I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from Wisdom Council member Lita Quimson entitled, "Kindred Spirits: A Divine Encounter."
My Name is Lita, and I am the founder of On the Third Day (OTTD) Renewal and Formation Center, an ecumenical ministry of spiritual formation and accompaniment in the Philippines. The first time I came across Christine’s book, “The Soul of a Pilgrim”, I instantly connected with her heart. I immediately went to the Abbey of the Arts website and got even more excited because I found in there everything I was searching for. I felt a deep connection.
Apart from OTTD, I also founded Cherimoya Eco-Spirituality and Retreat Center, a sacred space strategically placed an hour from Manila so it can be accessible to as many people as possible. Many people have come and spent some quality time with God in nature and in silence. They go back to the city refreshed and restored by God’s presence.
One of the major inspirations for the founding of our ecumenical ministry and the retreat center was St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus. In his Spiritual Exercises, he highlighted the connection between the creator and the created. This has become a core mission of the center and ministry.
My ministry was also influenced by the author Matthew Fox. I was giving a 3-day retreat on creation spirituality based on Fox’s book when I was struck by a chapter saying God is the most creative being in the universe. Although we have been using art expression as a form of reflection in many of our retreats, those words opened up a whole new area in my life. It began my search into the deeper meaning of words and concepts such as hospitality, generosity, and creativity and how these are all reflections of the heart of God. In an interview with Christine some years ago she was asked about a word that would capture what Christianity really meant to her. Her answer was “hospitality”. It stayed with me to this day. It strengthened my resolve to know more about God’s heart.
Our ministry and center welcome every seeker who comes knocking. We extend Benedictine hospitality to those who need it. For us, all a person has to do is to desire to know God and we will be ready to assist him or her. We believe that the lack of financial resources should not be a hindrance to seek God. We do a number of fundraising events to build a scholarship fund so we can help those who need financial assistance in enrolling in our programs. The generosity of our donors is overwhelming and so we also pass on that generosity.
The ministry has been here for 8 years and we have done a number of expressive arts such as djembe drumming, painting, origami, mosaicing, mandala-making, poetry, and clay sculpture. Personally, I have fallen in love with mosaicing and this has become my preferred way of expressing myself. The fragmented shards of porcelain constantly remind me of how broken I am and yet can be fashioned into something beautiful through God’s love and grace who heals and puts us all together. I finished my first piece last year and have many more lined up for the center. We have tableaus depicting earth, wind, fire, and water. They are all inspired by Christine’s book, a major reference for my creation spirituality retreat as well.
As a result of a deep connection with Creation, my seekers and I are launched by God's grace to become fully alive. We are invited to respond to God’s call through a life well-lived and pleasing to God.
View the video compilation of our recent Strings Under the Stars event.