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What the Monthly Recollections Did to Me

Evelyn Wasike
Medical Radiographer

When I began attending the monthly recollections at Philothea Spiritual Centre in 2017, I realized that there was a lot that I honestly did not fathom when it came to matters such as the Bible, Catholic teachings and Spirituality. My frequent participation in the monthly recollections have not only improved my spiritual life but made me a better catholic.

The 4 hour long recollections on the last Saturdays of the month have given me a lot of work-life lessons and how to manage situations in the family, community and work.

Fr. George the Spiritual Director and Sr. Florence the Director of the Philothea Centre have tremendous gifts to guide souls in the life of holiness. Every time I attended the reflections, I would take home a new thing. Every time I sought counsel and guidance from Sister Florence, I would be given the inner light as what I should do next.

Personally I became so enriched with the teachings I received. This being the Lenten season, the Philothea Centre holds weekly recollections as in every year that I find very fulfilling by the end of the season.

One of the lessons l learnt at Philothea was the choices we make in life. It is either we choose happiness or misery. Before I was a very miserable person with a lot of problems here and there, and now I am far better, thanks to the divine graces I received through the Centre.

During my regular attendance at the recollections, the priests assisted me to do a good examination of conscience before confession and the spiritual direction. I remember Father George used to encourage me to always kneel before the cross and offer my miseries. This to me was not making sense and I would do it only occasionally until I obliged after Father kept repeating it to me every time I spoke to him.

My life eventually became so good, true and awesome. It began when, in one of the recollections, I listened to a talk on God’s vision for us and our personal vocation. He told us that this world has people who are truly happy and those who are unhappy. I belonged to the latter. I must thank Fr. George and Sr. Florence for the encouragements and prayers they offered me because they lifted me from misery to a way of beauty that I am now a very happy person.

I have been measuring my progression through personal reflections that was taught to us and through the story of St. Paul in Philippians 3 and the rich young man in Luke 18:18-23

These includes:

  1. Acknowledging that I am the true cause of my unhappiness
  2. I acknowledge that I am unable to control my thoughts and actions well and get rid of unhappiness
  3. I acknowledge that my sole happiness is in God.

Then I was taught to do 5 spiritual exercises

  1. Adopting a daily routine of prayer, reflection and good works

In the morning, I get on to my knees with humility asking God to take care of me and to help me to be of good service to him and my neighbours.

In the evening before retiring to bed, I get to my knees to say a big “thankyou” to God for looking after me.

  • Once the routine became a habit, I would do written self-examination of conscience to root out resentments and fears from my self-centeredness
  • I then went for confession/spiritual direction and did penance every month
  • Discerned better my personal vocation
  • I repeat the circle again and again and this has deepened my spiritual life

Basing himself on Luke 11, our priest taught me that in prayer, we must have patience of faith and perseverance. We must not be discouraged if we do not receive the joy of the Holy Spirit.

We should insist with the Lord then wait for the spirit of prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

He tells us again and again not to give up in daily prayer. We must have a schedule, just as a mentioned above. In addition, having a devotional book, going for daily Mass, recalling frequently to mind the presence of God through aspirator prayers and good thoughts are necessary to live the spirit of prayer. He advised us to greet Jesus when passing near a Catholic Church where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in the Tabernacle, to pay a visit the Blessed Sacrament whenever possible, to recite the Holy Rosary either morning or evening.

Always find time for your meditative prayer (10-15 minutes at least) Through this practices, I begun to hate worldly things and put my focus to God and truly believe he is present.

My favourite spiritual book is The introduction to Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales. It’s a book that I highly recommend to be your personal companion.

May many more experience what I experienced at the Philothea Family Spiritual Centre, especially through the Recollections. Now I have begun my formation programme to become a member of the Philothea Missionary Society, which does not in any way take me away from my responsibilities in my family and the work place. In fact, it only enhances and supports my sense of vocation as a wife, mother, parent and nurse.