Sabbatical & Vitality Program in Colorado Enriches, Inspires

BY SR. AGNES NJOKI NJERU, CCVI

On 12th September this year, I traveled to Mercy Center Colorado Springs where I joined my colleagues for the fall Sabbatical and Vitality program. My group consisted of one Sister from the Holy Family Sisters of Nazareth, an American-born citizen, two priests, one from the Philippines but serving in Virginia and the other an American Citizen from the Glen Mary Home Missionaries. We also had a laywoman from California and, of course, myself from Kenya. Being a group of only five helped us to get to know each other very fast and bond. By the end of the first week, we had become one closely-knit family. We shared our stories and, as each shared and listened to the other, a window was opened to the heart allowing one to be revealed and transposed.

Sharing our life experiences in class, during meals and recreation times, were moments of reliving our blessings and graces that we might have taken for granted previously. The Mercy Center exposed me to variety of content such as the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Praying with the Mystics, My Life Line Story, Dream Work, Loss, Grief, Conscious Celibacy, Life Transitions, and Creative Expressions, just to mention a few. By exploring these topics, I came to a deeper understanding of my personality, other personalities, and acquired insights of how to accommodate others. I appreciate myself and others as God’s art of work that is continuously being molded and shaped to God’s desired image. My most profound moments were engaging in creative expressions. Every step of pottery and ceramic making spoke volumes to me. Each step reflected back on my own daily life experiences.

For instance, the firing process reminded me of the challenges or difficulties that I go through yet come out refined like gold that is tested in fire. The breaking of the beautiful ceramic or a pottery product that I had made reminded me of how beautiful, blessed and yet broken I can be. Other areas of study also helped me with inner explorations offering me moments of healing and identifying God’s mercy in my life through other people and sharing life experiences.

As part of the program, we also had opportunities to visit some of the most beautiful sceneries in Colorado Springs. I had the privilege to visit the Broad Moor Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Olympic and Paralympic Museum, and Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden. By the way, did you know that St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is informally known as the patron saint for parking spots? Next time you have difficulty finding a parking spot try her.

At the end of my program, I felt enriched by the knowledge, wisdom and life skills that were imparted by the very gifted and professional facilitators of Mercy Center. My colleagues too contributed a lot to my growth and I feel blessed to have added to the list of my friends. I have fond memories of my Mercy life that will remain embedded in my heart as long as I live. Of great importance is coming home with my toolbox full, ready to continue to be the healing presence of Jesus and sharing the graces I have received with all in need.

I am most grateful to the Congregation’s Leadership and Formation teams for giving me the opportunity to draw from the springs of mercy at Mercy Center. To my beloved Sisters in De Matel Community, may God bless you immensely for the support you offered me in preparation for my Mercy Center experience. And to all Sisters on the Villa campus, I am thankful for your prayers and the kind support you offered me. Your prayers, a text message or an email to reach out to me meant a lot. All were highly appreciated and treasured. Praised be the Incarnate Word, Forever!

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