Before this past weekend at Lasalette Retreat House, we never considered ourselves a special group of people, rather just 7 girls who happen to be related and enjoy each others company. However, it was through our label “The 7 Cousin’s” that we grew to have an appreciation of our cluster being something unique that we could call our own. We grew an extraordinary bond together and never dreamed that this retreat would be such a positive experience for each one of us. The weekend was packed with such genuine power, prayer, understanding and spirituality.
I speak for all of us when I say that we have accredited our journey to both Pat Hastings and our mothers. This past June our mothers attended one of Pat’s retreats and asked Pat if she would be willing to have one for all of us. Of course when they returned home anxious with this news, how could we turn down their offer? Nevertheless, when the weekend rolled around we all found ourselves in similar thoughts of hesitation and doubtfulness, especially at this time of year.
It wasn’t until our first group session on Friday night that I felt secure this weekend was something we all needed and made the right choice to attend. Pat’s first activity seemed simple in essence. “Just name one thing you like about yourself.” As each person struggled before my turn, I thought “How can this person not think of just one thing they like, I can think of plenty for them?” I knew we all needed to do something to help each other see what great qualities we possessed. I decided we should each write down one thing we like about each other and then share it together Saturday night. What happened next is honestly something that none of us would have expected. We found ourselves huddled in a room together for hours after Saturdays activities ended. We did a great deal of talking, listening, and giving inspiration and advice to one another. The compassion and thoughtfulness that we experienced with one another is something that we will cherish forever.
Although the experience we had as a group of cousins was amazing and unforgettable, we must also acclaim our joyfulness to the rest of the women in our group. In addition to sharing similar expectations and beliefs as ourselves, each individual brought something special to our weekend. By the end of the retreat we felt a connection with each one of them, as if they had been in our lives forever. We could not have imagined the amount of relationships that would be formed. I have to believe now that in the words of Pat, “There are truly no accidents in life”. We all attended that weekend for a reason, and on behalf of all of my cousins, I would like to thank Pat for sharing her spirituality and wisdom with all of us. We will never be able to express how much it meant for us to come together and trust each other the way we did.
– Jill Fain
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