blessing
Remain with your faithful people
Top give them new life and strength of spirit,
So that the power of your love
May enable them to accomplish what is right and good
It was a beautiful ceremony. We then had our final Mass celebrated by one of the monks.
Afterwards we had a social at the Monastery yards between the church and the Great Hall. That was followed by a wonderful banquet in the Great Hall. It was a time of good food, good wine, toasts and a chance to hear Parker talk about his wife, the sacrifices all our loved ones made so we could be here and then to hear him sing!
That however was not the end of the evening. After the banquet there was a bonfire. We all went to bed tired, after talking, laughing and gazing at the star-filled sky, it was time to sleep and then go home!
Parker, “The Ring of Fire” in the Great Hall