it was lovely this week to get a few days retreat/silence/space for prayer. i found st clare's portiuncula on the web through the retreats web site. it is hosted by a fransiscan sisters community. the space itself has five rooms (hermitages) with a gorgeous view over the valley. the building is about 10 years old, beautifully designed with a lovely fountain in the centre that symbolises the overflowing of god's love for the world, and a chapel. it also has a peace garden with a gorgeous labyrinth in the chartres design. one morning when i walked this labyrinth it was so frosty that after each step the coldness of the stone left a frosty footprint as you can see in the photo. each day i met with one of the nuns to chat about how i was doing which was also helpful. i mostly tried to be silent and walk and pray and think but i did read chesterton's biography of st francis while i was there which was a good companion. it was a great way to head into lent...
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