Thursday, December 31, 2009

Back at Colombiere.

The end of the calendar year tends to be a busy travel time for many people, including young Jesuits. After turning in my fall grades at SJU, I drove up to Massachusetts to spend Christmas with my family. The Sunday after Christmas, I fought post-holiday traffic to get back to Philadelphia. With little time to rest or to repack, I was out the door again the next morning for a flight to Chicago. From there, I journeyed to Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan for the annual gathering of men in formation from the Chicago, Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces of the Society of Jesus. The above photos should give you some sense of Colombiere, a massive edifice that was constructed at the end of the 1950s to serve as a Jesuit novitiate and juniorate and now serves as a residence for retired and infirm Jesuits and as a center for conferences and retreats.

Though some matters of moment are discussed at the annual formation gathering, the main function of the event is to provide young Jesuits living and working far apart to spend some time together in prayer and fellowship. I enjoy the opportunity that these gatherings provide to catch up with Jesuit contemporaries I don't often get to see. Having spent part of my novitiate hospital experiment at Colombiere, I also appreciate being able to return to a place that has played a notable role in my own formation as a Jesuit. In more than one sense, these days at Colombiere give me a chance to reflect in gratitude on my life and vocation as a Jesuit.

As this year ends and another begins, I hope that you have an opportunity to reflect gratefully on the gifts that you have received this year. Reflecting also on the challenges that you may have faced, I also hope and pray that you may also be able to find some grace and consolation in what may have been difficult or painful experiences. Finally, I extend to all who may read this my prayers and best wishes for a happy new year. AMDG.


At 1/01/2010 1:22 PM, Anonymous Jim Bowman said...

As one who SJ-trained in the 50s and early 60s, I appreciate Joe's account. Nice pix too.


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