Santa Casa: adapting and changing in a COVID world
Santa Casa is now offering its retreats online as a result of the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Santa Casa is a beautiful retreat centre located in Queenscliff, Victoria. In a pre-Covid world, Santa Casa was booked all year round with a wide variety of retreats. People came to enjoy not only the retreat itself, but the venue which provided comfortable accommodation and the serenity of a seaside town.
But all that changed when Victoria went into lockdown. Santa Casa has been closed to visitors since March 2020 and it doesn’t look like it will be opening again to visitors in the near future. But that hasn’t stopped Lizzie Finnerty RSM, Santa Casa Manager, from offering retreats and prayer days.
When Santa Casa first closed to visitors in March Lizzie said that, “cancelling all the retreats was very disappointing, but it had to be done.”
“Everyone was very understanding and the most usual comments was that ‘we thought this would happen’”, continued Lizzie.
It became clear to Lizzie that as time went on, Santa Casa wasn’t going to open again soon. Lizzie had received a number of enquiries regarding the potential of online retreats, so she thought she would ‘give it a go’.
Lizzie then contacted the Facilitators who were booked to deliver the face-to-face retreats before Covid and whilst the method of online retreats was new to them as well, everyone was supportive and willing to try.
“Feedback from the three retreats held so far has been very positive, with participants saying that whilst it would be nice to be face-to-face, the online retreat is a very good alternative option,” said Lizzie.
“It seems that people were missing the opportunity to connect in a retreat and to immerse themselves in topping up their spirituality,” continued Lizzie
When asked what her biggest learning curve was to hosting online retreats, Lizzie laughed and said, “a few years ago I said I’d never have a computer, and now I can’t live without it.”
“At the start of the year I’d never heard of Zoom, but here we are, meeting friends and holding retreats,” said Lizzie.
There is always joy to be found in the world, and Lizzie was able to reflect on what has brought her the most joy from lockdown.
“I have found joy in taking time to enjoy what’s around me. The ‘Covid gift’ is being connected with people on Zoom; meeting my one day-old great-nephew on Zoom; and connecting with Sisters from around Australia and Papua New Guinea,” said Lizzie.
Santa Casa has also benefited from the Covid lockdown with nature coming closer all the time.
“The birdlife at Santa Casa has certainly increased and I am now enjoying bird-songs that I haven’t heard before,” said Lizzie.
All the retreats are listed on the Santa Casa website, by clicking here.
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