The multiplier effect of a retreat is startling. A major effect of a retreat is an increased appreciation for friendship and the need to be a better, more loyal friend. St. Josemaria stresses this in Furrow:
You cannot just be passive. You have to become a real friend of your friends. You can help them first with the example of your behaviour and then with your advice and with the influence that a close friendship provides. Furrow 731
Copper Ridge will be life-altering precisely because its activities will transform the vision of one’s life. We all have the tendency to think only of our own small “backyard,” so to speak: our daily routine, the challenges and difficulties we are facing, and the numbing rhythm of life. Three days in silence and contemplation at Copper Ridge will change all that. People will emerge refreshed and renewed, with a youthful zest for life and the desire to reach out to everyone around them.
I can’t resist quoting another point from Furrow that captures this vision eloquently:
You understood the meaning of friendship when you began to feel that you were like the shepherd of a little flock which you had left abandoned, but were now trying to gather together again, taking it upon yourself to serve each one of them. Furrow 730
Speaking about the multiplier effect of a retreat, the example par excellence are the retreats that Jesus conducted off in a quiet place with his twelve apostles. Just as they were inspired to go out into the whole world to spread the Good News, so will we after our retreats with Jesus at Copper Ridge.
Msgr. Frederick Dolan, Vicar of Opus Dei in Canada, was asked to explain the surge in spiritual and apostolic activity that occurs once a conference centre gets established in a new area. His answer follows.
Whenever we start apostolic activities in a new country, a top priority is to establish a conference centre. Until then, the apostolate hobbles, so to speak. Formation takes time and requires the proper setting. A conference centre provides all the necessary ingredients for the formation to work its full impact. The talks, classes and meditations are obviously important, but so is the beauty of the oratory, the homey atmosphere of the house, and so forth. And no words can capture the importance of the work of the staff, whose care for the cleanliness of the centre and the elegance of the meals brings to mind the Lord’s favourite destination in Bethany, the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
A retreat brings us to a screeching halt and makes it possible to take a deep look at the most important elements of our life. Without that pause to focus, it is all too easy to go month after month and even year after year without a clear vision of the important things in life.
St. Josemaria puts his finger in the wound when he writes “Hurrying, hurrying! Working, working! Feverish activity, anxiety to be up and doing.” Later in that same point of The Way he prescribes the remedy: “Calmness. Peace. Intense life within you. Without that wild hurry, without that frenzy for change, you can work from your proper place in life. And, like a powerful generator of spiritual electricity, you will give light and energy to very many, without losing your own vigour and light.” The Way, no. 837.
Someone making a retreat for the first time in many years often comes to the jarring conclusion that they had been ignoring key roles in their life. It only takes a few days of silence and reflection to “reboot” and renew our focus. As a result, we can go about life “giving to each moment the dynamic echo of eternity”, as St. Josemaria liked to put it.
The “Marriage Feast at Cana” is very meaningful to us, because we attribute my husband Jason’s healing to Mary’s intercession.
When Jason had surgery almost five years ago, the doctors were very negative. 94% of people with a small malignant tumor which is surgically removed are cured. But he was among the unlucky 6% who had the cancer progress to stage 3a. The doctors said that his five year survival rate was only 40% and the chance for recurrence within the first year was as high as 80%. They all said that they were very sorry that this had to happen to such a young family. We prayed to Our Lady to intercede for him to be completely cured. We were sure that she had heard our prayer.
Five years later, two weeks ago, he went to see the specialist who told us that his recent CAT scan showed that he was cancer free. And the chance of recurrence was 0%.
We know that it was Mary’s intercession that brought about that miracle of healing, just like at the Marriage Feast at Cana when Jesus answered his mother’s request to turn water into wine.
Have you found that special oratory item yet? If not, see “The Most Important Room”.
Through your generosity and sacrifices, Copper Ridge Conference Centre has become an even more tangible reality this year. We wish to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who has helped this important project move forward with your prayers, your great financial generosity and the ingenuity of all the fund raising campaigns.
From the smallest child’s gift, to the extraordinary contributions of our major donors, to the stream of prayers rising up to heaven, we give thanks.
This month we are posting photos that will bring back to mind a few of the notable stories of the campaign.
We wish you and your families many blessings this Christmas.
