Dear Friends of St. Joseph Retreat Center,

Loving greetings to each of you. It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since Covid 19 caused us to close our Retreat Center. 
We had hoped to reopen in March, but that is still not possible. We do feel, however that we will be able to resume our day retreats in the fall. So, please do not lose heart, we are still here for you and hold you deep in our hearts in prayer.

As you know, this week begins our Season of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday, February 17th.It commemorates the 40 days that Jesus remained in the desert in prayer and fasting, prior to his public ministry. We try to unite with Christ during Lent by making an effort to increase our prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. By doing this, Lent will allow God to help us: Come to new life;Deepen our relationship with God and others; andTransform who we are and how we live.

Thinking back to our time in quarantine for almost a year, I feel most of us have experienced in some way, these three points already. We have felt the pain of being separated from our loved ones and perhaps had more time to turn to God in prayer-for our loved ones and ourselves. All of this may have helped transform our lives in some way for the better.Being deprived of attending Mass has also left a void that perhaps during this Lent we can fill, by attending Mass more often, if possible.

Pope Francis also shares some practical and inspiring ways to fast during Lent:

“It is never too late to give something up for Lent.Nor is there a rule that prevents you from changing your fasting habits during Lent.And so, if you want to fast this Lent:

Fast from hurting words and say kind wordsFast from sadness and be filled with gratitudeFast from anger and be filled with patienceFast from pessimism and be filled with hopeFast from worries and trust in GodFast from complaints and contemplate simplicityFast from pressures and be prayerfulFast from bitterness and fill your heart with joyFast from selfishness and be compassionate to othersFast from grudges and be reconciledFast from words and be silent so you can listen”

May this Lenten Season bring you closer to Christ and each other.
Know that I and all the Sisters continue to remember you daily in our prayers.

Until we can be be together again, let us meet each other in the Heart of Christ and there, pray for one another.

Lovingly yours in Christ, 
Sister Josita DiVita, FDC