This poem was written by Jill in August 2014 during her three-week stay at the monastery.
Students Experienced Uninterrupted Peace and Acceptance
Please accept my apologies for not letting you know sooner how transformative the retreat has been for my students. We arrived back in New Orleans after 8pm on Sunday. The students went home, slept, and luckily the very next morning we were all able to see each other again. We immediately sang together, invited a bell, and then took a nice walking meditation around the school (much to the confusion and smiles of other students and teachers J). The young man who had so much trouble convincing his mother to let him come told me that he had the best conversation with his mother the night we returned than he had had in many years. He expressed his appreciation and gratitude for bringing him to this point in his life, he apologized for all the sorrow and worry he had caused her and asked her if together they could work hard to make their last few months before he leaves for cooking school count. Many other students have asked if they can return this summer, so many of them dearly want to bring their parents. I don’t know if they will ever have the opportunity to make the trip, but the fact that they want to share what they have experienced is beautiful.
Teacher shares students’ positive changes after retreat
Retreat with high school students from New Orleans on March 17-21, 2012: the aftermath!
I hope everyone is enjoying the day of mindfulness at the center.Here in New Orleans it is a beautiful, clear day…many birds are singing. I wanted to share with you several things that have happened since our return to the city.
We returned late Wednesday evening. For me, the next morning was spent at funeral services for a beloved friend and mentor, my former principal.The services were very long and some of my colleagues mentioned this.However, I had been practicing for the last five days and was so prepared to really listen and be present, what a gift.The pastors and friends who spoke were inspirational and I was to really enjoy the moment.
In the time that has passed since I was at that monastery, I have often written you. I did not send the letters because the words seemed too feeble to express my gratitude. But today, while eating breakfast mindfully, I realized that the week I spent with you saved my life. I stopped eating and cried in thankfulness. As I cried, I saw the face of Thay and all of your faces.
Breathing in, breathing out- Warren Easton High School students
On April 14th-16th, 2011, a group of twenty senior students and two teachers from Warren Easton High School from New Orleans, LA made a psychology trip to Magnolia Grove Monastery to practice mindfulness and meditation with the monastic Brothers and Sisters. Instead of going to Florida for the senior trip, the students decided to have an adventure to the monastery instead. Below is the letter from Jenny Rious, the psychology teacher of the students, sharing her feelings about the retreat. We wish you much peace and happiness while reading it.
I want to let you know how wonderful our trip was to Magnolia Grove Monastery. It did so much for the students and so much for me. My friend Ann Marie has nicknamed me Sister Puddle because of all my crying, but I can assure you every tear I shed at Magnolia Grove was one of joy.
There are so many wonderful things that happened there for my students, that even if just one of them had happened the whole trip would have been worth it.