Section title text:  Recent News.

Judith Routier fcJ at New Directions — a sabbatical programme in Berkeley, CA, USA

Students at New Directions, a sabbatical programme.For the last five months I have been attending a sabbatical programme called New Directions, in the Jesuit School of Theology (JSTB) in Berkeley, California. This has been a time of great nourishment in all areas of my life. Firstly, the people in our group (see picture at right) are from many cultures and a variety of experiences, so our sharing together while on retreat and in workshops is very rich. 

Also we are part of a school which has many Jesuit students for the priesthood from most countries in the world, as well as many wonderful young lay people who are being trained for ministry. This school is part of a larger Graduate Theological Union of nine colleges of different denominations, and it is from this wealth of opportunities that we can choose the subjects we wish to study. Consequently our class discussions are very open and stretching as we share our varied viewpoints and theological backgrounds. For example, there is a Korean Methodist minister who is basing his thesis on a comparison with the 'Method' of Wesley and the 'Exercises' of Ignatius.

The larger community life is a strong component here and it is experienced through many evening events. Last week  the Pacific School of Religion hosted an evening on Contemplation with a panel of a neuro-scientist, Fr. Thomas Keating, and a Budhist monk. Then last night the chapel was full as we shared the pain of the business manager of On an excursion!JSTB who lost her son a year ago and who also lost her husband the previous year. Her Vietnamese family provided a celebration meal for us. These give an inkling of the variety of moments of coming together which we experience here.

Exercise is a big part of my life these days as I enjoy walking and the weather is good here for being outside, so every Saturday I try to avail of the weekly hikes offered by one of the Jesuits. We have liturgy on the trail and meet new friends as the group is always changing. Some Saturdays the programme director offers excursions to nearby attractions such as Redwood Forest, or the wine valley ... just in case it seemed as if my life was only serious! (See photo at left)

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Unsere kleine Gemeinschaft hat das Ziel,
      mit allen Mitteln ihrer Macht
           das Herz Jesus zu ehren ...     (Marie Madeleine)