Waltham, MA, Sep. 3, 2015
We had a WONDERFUL time!!
We were told at the opening of the conference that it would be “Bertonian Immersion” – which it truly was.
1) excellent presentations by priests and novices on Bertonian history, prayer and spirituality – and
2) presentations from each of the 11 countries on the Lay Associates in each country (startup, current formation, activities etc
3) a field trip to Casa Branca for the grand tour, wonderful dinner, and a novena Mass…. a two hour liturgy that was breathtaking.
4). morning prayer in the chapel every morning before breakfast
5) daily Mass in the chapel every day before supper
6) wonderful food
7) wonderful accommodations (they ended up putting the three of us in the Provincial House – Fr. Nelton was in the Provincial room/office – John across from him – Ruthie and I were across from Br. Joseph’s room (he was away during this time – we met him only the last day)
8) and several evening ‘entertainments’ put on by those of with enough talent to do so. (the American delegation decided to stay in the audience!)
Everyone was very friendly…. people remembered Fr. Henchey, Tereza and Vicente…
There were 11 countries represented: Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, USA, Italy, Thailand, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Philippines & American. Thank God for the last seven I mentioned….. our common language was English so we got to know each other well. John knew several of the 4 Thai people (I had met one once) & some Filipinos – and three of the South Africa folk had been our bosom buddies five years ago in Verona (Fr. Daniel had taken us English speaking – after the conference – on that grand tour of Italy for a week.)
We were graced with another blessing: immersion in the Brazilian culture… because of assorting scheduling changes we ended up as the first arrivals and last to leave – therefore – at both ends, we were ‘one of the family’ ie eating our meals in the kitchen with Fr.
Nelton, the novices, the farm workers and female staff. (good sign language was the order of the day!)
Another blessing was that we were rested when the conference started, and then had some time at the other end to reflect on all that we’d experienced and learned.
I was amazed at the beauty of the complex – and how wondrously they’d designed it to ‘bring the outside to the indoors – and vice versa’ so that one lived enjoying nature and construction working in harmony… very impressive…
Ruthie was entranced by the parade of the cows who marched past our windows every morning, returned every night and sometimes grazed just yards away… then there were the beautiful birds…and, of course, the great kindness of every person at the complex – and the wonderful, wonderful food.
The trip down was without incident – and the long leg from Miami to Capison was only 1/3 full we could stretch out to sleep.
The return trip, however, was 25 hours. The plane was more crowded, we were delayed on the Tarmac by mechanical issues for three hours – missed our connection in Miami, etc etc…However, we praise and thank God for everything in every circumstance (I Th 5:17…. first principle of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius….and certainly the attitude of St. Gaspar! )
Oh, and yes, both busts of St. Gaspar arrived intact!
It was a great privilege to have been part of Stigmatine family these many years and we thank you for this.
Page and Ruthie
(and I’m sure I speak for John)