Monday, March 22, 2010

My weekend of Cursillo



I know you are used to hearing me ramble on about movies on Monday, but I needed to take a step back and regroup after my weekend retreat, and share my thoughts while they are still fresh.

I will state up front that one of the amazing things (as well as maddening!) is that for those who have made a Cursillo, what happens on this three day weekend is a BIG SECRET! This is not for any sinister reason, but just to keep from spoiling any of the magic and the surprises from potential candidates. So per my unwritten oath, I can't provide specifics.

Cursillo is an International Christian movement that was created originally in the Roman Catholic Church, but has been adopted by many different Christian denominations since its beginning. It originated in Spain, and became such a powerful instrument that it spread worldwide, with elected offices and an official corporate organization. So the story goes, on one of the first Cursillo weekends in Spain, a group of men were coming back from their weekend when their bus broke down. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the men started singing a traditional folk song called De Colores, changed it a bit to reflect the joy of their weekend, and has since become the theme song of the movement. The song talks about roosters, cluck-hens and babe-chicks (which we chose to think of ourselves this weekend - ha!), which is why you will see these symbols in conjunction with the movement.

Generally, married couples attend these retreats, but there were singles there as well. The men go one weekend, then about two weeks later, their wives attend. In our case, my husband went last October, but I couldn't go until the spring. So my poor husband had to keep his mouth shut for a great deal longer than most men. And when you leave, all you want to do is talk about how incredible the experience was. So I give him credit!

The weekend is run by a team of people who have been through Cursillo, and the movement is their passion and their mission. They provide you the practical tools you need, as an adult, to renew your faith and live a Christian life. There are emotional stories...people overcoming unbelievable obstacles, baring their souls to show us that through God's love anything is possible. There is music. There is prayer. There is laughter. You are split up in teams that soon become your extended family. I found it almost inconceivable that THIS much love could be present among a group of women who were all strangers on Thursday night (especially after we all slept on bunk beds in the same room and shared the same bathroom!). You also are shown, in the most tangible way possible, how many people (some you know, and some you don't) are praying for you while you are away. It is simply overwhelming.

I am a type A person, and I have my life planned out for every minute of the day. I had to let that all go. I had no phone contact with my family. I never knew what time it was. The team worried about that for us. I didn't know when I was waking up, or going to sleep, or eating. This, people, was bizarre, but was important for the weekend to work. No noise, no distractions, singular focus. It was liberating.

I've had other spiritual epiphanies in my life. I was not born a Catholic, so I went through the RCIA program before my husband and I had children, a long preparatory process to become a Catholic. I was confirmed by the Bishop at Easter Vigil, and was as high as a kite afterwards. But that euphoria fades over time. The beauty about Cursillo is that they subscribe to weekly "grouping", monthly meetings, and various other vehicles to keep that feeling alive.

I don't know if any of you out there have ever experienced Cursillo. If you have not, I would encourage you from the bottom of my heart to seek it out. While it is officially supported by the Catholic Church, there are other denominations that host these weekends as well that have a similar structure. Google it and see if there is an active movement in your area. It is a gift. One that I promise you will never regret!




24 comments:

Literary Feline said...

It sounds like quite a worthwhile experience, Sandy. I am glad you got so much out of it. I'm sure your husband is happy to finally be able to talk to you about it. :-)

Beth F said...

Wow! Sounds like your weekend was everything you expected and more! I'm so glad it was a success and so uplifting for you. And how wonderful to be able to share this with your husband.

Ti said...

So glad that you had a good experience.

JoAnn said...

You sound invigorated and renewed... from a very worthwhile experience. My husband went through the RCIA program, too - not before we were married, but before our oldest made her first communion. I think he's a much better Catholic than I am!

Anna said...

I'll have to look into this retreat. I went through RCIA about 6 years ago, then spent years as an RCIA catechist. (I'm on hiatus right now.) Sounds like a great experience.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Julie P. said...

Thanks so much for sharing how much this meant to you. I wasn't familiar with this, but I'm definitely going to read more about it!

Darlene said...

Wow Sandy, I'm so glad this was such a great experience for you. I've never heard of it before but it certainly sounds like something that would be worth looking into. Thanks for sharing what you could with us.

The Bumbles said...

Anything that can get YOU to unplug and go with the flow is a good thing! I'm glad that you had the same good experience that your hubby did and that there are tools you can use in your everyday life.

Kathleen said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful experience. There is nothing like spiritual rejuvenation!

bermudaonion said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful weekend and came back feeling reinvigorated.

Frances said...

So many of us talk about letting loose and recharging our batteries, and then schedule activities that do nothing like that. Demand more of us, cost more, etc. It sounds like this was truly meaningful and liberating. Glad you had the experience.

heidenkind said...

Ve haf vays of making you talk, Zandy!! ;P

ds said...

Glad you were able to relax and let the experience take you wherever it was meant to take you. That is important for many reasons.
And now your hubby can talk--he must be so relieved ;)

Zibilee said...

This sounds amazing! I had not ever heard of it before, but after reading what you have had to say about it I am going to try to look up an event in my area. I feel like I could really use some spiritual rejuvenation right about now, and it would be really wonderful to connect with other Christians in the way you have described. I am so glad that you had such an amazing time!

Melody said...

I echo the others, Sandy. A very worthwhile experience! Thanks so much for sharing with us! :)

Jenners said...

It doesn't involve cock fighting, does it?

All kidding aside, I'm glad it was a such a powerful experience for you.

Carrie K. said...

Sounds amazing! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful experience.

Molly said...

I am glad that the weekend proved to be as wonderful as your husband had promised. While I am very leery of "secret meetings / retreats" --- I am glad that this one worked well for you.

Andreea said...

I am glad you enjoyed it! Sounds like an unforgettable experience. Now I am curious about it, as faith is a big part of my life! Thanks for sharing!

caite said...

As I said, I have been on retreats but never Cursillo. After I read your post about going, I did in fact go to their web site. Not, quite honestly that that is a lot of information there.

While I am glad you and your husband had a good experience, I too am a little leery of any group that has a 'secret' element. Danger of a us/them mentality is just one side effect. I am also leery of any group that evoked too much of an 'emotional' response. While we are emotional creatures, that is only part, and often an unreliable part, of who we are as children of God.
ok, getting off the soapbox...

But hey, glad you enjoyed the experience. ;-)

Alice Teh said...

LOL! Your poor husband has to keep silent for so long until you attended the retreat as well. I bet both of you are having a great time discussing about it now. :)

Thank you for sharing your experience!

Melissa said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful experience for you!

Linda said...

As an Episcopalian, I have to thank the Roman Catholics for the wonderful gift of Cursillo. I made my weekend back in 1973 and it has been my main ministry and passion ever since. I found your blog by googling "famous people who have been to Cursillo". I just served a 3 year term on the National Episcopal Cursillo Committee and we are brainstorming for a keynote speaker for our 2012 annual conference in Orlando. I am so glad you enjoyed your weekend and have wrtitten about it so positively. Any involvement since making your weekend?

Jane McGarity said...

I will be making a Cursillo weekend in March and, frankly, I am a bit nervous. I am basically a private person and hope I will be comfortable being around so many strangers for four days. I hope all who read this will pray for me.