On Sunday evening, November 7, fifteen brothers of the SS.CC. communities in Hawaii gathered at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Honolulu for their annual retreat. The retreat was held in the “little green house” known as Damien House. The retreat director was Fr. David Reid, ss.cc. He presented two conferences per day via Zoom from Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
The brothers resided in the simple but comfortable rooms of Mother Mary Gertrude Hall. Our morning and evening prayers, two daily conferences, and three daily meals all took place in the cozy “upper room” of Damien House. We all hiked up the hill to the Chapel for our daily celebration of the Eucharist.
Fr. David based the retreat on Romans 12:1: I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what the will of God— what is good and acceptable and perfect. He also referred to these ss.cc. documents: our SS.CC. Constitutions #1-#65 (Chapters 1-3), the SS.CC. Rule of Life, Reparation and SSCC Apostolic Discernment Available for God’s Action by Fr. Alberto Toutin, ss.cc.
The first conference on Monday outlined the retreat and unpacked some ideas in the quote from the letter to the Romans. We were left with a question, “Why did you come here?” In the afternoon the topic was “The Call to Holiness and Compassion”. Our reflection for the afternoon: “How do I integrate holiness, piety and compassion?” Tuesday’s input started with “Consecration to the Sacred Hearts” after which we were invited to ask ourselves: “What is my level of commitment to take care of my heart: of circulation, of courage, of imagination?” In the afternoon we broached the subject of “Adoration & Reparation” and we left to ponder: “How do I, as one who gives reparative compassion to neighbor and perpetual glory/adoration to God, make a difference with my life offering?”
Wednesday we began with a conference on Liturgy and the Prayer of the Church and challenged to ask, “How do I prepare for the Eucharistic celebration?” In the afternoon we covered “Community and Martyrdom” with some attention to the sscc martyrs of the Paris Commune. Our question, “Aren't there some who owe their glory only to the generous sacrifice they have made of life?” We continued on the last day with “The Vowed Life”. We were asked, “How do you relate the vows you live to your heart of imagination?” The final conference, “looking to the future with hope!” from the starting point of discernment and a synodal church. The final question: “How do we prepare ourselves (and i prepare myself) to participate in a synodal church?”
It was a great time of brothers praying, reflecting and celebrating together. We were able to renews connections, share about our lives and work and reminisce. We departed to our local communities on Thursday evening and Friday morning.