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Recess: Play and Pray

November 10, 2014

Rosie Fiasche, a freshman at Dominican and first-year student leader in the Student Leadership and Ministry (SLAM) program, shares her experiences on the Fall retreat to the Sinsinawa Mound.

Over the long weekend in October, I went on my first retreat to the Sinsinawa Mound. It was not only my first time at the Mound but it was also my first time leading a retreat. It was an amazing experience. The theme this year was “Recess: A Mid-Semester Break to Play and Pray.” During this retreat we explored our inner child and how to find peace and joy as college students. We had a few sessions that explored different aspects of our theme.

Session 1 was Letting Go, where we reflected on what stresses and frustrations we experience, and we spent time focusing on how to let go. Session 2 was Peace and Joy – the fun session. We recreated the best parts of our childhood: singing, playing 1960811_10154788645480341_3764751873190113363_ooutside, making a craft, and we also had time to meditate and think about how to cope with stress. It was a time to let go and be a kid again. During my nature walk I started climbing and jumping off the rock walls around the grounds. It was fun because it reminded me of what I use to do as a child. I used to climb everything!

Session 3 was about Trust. A child often gives trust easily, but when we get older it is harder to trust because we might have had challenges that stop us. The session was special because we had time to talk to some Sinsinawa Sisters. They told us many stories of their time in ministry, which were so heartfelt and emotional. The stories I heard surprised me. Sister Nora Ryan told us of her work as a Chaplain in a hospital during the AIDS epidemic. I know there is suffering in the world, but to get a first hand account of it was moving. The Sisters talked about trusting God and how trusting God is a slow work, and it takes time. I thought back to a poem called The Slow Work of God by Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.


And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.


Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

     Humans are such impatient beings; we want things right here, right now. We cannot wait for our future to come, for our lives to begin. But the thing is, time isn’t going to go faster just because we want it to. One of the lines of the poem I found especially true was, “and it may take a very long time.”

As a leader, I saw great changes happening within our small group. It was inspiring to hear their stories. They weren’t afraid to let go, trust not only themselves but other people, and they were willing to find peace and experience joy. Above all, we had fun and that’s what we wanted to do. By the end of the weekend my face and stomach hurt from laughing and smiling all day. We created a community.10633485_10154788646435341_2893833582033804853_o

Do you think you can let go and move forward with a new destination in mind? Are you able to trust freely? Will you let yourself find peace and joy? Most of all, what can you do to receive this and pass it on to others?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Welsh, OP, Sr. Janet permalink
    November 11, 2014 2:16 pm

    Thank you Rosie!

    This is such a beautiful summary and reflection about your Mound retreat. Am so glad you loved our home! The Mound sisters are very special women –always an inspiration for me. Am happy you spent time with some of them.

    I especially appreciated Teilhard de Chardin’s poem, the Slow Work of God.
    Will keep you in my prayer and may you continue to play and pray as the semester draws to end!


    Janet Welsh, OP
    Director of The McGreal Center for Dominican Historical Studies
    Dominican University
    7900 West Division St.
    River Forest, IL 60305

    Phone: 708 524 6677
    Visit us on Facebook

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