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Covenant Companion March Retreat

Reflecting Together On Our Journey

The morning weather was nasty but that didn’t stop 21 Covenant Companions (CCs) from gathering for an in-person retreat on March 25 to examine and renew their covenants to the Wheaton Franciscan community. This year the CCs took a different approach to revitalizing their annual commitment statement, convening as a group to share how they want to live the CC way of life.

The morning opened with contemplative exercises led by Al Gustafson, a spiritual director who leads retreats on contemplative prayer (or “play,” as he called it). During the afternoon the CCs shared symbols of their covenant, discussed their joys and challenges in small groups, and created a mandala reflecting their CC experience.

People were delighted to be together, describing the program as inspiring, contemplative, relevant to their daily life, and strengthening a sense of “we” in the CC community. Some favorite moments included the small-group sharing:

Al Gustafson leads the CCs in a morning of quiet contemplation.

“The sharing of our covenant in small groups was meaningful and valuable to me”

Attendees expressed dimensions of their CC commitment through mandala art.

as well as the exercise where individuals were encouraged to behold with respect items commonly found in nature, such as rocks and bark. This quiet gazing led to moments of prayer and intimacy with nature and the Spirit.

Throughout the day participants visited the art table and added their own personal images and words to a group mandala expressing the CC way of life. The finished mandala will be framed and presented to the Regional Leadership Team as a symbol of renewed commitment by the CCs.

In a touching closing ceremony, CCs blessed each other, one by one, with the words of St. Clare in her second letter to Agnes of Prague:

“May nothing prevent you from offering your covenant to the most high in the perfection to which the spirit of Christ has called you.”

St. Clare of Assisi

Attendees were enthusiastic about the day and would like to see a community process for the annual CC reflection continue in the future.

Veronica Ward, Charlotte Loizzi, Mary Ellen Durbin, and Ida Kelsey displayed their nature items from the “beholding with respect” exercise.

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