b'I n 1797, Blessed Father Chaminade found himself truly alone, she says. As I meditated on the mysteriessheltering in a foreign placethe city of Saragossa of Mary, I realized that I was always in the presence ofin northern Spainwhile the French Revolution Jesus and Mary and that there is always a communitybrought France and the Church to their knees. Whilethe Founders of the Marianist Family and othersin exile for three years, he began to reflect on the who can intervene and be present to me. It greatlyrelationship between Jesus and Mary. After many expanded my awareness of the community of saints.months of prayer at the foot of the statue of Our Savio Franco, director of Leadership Development,Lady of the Pillar, he had an epiphany: He cameResearch and Partnerships for the Marianist Provinceto understand the significance of Mary in salvation of the United States, also participated in the retreathistory and her mission in the Church today, says last year. The Marianist in me wanted to grow inMarianist Father Martin Solma.solidarity with vowed religious and meditate on theIn keeping with Chaminades transformative experi-ence in Saragossa, the North American Center forMarianist Studies launched the Spirit of Saragossa As I meditated on the mysteries ofRetreat in Daily Life, a new five-month retreat program Mary, I realized that I was always infor members of the Marianist Family. Modeled after the presence of Jesus and Mary andthe 30-day retreat for Marianist religious preparing for that there is always a communitytheperpetual vows, this retreat is designed for people Founders of the Family of Mary and lay and religiouswho already are grounded inMarianist spirituality and desire a deeper commitment otherswho can intervene and beto living the Marianist charism, says Marianist present to me. It greatly expanded myBrother Tom Redmond, who developed the retreat. awareness of the community of saints. The Retreat in Daily Life gives participants theflexibility to continue with daily commitments whileKateri Dillon, retreat participantmaking the personal retreat. It is structured around therhythm of daily prayer, focused on Scripture readingsand meditations on the four Marian Mysteries: the Scriptures with Jesus and Mary. It was an invitationAnnunciation; Mary and the Beloved Disciple at the to go deeper, feel unsettled and vulnerable and learnFoot of the Cross; the Upper Room at Pentecost; and from it, he says. The deeper layers are where wethe Wedding Feast at Cana. experience Gods light breaking through the shadowsParticipants also meet weekly with a retreat directorwhere deep calls to deep.to further explore their insights. Giving voice to what Because it is self-paced, the retreat gave Savio timeis stirring in our minds and hearts often brings clarity to slow down, to linger in Gods presence. It allowedto our experiences, says Brother Tom. The spiritual the Holy Spirit to speak to me, he says. director is there as a sounding board and a guide.Led by the SpiritNever truly aloneFifteen spiritual directors across the U.S. facilitateMost people go away on retreat for a focused amount the retreat. Ideally, you meet in person with yourof time, but often have trouble integrating that expe- spiritual director, says Brother Tom. But for thoserience into their daily lives when they return, says who cant do that because of their location or due toKateri Dillon, a manager at a literacy center in Dayton, social distancing, we recommend meeting via videoOhio, who participated in the retreat last year. In this conferencing such as Zoom or Skype.retreat, your daily life is part of the retreat experience, If you allow the Spirit to lead you, you will experi-so theres a seamless connection. ence fresh insights and epiphanies, says Savio. TheA key insight that Kateri found helpful, especially director accompanies the retreatant. But its the Holyduring this time of social isolation, is that I am never Spirit who leads the retreat.\x01More information about retreat costs, registration and other details, visit nacms.org/spirit-of-saragossa-retreat.For those new to the Marianist Family and looking to deepen their understanding of the charism, visitnacms.org and check out Marianist publications, programs and podcasts. marianist.com/donate 15'