We were still en route to Perth (Scotland) and our eyes were already telling us that the days would be marked by the beauty of the valleys and mountains covered with green! Our house – St Mary’s Kinnoull Monastery – lies on the hill, just outside the city and is surrounded by all this beautiful landscape.
This is a retreat house with its own programme but is also open to groups or organizations wishing to hold meetings or training activities. It is here in this monastery that the first church dedicated to the Mother of Perpetual Succour was built. While we were there, a seven-week Sabbatical Course was taking place, and so, in addition to the religious community, we were given the opportunity to share precious moments with the approximately 20 course participants and also with our confrere Denis McBride who guided the sessions on Jonah and Jesus during the week. Amazing!
In between walks, table and prayer, these days were filled with good missionary conversations, in which futures were dreamt and projected. It would be impossible to tell all the stories we listened to, particularly during the evening drink time, from every member of the community. But we think we should mention the conversations we had with Charles Randall, now the Retreat House Director. He shared with us his views on the mission to which he was chosen recently and he talked about his dreams and the challenges that he will face in the future.
Every morning, at 8:00 a.m., the day opens with prayer in the chapel for 30 min: silence. Only silence. This is the motto for each day. This is the mission of this community. To offer silence. The city stays down there, the noise and rush of everyday life is left behind and there’s no loneliness. With our eyes set in the present day, reading the signs of the times, silence is the precious gift that the wounded world demands nowadays.
For those who read it from the outside it seems an easy and almost finished task, but Charles experiences silence as a permanent challenge. It is a mission that can only accomplished by a continuous conversion of the whole house to this mission. The same applies in programming, as well as the way the different lay collaborators go about their assigned tasks or in the way the religious community makes itself present. These are dreams that require a communion of all. This is the challenge: to have a house where peace and community are made available to the wounded world. A house willing to receive and offer an experience of community in which table and prayer are partaken.
During the brief time we spent there, we can say that we have received all this and much more! We have received a warm welcome by all the confreres and workers, we have experienced their high spirits, their openness and abundance of affection, we have shared the table and the Silence.
The story goes that when this Monastery was being built, the water supply was cut as a way to prevent the construction of a Redemptorist house in a place where the Catholic Church was not welcome. After several days praying on the site, one day walking through the hoods and paths of the hill our confreres found a spring. Water! They found the solution to the problem that had been imposed upon them! And that’s where we’re going to drink today. Through prayer and perseverance, allies opposed to the logic of the world, we will find the Life and Mission of this house.
We will pray for it.
We’ll see you around,
Zé ku Teresa