Why I Went on my Hosea Retreat

I found the Weston Priory many years ago while on a ski trip to Vermont. I was a pastoral musician in Cleveland and our community sang a number of Weston Priory songs. "All I Ask of You" and "Hosea ('Come Back to Me')" were significant songs in the creation of our community, the first non-territorial lay-directed parish in the U.S. I found my second home at the Priory and have returned as often as I can over the years. Gregory's music is a part of me.

In the 1990's I had met a woman from N.J. at the National Conference of Pastoral Musicians and we became friends. In 1995 she called me and asked if I would like to meet her for a weekend in Vermont at the Landgrove Inn for a retreat given by Gregory. I was thrilled! Several days before the retreat, my friend's husband became ill and she had to cancel. I didn't know what to do. At the last minute I jumped in my car and headed for Vermont.

Upon arrival I did not know anyone, including Gregory, but I felt immediately welcomed. That evening we were asked why we came. I didn't have a clue! At the end of this incredible weekend I realized why I had come. It was to be anointed as a nurse and a healer. As I was leaving, Kathryn (Gregory's wife) told me that she knew why I had come as soon as I had walked through the door.

Six weeks after the retreat, my closest friend, Cathy, at age 38, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. I knew God had sent me on this retreat to prepare me to walk with my friend through her illness and to take care of her to her journey's end two years later.

I come with an open mind and an open heart to each of Gregory's retreats. I know the Spirit of God will guide each of us to the ultimate reason He has called us together. And Gregory's exquisite music, woven like a dance through these experiences, draws us nearer to each other and to God. And to each of my new friends I have made at these retreats, especially to Gregory and Kathryn, I say, "I thank my God for you, and when I pray for you, my prayers are always filled with joy!" (Letter of St. Paul to the Phillipians).

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