HM Girls’ Retreat in Singapore, June 6th-10th, 2016.
Last month, the Servant Sisters led our second HM Girls’ Retreat in Singapore. The retreat was conducted over five days and four nights, at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A total of 21 girls were there, together with Sister Karen and Sister Rachel.
We began the retreat by watching the memorial videos of Sister Clare and Valeria, two of our six Sisters who passed away in the recent earthquake in Ecuador. Valeria, who was only 15 years old when she passed away, lived the words of St. Dominic Savio: “I’m in a hurry to be a saint, because I don’t know if I’ll have time.”
After watching the videos, Sister Karen introduced the theme of the retreat: I Prefer Paradise. She then gave the first talk on the Life of Sanctity. She reminded us that we need to exercise supernatural prudence and do whatever it takes to get to Heaven, our final goal.
The Sisters also gave formation talks on World Religions, the Life of Grace, Prayer, the 10 Commandments, Confession, Rules of the Discernment of the Spirits, the Last Four Things (Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and Judgment), Good Friendships, etc. Every morning, the Sisters guided us in a time of prayer with points of meditation.
One morning, we meditated on Mark 9:17. In this passage, the rich man asks Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him to fulfill the commandments, and then sell what he has, give to the poor, and follow Him. The Gospel is clear, but we often complicate our lives with unnecessary attachments. Our days also included Mass at the parish, and the rosary with songs.
We also had fun outdoors- playing relay games, having water fights, and playing basketball.
On the first night, we watched a documentary on the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. We discovered that many false notions about liberty, equality and fraternity had emerged from them. Three nights later, when the Sisters surprised the girls with a pop quiz, they were amazed at the girls’ understanding of the documentary.
On the other nights, we watched the “Passion of Christ”, as well as the movie on St. Philip Neri, titled “I Prefer Paradise”. St. Philip Neri was such a good man that he made us all desire to be good too. We hope that like him, we can die smiling after having fulfilled all God wants us to do.
Each day ended with an examination of conscience and Compline.
All in all, the retreat had a little bit of everything- spiritual formation, the sacraments, prayer, historical and cultural enrichment, games, singing and fellowship. The girls commented that they were surprised at the simplicity of the retreat, which not only deepened their faith but also gave lasting peace and joy. They left the retreat knowing how to apply what they had lived during the retreat to their daily lives.
It is true what our founder Father Rafael once said, “Holiness is not necessarily about doing big things. It is about reaching what you can reach, and giving a little more each day. You would be surprised at the level of holiness you can reach if you stay faithful each day.”