by Bob Juárez & Giovanni Pérez, Illuman Wisdom Elders
At the end of an extended heat wave in Southern California, we were blessed with remarkable autumn weather under the clear blue sky over the San Bernardino Mountains at Pali Retreat in Running Springs. On the weekend of September 30–October 2, with a goal of 25 participants, we gathered 27 men for the Retiro Nuestras Heridas: Puertas a lo Sagrado. This was the first ever all-Spanish-language retreat for Illuman. Illuman en Español has been operating for about five years, during which we developed several one-day regional in-person events. We had planned for this retreat to happen in 2020, but because of the Covid shutdown, its manifestation was continuously kicked down the road until now.
During the shutdown, and even to this day, Illuman en Español has held several online events, including an International Virtual Council that meets the fourth Saturday morning of every month. We have participants from across the US, Mexico, Central and South America (including Peru and Brazil), and Europe (including Spain and the Czech Republic). Recently, at the Texas MROP/Umbrales, two of our men, one from Peru and the other from Mexico City, completed their Rites after learning about this event through the Concilio Virtual Internacional.
Retiro Nuestras Heridas: Puertas a lo Sagrado focused on the power of our wounds to become a path of transformation, helping us to find the sacred in all of our experiences. Our theme was inspired by the sixteenth-century painting by Michelangelo Caravaggio, where the risen Christ is depicted inviting Thomas, often known as the Doubter, to touch the wounds of his death, now transformed into sacred wounds. Using powerful ritual, poetry, the teachings of Richard Rohr and other spiritual writers, and the powerful testimonies of the amazing team, participants experienced ways to touch one another’s wounds and ignite liberating transformation from so many of the limitations that life and society place on them. We helped one another move from being victims of our wounds to being victorious through transformation.
Our program was wisely woven by Giovanni Pérez and supervised by Jim Clarke, who brought it all together in Eucharist at the end of our event. The other team members were Néstor Rodríguez, Juan Macías, Samuel Pérez, Carlos (Karel) Plechl (who flew in from the Czech Republic), and Bob Juárez.
Learn more about Illuman en Español at https://illumanesp.org/