Nearly 150 people have participated in the Wells of Living Water renewal programme in the first 10 years of its life.
The programme offered by the Marist Emmaus Retreat and Spirituality Centre takes its inspiration from the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well and shared her life story with him.
Most participants have been priests and religious in transition between ministries or seeking a break to reflect and restore energy. None has left a retreat early and neither has any member of the team.
Ann Maree is an Australian Sister of Mercy who specialises in personal transformation and the spirituality of the mystics. Gerard is the director of the centre and teaches self awareness as part of the holistic approach that the team has to spirituality. Lyndall’s course in the contemplative attitude offers participants the particular skills needed to attend to the inner journey while Jim offers courses in storytelling and journaling.
The team is offering weekend retreats this month and next on the themes of mid-life transitions and spirituality for the second half of life and a weekend in October entitled ‘Space for Women’. Thursday evening reflections in June focus on ‘the truth will set you free’ and in October, ‘Teach Me Wisdom’.
Team members also provide spiritual companioning for anyone interested.
All four team members trained as spiritual directors at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago. Their experience in spiritual accompaniment is pivotal to the success of the Wells programme because individual companioning is at its heart.
The programme began as a three-month course at Futuna Retreat House in Karori and, for two years, it was offered twice in the year. It was then extended to five months from February to July.
In 2001 with the closure of Futuna, the renewal programme moved to the Emmaus Centre at 78 Hobson St, Thorndon.