Thank you, dear friends,
Healing Spring Monastery, only 90 km from Paris, opened on the 13th of October, 2018. In the year since then, we have experienced many joys and the inevitable challenges that come with renovating a home. It has been a wonderful time, and we are deeply indebted to you and the many other generous people who helped make this dream a reality.
Because of your kind support, soon after our 10 (soon to become 12) monastics moved to the monastery, we held our first Winter Retreat from November 2018 to February 2019.
This was followed by celebrations for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the Vietnamese New Year. Over the course of the year, we have hosted a Happy Farm retreat, a Wake Up retreat, and a Meditation and Health retreat.
At the end of June we also hosted one very special – and wonderful – day: our Open House. During our Open House, we were able to forge new relationships and to deepen our relationships with neighbors and local officials. It was a true joy to welcome these people to our new home, listen to their stories of life in the region, and extend to them our hospitality and our hearts.
Increasing numbers of people are finding their way to Healing Spring Monastery. Our days of Mindfulness on Sundays are often attended by more than 50 people.
We have been busy!
Because we are so new, we have had to rely on our small kitchen and dining area, a few dry toilets, and housing in a nearby guesthouse. During warmer weather, retreatants can camp. The monastery itself is only large enough to house the resident monastics, 5 lay residents and maximum 25 visiting guests.
But thanks to your generosity as well as income from our retreats, our facilities are improving. A new toilet and shower block is 80% complete, and we hope to be using it by February. In the coming year, we intend to improve and enlarge our kitchen and dining areas (so we can increase our capacity from 30 to 60), and to replace the old, single-pane monastery windows with modern double-pane, energy-efficient windows.
I have many warm memories of this past year. First,I am so happy that, thanks to the kind donations of people like yourself, we were able to begin hosting guests almost immediately. We welcomed five retreatants who stayed for a full week, 30 who came for a mindfulness weekend, and we had three long-term friends staying with us to help us set up. Retreatants came from the Paris region, the north of France, Belgium, the UK, and other places further away.
The Be-In session at the end of the Summer Retreat was a wonderful festival of performances by talented musicians and artists. At the end of that week, 20 people (out of 60 retreatants) chose to receive the Five Mindfulness Trainings. I remember with great tenderness people thanking me as they said goodbye and telling me how wonderful it was to feel the community spirit and the loving kindness of Plum Village at Healing Spring.
Perhaps most of all, I remember one 14-year-old girl – a refugee from Ukraine, currently living in Paris – who asked to come to Healing Spring. She had a deep desire to pursue a spiritual, mindful path, but she wanted to come alone; her parents were not interested in joining her. Unfortunately, because of her age, we had to say no.
With clear determination, the young girl persisted. Eventually her father agreed to sign a document allowing her to come to the Health and Meditation retreat by herself. She planned to stay one week. She stayed two. At the end of the second week, she asked for and received the Five Mindfulness Trainings. It is an honour to be able to support the young people on their spiritual journeys. They are our future.
We thank you for helping us nurture a beautiful future for us all.
I wish you happiness and peace in the year ahead.
Again, a deep thank you from Healing Spring!
Br. Phap Lieu
If you would like to learn more about current happenings at Healing Spring, visit: https://healingspringmonastery.org