Retreat Reflections…

Last week, as you know, I facilitated a retreat for 21 Sisters of Notre Dame at Bethany, our retreat center on this campus. Thank you for your prayers for this endeavor. We had a whole week to enjoy all the colors of fall too! At the closing of our retreat Saturday afternoon, I asked the retreatants to write one insight, quote, spiritual truth they wanted to remember from this retreat. They submitted them anonymously. I then incorporated their thoughts into a prayer of gratitude. I would like to share some of these thoughts with you today.

1) My amazing God… Strong, gentle, most powerful… Encompassing me!

2) The best way to know God is to love many things (Van Gogh).

(Photo by Pexels)

3) God’s hand holds all that happens.

4) I liked the use of Children’s literature. (I put out books like these: Old Turtle (Douglas Wood), You Are Special (Max Lucado), The Nativity (Julie Vivas), Children’s Letters to God (Hample and Marshall), Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? (Nancy White Carlstrom), God Thinks You’re Wonderful! (Max Lucado), and others.

5) To see a world in a grain of sand/ And heaven in a wild flower. (Blake)

6) From an Algerian Trappist: “When You fill my heart, my eyes overflow.”

7) How lucky I am to have something (someone) that makes saying goodbye so hard. (from Winnie the Pooh)

8) My voice is as valid and important as the voices of the “experts.”

(Photo by James Wheeler – Pexels)

9) From a song we sang at Mass this week: “Healing Spirit, bathe the wounds that living brings…”

10) Love God more… Walk in Nature daily.

11) Strive to love others as God loves us.

12) In heaven there are no secrets.

13) God thinks I am a good idea.

14) I really liked the opening song, “Drawn to You” by Sarah Hart. It’s beautiful!

15) Jesus, you are with me in difficult times, EMBRACING ME… You are with me in good times, LAUGHING WITH ME… Thank you for being with me ALWAYS, and for loving me SO MUCH!

(Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative – Pexels)

Did any of the reflections from the retreat speak to you today? If so, which one(s)… why?

Special treat: We have an “art room” at our retreat center. One sister who was on retreat, Sr. Valerie Sweeney, was inspired to creative these lovely cards based on some of the things we were exploring during the retreat. I thought they were so beautiful, I asked if I might post them here for you! Thanks for saying yes, Val!

One retreatant mentioned how much she liked the opening song of the retreat, “Drawn to You” by Sarah Hart. Here it is for you to enjoy:

I welcome your comments below! Thank you!


  1. Patsy S. on October 16, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    As I have been struggling lately with feeling “not good enough” in most aspects of my life, two of the reflections really spoke to me–the one about my voice being valid and the other that God thinks I am a good idea! Thank you, Sister Melannie.

  2. Paula Gibbons on October 16, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    I like the Sarah Hart music video. #7 reminds me of the quote by Queen Elizabeth II-“Grief is the price we pay for love.” Saying goodbye to someone or something is difficult, but I feel blessed to have the opportunity to have the person in my life.
    Blessings to all this week!

  3. Maureen on October 17, 2022 at 7:22 am

    Wow- I think the world needs your retreat ❤️

  4. Maureen on October 17, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Thank you, Melanie, for this sharing this and every reflection of yours. I am very new to your Sunflower Seeds, but my Franciscan heart resonates with your love of nature and with how you find God in this world. Your reflections help so much to bring a much-needed sense of hope and beauty. The quote from Winnie the Pooh spoke deeply to me. Thank you again! I have added your blog to my reading list, so I can easily find it!

  5. Mary P on October 17, 2022 at 11:18 am

    The Winnie the Pooh quote spoke to me, too. My longtime retreat director, who continued to mentor me after she retired for health reasons and became a dear friend over the years, is drawing closer to death this week. It IS very hard to say goodbye. I have a pillow that was given to me from her office that says: “All things grow with love.” I am one of those “things”.

    PS – Any updates on the blog being sent out? I continue to go on line to find it on Monday mornings.

  6. Cookie on October 17, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Number 6 touched me…I do cry easily, so I guess my heart is full and blessed. And number 7. Winnie the Pooh books are actually full of tidbits of wisdom-as are many ” children’s” books.I should know-I taught kindergarten and first grade for over 40 years😉❤️

  7. John E Hopkins on October 17, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Sr. Melannie,

    I’ve always loved that Blake quote, and Sr. Valerie’s “God is greening power” smacks of Hildegard.
    What a blessed week it must have been!

  8. Susan Wigg on October 18, 2022 at 8:59 am

    Good morning Sister
    The quote from St John of the Cross touched my heart, how much more is God seeking me. Why me?
    Gives me something to ponder today. As always thank you for sharing this blog and have a blessed week.

  9. Christine Bianco on October 19, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    I love Sara Harts music! She has a lovely voice and is a talented writer and musician. I also wanted to pass along some information, although I’m afraid it won’t be very helpful. I, like many of St Melannie’s readers, am no longer getting her blog in my email. So I went to her website so I could read it. But then I continued to scroll around and started tapping on things randomly and suddenly something popped up. It had a heading of Sunflower Seeds and said “tap to download to your home screen”. I was a bit hesitant to do it, not knowing if it might be malware, but I went ahead. What came up was something that looked like an APP. When I tapped on it, it took me straight to Sunflower Seeds! I am so happy, I can now get Sr. Melannie’s blog directly. But as I said, this is probably not helpful, because I don’t know what I did!

  10. Michael on October 20, 2022 at 6:23 am

    I am new to your blog, drawn by your frequent contributions to Give Us This Day. Thank you for your postings and I agree that this retreat must have been incredibly beautiful. M

  11. Danita on October 20, 2022 at 10:16 am

    Thank you Melannie for your blog. I learn something new every time I visit. (I had not heard of Sara Hart). Christine Bianco’s comment was interesting because I too was surprised when “Sunflower Seeds” was stored on our computer as a quick link on our home page. One click and I’m at your blog. I find peace when I visit your site. Blessings to all.

  12. Karen Coss Ridenour on October 20, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    For some reason I have not been receiving your weekly post. I did receive them for over a year, but not sure why they stopped. I look them up, miss having them appear in my email, because I sometimes forget.

    If they can be restarted, I’d appreciate it. I do check my junk mail and they are not there.

    Karen Ridenour

  13. Anita compagnone on October 23, 2022 at 4:02 am

    I no longer receive the weekly email and miss it. Is there any chance I can be added to the list Sister? Thanks so much, Anita

  14. Annmarie Ragukonis on October 29, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    My favorites were “God thinks I’m a good idea,” and “God’s hand holds all that happens.” I incorporated the two and claimed them as my Autumn motto, which I wrote about (and credited) on my October 29 blog post. As always, thank you for your inspiration!

  15. Joni Dugan on October 29, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    Wish I was there. Sounds beautiful.

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