Villa


I'll be leaving tomorrow for villa. "Villa" is Jesuit parlance for vacation. This will be a short version of villa because I couldn't schedule a longer period right now. That will come later in the summer.

In the late 1800's some property on the Chain O' Lakes in Waupaca, Wisconsin was given to the Society of Jesus. The photo here is of a small island just across from this property located on Rainbow and Sunset Lakes. A large non-winterized house known as Loyola Villa was built to accomodate about a hundred Jesuit students who left the heat of St. Louis every summer to study in the Northwoods. Hot water for showers was added in the 1990's!

I'll be spending the time relaxing with about a dozen other Jesuits until next Tuesday. Though the area can get a bit noisy over the 4th of July weekend with all the fireworks, there will be plenty of time to sleep, to pray, to talk with friends, to swim, and to golf. Yes, a big part of my villa will be golf. I like to tell people that I learned to pray on a golf course when I was nine years old. That's when my father picked up the game and I became his golfing partner. I didn't hit the ball very straight and ended up walking by myself an awful lot. Walking and talking to myself. But actually, not to myself. I think those reflective moments alone taught me the value of silence, of being aware of God's presence in the surrounding beauty, and of simply telling God whatever was on my mind.

I won't be doing much walking alone now, though. Not because I hit the ball straighter but because I'll be sharing a cart with someone else. Still, I'm looking forward to this time away to be refreshed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Now that's a good goal for any vacation whether it's a Jesuit "villa" or something else.