A Retreat for the Newly-Cloistered

Welcome to this virtual retreat! I am glad you are here. 

I hope these songs and reflections provide a little oasis of prayer during Holy Week and Easter. It was my mother who inspired the name for this page: instead of referring to self-isolation or quarantine, she decided she was a member of the “cloistered laity”. So – this is for all those find themselves newly cloistered and who might be looking for some spiritual nourishment in these challenging days. 

The format is pretty simple. I will offer a short video intro, then you'll be directed to a song and a written reflection. Each section will also have downloadable lyrics, accompanying reflection questions, as well as a place where you can send me any prayer intentions (and I will include those intentions in my daily prayer). 

All parts of the retreat are found on this page - please keep scrolling to explore the sessions for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, Divine Mercy - and a bonus video for Pentecost.

As with any retreat, let us invite the Holy Spirit to be the true guide!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

And let us begin with an introductory video:

HOLY THURSDAY

Here is the intro to this session:

Listen to a Song for Holy Thursday:

Click HERE for lyrics.

Click HERE for a written reflection.

Questions to ponder:

  • How is my life “transfigured” by the anticipation of the heavenly kingdom? 
  • In what ways do I draw strength from the Eucharist?

  • What can I do - by the grace of God - to build up a "Eucharistic" culture in my family and parish community? 

Any prayer requests you would like to share from this day? Please email me HERE.

GOOD FRIDAY

Here is the intro to this session:

Listen to Faithful Cross:

Click HERE for lyrics.

Click HERE for a written reflection.

Questions to ponder:

  • What crosses have I borne in my life - and have I let Jesus truly carry these crosses with me? 
  • The text of Faithful Cross provides some very powerful imagery. Which images resonated with you and why?
  • What memories of grace do I return to when I journey through periods of aridity and darkness in the spiritual life?

Any prayer requests you would like to share from this day? Please email me HERE.

HOLY SATURDAY

Here is the intro to this session:

Listen to Holy Saturday:

Click HERE for lyrics.

Click HERE for a written reflection.

Questions to ponder:

  • Have I experienced those moments when I have "stood on nothing?" Do I trust that God was, in fact, standing with me there? 
  • In this quiet of Holy Saturday, think of three people to pray for specifically - that Christ "descends" into their pain or darkness, and draws them into the light of new life.
  • Take a moment to walk with Mary, the Mother of God. What does her witness of faith tell you in this moment of anticipation before Easter?

Any prayer requests you would like to share from this day? Please email me HERE.

EASTER

Here is the intro to this session:

Listen to The Gardener:

Click HERE for lyrics.

Click HERE for a written reflection.

Questions to ponder:

  • Where have I “seen the Lord” in recent – or not so recent – memory? 
  • Have I carried the message of this encounter to others, as the Lord instructed Mary Magdalene?
  • In what ways does the reality of the Resurrection impact my daily life? 

Any prayer requests you would like to share from this day? Please email me HERE.

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

Here is the short video intro:

Listen to Love's Second Name:

Click HERE for lyrics.

Click HERE for a written reflection.

Questions to ponder:

  • How does my life reflect an abiding trust in Jesus? Are there areas in my life where I have not truly allowed God to "write the script?
  • Think about experiences of encountering mercy - either giving or receiving. Am I a member of the "army of the forgiven"? (see Pope Francis' Gaudete et Exsultate par. 82) 
  • What role - if any - does the sacrament of confession play in my spiritual life and/or ministry?

Any prayer requests you would like to share from this day? Please email me HERE.

PENTECOST

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our hearts take up thy rest.
Come with thy grace and heav'nly aid
To fill the hearts which thou hast made,
To fill the hearts which thou hast made.

O Comforter, to thee we cry,
Thou heav'nly gift of God most high,
Thou font of life and fire of love,
And sweet anointing from above,
And sweet anointing from above.

Praise be to thee, Father and Son,
And Holy Spirit, with them one;
And may the Son on us bestow
The gifts that from the Spirit flow,
The gifts that from the Spirit flow.