Spiritual Retreats Wooing London Executives

Initiative of Benedictine Abbot Dermot Trudget

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LONDON, FEB. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Benedictine Abbot Dermot Trudget has made spiritual retreats for executives fashionable in the high-powered central City of London.

Directors of important firms and enterprises, subjected to the tyranny of work, seek in St. Benedict´s rule, «ora et labora,» the harmony necessary for their mental and physical health.

Although 1,500 years have passed since the patron of Europe wrote the rule, the wisdom it contains continues to bear fruit.

Father Trudget entered religious life at age 46. Before that, he had been an executive in the hotel business and a university professor.

«I realized that my life was built on ambition; it was a vicious circle,» he told the Italian newspaper Avvenire. «After one job, I got another more prestigious one with a higher salary, and so on.

«I asked myself if this race was really worthwhile, with a job that absorbed all my energies. Many who come to ask me for help have asked themselves the same question. They are educated, well trained, intelligent people. What they are lacking is attention to things of the spirit.»

In response to this need, Father Trudget organizes 48-hour weekend retreats in his Benedictine Abbey of Douai, in Berkshire, south of London.

The annual program includes six retreats, to help executives find the spiritual peace they have lost through stress. There have even been cases of retreats held in lawyers´ offices and headquarters of large businesses. «I cannot mention their names for obvious reasons of professional ethics,» the abbot said.

These retreats are sought by people with profound religious convictions, but also by those who cannot manage negative experiences.

«Work is no longer to earn more, or because it is a moral imperative, but because it is pleasing and satisfying,» Father Trudget said. «However, there is always the need to come to terms with errors, with failures, an experience that society denies. But that always happens.

It is in times of crisis that we question ourselves, even if it is a painful experience, difficult to face. What is more, in the
Benedictine perspective, the suffering of work is a means of redemption, which brings us closer to God.»

The complete retreat cycle that Father Trudget offers executives covers the following topics: «To Win or To Live,» «The Virtues of Work,» «Relationships at Work,» «Responsibility and Ethical Behavior,» «Management of Success and Failure» and «Outlining a Plan for Spiritual Life.»

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