The sharing at the end of the three CLC retreats at Beuno’s was very moving – without exception all the retreatants were delighted with their experience. One of them offers a brief reflection on her retreat.

I experienced God’s presence in a way that I haven’t before

A cradle Catholic and member of CLC for 11 years, I have never been on a retreat before. I’ve recently returned from a 5-day individually guided silent retreat at St Beuno’s in North Wales (the idea of me being silent for 5 days amusing the family hugely).

As the time came closer for the retreat to begin, I admit I was a little daunted.

On holiday with God

A nun at the introductory meeting described what we would experience as “being on holiday with God” and I think that pretty much summed it up.

Everything is done for you – you just spend your time with God. A daily 30–40 minute meeting with a Spiritual Director, Mass each evening, turning up for mealtimes and that’s it. However, don’t expect to be bored – there is too much on offer. There is an art room for those who prefer to express their prayer with art, huge grounds with extensive stunning views with seats to sit silently with God; little “huts” to sit in to pray when the weather is bad, indoors there are many rooms and chapels to sit alone in prayer and contemplation. There are laminated cards describing many walks of differing lengths and levels of difficulty if you like to walk whilst spending your time with God. If you like gardening, there is even the opportunity to do that!

All you will find here is love and support

It took me about 1½ days to adjust but I (unexpectedly) found being silent really liberating. It’s just you and God. My experience was that He will come to you. He knows you and He will give you what you need (even if you didn’t know you needed it). I really experienced God’s presence in a way that I haven’t before.

For me as a beginner, 5 days was just the right length. The 3-day retreat wouldn’t have been long enough to benefit fully and the 8-day retreat possibly too long.

A truly powerful, exhilarating experience. I only wish I had done it years ago. I came home on a “high” and I now know why so many people return again and again.

All you will find here is love and support.

My advice to anyone thinking of making this retreat is that you won’t regret it – TREAT YOURSELF!

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