Every phase of the novitiate program has a purpose. Our holiday at Barmouth (http://www.beunos.com/barmouth2.htm) was no exception. The first objective was rest after a busy year and in anticipation of another busy year ahead – for some year two of the novitiate and for the rest post-novitiate studies. The second objective was to find out if we can be Jesuits and be on holiday at the same time; that is to get the rest we need to achieve the first objective within the parameters of being Jesuit novices.
Each of us will have had different answers to that. Mine is that the accommodation, location and setting were most conducive. The challenges were the nine other people in the house. They are nice people but I recuperate best on my own and I didn’t choose to come with them. Fortunately, the program was such that Mass and the evening meal were the only fixed points in the day, allowing me plenty of time to read and think and do things alone and gave others the opportunity to go walking, cycling, etc. on their own or in groups. A popular activity for some was visiting Murray’s http://murrayscafe.weebly.com/, coffee shop in Barmouth village.
I found the house to be spacious and well-equipped. It was particularly pleasant to use the new showers that had been refurbished in the last year – the hot water pump stopped the second last day so we had some cold showers. We were located just outside the town of Barmouth, but close enough for easy access to facilities. It was pointed out that cultural attractions are not abundant in the town. There are a lot of scenic and historic places in the surrounding areas, although travel along the scenic roads can be slow and winding. The house is set a few hundred metres from a sandy beach which I could see from my bedroom window to decide when were good times to go for a dip in the sea. The house is built a short way up the hills that rise from the coast and afford walks and/or solitude.
I haven’t yet mastered being a Jesuit on holiday – I look forward to developing my ability next year.