CATS ON RETREAT
Photomontage by Ruth
Having stayed for a few days a few years back in two very different Retreat Houses I found them very similar in that both the Holy Paraclete Sisters and the Franciscan Brothers shared their love of cats.
The Retreats are each set in huge grounds with beautiful gardens and many acres of peaceful woodland surrounding them. To the cats living there it must be Paradise with the freedom to come and go through their cat flaps to enjoy all that Nature provides and to return to good food, cosy beds and an abundance of love from their resident caretakers.
At each place there was one Sister or Brother in charge of the cats needs and welfare, although everyone did their share and nowadays Religious Orders live more in the world and have a car for transport to the vets if necessary.
All the other guests I met were gentle and kind people who love animals too and some of us made lifelong friends because of that.
The cats were allowed into any part of the houses, even into the guests rooms if they didn’t object. No one did at either place, the times I stayed there.
Some people go for a quiet simple break, some to ponder on whether to go into a Religious Order or vocation themselves, some have troubles and need a bit of time out and some like me had lost their way in the world after a sad bereavement.
Cats are a great comfort at a time like that and for me missing our own cats at home terribly, they helped make my days there two very wonderful experiences which helped me face the world again