June 8th – 9th
From its induction in the mid 1090s one of the constant annual event has been the ‘Headteacher Retreat’. It was a gathering that was always well supported and valued by our school leaders and other members of the Network that were invited to take 24 hours out of their busy lives and gather together at the Oblate Retreat Centre in Wistaston. It was a precious time and one that allowed each person to encounter God and to feed from the communal experience provided by the Edmund Rice family in England.
2017 was no different. Roisin set the tone for the retreat in her gathering prayer. The choice of speakers was thought – provoking and challenging. David Wells, a member of the Plymouth Diocesan Formation Team chose the to reflect on the on the time between the resurrection through to Pentecost drawing out the experiences of the early Church in meeting the risen Christ and then receiving the Holy Spirit and how it needs to be a lived experience for us today. He also drew on the writings of Pope Francis by way of illustration and guidance for us. In the evening Michael Lochery led us in a meditation which gave each of us a model of how we could use it in any situation both in school and in our own private lives.
Friday was an opportunity for prayer led by Tom Murray which was a thoughtful and absorbing as ever and then for Br. Martin O’Flaherty to link the life of Edmund Rice with the reflections from David Wells the previous day. The morning finished with a wonderful liturgy led by Fr. Brian, the Oblate Director of the retreat centre. We were all privileged to have the company of students and staff from St. Mary’s College who sang beautifully and gave an extra dimension to our Mass.
An event that gave us plenty of conversation was the UK election which took place on the first day. Some hardy souls managed to stay up overnight for the results and were the first to hear the shock news of a hung Parliament despite all the predictions to the contrary.
I was pleased to be able to enjoy the retreat without the responsiblity of the organisation and the ensuring everyone felt relaxed and at home. May I thank Roisin, Tom and Shelagh for all their hard work in preparing the time so well and to Fr. Brian and his staff for their hospitality and warm welcome.
O God, we thank you for the life of Edmund Rice.
He opened his heart to Christ present in those oppressed by poverty and injustice.
May we follow his example of faith and generosity.
Grant us the courage and compassion of Edmund as we seek to live lives of love and service.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.