KALAUPAPA RETREAT -- "EPHPHATHA: BE OPENED"
A PLACE OF HEALING
When arriving in Kalaupapa, there are so many initial reactions that immediately hit you. The beautiful scenery. The "old Hawaii" feel. The calm and serene community. And the incredible power of this sacred place.
Kalaupapa was once a place of exile. It was a place that you were sent to as a death sentence. Its magnificent cliffs and deep blue waters served as walls of a prison for those afflicted with Hansen's disease (also known as leprosy). It was a very destitute, hopeless place.
Yet, in this isolation and desolation, two saints emerged to bring back hope and preserve the dignity of each and every patient that step into this settlement. Through the work of Sts. Damien and Marianne, Kalaupapa became a place of healing.
As we arrived into Kalaupapa, many of us had different challenges we were facing in life. We each had a unique hope while there. Just as Kalaupapa was both a place of physical and spiritual healing for many generations before us, it continues to be a place where are spirits could be renewed and our hearts could be opened. All of us experienced a form of healing in one way or another.
The theme of this retreat centered on Jesus' words to the man who was blind and mute.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” --
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
Many times, there are obstacles that create boundaries from us seeing and hearing God. This retreat challenged us to "be opened" to God in every aspect of our life.