Somewhere, at a fundamental level, the English language must associate the idea of memory with some sort of "bringing together". Thus we have words like remembrance - or re-membrance - and recollection; which can also be re-collection, implying a re-gathering in our minds of memories which could otherwise be lost, scattered or fragmented.

In spirituality we also speak of prayer as recollection, implying quietness and stillness... which makes sense: what, after all, is prayerful recollection but an interior gathering together of ourselves and all the thoughts and feelings which could otherwise be - or make us be - scattered or dispersed?

A few days ago I returned home from my retreat at Llannerchwen. It was a lovely, quiet retreat, truly a time of recollection. It was a time filled with prayer; deep, quiet prayer, responding to Christ's invitation to stay with him, to simply be with him. I saw rainbows and learnt lessons from a trickling stream and observed a bee, so deeply, utterly absorbed in a thistle, and wished for myself a similar focused absorption in God. I also slept a lot, long and soundly, and tranquilly cooked myself risotto and minestrina and other simple favourites. And I enjoyed the satisfaction of picking loads of blackberries, which I brought home to my community, and re-collecting memories of childhood autumns foraging and picking mushrooms, blackberries and other fruit with my parents.

And then I came home, to busyness, boiler repairs and builders, excitement and frazzled nerves, and the various ups and downs, emails and chats that make up daily life here at 11 NG. As I hurtle headlong into it all, I find myself holding on to the memory of my retreat, and especially to the call to be, in the midst of all the doing. So I recollect the recollection, lest it - and I - get lost, scattered or fragmented...


  1. What a very special time, thank you sharing your reflections Silvana - you have a great gift in capturing those special moments.


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