By Marty Carraro | A 1969 graduate of Flaget High School and a recent member of the Xaverian Associate Program.
On Saturday, August 5th, the Louisville Xaverian Associate Group gathered for their Annual Retreat. The 13 Associates and 10 retired Brothers enjoyed the day together sharing ideas on spirituality in the context of Xaverian history.
After beginning with prayer and 30 minutes of socializing with coffee/pastries, the group participated in a most unusual introduction experience. The participants did not introduce themselves but were introduced by someone at their table after a 10 minute meet and greet discussion. This started the day in a very warm and creative way that carried throughout the retreat. It was a more effective introduction than standing to talk about one’s self.
After the introductions the group was inspired by two presentations that were historical journeys through the life of Xaverian Spirituality followed by table discussion which included everyone having the opportunity to share his/her experience of Xaverian Spirituality.
The first presentation was given by Alice Hession, former Director of the network of the 13 Xaverian Sponsored Schools. She probably knows the Xaverian Brothers better than any other non-Xaverian Brother. She spoke of numerous Brothers who influenced her, especially the way each Brother was able to develop his own personal spirituality but done in the context of community.
Ms. Hession spoke about her “blic” moment (blink of an eye) where she knew the Holy Spirit was speaking to her. Her presentation proved to be an emotional out pouring of several personal moments in her life that were unexpected infused moments of grace. Then everyone at table was invited to share moments in their lives when they were touched by Christ, often in the ordinary flow of life.
Later, Brother Ward O’Connell (65 years a Xaverian Brother), spoke about the history of the Brothers’ emphasis on the “Dignity of a Person” and the personal humility which are cornerstones of Xaverian Spirituality. His reflections on the importance of the Mass were very helpful. He listed three reasons for attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist:
- God commanded us to
- We go and share with others, the community
- It is a preview of what heaven will be
Wrapped in his presentation were the importance of “Balance”
And “Accepting” as a way to live our lives.
Experiencing how the Associates related to the Brothers and vice versa, it was evident that the Associate Program is alive and well.
The Program concluded with a short discussion concerning more gatherings for the fall and the hope that there would be another retreat in August, 2018.
We then prayed over a delicious meal flavored by more sharing.