by Elena Miranda, Associate
A sense of peace and serenity welcomed fellow Long Island/Queens Associates Betty Erdos, Helen Ogden, Mickey Madden, Ann Masters and me when we arrived at the tranquil and cozy house on the eastern bay for the weekend of May 20–22, 2022. Sisters Aileen Halleran, Maureen Murphy and Cathy Stare, who accompany the Associate group, warmly welcomed us. After two years of Covid-mandated delays, the retreat weekend had finally arrived.
Sisters Margaret Bickar and Betty Toohig arrived on Saturday to share their presentation on the art of listening. The Sisters brought folders filled with readings and exercises that helped the group connect with their message, but it was their honest sharing of their experiences—and even their own struggles with listening—that gave meaning to their words. As the day progressed, we all realized that listening, more than anything else, is a gift we give to each other.
Fr. Mike Vetrano joined us early Saturday evening to preside at Mass. He celebrated the Eucharist in front of the window overlooking Tiana Bay, adding to the mystique and beauty of the day.
After Mass everyone gathered around the big table for a wonderful dinner of chicken alfredo with pasta, cooked for the group by Ann Masters. The conversation was lively and joyful!
The weekend held special meaning for Ann. “This retreat,” she said, “was a revisiting of my seventh-grade experience at St. Barnabas School in Bellmore. My teacher that year was a new Sister (Sister Mary Bernadette, aka Sister Margaret Bickar) and she roused a spark in me, which was once again ignited at our retreat. Our Associate group felt the weekend once again provided relaxation and community while enlightening us on how we can be there even more for each other.”
Some Associates and Sisters returned home on Saturday, but a few of us were lucky to wake up to coffee and breakfast in front of the beautiful bay. The weather was perfect throughout the weekend, but the greatest gift was the time spent together in prayer and community. We all look forward to returning next year.