Have you seen how that imposing building was built? One brick upon another. Thousands. But, one by one. And bags of cement, one by one. And blocks of stone, each of them insignificant compared with the massive whole. And beams of steel. And men working, the same hours, day after day…
Have you seen how that imposing building was built?… By dint of little things!
St. Josemaria Escriva (The Way 823)
There is one room at the Conference Centre that has a dedicated team of designers creating an aesthetic fit for a King. Can you guess who will live there?
As winter is approaching, the priority for the project is to get the roof up. This will allow the contractor to continue to work at a good pace on the interior and avoid the trouble of having to protect the building from the wet weather. The good news is that as of the beginning of November, we have a hard working team installing the trusses and sheathing boards for the roof, as you can see from the attached photos.
Our interior design team is also working hard and has already completed the selection of the floor finishes, the plumbing and electrical fixtures and the appliances. They are starting to consider the decoration and art work for the different rooms.
The work on the gatehouse is going well. The framing is underway and should be completed soon.
As you can see, overall we continue to make good progress on the project and, so far, we are still on track for an expected completion date of late summer 2019. Soon you will be able to book your retreats at Copper Ridge!
Camp Misawannee: A Welcoming Family for Girls
Our 7th annual summer camp for girls saw 85 girls and 31 leaders gathered in Chilliwack for 4 days of activities with new and old friends! Camp “Misawannee” is a name that expresses different ideas of “I can do it” or “Come on, you can do it” and works its way into the campfire songs each night.
“Camp Misawannee has been a wonderful experience for my daughters, they look forward to camp all summer and make lasting friendships. I love it because they are having fun, meeting new people and building a good foundation of faith and character.” – Parent
Crafts, sports, team challenges, swimming, crazy campfire songs, a fun talent show and dance party, spending daily time in prayer, and enjoying great camp food – our days were packed!
“My daughters… arrived home from Camp Misawannee full of excitement to share their positive experiences of fun activities, as well as things they learned about their faith. They both enjoyed their counsellors and getting to know other Catholic girls.” – Parent
What started out 7 years ago as a leadership camp for 20 girls, has now turned into a family, where our campers return year after year, and come back to volunteer as leaders.
“I was fortunate to be a camper for three years, and I think that it helped me in becoming a better leader. Misawannee teaches many leadership skills and through the activities and games, you can develop many virtues and qualities that are transferable to being a good leader. I think through camp and being a counsellor in training, I got to strengthen my qualities of patience, humility, empathy, and become more confident in myself as a leader.” – Camp Leader
All the formation received by the leaders and leaders in training comes from the activities and retreats they attend during the year, and many of the younger girls go on to attend formative activities on a regular basis once the camp is over. The spiritual formation is entrusted to the Prelature of Opus Dei and will be carried out with a greater scope once the Copper Ridge Conference is completed.
A young lady anticipating attending a retreat on the Sunshine Coast for high school and university students expressed her gratitude as follows:
“I have attended other retreats and have always benefited greatly from the experience. The quiet time of prayer and recollection, along with the meditations given by the priest have truly helped me grow closer to God and strengthen the relationship I have with Him. The talks also have contributed to my formation, not only spiritually, but as an individual in the world. I would love to attend the upcoming retreat, especially as it comes just before school starts”. Isabel Chumbe, 2018
CRCC will provide an atmosphere of quiet and beauty for retreats that will help young people find their way in a sometimes confusing world. Thank you for supporting CRCC with your prayers for all the young people who will benefit from these activities.
The annual Chinese dinner in support of CRCC was a great success. Over 250 participants enjoyed a ten course gourmet meal at the Victoria Chinese Restaurant in downtown Vancouver. Though there were so many of us, it felt just like a family gathering – lots of fun and friendship. A lucky couple won the bid for two trips to the Holy Land. Before the auction, Mr. and Mrs. Boyd described the Holy Land in all its wonder and beauty. A special feature of this year’s dinner was that of the young people who moved from table to table to tell us of their own experiences of the practical and spiritual help and encouragement they receive from attending activities similar to those that will take place at Copper Ridge. One of the attendees won the draw to attend a retreat when the new Conference Centre is ready to welcome us. We all left feeling grateful to be part of this legacy project. Over $35,000 was raised! We extend a big “thank you” to everyone who supported us either by attending the event, by donating items for the auction, and especially to the volunteers whose hard work to make the evening such a success added a special warmth to the event.