El Jarillo (Venezuela)
The Sacred Heart House is a project that was born as a country house and rest house for the students of the scholasticate of Caracas. For such a project, a piece of land was bought and prepared where a humble house was built, in which, on some weekends, the students stayed. The present Father General, Fr. Carlos Luis, participated and worked as a student in the beginning of this project.
The project of a rest house was not very successful, so a retreat house was thought of later. The retreat house was designed not only for students, but also for parish groups from Dehonian parishes. Thus, since the 1980’s, the house has provided and continues to provide a service of accompaniment and space for parish groups coming from parishes where we Dehonians are present. The house provides the service of accompaniment and lodging to other parishes, but its presence is less frequent.
Most of the activities are for living together and formation that take place during the weekends. But in addition to this, they also offer spiritual exercises, assemblies or chapters for congregations, vocational accompaniment and also, although very rarely, corporate events.
The main Dehonian characteristic is welcoming to hospitality and reconciliation. Whether or not they come from Dehonian parishes, the guests of the house express their gratitude for the way they are received. They rest well, eat well and are provided with all the facilities of the house. Those who stay at the house feel at home.
Another Dehonian characteristic is reconciliation. The religious in charge of the work are always ready for confessions or spiritual direction. Everyone is grateful for this availability.
In the future we are thinking of opening retreats and formation courses with a Dehonian touch. They would be short weekend exercises, in which the interested person could meditate on an aspect of our spirituality and then exercise it in daily life.