Connected with God – Spiritual days in the Monastery of Beuron (23rd to 27th July 2020) – KAAD scholarship holders tell of their experiences…

We are grateful for these possibilities and spaces that allowed us to respond to our deep need of getting closer to God, of being still and having some time with ourselves. Our spiritual experience as KAAD scholars at the Monastery of Beuron has shown us that even masks or distance have not denied us the opportunity to be close to each other. We thank KAAD for making this possible, even in times of a pandemic.

When we wake up, normally the first thing we do is to grab our cell phone, read notifications and respond to messages. However, this time was different since we were in Beuron, in the upper Danube valley, where mobile phones do not have a good signal and we felt isolated. There was no internet connection to watch our videos on YouTube or to check our social networks, but this allowed us to focus more on our personal situations, to find to ourselves and to meet with others who shared this beautiful experience with us. We reached a different kind of connection, had encounters with God and thanks to this spiritual connection, we were also able to respond to other kinds of needs, to a nature with landscapes that were new to many of us and to new people who helped us to find ourselves in this experience and allowed us to get to know them, too. These are the other KAAD scholars who participated at the seminar and the religious community in Beuron that welcomed us.

Our meeting was accompanied by church services, moments of meditation and a walk to the chapel of St. Maurus where we held a special open-air mass. We had a film evening watching the movie ‘Schwestern’ (“Sisters”), we were able to reflect upon the word of God and did personal reflection exercises being spiritually accompanied by the KAAD Fathers Thomas Eggensperger OP and Ulrich Engel OP. We met in small groups which allowed us to get to know each other and experienced to trust each other, to meet ourselves and others. We felt supported by one another and shared from very personal experiences to beautiful moments of recreation.

At the Monastery of Beuron, our place of retreat, we were able to broaden our horizons and to make new spiritual experiences by sharing the house with the Benedictine community, learning about their history and practices of faith. They welcomed us and made us feel at home even during the mass. The stay was very pleasant and peaceful, the food was delicious, the service was very friendly and they made us feel their hospitality. We saw and learned from this community, from their ways of understanding and respecting each other and living in a true community. This seminar allowed us to study a little of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and we could all share our opinions and our personal and cultural ways of interpreting the word of God. We realized that at different times in our lives we are each a different one of these characters in the parable. However, God, our Father, is always there for us full of compassion and love. We also realized that we come from the same house and have the same mother and father.

Soon we will be back in our homes and our daily lives, with a signal for our mobile phones, still wearing face masks and continue to stay at a reasonable distance. Yet, we will still remember the experience that taught us ways to be connected with God, with nature and also to be connected with one another on a spiritual and social level. We will remember our days in Beuron.

Thank you for taking the time to read and we hope you can also make such an experience.

by Verónica Amador Chamorro, Carlos Zegarra Moretti and Pedro Andrés Barrera Carrillo