Boston College – Connors Center, Dover, Massachusetts
Jesuit Connections opened the 2017-2018 year with a retreat amid the early fall colors of the Connors Center, Boston College’s historic retreat house set among 80 wooded acres on the banks of the Charles River in rural Dover, Massachusetts.
The retreat was led by Meg Fox-Kelly who overseas retreat programs and serves as a chaplain at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. It included a Mass celebrated by Joe Simmons, SJ, a theology student at Boston College and staff writer at The Jesuit Post. The daylong retreat introduced the theme for Jesuit Connections’ 2017-2018 programming: “Vocation, Broadly Interpreted.” Retreat participants arrived to a warm welcome from the Connors Center staff and gathered in the mansion’s oak-paneled South Parlor (which includes a secret door hidden in one of the bookcases!) for Meg’s first talk on Ignatian discernment. Over the course of the day, Meg drew on her own vocation as a mother, former high school religion teacher, and a campus minister.
The day also provided ample opportunity for quiet reflection, and participants took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to journal on the sun-splashed stone terrace, walk St Cecilia’s formal garden, explore the forest trails, or contemplate the river from a shaded bench on the dock.
Mass was held in the luminous Chapel of St Ignatius, with the group forming a circle and a sweeping view over the treetops from the glass wall behind the altar serving as a reredos. Fr. Joe’s homily tied vocation to the “universal call to holiness,” and he noted that the term vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, meaning “to call,” that each of us is must respond to that call in her/his own way. In the words of John Kerdiejus, SJ (1923-2010), “You have to be who you is, and not who you ain’t. Because if you ain’t who you is, then you is who you ain’t. And that ain’t good!”