Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Left My Voice in San Francisco

Home from the San Francisco bay area where I was leading a silent retreat at San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. The 84 retreatants were edifyingly quiet. I was inspired by their faithfulness to the silence. The photos here surely portray that this is a place of graced beauty and you might consider coming here some day for a soul journey.

The amusing irony of it all, which may actually be a bit prophetic, is that I lost my voice almost as soon as the retreat was over. Perhaps God is telling me to eat my own words. I flew back to Arkansas in silence, even wrote a note to the airline attendant so she would know what I wanted to drink.

Every experience is a teacher and so I am trying to learn from this silence that was not on my schedule. Most of the things on my TO DO LIST for today I have put aside. Sleeping, reading, resting, caring for my health: those things I tend to put on the back burner, are right up front now. They have my attention. At the moment I can only whisper. It is silent in my heart too. The prayers of the retreatants have followed me home in silence.
I think we talk
what lives inside silence
scares us.
-spoken by Angel in Linda Hogan's book, Solar Storms


  1. Beautiful! Silence is a good experience for a short time.
    Hope you have a voice again soon!

  2. I pray that you may regain your voice, strength and health soon. Thank you again, Siser Macrina. I enjoyed meeting you, being in the silence and beauty of San Damiano. Sometimes I enjoy the forced Sabbaths due to illness. It forces me to slow down and take care, it's almost a relief. What you said about taking the time to pause (that you won't lose time, but get refreshed-renewed) does make sense. I also found doing the stretching exercises also helped to renew and refresh. God bless you!

  3. Dear Sr. Macrina,

    I was one of the retreatants at San Damiano (from the Wine Country), and I was so moved by your presence, and by the retreat itself. I'm trying to remember a phrase you used, that has remained with me, to the effect: "May I leave someone with a good memory today." Do you remember, and will you repeat it to me in your own beautiful words?

    I'm really sorry you have lost your voice, and must now "retreat" as it were, to your own quiet place, in order to put your health in its deserved place of importance. May you be restored to good health soon.

    Thank you for sharing yourself, your soul and heart with all of us on the retreat last weekend. For myself, it was a memorable, healing, and graced time!

    With love, Mary Dixon

  4. Hello Mary...the quote you are trying to remember is the question I ask myself at the end of each day: HAVE I BEEN A GOOD MEMORY IN ANYONE'S LIFE THIS DAY?

  5. Thank You! I have repeated the lesser version to at least two people, and it continues to resonate, with them and me also. I pray you are feeling better?! Hugs, Mary

  6. Macrina, I was at the San Damiano retreat, my first. I loved the silence so...I'm practicing the pauses, mostly the morning and night, and feeling focused and calm. I felt very connected to everyone even though we were silent. I'm looking forward to more retreats and silence. Thanks so much for teaching us. I am going to continue on this path.
    Love in Christ,
    San Rafael CA

    PS-I'm the Evangelical (I use that term loosely)who stood up to comment on the experience at the end.

  7. Thank you Sheila...I am glad to have helped you find the value of silence. It is something the world at large doesn't offer to us. We have to seek it and practice it; and I, too, still struggle with the practice.