Our Oblate team, geographically dispersed from Ontario to Western Canada, meets regularly once a month via Zoom. But once a year (except during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic), we meet in person for a weekend at Still Point House of Prayer, a six-bedroom house run by the Sisters of St. Joseph and located in Calabogie, Ontario, an hour's drive west of Ottawa.
Situated in the countryside, at a point on the Madawaska River, the air is fresh and the environment calm. In the midst of nature, the presence of the Creator is tangible.
This year, the team booked from Friday, July 21 to Monday, July 24. The fact that there were six of us meant that we alone occupied the entire house, and we were exempted from the rule of silence. Why so? Because we rarely have the opportunity to meet in person. Our aim was not only to pray, but also to socialize, to get to know each other more in person, and to strengthen our bond of belonging to the team and to the institute. Our theme for the weekend was "Back to our roots with the Constitutions." Each of us prepared a reflection on one of our Attitudes to Life. And we took turns leading either morning or evening prayer.
Leisure moments and time spent around the table were filled with joy and laughter. Meals were served by the plate, adorned with tiny wild violets and green leaves gathered from nature by the kitchen personnel.
This weekend was special in light of two major events: firstly, the team member from Regina, Saskatchewan came, so the team was together in person for the very first time. Secondly, after a two-year process, two of us changed our vow renewal date from December 8 to August 15, allowing, for the first time, the whole team to renew together and be each other's witnesses.
On the day of departure, each left with a joyful heart, thankful for the stronger bond created between us and grateful for this time of grace spent together.