By Ged Johnson (Friends of St Beuno's Coordinator)
A year ago, you will have received a leaflet which ran this heading: ‘St Beuno’s invites Friends to share in its mission’. I am pleased to say that many of you decided to respond to the call and we now have some 402 Friends helping St Beuno’s in its mission of welcoming retreatants and spreading Ignatian spirituality. Thank you very much to all the Friends for such fantastic support. It goes to show how much St Beuno’s has meant to so many people over so many years.
Our first recorded Friend is Barbara Nickson and the latest person to join the Friends of St Beuno’s is Katja Jewell. The financial support of the Friends amounts to a little over £20,000 annually - a really great achievement. Here are a few words from Director, Fr Roger Dawson SJ:
“It is just over a year since we launched the Friends of St Beuno’s and in my wildest dreams I did not anticipate that we would receive such a positive response. We expected about 200 Friends, hoped for about 300, but we now have over 400! I knew that many people have a great love for St Beuno’s and great gratitude for the graces God has given them here, but it has been really touching to read some of the comments and words of appreciation from Friends:
“...Mornings in the wonderful Woodland Chapel, with light on the window and the sheer luxury of walking with Jesus through His life, and letting Him, unhindered, walk through my life, have lifted me to new levels of spiritual experience and richness”
“I will never forget my spiritual experiences there and all the graces the Lord gave me. I will always thank the Lord and all the staff, directors and my fellow participants. The experiences are still vivid and I will treasure them for the rest of my years”
“The generosity of the Friends has assisted us with the refurbishment of the dining room, a part of the house that everyone uses and I think you will agree is now a very attractive room; and we have been able to assist several people, some from very disadvantaged backgrounds, who would not easily have been able to come here.
So on behalf of the team and the Jesuit Community here, thank you for your support and especially for your prayers. I hope to meet more of you on our next Friends’ Weekend in October”
Fr Roger Dawson SJ (Director).
On this first anniversary of the Friends of St Beuno’s, then, you may like to ponder what St Beuno’s itself has meant to you over the years. Or you might have something to say about the ‘Friends’ in its first year. I would especially welcome comments from anyone who has made connections with other Friends of St Beuno’s in their local area. Have you met up? What have you done? Alternatively, you might like to drop me a line simply letting me know which retreats you have been on recently and any highlights you experienced. If you agree, I will happily publish your thoughts in the e-news for other Friends to read.
In the meantime, here are three quotes on Friendship...
“Friendship has always belonged to the core of my spiritual journey” (Henri Nouwen)
“The gift of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship. It is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to truest him” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“Not only ought you to continually love and cherish each other, but to communicate that love to all men” (Ignatius Loyola)