Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Point Retreat House’
Jesuit Father Paul Michael Sullivan serves as spiritual director at the Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass.
“Everybody has a vocation,” he said. “God is no further from ourselves than we are.”
Here, Fr. Sullivan’s mission is to help spiritual seekers grow in their relationship with God and in willing service to their neighbor. He compared a relationship with God to a human friendship.
“They have the same dynamics,” he said. “If you want to be friends with someone, spend time with him — listen to him.”
His calling to the priesthood came gradually, a gentle nudge throughout his high school and college years.
“I don’t think it was any one moment of time,” he said.
When he inquired about the possibility of a vocation, he was advised to go to college first.
Sullivan attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., one of the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions that embraces a Catholic/Jesuit identity. There, he majored in history.
“Eventually I thought about the Jesuits to be both a priest and teacher,” he said. “I got to know quite a number of Jesuits, many of them in their late 30s and 40s, who seemed interesting and happy.”
When Sullivan graduated in 1973, he was at a crossroads.
“I did apply to do graduate work in history or American studies and got accepted in a couple of places, or I could join the Jesuits,” he said.
Sullivan has spent time teaching high school in Maine and Massachusetts and also as a parish priest.
“I was open to another couple of years of parish work. I enjoyed being pastor,” he said. “But as things evolved, I ended up at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester.
Noted for the spectacular beauty of its rocks, ocean and woods, the retreat house provides an idyllic environment for contemplation and prayer.
This is Sullivan’s third year as a member of the staff, which includes four Jesuits and a Sister of St. Joseph.
Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the retreats are open to people of diverse backgrounds and traditions who are seeking God in their lives.
“How do you see where God may be calling you? Sullivan said. “It is where your deepest desires intersect with the community’s deepest needs.”
You can read more about Fr. Sullivan’s experiences and about the Eastern Point Retreat House at SouthCoastToday.com.
Jesuit Father John Murray says that when people ask him what it’s like to be a spiritual director, his answer is always the same. “Spiritual director is to be more a companion on the journey, than a person who has the answers to another’s concerns,” he writes in a reflection.
Fr. Murray writes that his life at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Mass., where he is director, is a “wild mixture of listening, companioning and managing a good size inn!”
“With our staff of Jesuits and guest directors, we listen and focus and shine some light into darkened hearts,” writes Murray.
He finds managing a retreat house is both a great challenge and a great joy.
“As I reflect on my years as a Jesuit; high school work, then principal, then socius and now as a retreat director, I marvel at how Jesus has become my true love and friend,” he writes.
Read more of Murray’s reflections.