Friday, 8 June 2018

Retreat at Hothorpe Hall

Two weeks ago attended the province retreat at Hothorpe hall.  The reflections by Fr Jose Louis Plascencia were rich and good (though listening to him read the talks word to word from the paper, in his heavy Mexican accent was not very enticing!). 

One of the main points of his reflections was the distinction he was drawing between manifestation and expression of love.  In the Salesian context of not only loving the young but also making them know that they are loved, Fr Plascencia was convinced of the need not only to merely express but manifest love.  During the days of the retreat it sounded something different and like a new insight.  However, going through the talks again the last few days, it did not really stand out as anything very different or special.  But another point of his namely that love involves not only giving but also receiving, even if it God who is the one loving, got me to some deeper reflection. 

Unlike our Hyderabad province retreat the retreats here are not in total silence.  In addition, after supper every night there is the 'social' event, wherein everyone sits with a glass of drink in the lounge together for a long casual evening.  Most of the younger confreres were happy to play football or tennis or table tennis in the afternoons and evenings.

However, those who wanted silence could very well make the whole retreat in silence.  At Hothorpe there was enough place to be all by oneself.  Located in a rural interior setting, the venue was very serene and beautiful.  I was happy to see cultivated farmlands after long.

The old stove in the Butler's room!  

Such plaques with quotes and text were placed all around the campus in the garden

The arch of trees just outside the main entrance.

In the neighbour's wheat field... this tree with its dried branches jutting out offered a quite a look!

(L to R): With Fr Tony Fernandes, Fr Andrew Ibrahim and Fr Saju on a boat ride at the Foxton Locks

Celebrating Br Michael Winstanley's b'day 

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