It isn't easy to go on a real Franciscan retreat. First you have to find other Franciscans who are available all at the same time. Then, well, there are the usual arrangements to make of where and when and doing exactly what and for how long. And, of course, you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. (Who said that? Lincoln? I don't know.)
So, to make it simple, my husband and I usually just do the retreat in our own way together, just the two of us. We try to make it mostly in silence, but that isn't easy either. But we're getting better, I think.
This time, we're taking a few days before the Surrey writers' conference to spend time with friends and take care of a few Franciscan obligations while we're at it.
The best way to do a retreat is to go to a retreat centre, but we can't always do that. Maybe next time we'll go to the Benedictine monastery in Mission, BC, but this time we're just in a hotel.
We arrived in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon, after a 7 hour ride on a Greyhound bus from Penticton (leaving the house at 5:45 am, bus leaving at 6:20 am). We had time to book into the Accent Inn and then have a light lunch at our favourite restaurant. This was our home base for everything during our 5 night stay--including our retreat.
So, here's the retreat schedule you've been waiting for:
We began on Monday night with Compline.
Then in the morning, we were in silence except for private morning prayer, then a reading from a book called Reconciliation by Martin L. Smith SSJE, followed by silent meditation on the readings recommended there. At about 11:30 we went for "brunch" at the above restaurant, and hung out until the maids had done our room. We allowed ourselves to use this time to assess our retreat choices and schedule, and make adjustments. The rest of the day was spent in a similar pattern. At about 5:30 pm we said Evensong. Then, more readings from the book and more silent meditations. Supper at 7:30 at the restaurant, followed by more readings and silent meditations. Ending the day with Compline, again. More silence until the next day. It's not perfect, but we try.