The following article was submitted to us in September 2020. As Fall rolled into 2nd wave pandemic closure, we decided to hold it until the enticement of reopening was on the horizon.
I.K. Ero writes a wonderful account of the first workshop at Copper Ridge Conference Centre (CRCC)
We could not believe that we were finally at the conference centre! Years of hard work, years of dreaming, fundraising, staring at architectural models in hope – all of that had come to reality. CRCC now stands on a cliff overlooking the waters and mountains of Howe Sound, British Columbia. Here we were, about to spend two weeks on our annual workshop for associates of Opus Dei! An historic first workshop at Copper Ridge Conference Centre. As BC residents, my colleague and I prepared ourselves as hosts. We met and greeted the other eight associates at the airport and subsequently felt very proud as we drove toward the conference centre. We smiled and nodded all the way as we repeatedly heard gasps of “wow!” a million times as we cruised past breath-taking BC scenery particularly on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. These participants from Quebec, Ontario, Winnipeg and Alberta made a running commentary at the wonder of nature and how “majestic” it all looked. Living in BC, I admit that sometimes these wonders had become a mere background to my busy life. But today it was different. Maybe it was the fact that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had reset our eyes in appreciation of our immediate surroundings; or maybe it was just the reaction of the others; either way, we all marvelled and we knew that this annual course was going to be super.
And it was!
Arriving at the conference centre was an experience on its own. It looked like paradise! The leading car of our convoy from the airport had in fact turned around at the gate. They had thought, “This can’t be it; it looks almost too good.” Once they realized that indeed, it was “it,” another chorus of “wow’s” began as we offloaded our vehicles and, as delighted as children, took a tour through the tasteful, modern design and elegantly decorated centre. The oratory! The stained glass and sculpture of the scene of the crucifixion held us in meditation! And the dining room! It was strategically constructed at an angle so that we felt that we were on a cruise ship with large windows overlooking the Sound and its picturesque surrounding mountains. This would be one of our favourite rooms, not only for the view, but also because of the variety of delicious cuisines that we would enjoy in it: adobo from the Philippines, Nigerian jollof rice, Mexican tacos and indigenous salmon burgers. We spent the rest of the first day discovering living rooms with open balconies, windows and exits opening to amazing natural views. We basked in the flood lights, both natural and man-made, that brightened the entire edifice.
We spent our two weeks at CRCC enjoying hilarious get-togethers in the airy living room with the picture windows. We dove into the study of fundamental moral theology in one of the most beautiful classrooms ever. To our right, the professor and to our left an amazing view. It was a no-brainer to step out on to the balcony of the classroom during breaks to enjoy it even more. Meditation and Mass in the Oratory were also experiences of nature. As the morning sun shone through the tall stained-glass windows, the images of the mysteries of Christ’s life came to life in a way that gave one hours of contemplation. In between prayers and classes, we excitedly chattered about excursion plans – all these and more with social distancing measures.
Editor’s note: the excursions these ladies embarked upon were amazing and we are saving them for another edition of the newsletter, so stay tuned! But do enjoy some teaser photos.