The Young Marist Pruning Retreat for 2012 took the theme of ‘Pilgrimage’. Together, our group of 12 journeyed to the Hermitage in Mittagong, to partake in simple, monastic life for five days – an experience of both physical and spiritual challenge – a tradition that has taken place since 2004.
Throughout the day, we were invited to prune the Pinot Gris vines at the front of the property; working in silence, allowing for our spirits to be moved through our contemplation. In the evenings we gathered for whole-hearted communal sharing and meals, unpacking the lessons of the vineyard with the daily Gospel reading as our guide. Accompaniment and Spiritual Direction was offered to us through the generous presence of Brs Tony Leon and Darren Burge.
By the week’s end the entire two hectares of Pinot Gris had been pruned. Reflecting on the week, one of the Young Marists, Emma Field said “Hard labour is important because in a world where technology, Facebook and socialising is such a big thing – having a week of silence, work and reflection gets you away from all that. You don’t even want to check your phone. It allows you to have something to focus on so that you’re not getting distracted.”