The UN World Environment Day was celebrated at the St Lucia Retreat and Training Centre with a 7day retreat with the theme “The encounter of God in the Creation”. It was recognised that so many
of us are living in stressful urban environments within which we lose an attitude of wonder, of contemplation and of listening to Creation. “In that beauty and slower pace of this rural area it is easier to become more aware and receptive of God’s love underpinning all things” noticed Frances Correia.
Located on the eastern bank of the St Lucia Estuary in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the centre has an unparalleled natural environment, which abounds with fauna, flora and aquatic life and lends itself to communion with God and nature in the spirit of the Encyclical “Laudato Si”. There is a direct encounter with the Creator in gazing at a red duiker or at a kingfisher, being so close to the hippos on the river, being amused by a family of striped mongooses playing with the monkeys or walking on the beach or in the bush in such an unspoilt environment. This time of prayer and reflection centres life again within the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The retreat becomes an encounter with the grandeur of God revealed in Creation, experiencing His goodness and feeling His invitation to become His mirror and to participate to His unending Creation.
The retreat was a perfect exercise to practice Pope Francis teaching in his “Encyclique Laudato Si”: “An integral ecology includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflection on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us” (Laudato Si n°225). “Indeed, the St Lucia Retreat and Training Centre is a unique and ideal setting for retreats, workshops and quiet time to rest in an unparalleled natural environment and I feel so blessed to live in St Lucia!”
Sr Elisabeth Marie, osu, Director of the Retreat Centre.