Fall was glorious this year, colors were simply amazing, God's handiwork up close and personal. Seeing so much beauty all around us makes me think it takes more imagination to be a non believer than a person of faith. A simple walk through the woods beyond the barns and the proof of God's design is overwhelming!
But as usual, I am behind a step or two and the fall colors have pretty much come and gone.
We had a lot going on this autumn so let me get to blogging.
First off, after surviving a few early frosts, the garden has pretty much fulfilled it's back breaking and miraculous obligation to the local food shelves,
and it's time to start thinking of shutting things down,..as the pumpkins get too big to lift.
Pretty soon it will be time to let the goats clean things up in there, once all the yummy brussel sprouts are done!
"I live to eat,....and escape from all attempts at fencing".
More on that later,..
Earlier this month we had a wonderful group come to retreat here.
One of the coordinators painted this beautiful Icon for their Mass services.
This large group began arriving and unpacking with smiles and hugs, just radiating joy in every encounter!
But a simple joyous retreat was not the only intention of this group.
In very short order they all rolled up their sleeves and began working the grounds,..harvesting veggies, weeding, raking, cleaning,..a real "work is prayer" service time.
About the same time two local faith filled young ladies arrived and stepped up the work ethic quite a few notches...as well as the joyous spirit element too!
Not to be outdone, the retreaters visiting stepped up their game and before long it was all backs and elbows around here,..nice to have some help!
Once the work was all done for the day the retreaters began to walk the grounds and set up for Mass with their own Priest!
Talk about living joyously!
and in contemplative prayer...
Once Mass got started then the place was really jumping in a very charismatic way!
And after working up an appetite, the fellowship continued as this group engaged in great conversation with the great food
Good times with good friends,
In the midst of this joy fest, came another retreater for a private contemplative time of Marian devotion in our private room above the church.
But this young faith filled missionary was not satisfied with quiet contemplative prayer, or a charismatic Mass,
she went all Karol Wojtyla on us and broke out our kayak heading for the white caps on Wiloughby Lake!!
So with two retreats going on at the same time, the goats decided it was their opportunity for a major break out and chase through the meadow!
Time to start building the winter paddock and milking barn for these rascals, a bit closer to the house and plumbing and garden over-growth and more warmth than the drafty old barn!
Bringing them closer to the action!
Thankfully yet another joyous pilgrim showed up from far away specifically to contribute to this monumental task as my one and only construction crew.
After a great deal of lifting and hauling, digging and hammering and grunting and groaning (mostly on my part) the new feeding yard, sleeping barn, milking barn hay access room, and play yard protected from snow was finished..
And under the watchful eyes of our St. Francis statue the goats moved in to offer their approval.
With so much activity these weekends quickly drew to a close and departures occurred in a flurry as well.
People packed up and headed out so quickly this was the only group shot I got!
Joyous from beginning to end!
I didn't even get a picture of the horse back pilgrims on their trail ride one afternoon!
Oh, and I forgot to mention we held a Marian Consecration Mass here in the little Chapel for our latest
"33 day to morning glory" group.
This Marian consecration based on the
True Devotion of St. Louis De Montfort
is an extremely empowering retreat..
and once again as with other groups we run this retreat with, I witnessed lives change and spirits soar through consecration to Mary.
I urge you to seek out the True Devotion of St. Louis De Montfort and visit the above link as well, for a step in your spiritual journey that will change your life and make you a Saint!
The only regret is that it all happened so quickly at the same time that I never even took a picture of that group, or of the Francsicans who toured the area, or the primitive Franciscans looking for future retreat locations too!
So as I run out of shots I guess it would be best to close this eventful blog of the last few weeks and take a seat,..for 5 minutes before another construction job calls to my aching back.
But from this past month, what ever the task God sets in front of us here at The Mary Theotokos Retreat Center I have learned to go at it, Joyously,..for Mary to use our work for the greater glory of God.
"To Jesus, through Mary"
from all of us here in Vermont.