Society of Sacred Heart Annual Retreat
From May 29th to 31st, members and friends of the Society of the Sacred Heart gathered at the Conference Center of the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, for our annual retreat. The Society of the Sacred Heart, the spiritual family of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, is made up of laymen and women who support the works of the Institute. We are united in our collective mission to advance the social reign of Christ the King on earth.
Under the direction of our superiors, Monsignor Gilles Wach, founder and Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King; Canon Matthew Talarico, our Chaplain; and Dr. James Sutherland, our national Governor, our days were shaped by a basic schedule that included time for prayer, study, and recreation. Daily Mass and Rosary, along with nightly recitation of Compline, made up the central focus around which all other activities revolved. Frequent opportunities for Confession also allowed each of us to avail ourselves of abundant graces, and to recollect and re-orient ourselves in our individual vocations.
The retreat included abundant food for the mind as well as for the soul. Daily conferences filled our notebooks and inspired our intellects with such topics as how better to live our daily consecration to the Immaculate Conception, or how to use Sacred Architecture to help lift our hearts and minds in prayer. These also challenged us with examples of holiness from the lives of the saints, and exhorted us to greater faithfulness to our vocations in the world.
We were also able to come together as a spiritual family, to renew old friendships and form new ones. We gathered together from across the United States--and were even joined by international travelers—and were united in our love for God and as members and friends of the Institute of Christ the King. For many of us, this weekend was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a community devoted to spreading the social kingdom of Christ on Earth, all within the setting of the University’s beautiful campus.
On Saturday evening, we had the great joy of welcoming several new members, each of whom received the Cross of the Society from Monsignor. Wach. These new associates, who had prepared themselves for the past year by living the Society’s simple Rule, were welcomed with great joy. Members who had received their Crosses in previous years also had the opportunity to renew their commitments, too. Finally, we celebrated the addition of our new family members by chanting Compline together immediately after the ceremony.
For others, however, the retreat was an entirely new experience; in keeping with the Institute’s family spirit, all newcomers were warmly and happily welcomed. We were especially glad to have with us two members of the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus, and to welcome back Father Dave Ireland, an affiliate priest of the Institute. Their joyful, prayerful presence was of great value to all present.
Finally, a new event was added to the schedule this year: many of us gathered on Sunday morning for a forum in which we discussed how we support our individual apostolates, and what we can do to give greater assistance to the Institute—through prayer and volunteer work—in the future. The forum proved quite useful, and many ideas were shared amongst people who, usually scattered across the country, would not otherwise have such an opportunity.
As we departed on Sunday afternoon after a final conference, Mass, and a brief reception, we left refreshed and renewed. Indeed, not one of us is perfect, and many of us bear sorrows and difficulties in our daily lives. Nevertheless, as members and friends of the Society of the Sacred Heart, we seek to persevere together, keeping our eyes fixed on Heaven and our feet solidly on the ground.
Written by Miss Rebekah Wielgos, Society member
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