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The Spiritual Exercises: From Coast to Coast

November 01, 2016

Report on the October Men’s retreat in Alberta

On the 10th October of this year Fathers Couture and Prescott organized, offered and directed a Men's Retreat at a private "Ranch " situated approximately 1 kilometer north of Crimson Lake Park entrance to the West of the town of Rocky Mountain house in Western Alberta. The setting was magnificently nestled close to the Rockies to the West and the Crimson Lake literally adjacent to the site.

Each day was started with morning prayers, a meditation and Mass itself, with the daily Rosary and evening prayers and visits to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We even had the privilege and joy of having Benediction. I enjoyed the men's voices, singing, at Benediction in our Cabin chapel, led by Father Couture. It reminded a little of the early Canadian missionaries.

Fathers Couture and Prescott alternated in the presentations and lectures of the conferences from Monday the 10th October, commencing with the silence of speech, the eyes and the imagination, following through to Saturday the 15th October finishing with a great lunch and free discussion (good to be able to talk again).

The conferences and lectures, to assist us with our meditation, contemplation and preparation for our General confession, were a wealth of spiritual topics. We were taken down the road of Our Lord's Passion and His Resurrection. There was a conference on the four meanings of the word ‘hell’ in Sacred Scriptures: hell proper, purgatory, limbo of the Fathers, and limbo of the un-baptized who die before the age of reason. We were given a journey and picture of  the limbo of the Fathers of the Old Testament. We reviewed the faculties of the soul along with the Discernment of Spirits as well as many other subjects and references to Scriptural quotes to support the speakers points. Aside from this agenda we also had the opportunity to privately visit and talk with the priests on any of our concerns.

It was truly a spiritual feast to fill our souls with nourishment, support and enlightenment and assist us to better open our souls to Graces. These wonderful spiritual graces were equally followed by excellent meals and nourishment for the body. We were housed in individual log cabins for sleeping quarters and had the use of wonderful trails on the grounds to walk around while meditating on the topic of the hour.

Towards the end of the retreat, Father Prescott had to leave to bless a wedding in Edmonton, so Fr. Couture carried on alone.  The retreat was attended by 20 men from northern and southern Alberta and a few even came from Saskatchewan as well. These Ignatian retreats are always a spiritual wealth for the soul. To participate in one of these retreats once every 2 or 3 years in these troubled times is almost a spiritual necessity, I would say. Thank you Fathers for this opportunity and your good priestly work. God bless.