In Silence, a Symphony


I participated in the Catholic Community at Stanford’s Silent Directed Retreat at the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose Motherhouse on February 17-19, 2017. Led by Fr. Xavier, Lourdes Alonso and Nancy Greenfield, the retreat included Stanford undergraduate and graduate students and Permanent Community members. The Sisters of Mission San Jose were gracious hosts and witnesses to Christ, and we shared time with them at Taizé prayer, Mass, Evening Prayer, and meals. It was wonderful to be among such a faith-filled and prayerful group.

When I tell people that I attended a silent directed retreat, they imagine that I spent the whole time in total silence. Thankfully, that was not true. We entered into silence by refraining from conversations with fellow participants and others by way of email, social media, phone calls, text messages, etc., in order to enter into conversation with God. The silence was informed by reading and reflecting on God’s Word (Lectio Divina), Taizé prayer, Mass, morning and evening prayer, guided mediation, confession, Eucharistic adoration, and daily conversations with a Spiritual Director. Each day flowed through a rhythm of silence and song. On the last day, I took a walk throughout the beautiful grounds; and in the silence, I found a great symphony.

The retreat proved a poignant experience for me. I was grateful to free myself from the distractions of everyday life for a weekend to listen to God speaking to me. The retreat allowed me to rest in the peace of Christ. I experienced a deep and joyful peace throughout the weekend. I left feeling renewed, filled with joy, trusting in God’s plan for me, and more attentive to all the ways in which He is speaking to me and working in my life.

I also left feeling more connected to, and grateful for, the Catholic Community at Stanford. We are so very blessed.