Bishops' Interns Make Silent Retreat

Eight women and men in their 20s, who are undertaking a year's internship funded by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, have made their first ever silent weekend retreat at Loyola Hall.

Hailing from all four corners of the UK, the interns were led through a weekend of inputs and guided prayer experiences by their Spiritual Co-ordinator, Fr Dave Stewart SJ, chaplain at Heythrop College, and one of the Loyola Hall team, Fr Paul Fletcher SJ.

Five of the interns work for various MPs in Parliament; the others are working for non-government agencies: Caritas, CAFOD and the Communications department at Archbishop's House, Westminster.

As well as being introduced to St Ignatius of Loyola and Ignatian spirituality, the interns also explored discernment, ways of praying such as the Examen, review, imaginative contemplation, meditation and the application of the senses. Inputs also helped them explore ways to find God in all things and all things in God!

Silence was encouraged as a way of deepening their awareness of God within and around them - as a discipline of entering into inner stillness, and as a tool for disengaging from sounds and the intrusion of external 'noise' that comes from mobile phones or the internet.

"All found the experience of silence initially scary and daunting," said Fr Fletcher. "But by the end of the second day they were unanimously appreciative of the opportunity and experience to disengage from a noisy busy world albeit for a weekend. Some expressed a desire to repeat the retreat experience for longer and grow deeper in personal prayer."

Source: Jesuit Comms



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