June 12, 2017
By Sister Eileen Dooling, executive director, Mercy by the Sea Retreat and Conference Center
Recently I attended a meeting of the leaders of Mercy retreat houses in the United States where the conversation focused on what people need today and how Mercy retreat houses can fill those needs. Everyone spoke deeply about the good people who show up at our doors looking for something— perhaps silence, a reconnection with themselves or God, or a trained and listening ear. I was inspired by the conversation and realized I was not alone in this unique ministry. We agreed to collaborate and cooperate with one another for the common good, to share our ideas and knowledge and to continue to work together.
Feeling rather upbeat, I left the meeting to catch an early afternoon flight from St. Louis, Missouri, to Detroit, Michigan, with a connection to Hartford, Connecticut. Because the plane was late leaving St. Louis, I missed my connection (sound familiar?) but was re-booked on a late afternoon flight instead. As so often happens in air travel, that flight was also delayed, and so we waited and waited. At 11:30 p.m., the flight cancellation was announced, and I made a mad dash (well, not really so much a mad dash as a slow walk) to the Help Desk where one agent was re-booking passengers from several cancelled flights.
It wasn’t until 2:30 a.m. when I was finally rebooked and could settle in to my little space on the terminal floor where, with hundreds of other travelers, I tried in vain to sleep. My rebooked flight was not scheduled to leave until late that evening, but a standby seat on a 12:30 p.m. flight opened and—by some divine intervention?—I was awarded that seat. Read More