The Spirit is moving in Wimbledon

Sacred Heart Edge Hill, Credit Michael Button via Flickr
Sacred Heart Edge Hill, Credit Michael Button via Flickr

An expert team of spiritual directors is landing in Wimbledon in two weeks to deliver a week of guided prayer or “retreat in daily life” to the community of Sacred Heart parish and Wimbledon College.  Also joining the retreat will be staff from Jesuit Missions and students from Heythrop College.

The Jesuits founded Sacred Heart parish in 1887 and Wimbledon College in 1892.  Although they left the parish in 2012, there remain three Jesuit houses on Edge Hill, one of which is home to Jesuit Missions.

“By working with such a range of people with different connections to the Jesuits and to each other, we hope to build a new and renewed community of faith who will then take their experience and work together to make a difference in the world” says Fr Simon Bishop SJ, the Director of Spirituality for Jesuits in Britain.


Finding God in the everyday

During a retreat in daily life participants carry on with work and family life while committing to about 30 minutes of personal prayer each day, and a 30 minute daily meeting with a trained prayer guide.

As Fr David Stewart SJ, one of the spiritual directors leading the Wimbledon retreat, explains “St.Ignatius’spirituality was all about “seeking and finding God in all things” and that includes the rough-and-tumble of busy life.  St Ignatius was very clear that his famous “Spiritual Exercises” had to be made available to a wide range of people. He knew that what he’d experienced was a gift of God for all of us. So he and his first companions began to offer adapted spiritual exercises to busy people, who didn’t have the opportunity to go away somewhere quiet for an extended time. Ignatius clearly wanted that to happen.”

Useless at praying

The retreat is suitable for any Christian who wants to deepen their prayer life, or someone who is not sure what they believe but is willing to take a risk and seriously explore the reality of God.  Either way, Fr Simon suggests,  “it is for any generous soul willing to commit to the elements of the week, especially those who think they are useless at praying.”

“This is potentially the largest retreat in daily life we have ever run” says Fr Simon, “ we will have twenty prayer guides: a brilliant combination of Jesuit priests and scholastics, fCJ sisters and a team of trained lay people from St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre.  We have the capacity to include up to 150 participants for one to one spiritual guidance during the week, and more for the workshops.”

Programme

The retreat week opens  on Sunday 22 January with an opening meeting at 3pm at the Sacred Heart Upper Hall for all participants.  Each evening during the week there is a workshop at 7.30pm
• Monday 23, Ways of Praying
• Tuesday 24, Discernment
• Wednesday 25, Images of God
• Thursday 26, Called to Mission
And on Friday 27 there is a closing meeting  also at 7.30pm

The St Beuno’s spirituality outreach team undertook a major project in the diocese of Salford in 2016, running 15 WGP retreats in parishes, and this week in Wimbledon will build on what was learned.  “Follow up is key” observes Fr Simon, “In Salford we weren’t sure where the spirit would lead us, but following reflection with participants we are now providing prayer guide training so many of them can themselves spread the spiritual exercises, just as St Ignatius planned.”

How to sign up

If you are interested in taking part please contact Stephen Hoyland, Jesuits in Britain Spirituality Outreach Co-ordinator,