The women who form the Administration Staff for Copper Ridge Conference Centre have a unique role to play in the atmosphere that you will experience on your next retreat.
Some time ago somebody asked me, “What is the difference between what you want to build and all the other retreat centres that exist already? Why do we need another one?”
This is a very good question.
It is true that there are very good retreat venues. What can make Copper Ridge different? What came immediately to mind was the fact that Copper Ridge will be a “home away from home” for everybody attending a retreat or a workshop there. It won’t be an institution where they will be spending some days. It will be a home where they will feel at ease; surrounded by a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere, where they will recognize details they see at home: flowers here and there, homey details at the table during meals. They will feel well taken care of by people that they might not know but they will be convinced that they care for them.
Who creates that “home away from home”? The women of the administration staff whose work it is to look after the domestic needs of the Conference Centres. These women may be professionals in other fields – law, medicine, economics etc. – who have put aside their careers to administer the conference centres, while others have chosen as their professional occupation to dedicate themselves entirely to the domestic tasks in the centres of Opus Dei.
They are the support of all our apostolate, the “spinal column” that sustains us, the feminine touch that creates a home in all the centres. St Josemaria used to say when talking about the centres of the Work: “So many homes that are just one!” Why? Because all our centres are homes. Whichever centre we go to, we always feel that particular love and attention, and that is due in a very large part to the Administration with its staff that takes care of the domestic work.
The Prelate of Opus Dei made this point to a group of people in Granada this year, answering a question about those who dedicate their life to that professional vocation. The questioner had commented that they are the heart of Opus Dei because they are like mothers who make possible the family atmosphere of our centres. The Prelate responded, “As you have very well said, the work of the Administration of our centres is fundamental… it makes it possible for the Work to have a family atmosphere… Let us give thanks to Our Lord and do everything we can, each one in his place, to keep this family air that we achieve through our union with Our Lord, thinking always of the others.”
That is what the staff of the Administration of Copper Ridge will be doing, and that is why it can be instrumental in helping many people find Our Lord. He is always looking for us, as He went looking for the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We pray that for many people, Copper Ridge will be a place of encounter with Him.