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Monday, 18 June 2012

The skunk, St. Francis, and the Conquest retreat

Last Saturday, I was picking up my grandson in Milton for the one day Conquest Boys Club Retreat, and I decided to check out the progress of the backyard garden. As I was heading for the tomato plants, I said hello to the white statue of St. Francis which sits at the front of the garden, just inside the wooden fence.

It was rather fitting to greet St. Francis because he had been blessed by Father Thomas Murphy of the Legionaries of Christ, during a house blessing, and Father Thomas would be leading the retreat which we were about to attend.

I then bent down to get a better view of the tomato plants and to check for any suckers. I was aware that there was a humane animal trap in the garden because there had been problems with rabbits eating the greens. Out of habit, I looked up to check it, and there, not a foot from me, inside the trap, staring me down with two coal black eyes was a medium sized skunk.

For some reason, and it may well have been the help of St. Francis, who wanted me to get to the retreat safe and sound, the skunk was calm, cool and collected, and seemed quite content to be in the trap. I however, could not read the skunk's mind, and so gingerly backed up towards the house, and then made a mad dash into the kitchen to announce the news to the kids.

Justin and I had to leave for the retreat, and so did not get to see the Animal Rescue people throw a blanket over the trap. The skunk sprayed the blanket, and the rescue person then freed the skunk to go on its merry way throughout the backyards of Milton.

Because St. Francis wanted me to get Justin to the retreat, we made it just on time for the registration. And what a day it was.

Under the guidance of Marvin Duarte and Carl Pinto, and of course, Father Murphy, the boys attended three talks (Mary's place in our lives, Importance of the Rosary, Your spiritual battle plan) played soccer outside on the pitch, and enjoyed three types of pizza for lunch. For snacks, they enjoyed fresh grapes, oranges and apples.

Under the protection of the maple trees, Father Thomas led a Marian Procession, and a dedication to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, during which the boys presented a vase of flowers to a beautifully carved wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin.

The day ended with a mass celebrated by Father Murphy in Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and presentation of awards at Holy Rosary Catholic School. The boys were exhausted, but happy and fulfilled, and they had enjoyed another full day of bonding, formation and physical activity, all of which guarantee the continued success of the Conquest philosophy.

Father Murphy passed out a Novena Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which the boys brought with them as they left for home. And the words are still ringing in their hearts:

O Most Blessed Mother....receive with understanding and

compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially

our Conquest Club, all its members, its leaders,our families

and Holy Rosary Parish.

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