A Warm Gathering

The Rostro Reunion and retreat took place at the bucolic and comfortable Rolling Ridge Retreat Center located just north of Boston with 28 alumni volunteers and 2 alumni in-country directors, plus special guests: in-country director Megan Radek and Rostro de Cristo friend, partner and inspiration, Pat McTeague, who flew in from Ecuador to be with the group for the weekend. The Reunion-Retreat started Friday, October 9, 2009 with the newly returned volunteers arriving early and participating in a re-entry retreat directed by Julie Lupien from From Mission to Mission. Rostro alumni volunteers arrived later in the evening, after many delays due to rainy weather and it being a Friday night of a 3-day weekend in Boston. All the volunteers gathered and enjoyed dinner at 7:30pm followed by introductions of all volunteers and guests in attendance. We closed with evening prayer at 10pm facilitated by the ‘08 – ‘09 volunteers.

Saturday morning began with prayer, while the newly returned volunteers continued their separate re-entry retreat. With the help of Jill Rauh and Elyse Raby, Helen facilitated morning prayer as a ‘prayer walk’ – where alumni were invited to walk and view several photos from Ecuador while praying, reflecting, and remembering the Face of Christ as they encountered it during their volunteer year. The remainder of the morning was dedicated to RdC: Past, Present and Future – with a synopsis of our founding and past, our present day reality in Duran, and a glimpse of the future. In the afternoon, we continued looking at present day realities, finances and fundraising and open discussion of Rostro today. The remainder of the afternoon was dedicated to free time which allowed for further personal reflection and a great game of futbol (aka soccer) … as many enjoyed the beautiful, crisp Autumn weather, the grounds of the retreat center and the foliage of the East Coast. (…including Pat McTeague, who collected a few beautiful red-colored leaves to bring back to Ecuador, because they didn’t believe her that the leaves change to red!)

We re-gathered as a community with Pat McTeague as guest speaker. It was a great honor and blessing to have Pat with us and for her to share some words of wisdom on what she sees as RdC’s greatest strengths and current challenges. In addition, some RdC Board Members were able to join the retreat on Saturday night. After dinner, alumni volunteers, Jill Rauh and Mike Nuttall, led the group in a session: Act-Reflect-Transform, which included reflections from a panel of alumni volunteers, including Nancy Pahl, Mary Seryak, Clare O’Grady, Meredith MacKenzie and Ed Hardiman; the session concluded with a personal writing of a ‘challenge to self’. We closed the evening with prayer facilitated by the ‘06 – ‘07 volunteers.

Sunday began with morning prayer facilitated by the ‘05 – ‘06 volunteers. The session on Sunday morning focused on the future of Rostro, specifically the new house – Centro Tomas – located in Monte Sinai. This was followed by a group discussion on advice, suggestions, and comments for Rostro as we move forward as an organization. Also, Board Member Barbara Rosiello addressed the volunteers regarding the function of the Board and invited the volunteers to think about nominations to the Rostro Board. The weekend concluded with a beautiful Mass celebrated by Fr. Ronan.

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