We woke this morning to the sun beating down on the Potomac. An "early" breakfast (okay it was at 8) saw about half the crew make an appearance. It is always interesting to see how many will show up the first day.
After breakfast, we had a brief orientation to the retreat house by one of the staff members here. Once that finished we jumped right into a morning prayer. Prayer focused on praise of God, as well as asking God for confidence in the things we all were lacking, or hoping to achieve this year.
Once prayer finished, we continued our jam-packed morning with a history lesson of FVM presented by Fr. Michael. He took us through the program from the very beginning at Siena college, up to today. Michael has an ability to make even the seemingly boring things interesting by intermingling stories and reflections into his talks, and everyone was engaged into the history lesson.
After about 20 minutes, we had another history lesson, but this time on St. Francis and St. Clare. Fr. John led this talk and gave us a very detailed, and very entertaining view of their lives. To finish his presentation, John told the story of The Wolf of Gubbio. John's story telling is amazing, and even though many of us had heard that story countless times, it wasn't like listening to a song on replay.
Lunch brought some nourishment for our bodies, and also brought the arrival of and FVM alum. Colleen McCarthy, a former Philadelphia volunteer, came to speak to us about one of the three pillars of the program: community. Colleen shared with us how she came to be an FVM and some of her experiences at the Inn. The individual communities then broke into groups to come up with examples of what they expect of their year in community. Each house came up with artistic ways to display their ideas of what community means to them.
We would like to thank Colleen so much for taking time out of her schedule to be with us during this important time for our FVMs. Colleen brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the group, and we are very thankful for the gift that she shared.
More to come later...