23 teenage girls in close quarters hardly seem like a part of recipe for a divine experience. Indeed, a lot of time when we get together, for group activities or breakfast in the morning, we seem a lot less like spiritual beings searching for a higher meaning to our lives and a lot more like catty twelve-year olds, fighting over who took whose mascara and who may or may not have copied them by buying the same pair of shoes on a visit.
Our immersion in material things and unkind words to our sisters and friends were just some of the warning signs that things were less than perfect among the girls at the school. So Lake House family leader, Roxi Losicco, took the initiative to help us examine our petty ways. On July 16th, a beautiful sunny Monday afternoon, we all loaded up the bus and took a trip to Father Steven’s retreat house.
We began the day with some discussion in the chapel and each lit a candle to represent a prayer petition that we would focus on that day. The tiny lovely chapel was filled to the brim, but I noticed girls making an effort to sit near people they didn’t always talk to, one of the goals we had in beginning spending more time. Everybody seemed just a little more focused on Father Steven’s enlightened teachings than we are on a normal day. With so many distractions at the school and everywhere else in our lives, sometimes it’s hard to see our greater goals as beings on this earth, but Father helped us focus in on what really matters in our lives, like the many blessings we have each day.
After spending time in the chapel, we went out for a walk around the area. It was beautiful and green, and we got our feet wet in the running stream, and admired the waterfalls. Other than a couple of girls slipping in the creek and getting a bit more than their feet wet, it was a peaceful and picturesque time to spend in nature.
After our walk, we returned to the chapel and spent more time learning about how we could use novenas, nine days of certain prayers, to improve our lives. He also taught us a very eloquent prayer, which he said we could use to work on our resentments.
At the end of the prayer time, we ate a home-cooked meal of hot dogs, potato salad and cupcakes for dessert! All the girls were smiling and laughing, and the atmosphere was one of love and openness, as it should be between sisters. It was so nice to have some of the tension and pettiness relieved from us. We played some games and laughed together, and then it was time to return home.