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Sacred Space

Let God look at you

The Sacred Space prayer website’s 2021 Lenten retreat, ‘Growing Back Better’,  was warmly received by participants online from all over the world. The retreat was written by well-known author Margaret Silf and offered by Sacred Space in collaboration with ‘Pray As You Go’, the audio prayer website of the British Jesuit Province.

Margaret Silf has written books on St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, and on his spirituality. After concluding her retreat, three-quarters of those surveyed by Sacred Space said they had learned something new about him and about Ignatian spirituality, with many confirming they would like to hear more.

Fiona Owens is the Office Manager of Sacred Space. In the piece below she details the insights gleaned from their survey on the Lenten retreat and highlights some of the encouraging feedback they received.

Faces behind the clicks

The retreat began on Ash Wednesday, 17 February, and ended on Monday 12 April, after a total of nine weekly sessions. We invited those who prayed with our retreat to fill in a short questionnaire and to share their experience with us. From this, we have gained valuable information and wonderful insights into the ‘faces behind the clicks’ as the people who make up our online prayer community, shared their thoughts with us. Our retreat reached far and wide around the world with English the most popular language, then Spanish, followed by Catalan, Hungarian, Belarusian, and Italian.

Of the people surveyed 75% said they learned something new about “Inigo”( St Ignatius)  and Ignatian Spirituality with 41% wishing to continue learning more about it. 43% expressed their desire for more resources to help support their own faith development with 54% citing the desire for more reflections on scripture.

On a more personal note, many spoke about the feeling of support and community that the retreat offered to them during these days of pandemic and isolation. And they remarked on how the daily prayer structure of Sacred Space and the Lenten retreat sustained them.

Others shared from the depth of their pain about the death of loved ones through suicide and how reflecting on the gospel and reflections helped to bring some healing to their pain.

Some comments from those who prayed with the retreat

  • A serene and reflective encounter with God whilst navigating diverse ‘storms’ and getting in touch with a sense of strengthening transformation.
  • Up to date and related to our current Covid situation. A constant reminder that prayer is not separate from life, so always relevant.
  • I enjoy remembering that you were my first re-entry point to the Church after a 35-year gap and that your site continues to help God re-nourish my soul 11+ years later.
  • It made me take a hard look at my life and suggested ways of improvement
  • My mother was a Dubliner. It is a bit like going home when I am with you online.
  • There was dependable and thought-provoking material available to me daily
  • The feeling of community in these uncertain times
  • I knew that at the click of a button you would be there when I needed it.
  • There was dependable and thought-provoking material available to me daily
  • There is something about the phrase “let God look at you” that deeply resonated with me and made me feel more intimately connected.

Sacred Space has always been used by people from many faiths, and this continued during our lenten retreat. It is wonderful to see our prayer and reflections nurturing the faith of so many denominations including, Lutheran, Anglican, Scottish Episcopalian, Baptist, Church of England, Catholic and non-denominational.

Fiona Owens