Monday, April 28, 2008

School retreats, 1960s Jesuit-style

Days of silence at Manresa House

The Tubridy Show this morning featured school retreats which seem to be very pleasant affairs involving boosting pupils' self-esteem and all that sort of thing. Ryan Tubridy even mentioned allegations about a retreat which resulted in several pregnancies - and frankly I think someone was pulling the wool over his eyes on that one.

I went on a school retreat in the late 1960s when the Christian Brothers in Naas took us up to Manresa House, a Jesuit-run retreat centre in Clontarf.

All I remember is that:

(a) We were not allowed to talk for three days.

(b) Each morning at breakfast we listened to someone reading the lives of the saints on tape.

(c) Every night a gaunt man in a soutane burst into our rooms trying to catch us using transistor radios.

(d) One classmate had a crisis of some sort and was sent home. This was never explained.

(e) A priest who came in to give us a talk declared when we stood up on his arrival that "When I enter the room, boys, you don't stand, you kneel." He then went on to roar and shout about a girl in a miniskirt whom he had seen on the bus. Something to do with her tempting boys to "destroy a temple of the Holy Ghost." She being the temple, of course.

That's it. God bless you all.

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