I’ve just come back from one of the most fantastic and meaningful weekends of my life, a cloistered Catholic retreat called Cursillos. As it is shrouded in secrecy to provide the greatest spiritual impact, I can’t reveal too much, other than to say it is extremely powerful, a spiritual energizer that renews faith to the highest degree.
When I met my husband in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1985, he wanted me to take a cursillos weekend. He brought me to the retreat center and I was asked to fill out several forms. For some reason, the priests rejected my application and I could not attend. (Those who knew me in my 20s may not be too surprised!) Franco was extremely disappointed, but at the time I took it in stride, perhaps even a little relieved that I wouldn’t be spending three days in a new place where I knew no one, and still had trouble communicating, as my Spanish wasn’t that strong yet.
But I noticed how Franco and his friends who were on the cursillo were different from most men. They were men of faith and proud to share it boldly without hesitation or any trace of shame. He was placed in a “cell” of four young men–two became priests and one a deacon. The fourth was the one I knew originally and who had introduced me to Franco in that fateful year. Ever since, I had always been curious about the cursillo and hoped that someday I could participate in that retreat.
God’s time was 33 years. Go ahead and make the association. It won’t take long. . . .
It was the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified and resurrected, of course. That is the amount of time God wanted me to wait until I was finally worthy of taking the cursillo, or put another way, when I was finally broken enough to really want it. Let me tell you that the wait was worth it.
Not surprisingly, prayer was involved, mostly to the Holy Spirit. Those in my Bible study group would be smiling. We often joke that of the three persons in the holy trinity, the Holy Spirit is the one we least understand because He baffles us the most. In fact, one of our members, who passed away a few years ago, was known to take up much of our Bible study time, complaining that she just can’t figure out the Holy Spirit. She just couldn’t wrap her head around it. God’s the Father, Jesus is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is …what? When God took her, we joked that she now knows who the Holy Spirit is, better than any of us.
The cursillo weekend is all about the Holy Spirit. I would say that taking the diaconate program with my husband intensified my relationship with Jesus Christ, but the Cursillo weekend intensified my relationship with the Holy Spirit. Oh, yeah, we’re like this now. (Fingers crossed.)
A byproduct of the weekend is to have a strange desire to begin a collection of chicken/hen/rooster figurines…
And so I end this blog with a prayer to the Holy Spirit….
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of us and Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created.
To learn more about the Chicago Catholic Cursillo, please go to