Got back from retreat early Sunday evening after a few hours at Spencer. As Monday was Labor Day the Sunday traffic was non-existent. Actually enjoyed the drive. The same cannot be said for getting to Regina Laudis the previous Saturday. I hadn't used the car for two days prior to leaving for retreat. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered the rear passenger flat tire. Very flat. This as I was preparing to pack. I had Mass at St. Patrick's Nursing Home in Framingham at 11:15 (this little drama unfolded about 9). Once I calmed down and started thinking clearly I was able to arrange another car from the community. One of the drivers would take care of getting the tire fixed. OK. However, as I had to get to Framingham I didn't get to pack until after Mass. Instead of leaving for Bethlehem (CT) after Mass at noon I left from Campion about 2 PM. And hit Mass Pike Saturday afternoon traffic at Worcester. It got ugly.
Like the saying about bad dress rehearsal good show, the prelude to the retreat augured a good retreat. It was, in fact, a terrific retreat. I arrived with no agenda. While getting settled I was looking at the bookshelves in the chaplain's quarters. Lots of shelves with lots of old, musty, dusty, vaguely mildewy, and semi-arranged tomes that will probably never be looked at again. A very small paperback caught my eye. Title: The Hunted Priest. It was the autobiography of Fr. John Gerard, SJ, who ministered in England during the terror foisted upon Catholics by the Protestant heretics. Gerard's contemporaries were some of the great martyr's: Campion, Southwell, Garnet and Owen. Gerard escaped England eventually and died at age 73 in Belgium.
The book was riveting. Gerard wrote in almost matter-of-fact fashion about the suffering he endured. It was harsh. It is definitely worth reading if you can lay hand on it.