It is Not About the Place

As many of you know, St. Ignatius Retreat House (“Inisfada”) in Manhasset, New York, was my spiritual home for many years. It was where I found myself upon my return from Buddhism to Christianity, where I regularly attended daily Mass, did my retreats and did my training in retreat house ministry, ultimately leading to my becoming a member of the adjunct ministerial staff. No place else felt more like “home” to me.

I was deeply saddened when the decision was made to close the retreat house and sell the property. I was even more saddened when someone sent me a picture last week of the half-demolished house:

inisfada

Over the last year, many people have written to me about their own sadness at this reality, sharing what the house meant to them and how important the Inisfada community was to them.

I sometimes have to remind myself, as I share with them, something I realized when the prospect of the reteat house closing first surfaced some years ago. It is the ministry of the house that really matters, not the house itself. What is important is that we be about the task deepening our own relationship with God and the relationship of others to God, and translating that relationship into who we are in the world – not where we do it.

And so I mourn the passing of this special place, but I let go any attachment to it. There will be other special places, and they too shall pass. But what will not pass is the work of God, which is ours to do everywhere.

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