Reflections by Retreat Attendees

“I was born for You, Lord.” St. Teresa of Avila

Women’s Carmelite Retreat—February 20-22, 2015
Sacred Heart Retreat House, Alhambra

The first weekend of Lent brought 25 women to the retreat house either for the weekend or as Saturday commuters. This was our largest group in over 15 years with fourteen new retreatants! Among our retreatants were mother, Elisa Pirrone, with her 2 adult daughters, Madeline and Filomena. (Be sure to check out the picture.) We also welcomed two women from St. Rita’s in Sierra Madre.

The theme, “I was born for you, Lord.“ was used to further explore Prayer, Reverence and Service through conferences by Msgr. Eugene Morris of St. Louis. We joined women from Holy Family (So. Pasadena), Ss. Felicitas & Perpetua (San Marino), Immaculate Heart of Mary (Los Angeles) and St. Andrew (Pasadena) in prayer, leisure time, adoration, confession, Mass, meals and conferences. Next year our retreat will be February 26-28. Save the Date so you can be part of this faith retreat!

2015 Retreatants: Sylvia Bianchi, Zena Brown, Yolanda Castillo, Ruby Courtland, Virginia Daly, Cheryl Harlow, Ellen Jovellanos, Margaret Khoury, Kathie Lund, Sarah Mckinney, Christine O’Brien, Elisa, Madeline & Filomena Pirrone, Laura Ricard, Bernice Santillon Sherry Tekippe, Kathleen Torres, Andrea Townend, Kathy Valentine, Marcella Vallejo Theresa Vinejas, and Elizabeth Weigand

St. Rita: Kathy Ganino and Caroline Norman

Reflections by 2015 Retreatants:

Yolanda Castillo
This past February, I attended my first silent retreat at the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra. This location is beautiful, with many peaceful places to enjoy quiet time alone in thought and prayer. The retreat gave me time to reflect on my spiritual life, and my relationship with God. You are among strangers in silence and yet you feel a connection of binding love for God, and each other. This was truly a spiritual experience for me.

I encourage you to consider joining me on the upcoming retreat; treat yourself to a weekend of uninterrupted time of silence, to be with and hear our Lord. The Carmelite Sisters are warm and inviting, the Retreat Master’s reflections are inspiring, and the accommodations and food are very comforting.

Elisa Pirrone attended with her 2 adult daughters, Filomena & Madeline:

We all had a wonderful retreat. We all came away with something that we could use, to help us keep presence of God. I know for me one of the questions posed by our retreat Master was: ” What is the rhythm of your prayer life?” This made me think of the rhythm of each day and like he said we pause to eat a meal, whether it is a small snack or a more relaxing complete meal, everyday. How do I feed myself spiritually everyday? What is my rhythm for spending time with My Lord? I tend to think of prayer time as another thing on my “to do” list, but this question helped me to adjust my attitude to how I approach my time with my Lord, as a time to reconnect, like sharing with a beloved friend, who refreshes you just because you have spent time with him. I am so grateful that I had this time on the retreat and especially that my daughters could also share the day with our God.

Ellen Jovellanos:
My only regret was being a commuter and choosing only the Saturday program instead of a three-day retreat as a non-commuter. Had I known the full schedule for both Friday night and Sunday morning, which included spiritual activities such as conferences, I would have opted for a three-day retreat. I thought it was simply checking in and having orientation on Friday night and checking out on Sunday after mass. However short my stay, I gained much from the silence, the reflection, reading and prayer. I liked the Carmelite way to spirituality. Hopefully, I will be able to make the three-day retreat in 2016.

Reflection by Christine O’Brien on her 2014 Retreat
Women’s Parish Retreat—A Reflection

This February I will attend my third silent women’s retreat with the Carmelite Sisters at Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra. I attended for the first time two years ago and was completely moved and renewed by the experience. Taking extended time to be quiet, still and silent before God opened wide a window to journeying and traversing life according to His plan, His heart for me and for my family.

Taking the time to slow down, talk with, and be with God for a weekend is powerful; it’s in the silence, in the uninterrupted quiet that you can hear God nudging, guiding, and comforting. As Jesus retreated to the mountains to pray and to be with His Father, we too need to retreat from time to time to be with, talk to and hear God, our Father. Jesus retreated to the mountains; we can retreat to nearby Alhambra. What a gift He has joyfully bestowed upon us through the Carmelite Sisters!

I am a wife and mother of three; life is busy all of the time and often susceptible to distractions that threaten to steal or limit my time with God. The silent women’s retreat offers the perfect opportunity to refuel, to grow spiritually, and to nurture my relationship with God. The Carmelite Sisters are warm and inviting, the Retreat Master is inspiring, and the food and accommodations are beyond comforting. I hope you will consider joining me in receiving the gift of retreat this February!

Christine O’Brien
Reflection by Andrea Townsend
Women’s Parish Retreat: Renewal

My retreat experience unexpectedly and profoundly renewed my commitment to my Catholic faith, and introduced me to a hidden gem in our own backyard. I went on my first retreat at Sacred Heart, and was amazed to find such a beautiful, quiet, prayerful spot so close to home. It was really lovely, with many beautiful places in which to sit, pray and rest. Even though we were a large group of women (100), it was both private and companionable. It was so restful to be cared for by the sisters, not to have to speak to anyone but God, to have a Blessed break from email, phone—even food preparation. While being fed by the sisters, I could rest in God’s love and hear more clearly his direction and call. It was inspiring to gather in prayer with Catholic women from many different parishes. Great power and affirmation—to lift up each other and be lifted up by the sisters. The retreat is a true delight for body and soul.Clarity and a renewed spirit were my gifts from the retreat—just ten minutes drive—but a world away.Treat yourself to the gift of quiet, be enlightened by the retreat director’s reflections, be supported by the company of prayerful women, find inspiring reading for the journey, and a nourishing stillness at the start of the Lenten journey.
—Andrea Townsend