Here are Jan’s words from her Facebook page about the retreat. The Sunday morning ritual is printed below.
“The retreat at St. Joseph's Provincial House was sacramental from beginning to end. Sharing from the soul, tears falling as truth is revealed anew, the good news being there is nothing to seek for we ARE what we have been looking for. What we are looking for is WHO is looking, as Francis of Assisi put it.
So great to sleep in same bedrooms as we did in Novitiate, to eat in same dining room, prayer in the same take-your-breath-away chapel.
We co-created and concelebrated the sacrament of Holy Gratitude and Deep Communion and the creativity employed was an extravaganza of imagination. We made holy the water, blessed the oil, read from our own sacred texts, listened to the words of Old Turtle, gave thanks to the Earth, the universe and the seven directions, spoke to each other about the newness rising up, wrote our commitments and proclaimed them publicly, gave bread to each other that one of us baked that morning, then anointed each other with holy water and holy chrism.
I go from city to city making sacraments with people, but this one was so special, in that place where I learned so much and lost so much. Unbelievable, the depth of wonder and awe...Nothing but gratitude circling around me like a hawk aloft on holy winds.”
Sacramental Ritual of Holy Gratitude and Deep Communion
Dressing the Table
Members of the group brought items to the center table while the group listened to the song: Ancient Mother by Robert Gass
Blessing of the Water
Jan led us in blessing the water that would be used later in the ceremony when we shared our commitment for spiritual growth. Each person passed the bowl of water and blessed it. While the bowl was passed we listened to the song: Wash Your Spirit Clean by Walela
Four Elements: Air, Earth, Water and Fire
Suzanne, Leslie and Judith led us in a gratitude prayer for the four elements of the earth.
Leslie prayed the following prayer:
Come my Beloved
To meet the Bride
Observe and remember
Come let us welcome
The holy day of rest
The source of blessing
Shake off the dust,
Don your glorious garments
For your light has come
Awake, awake and utter a song
Rejoice as a bridegroom rejoices
Over his bride
Come my Beloved,
Come in peace
With songs of gladness
Come O bride of the divine
For the complete prayer
For more information about the Sabbath Bride: https://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/257760/jewish/3-Welcome-the-Bride.htm
Calling in Ancestors
Jan invited us to call our ancestors to join us in this sacred circle as we sang the song written by Jan: Come Be Around Us.
Opening Sacred Space
Patty and Judy led us in this beautiful prayer that can be found at this website: https://www.qoya.love/opening-sacred-space
First Reading: Barb read a passage from Old Turtle – Book 2
Song between the reading: Gabriel’s Obo by Ennio Morricone
Jan began with a reading: A Donkey at the Gates of Heaven and followed it with a reading from her book: There are Burning Bushes Everywhere: Poems and Prayers of a Rebel Mystic
Song after reading: All This Joy by John Denver
The following link is a video of John Denver singing this moving song:
Leslie led us in a Qi Gong movement of praise.
Jan walked our sacred circle in gratitude for each of us and our time together.
As she walked the circle we listened to the song: I am So Blessed by Karen Drucker
Sharing the Change
Jan invited each of us to speak aloud the commitment we made to ourselves during this weekend as she sprinkled us with the water and the words: “You can do this sister.” Mary Theresa anointed each person’s hands with frankincense oil and the words: “It is in your hands, you are prophet and mystic.”
Bread, blessed and broken: Suzanne came with a loaf of fresh-baked bread. We concluded this beautiful ritual by blessing the bread and sharing it with the words, “You are a spark of the Divine.
Mary Theresa’s comment: This amazing ritual came together the morning of the ritual. Retreat members brought parts of the ritual and the group never saw the parts until we prayed it. As Jan said, “I go from city to city making sacraments with people, but this one was so special, in that place where I learned so much and lost so much. Unbelievable, the depth of wonder and awe...Nothing but gratitude circling around me like a hawk aloft on holy winds.”
Thank you, Jan. Thank you dear companions on the journey!