Annual Retreat for Faculty members 5 years and above at Manresa School
On July 19-20, 2023, the retreat for Faculty members who have been at Manresa for 5 years and above followed a consistent pattern. They were absorbed in profound prayer and immersing themselves in the word of God, they created an atmosphere of silence and reflection staying in corners and spaces in the Manresa ground where they could be by themselves, alone with God. Sr. Joji Silorio, F.I., their facilitator gave them insightful morning and afternoon input sessions. In the evening, they dedicated themselves to an hour of prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Manresa Chapel. The retreat ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided by Fr. Arden Dacuna, O.P. Preceding this, participants also had a small group sharing about their retreat experience.
Sr. Joji Silorio, the retreat Guide for Faculty 5 years and above...
Small group sharing
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
At the grotto...
FROM A RETREATANT'S PERSPECTIVE...IMPRESSIONS...
1. Ian Gabriel Rosales
The retreat allowed me to get in touch with my realities and to reconnect with myself and my God. Through the spiritual exercises, such as the scripture readings, I was able to rediscover God's ultimate purpose for me, which is to make Him happy by treating others as my brothers and sisters. Although the retreat revealed my unworthiness and weakness, it magnified God's unfailing love and mercy for me. With this, I'm grateful for this experience as it helps me to face this new school year with hope. Thank you, F.I. sisters, especially Sr. Jeck, for being a messenger of God's relentless love.
2. Ms. Lorraine Caronongan
The teachers' retreat couldn't have happened at a more opportune time as we teachers embark a new school year of challenges with so much faith, hope, and love in our hearts. It has been especially helpful to have current applications to the on-going events in our world, today. Knowing that God is always in our midst and we trust in the reliability of God's presence in our lives.
3. Mark Fillippe C. Pastor. SHS Science Instructor
The word “retreat” in a very literal sense has a negative connotation and is associated with withdrawal or fleeing. This is often in the context of battles or engagements, wherein one side is defeated and has to fall back to survive and recover. In our case, we view “Retreats” in a different sense. We all face battles on a daily basis, be it struggles in our family, in our friendships and relationships, or even from just the monotonous routines that we all trudge on through in our day-to-day lives. This can wear us down causing some discomfort; which may even demand its acknowledgment at certain points, causing us to feel tired, and question why we even do things in the first place, and in some terrible cases, affect us in such a way that things or activities that we previously enjoyed, seem to have the fun drained out of them leading to an unending spiral of fatigue and doubt.
Thus, a rest or a “Retreat” is necessary. It gives us a chance to withdraw inward and evaluate how we really are. The question “How are you?” is often asked on a daily basis, mechanically at times to the point it has devolved to just a mere greeting/ formality. However, hearing “How are you?” during a retreat is something that carries a different weight and meaning than the mere pleasantries we associate it with during a normal day.
When Sr. Joji Silorio initially asked this question in the opening session I initially shrugged it off as a mere greeting to break the ice and get the session started, and yet, as she continued with her discussions during the session as well as the time given for personal reflections, the depth of that sentence seemed to be slowly revealed as the atmosphere of the venue and the guide questions given directed me towards a state of contemplation wherein I finally have an opportunity to reevaluate my life, not just for what I want it to become, but for how it currently is. The time for reflection gave me a chance to contemplate deeper as at times I am often distracted and distraught on what I want my life to become, I lose track of what I have already accomplished, as well as the people who helped me get to where I am now.
This contemplation has brought on a certain sense of clarity as we often do not get to reflect given the myriad distractions of the every day, be it the deafening noise of the metro, to the hustle and hassle of the commute to and from work, or even from the mildest annoyances we may experience (like running out of spare change for fare, or the neighbor’s dog peeing on your doorstep again), these can cause us to lose focus on what is important to us and eventually spiraling to a burnout.
The times given to contemplate and reflect were very helpful, along with the group sharing sessions which did give me a chance to see life from the perspective of others and to learn what I can from them. Sharing my own experiences of life was initially a bit uncomfortable for me, but I came to realize that sometimes having a platform to share grievances while hearing what other people go through as well as reassuring, as knowing you are not alone with your struggles brings some comfort.
Overall, the retreat was quite pleasant, and if I were to choose one phrase to remember, it would be: “Be still”; as “Being still” isn't the same as doing nothing, “Being still” gives us a chance to reflect and contemplate on how to face the next challenges with a clear mind and an open heart.