I spent an amazing Saturday at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine’s in London on behalf of CARM leading a retreat day on ‘Exploring the Inner Landscape’. This Royal Peculiar has been in existence since 1147 and patronised since then by the female line of the Royal Family. All three of the Foundation’s objectives – worship, hospitality and service – were very much in evidence as it opened its doors to a group of retreatants who were undeterred by the vagaries of the March weather.
We spent the day working though digital prints of my ‘icon’ exhibition (currently at Launde Abbey) in three stages: Setting out on an inner journey; Rocky Paths and Muddy Waters; and finally, Green Pastures. I was particularly inspired by the words carved into the floor of the chapel around the central compass rose from St Augustine of Hippo, that we do not come to God by navigation but by love. This was a reminder that sometimes, we need to drift rather than row strenuously, and trust the currents rather than steering a set course, in order to come close to God.
The images and poetry used during the day seemed to reach each person there, and I was amazed to see everyone so focussed during the quiet times, so much so they barely had a chance to explore the rest of the precinct! I learned and received as much in leading this day as those who came to be guided.
We were wonderfully fed, warm, and spent the day in the Queen Elizabeth room with its marvellous huge curved bay window overlooking the snowy garden. It was indeed, an extraordinary oasis in the urban fabric of London. Well worth exploring further: rfsk.org.uk