In honor of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Archdiocese of Louisville offered a spiritual retreat for maturing adults entitled “His Mercy is From Age to Age, Spiritual Retreat for Maturing Adults” July 25 on the campus of St. Margaret Mary Church.
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly was instituted by Pope Francis three years ago and was observed July 23 this year. Pope Francis marked the occasion with a special Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica.
A group of about 50 older adults, including members of the clergy, took part in the local retreat. They heard from Benedictine Sister Betty Drewes, a spiritual director and retreat leader.
Sister Drewes led the group in prayer and shared messages about how to care for themselves and their relationship with God.
Maturing adults, she said, are living an “extraordinary” life.
“Things that we don’t expect happen when we hit this age,” she said.
In order to make the most of it, she suggested participants take a look at who they are by asking a series of questions: “ ‘Who am I?’ Who is God for you?”
And, “What’s your relationship with God?” and “How do you relate to and love others?”
Sister Drewes went on to share that part of living an extraordinary life is loving who you are. She offered six words to keep in mind as they work towards this goal:
- Awake — “Be awake in our bodies” by exercising, soaking up the sun, drinking water, breathing clean air and sleeping, she said.
- Alertness — “Being alert means your brain is working properly,” said Sister Drewes. “Do you feed your brain from the news, from conversations? What is our self-dialogue?”
- Attentive — It’s important to “attend to what you are feeling right now,” Sister Drewes said. “We have to identify our feelings.”
- Awareness — “We have to be aware of God’s presence in the moment,” she said.
- Acceptance — “We have to accept where we are so we can know where we are going,” she said.
- Alive — “We give glory to God by our own being,” said Sister Drewes.
Sister Drewes also shared ways to discover who God is in their lives and how to love God. “Who is God to you? Where’s your hope and how do you love God and others?” Sister Drewes asked.
Prayer, she told those gathered, is a way to draw closer to God.
“Prayer takes discipline and that means being a disciple. It has to have meaning,” she said. “It’s giving your presence to God, whether doing dishes in the kitchen or kneeling in church.”
She went on to offer two thoughts on praying.
- Because people change, prayer should also change, she said.
- The “way we measure our prayer is how we’re growing in our relationship with God,” she added.
Denise Puckett, who coordinated the event, said it was “very successful.”
“It was good to see everyone enjoy it so much and find support in one another,” said Puckett, who serves as the family services project coordinator in the archdiocese’s Family and Life Ministries Office. “We want to continue offering it to highlight the gift of life and the gift we have in every stage in our life.”