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THE NUNNERY DEMYSTIFIED Coco Aders-Weremczuk

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osemary Heights Retreat Centre was easy to find. I had checked out the website and Google Earth showed the entrance so when I arrived in the dark I had no surprises. I pulled into the round-about and found myself stuck behind a vehicle parked in the middle of the lane. There were lovely little signs everywhere. Thou shalt not speed. Thou shalt not make excessive noise. And my favourite, Thou shalt not pass on the inside. As soon as the German shepherd inside started to bark the owner came out and moved the car.

thought in the dark was that there were wall ashtrays in each of the rooms! Wow, they were a progressive cloister. Then I realized that it was a holy water font provided for the nuns to bless themselves. As soon as the thought entered my head I realized what I had done. Feeling embarrassed, with only God and me in the dark room I made the sign of the cross out of respect. When I managed to find a light switch half way around the room I was properly oriented. For those who have never been to this retreat it is customary to make up one’s own

cell”. It’s true that the rooms are small, but no smaller than my university dorm room, with walls of brown or white brick. There was a pine desk for my computer and binders, books and paraphernalia, a bed-side table and a full bathroom. Ben across the hall told me he additionally had a dresser. More nunnery-mates arrived so I showed them where they could sleep, helped register them in their rooms of choice and shared the house rules, pass codes and security procedures. The one room that had two beds boasted a bank of closets with lovely wooden hangers. I didn’t remember

I had to laugh. Within the first hour of setting foot inside a converted cloister I had lost my “soul” and come out of the closet! Once inside the centre we were introduced to the building, operations, rules and regulations and then were led to the wing our group would occupy for the weekend. The lights in the rooms were out. Like every overnight participant, instead of flipping on the light switch I put my fingers into a small wall basin. I’m not Catholic so my first

bed, a cost cutting measure; you are encouraged to meditate while doing so, noting at the same time that this establishment is free of any kind of infestation! I’m a social butterfly and wanted to get to know my new nunnery mates, so I left the bed-making to last thing in the evening. The word nunnery brings to mind “nun’s

seeing a closet in my room, but considering the only thing I had to hang was my coat, I didn’t really consider it an issue. As I walked to our private lounge for the evening meet-n-greet, the sole peeled off my right slipper. These slippers had traveled around the world. My grandmother first put them in her suitcase when she got Page 23 ◆ WordWorks ◆ Fall 2015

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Wordworks Fall 2015  

WordWorks Fall 2015 issue was devoted to the ideas of retreats and readings, with many thoughtful and engaging articles, and a whole new des...

Wordworks Fall 2015  

WordWorks Fall 2015 issue was devoted to the ideas of retreats and readings, with many thoughtful and engaging articles, and a whole new des...

Profile for fbcw
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