It seems a bit strange to write about going on retreat. But it’s important – important to say that it’s important to me to make it part of routine and discipline – important because what you gain is a sort of gift …
This is Holy Cross Monastery, home of the community of Benedictine Monks at Rostrevor in Northern Ireland. It’s become my regular place of retreat. It connects me back into one of the best experiences of faith community in Northern Ireland. I’ve learnt a great deal from them and particularly from the way in which they worship.
So I go and step into the rhythm of community life for a while. And I ramble in their library. And I sit and think. And I try to pray. There is a bit of taking stock – in the journey back to health I describe it as trying to find the space between resilience and denial.
Photos: Holy Cross Monastery; Silent Valley Reservoir in the Mourne Mountains which supplies much of Belfast’s water; the revived tradition of dry stone walling in the Mournes