Motherhouse welcomes retreat on mysticism
The Motherhouse September retreat masters invited all of us participants to practice mysticism. The title of the retreat was “Mystics in the Heart; Monasticism for the World.” Mary Ellen McElroy and Marty Lally offered 21 definitions of mysticism drawn from writings of Matthew Fox. The first definition is this: “The mystic is keen on the experience of the Divine and will not settle for theory alone or knowing about the Divine.” To this end they shared moments when they have met God.
They asked Martha Alderson, Johanna Brian, Susan Classen and Kathleen Vonderhaar to tell us of a mystical experience. The panelists’ accounts reassured us all that in some of our own intense moments we were indeed meeting God.
For example, we went for a walk in which some participants engaged with a tree or the cemetery. Pat Frueh writes, “I experienced being a mystic when after one session we were to talk to nature. I talked to a large tree in front of the cottage. It revealed itself to me in many ways.”
Kathleen Vonderhaar said, “I found it fascinating and worth my while because it was so unconventional, and I had to work at it.”
Pat McCormick offered, “In the midst of national and world discord, it was a privilege to set aside time, with guidance from Mary Ellen and Marty, to contemplate my and our communal journey toward unity.”
We entered into the experience in the spirit of retreat and felt the mysticism of all present.