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The power of silence

foyer retreat

What an amazing couple of weeks. After a truly beautiful week with friends and family in Germany and Spain (post to follow), I ventured on my own to Micklepage, a 17th Century barn house in the heart of Sussex countryside, for a silent retreat.

My first retreat since Benedict was born a year ago (another post to follow – we celebrated his 1st birthday on Monday!), and the longest time I had been away from him – not easy, but grace-filled. Eoin stayed with his parents that week and they helped out with B, and I’m so grateful for their help.

The retreat was led by Fr Tom Dubois and the Foyer Community from France, and what a great retreat it was! We had Mass, praise and worship, talks, adoration and the rosary each day (it probably sounds quite intense but through the silence they flowed together so well… and if you’ve done a silent retreat before you know its no holiday haha!)

There were six other retreatants and all I knew about them were their names. And yet, after spending a week with them there was a real unity between us; I felt on some level I knew them in a much deeper way – it was very special. Silence really is a powerful thing.

I am so thankful for the retreat. Being a mother now, the silence and the time of prayer free from worry about your little one, is cherished time indeed.

This is the old farm house some of us stayed in:

foyer retreat 3

foyer retreat 2

This is from one of the walks I did each day:

foyer retreat 4

And this was my room… It was a real struggle for me actually! I hate anything creepy-crawly and this room had plenty of them! God definitely took this opportunity to take away all my comforts and challenge my fears…

foyer retreat 5

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The prayers of a little one

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I came across this book “Faith Beginnings” on another Catholic Mum’s blog… It is brilliant! It talks about ways of developing a child’s faith right from birth. Until reading this book, I never thought about my 8 month old having faith at his age. Of course, I knew that when he was baptised God made His home in him, but I guess I thought he would be older and talking before he could have faith in Christ.

The book suggests really simple things, like whispering the Hail Marys of the rosary to soothe your baby to sleep. And so by praying with them on a regular basis it becomes a normal part of their daily life.

I remember being surprised a couple of months ago when, seemingly out of the blue, my husband said grace with Benedict before he fed him his dinner. He took Benedict’s hand to make the sign of the cross and then prayed the grace we normally say. It was so lovely to watch, and I couldn’t understand why we hadn’t done it before! It seemed so obvious!

The book also talks about the sensory nature of the Catholic Church; the smells of incense, the stain glass windows, statues of saints, holy water at the entrance of the church, the ringing of bells during the Consecration. In an age where there are countless sensory classes being offered to mothers and babies, the Mass seems a great way of introducing your child to the different senses, AND it nourishes their soul too!!

This book is definitely a must for any Catholic parent!