Friday, December 17, 2004

The hospital experiment comes to end.

Yesterday was my last day at Abbey Mercy Living Center, bringing the ten-week hospital experiment to a close. My time at Abbey had its share of ups and downs. The first few weeks were difficult, as I wrestled with feelings of discomfort and unfamiliarity with the nursing home environment. After I got used to things, I actually started to enjoy going to Abbey and spending time with the residents - I was no longer there simply under obedience, but also because I liked being there. In the last few weeks, I think I started to become bored with the experience - I'd gotten as much out of it as I was going to, and began to eagerly anticipate my last day. As it happens, the last week was fairly low in intensity: my fellow novices and I spent much of our time saying goodbye to residents we'd come to know, and little time on structured group activities. I think what I'll miss most about going to Abbey is conversing with the residents I got to know and who passed along many great stories and pearls of wisdom. At the same time, there's a lot I won't miss, like negotiating wheelchair traffic jams in narrow hallways.

As previously reported, our next major experiences are the Long Retreat in January and teaching religion at La Salette in February. Before then, however, there's a lot to do. Tomorrow is the annual Loyola House Christmas party, about which I'll presumably have more to say after the event. Next week, all the novices will go on a triduum (i.e. three-day) retreat up at Manresa. After Mass and dinner here on Christmas Eve, we get to go home for four days - I'll be flying to Massachusetts to see my family. Then it's back to Michigan - and, in fact, back to Manresa - for a bi-province formation conference, nicknamed the "kiddie conference" because it's a gathering of all the younger Chicago and Detroit Province Jesuits. ("Youth" in this question is measured by when one entered the Society - if a man is in his fifties but has been in for fifteen years or less, he's still considered a "kiddie" in Jesuit terms.) After the kiddie conference finishes up on New Year's Day, the primi will be off to Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass. to do the Spiritual Exercises along with novices from some of the other provinces in the American Assistancy. In short, the next couple weeks will be busy ones, but I'll blog about them as I'm able. Thanks for your support and prayers - keep 'em coming! AMDG.


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