By Karen Baker
O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water. (Ps 63:2)
I almost canceled my retreat earlier this month.
After all, I figured, my family was out of town, my house was empty, and so I could really have a retreat in my own back yard, quite literally.
But a little voice made me stick to my plans and head to the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center the weekend of July 11-13. I’m so glad that I listened to that little voice. It was, as always, a beautiful weekend.
This is the fourth retreat I’ve made at what used to be – and still is more often than not – called the Cenacle. Although the sisters of the Cenacle have left, the Archdiocese bought the property, renamed it the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center Dedicated to Our Lady of the Cenacle, and continues offering retreats that allow time for prayer, reflection, and resting in God’s embrace.
Our retreat leader for the weekend (Fr. Donald Blanchard from Baton Rouge) was a delight, but what makes this place so special to me is the chance to be quiet and walk with a keen awareness of God’s presence and love. As Fr. Blanchard told us the first night, “Think of God as your host for the weekend.”
God was a gracious host! He provided a gentle breeze for early morning and early evening walks on the levee, and He seemed to be oh so very close to us in this little oasis in the middle of Metairie.
The retreat center is a special place to encounter God. And God, Fr. Blanchard reminded us as we prayed with Pslam 63, is the only way to quench our thirst. So if you are thirsty, try a weekend away in the middle of Metairie!
You can find the schedule of upcoming retreats here.
Don’t miss a unique opportunity to support this wonderful place…. Wine & Dine, An Evening with Chef John Folse to benefit the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center takes place on July 31, 2014 at Schulte Auditorium at Notre Dame Seminary. Cocktails start at 6:30 followed by a gourmet meal prepared by Chef John Folse> The evening includes a silent auction and live actuion where guests have an opportunity to win a Dinner for 12 at John Folse’s White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge. All proceeds will benefit the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center, Dedicated to Our Lady of the Cenacle. Tickets are $150 per person or $1200 for a table of 8.
To purchase tickets, go to http://donate.arch-no.org/RHWD or call Susan Halligan at 504-267-9604
Karen Baker is a freelance writer with a Masters in Pastoral Studies from the Loyola Institute for Ministry. She works in the Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and in ministry at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville.