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Wellness Retreat

By Paul Vadakumpadan
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Guwahati, Dec. 21. Inspiration is the name of a new Institution, close to Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati. Here 21 confreres gathered for their annual retreat, 10-15 December.
Wellness Retreat

Inspiration is the name of a new Institution, close to Don Bosco Institute, Guwahati. Here 21 confreres gathered for their annual retreat, 10-15 December. It was truly inspiring at Inspiration. The retreat was appropriately called wellness retreat. Fr. Thomas Vattathara was the animator and the retreat was specially meant for those over 50 years of age.

Sermons and talks are generally part of retreats. However, at Inspiration it was different. Not that there were no talks. But all preached to all. Sometimes it was in community, sometimes two by two. The animator, nationally known for his personality building programmes, was remarkably successful in facilitating a continual sharing, focused always on the basic values that we live by. We began each day with a major biblical image: the Exodus, the vine and the branches, Mary the model of faith and fruitfulness, Zacheus the convert, the Samaritan woman, etc. After an initial power point presentation by the animator, there was a prolonged period of sharing. It was most enriching and marked by much spontaneity. Reflections, hymns and prayers intermingled as the retreatants spent hours in each session. No one complained that the sessions lasted hours. No one felt bored that the daily holy hour went far beyond sixty minutes and the daily holy mass nearly two hours.

There were other novel features like medical check-up, massage, non-stop inspiring music, and a religious movie late evening to drive home a powerful message. Fr. Thomas and his staff made every effort to make the retreatants feel at home. All felt comfortable.

On the last day there was a rosary procession to the Don Bosco Institute. The inmates of the Institute offered a Salesian welcome to the Salesians. It was most encouraging to see some 300 young people, undergoing various training programmes at DBI. The retreat concluded with Holy Mass, presided over by Rev. Fr. Provincial. It was followed by a fraternal meal, on the DBI terrace overlooking the Brahmaputra. The retreatants were very grateful to Fr. Thomas and his team for this new type of retreat that offered them an excellent opportunity for prayer, reflection and sharing. An opinion was expressed that this programme could be developed into a longer Salesian experience of communion, sharing and, indeed, of wellness.      



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