Our Lady of the Oaks
Retreat House
Grand Coteau, LA. 70541-1004
318 - 66 2-5410

July 12, 2000

Dear Frank,
Thanks for your letter of June 23 on interreligious dialogue and retreat ministry. My brother Jesuits here and I are responding jointly to your topics.

I. How religiously diverse are the men and women who come here for retreats? Not very diverse at all. Occasionally we have a man or woman who is not Catholic making a retreat. For the most part we are dealing only with Catholics, not by choice exactly but by circumstance. We certainly would welcome, non-Catholics. Perhaps we might say something to the Captains about inviting the Minister from their locality. We could also publicize a retreat for non-Catholics. The Spiritual Exercises are for non-Catholics, too.

2. What particular programs do we have that highlight other religious traditions? The answer is NONE. The exception might be using Eastern ways of praying in giving The Exercises; e.g., breathing and body sensation exercises of Fr. Anthony DeMello, S.J. in his book Sadhana. Yes, we would be willing to consider possible programs of that nature if conditions here with our present retreat programs would permit such an addition, and if qualified persons could be found to head such programs. Probably we should start with offering retreats to non-Catholic Christians and go on from there.

3. John,Condry, S.J., and I are very interested in other religious traditions. I would be the best contact person.

A final quote from John Condry: "I am very happy to read what Fr. Clooney reveals in this communication, namely, that the Society is pushing so hard for interreligious dialogue and cooperation in ministries for the poor and needy. And it is heartening to me that ROME seems to be genuinely willing to sanction such dialogue and cooperation which signals a quantum shift from its historic position that only the Christian religion as far as God is concerned has any authenticity and right to exist and be propagated and that friendly cooperation with those of other religious would be a serious mistake and a definite threat. So hurray for a new attitude by us Catholics towards those of other religions!! Let's cooperate in a friendly respectful way with any and all who are genuinely willing!!"

Finally, if you get any creative suggestions that could be used in a retreat house, please put me on your mailing list.

Gratefully in the Lord, Kenneth Buddendorff, S.J. Director

Created: October 4, 2000 Updated: October 4, 2000