The Canossa House of Spirituality in Tagaytay opened in 1985 as a center for retreat, reflection and prayer. Run by Canossian sisters, it functions as both a retreat center and conference venue and is located in Iruhin West, overlooking Taal Volcano lake and island in the Cavite province of the Philippines.
Taking time out from one’s daily routine to rest the body and mind is like a dream come true.
How much more if such a respite is embarking on a spiritual journey? Surely, one can’t help but wait for those days when, even for a short while, the tired body can relax, the weary mind can be free while the spirit re-charges to create a “a Grateful, a Joyful, and a Generous Heart”, which was the theme of the annual retreat of the Canossa Educative Community held on August 28-30, 2014 in Tagaytay City.
Sr. Haydee Librojo, FdBB, this year’s retreat master, who is, herself, a Canossian Sister, was generous enough to join the Canossians as they take another journey in knowing themselves more deeply. The first encounter was an orientation on how the retreat would be conducted. She gave four principles such as:
1. how you do anything is how you do everything.
2. When you get up, wake up. When you wake up, get up.
3. Love your neighbors as you love yourself…as Jesus loves you.
4. Shift from a Calculative to a Contemplative mind and heart.
The methodologies or the means of interaction consisted of personal reflection, inter-active sharing, a communal learning and the context is “God created us out of love”.
Lectures on “faith, hope, and love” completed the second day, which was interspersed with group and assembly sharing.
Later in the morning, the participants were told to join their respective partners for them to draw significant events in their life that were shared between them.
Moreover, in the afternoon, teachers and staff had another group with six members who shared about their drawings.
One purpose of the sharing was to further bond with the group members consisting of high school and grade school faculty and staff, a rare opportunity that last happened many years ago.
Sacrament of reconciliation followed the sharing and, before dinner, amass was celebrated.
St. Magdalene, the Educator of Faith was the focus of the third day encounter. Magdalene’s search for her life’s meaning she found “in making Jesus known and loved by all” through the schools of charity that she founded whose two-fold aims are “to prevent evil and to promote the integral growth of the human person”. The same vivion that she had during her time is the same vision that was carried on through times, even at the present by her Canossian daughters.
The day was even made more complete with an exercise in “knowing my Style” before the Eucharistic celebration which culminated the annual retreat.