An Ignatian retreat: Rediscovering childlike wonder
An Ignatian creative retreat called Déantús (meaning ‘Creation’) took place for young adults in Rathmines, Dublin, from 3 to 8 January 2022. Organised by the Faber Companions – a group of young laymen who live together and explore the spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola – it was an opportunity for 11 participants to reflect on 2021, get in touch with their inner child, and create different art forms individually and collectively. The theme of the retreat was inspired by the second week of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises including the contemplation of Jesus in the Gospels and the call to follow him.
Chloe Lubinski, a Spiritual Director trained by Nuos Formation in California, facilitated the week-long retreat. She is a member of the Faber Companions’ outreach group known as the Faber Community.
She notes that the first part of the retreat involved a deeper contemplation of the incarnation, the journey of the wise men and the early life of Jesus, along with embodied creative acts to further step into these stories. A walk up Bray Head in County Wicklow helped the physical and spiritual journey come alive for participants.
Chloe says: “It would have been so easy to cancel the retreat as cases of Covid-19 were rising again this year. But I was really moved by how much we all still wanted and needed to gather in spite of that.
We still chose as a community to enter into this deeper, intentional space – even if that meant outdoors in the freezing cold for hours on end. Being with each other, creating art, and delving into the heart of the Gospels was more pressing and inviting than comfort. I love that.”
The participants engaged in lots of improvisation games during the second part of the retreat resulting in the creation of a short film. Chloe also helped participants to articulate and name their deepest desires and fears and to experience an interplay between the joy and struggle of their lives.
The retreat finished with intimate sharing and a review of the week and a Mass with Myles O’Reilly SJ at St Mary’s College Chapel in Rathmines.
Chloe reflects on an incredibly healing and powerful experience. She says:
“It was beautiful to witness the outpouring of creativity that came in response to taking the space to really clarify, articulate and share what’s happening in our hearts and lives with God and each other. The poems, songs, films, and the encouragement, faith, strength and honesty of the group was incredibly edifying for each person there.
Like the magi, to walk with each other so candidly on our journey toward the star of Christ in each of our lives is just a taste of heaven – and a glimpse of what deep community can really feel like. I am so looking forward to the next one.”
Gavin Thomas Murphy, who was a participant at the retreat, reflects on his experience:
“I was a bit older than the other participants so this left me feeling a little nervous as I entered the retreat. However, I was pleasantly surprised because I was welcomed immediately by everyone with open arms.
Chloe and the Faber Companions did such a good job holding our group together. I found myself looking at the Spiritual Exercises in a new way – it was my first time I was able to deeply relate to the early life of Jesus, and it was a healing experience to get in touch with my inner child and to let that be a profound source of creativity.
The lads in Rathmines were so helpful and accommodating to us all. Along with guiding us through imaginative contemplations and creative exercises they provided the technology needed for the outdoor setting, as well as tea and coffee and the welcome fire.”
Déantús, the creative group of the Faber Community, look forward to sharing their art with each other on a weekly basis and to continue strengthen their Christian community.