Shake Pray Love | Spring Retreat

Have you ever seen your professor shakin his booty?  Well, I have.  That image will remain with me always from the spring retreat, The Sacredness of Self-Care for the Emerging Professional. All of us, even Fr. Brian McDermott S.J., were dancing and shaking to African drum music!  It is apparently a technique used to alleviate depression.   Any time I need a lift, I can recall that mental image of my Spiritual Direction professor shakin’ what his momma gave him, and it will make me smile.

I anticipated the retreat held at The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City ever since Monique Daniels, Continuing Education Coordinator, ( emailed the announcement for at least three reasons: (a) one of my favorite instructors, Fr. Brian McDermott S.J., was presenting, (b) it was being held at one of the most serene and picturesque spots in the area, and (c) practicing self-care for me and preaching it to others is one of my passions.   

It did not disappoint!

I actually got some quiet prayer time in around the excitement of the day.  What a blessing it was walking in silent contemplation around the Grotto to Our Lady!

Grotto to Our LadyAs I strolled through the Shrine’s bucolic grounds I made friends with the chickens.  Wouldn’t St. Francis be proud?

Friendly FowlThe library is my favorite indoor spot with its cozy fireplace.  I have been there on two other occasions for retreats.  The last time was on a chilly day in March.  While we kept the fire blazing by adding log after log, I curled up right next to it.  I never wanted to leave. When I realized that my group was meeting in there and I would get to revisit the spot, it added to my bliss.

Narrative artwork hung all over the monastery.  Its stories instructed and inspired me.  Especially intriguing were the series of paintings on the life of St. Anthony that graced the hallway’s walls.  Apparently he was quite a preacher.  So much so that legend has it that even the creatures wanted to hear him.  The painting shows even the fish jumping out of the water to lend an ear as St. Anthony speaks!

My sense of love for and belonging to the Loyola community strengthened that day.  My classmates and I bonded over sharing our wisdom and survival tips of self-care.  Honestly though, I am not sure if I am more consoled, or more freaked out over having to write my thesis next year, but at least I will have a plethora of self-care tools in my toolbox to see me through. 

I grew from the encounters I had with classmates from other departments thanks to a grant from The Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine students in Pastoral Counseling, Speech Pathology, and School Counseling all took the self-care journey with us free of charge.

I got to see a different side to Dr. Tom Rodgerson, Director of the M.A. Program, who will see me through Pastoral Care Integration and Pastoral Care Professional Seminar next year.   He told some interesting anecdotes about himself that were really endearing regarding his younger motorcycling days and his father who was a pastor.  If you want the details, you will have to ask him yourself.  I will never tell…

5 thoughts on “Shake Pray Love | Spring Retreat

  1. JoAnn, you have identified another special aspect of the program. The professors are so brave! Time after time I have seen them willing to take risks. Watching them make themselves vulnerable like that has helped me to be less afraid to make mistakes. Of course, we don’t want to make mistakes, but sometimes fear can paralyze us. I think their example helps us learn from our errors and become better helpers.

  2. I have been on this retreat and it was a fabulous experience. Not only did I get to meet fellow students on different ground, I also got to spend time with professors outside of their comfort zones.

  3. Hi JoAnn, this was an awesome retreat for everyone involved and I truly had a fabulous time reinforcing what I already learned about taking time out for self-care, creating strategies to carve out that time and not only make, but KEEP those appointments with ourselves (as we do with others), and sharing with our colleagues coming behind us what to expect in your final year at Loyola. Best wishes to you and I look forward to hearing about your progress throughout next year.


    • Thank you Karla (and all the 2012 graduates) for sharing all of your self-care wisdom with us. You all have been an inspiration to me. God’s choicest blessings to all of you in whatever the future holds!

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