Between the 30th of November and the 1st of December 2019 we – the ELP Fellows – went together with Father Peter Rožič SJ to Quartier Gallet to a peaceful and wonderful countryside for a retreat.

First we met at Luxembourg station in Brussels to travel together out of the capital and find our inner peace. During the journey, Father Peter recommended us to read Isaiah 2. book. Later on we arrived at Beauraing station and got off the train to walk around for an hour, on a breathtaking path to Quartier Gallet. Before the tour began, Father Peter gave us a spiritual speech and asked us to think during the walk what is our most important desire. The walk in this beautiful countryside was a great opportunity for all of us to go deeper into our true desire.

Desire was the one central question of this weekend. When we arrived at Quartier Gallet and occupied our rooms we attended a very intimate Mass with residents of this guesthouse. We made progress to develop our community life during the lunch that we had together and we washed and removed the table together along with a deep and friendly conversation.

Subsequently, we had a coaching session with Father Peter, where we got to know the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. We learnt some exercises which can be useful in our everyday life.

Afterwards, we moved on to the second big topic of this retreat: Gratitude. We got some important questions about gratitude and realized how important it is to be grateful and not only for the big things – like loving family, health, peace – but for every little thing in our lives. Practicing gratitude is the path toward happiness. In order to practice this kind of gratitude we got some exercises. After that, Father Peter asked us to think about why we can be grateful for our lives so far.

To process what we heard and for spiritual deepening we took a trip around the snowy Quartier Gallet which was a perfect environment for spiritual recharge.

Once back, we attended Mass and shared a meal. After dinner, we participated in a coaching session where we had the chance to share our experiences of gratitude. It was a perfect moment to deepen our relationship and to get to know each other better.

The second day of the weekend started with a mass and after we had breakfast together. Then we divided the tasks between each other (cleaning the table, preparing for lunch, and preparing for the next Mass). When we finished our duties we went for the last Mass together.

During the masses, the most important topic for me through the various Bible passages was focusing on the calling. We asked and spoke about some important questions: How can we hear the call of Jesus in our life? How can we distinguish his voice from other voices? How can we follow God? Are we ready for it? What do we have to do to get ready? These are just some of the questions that arose during the weekend. 

Our retreat in Quartier Gallet ended up with a delicious joint lunch, and we headed back to Brussels both physically and spiritually charged.

During this weekend we had the opportunity to think –  among other things – what is our most important desire, how we can practice gratitude in our lives, and what calling means to us. Besides, we built on our relationship with each other. When we returned in Brussels, we were able to continue the European Leadership Programme with in cozier contact each other. All in one, in my opinion, we can be grateful for this retreat in Quartier Gallet.

By Anikó Mecser
ELP Fellow