Secularism is on the ascendant. Its comrade in arms, materialism, is more and more aggressive in our daily lives. Both forces purport to liberate while in fact they dominate.
The more reflective among us sense that in our society the precious gift of free will is threatened – not because it is being forcefully stolen but rather mindlessly surrendered. Is it any wonder we feel the need to retreat into an experience where our faith is fortified and our spiritual direction confirmed?
Readers will know from previous columns that our nation is blessed with numerous retreat centers. One in particular should be featured because of the breadth and variety of its outreach. Formerly known as the St. Francis Retreat House in Oak Brook, Illinois, Mayslake Ministries is a lay based “retreat house without walls” founded by Father Jonathan Foster, OFM, in 1991 and now situated in Lombard, Illinois. As its mission statement explains (www.mayslakeministries.org), Mayslake Ministries has for the past 20 years served the spiritual needs of Christian/Catholic men and women from all walks of life, offering a wide variety of spiritual enrichment programs and retreats.
A leader in the field of spiritual direction, Mayslake Ministries has on staff 17 certified spiritual directors each “skilled in a wide variety of areas including: grief, addiction, adoption and infertility, elder issues, military, oncology issues, and women’s and men’s spirituality.” As part of its “School of Spirituality,” Mayslake draws from many resources and teachings – all designed to bring participants closer to God. In its website announcement of a program slated for later this year titled ‘Journey to Reinvention Part II,” Mayslake writes: “Life’s True Journey is one that connects us with the self – who we are meant to become. Part of the Journey is to find the transcendent “music” that fills our lives with hope, faith and love. We find music in the people, places and moments that weave a sense of spirit through our lives … It is striving for enlightenment that helps us find God within us.”
Another program scheduled for October of this year is billed as ‘Healthy Eating With Holy Intent,” a five hour session that will provide ‘food for thought’ for those concerned about food consumption in both global and personal terms.