PRAYER & DISCERNMENT
S A YOUNG GIRL I had the opportunity to spend my holidays by
the sea, where I learned to sail. Eventually I became a skipper, and I
participated in many regattas, discovering the best way to set my sails
and choose the right strategy for the winds and currents. Then I entered
religious life, thinking I’d never sail again. But I was fortunate to return to sail-
ing as a mission within religious life when I began organizing retreat cruises for
young adults based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius that join learning
to sail and life as a crew member with learning to pray, thoughtful reflection, and
These “Life at Sea” cruises ( VieEnMer.org) sail around France in the Atlantic and Mediterranean from February to April for one to two weeks. Each boat is
crewed by six teammates and led by a skipper and spiritual guide. During the trip,
there is prayer alone and as a group, sharing time, Masses, meditation on scripture, and spiritual direction.
The adventure helps participants take stock of their lives. The sea invites
them to reflect on their faith. The change of environment and loss of landmarks
The sea, with its changing conditions of turbulence and calm,
is a parable of life that can teach us how to steer a path to joy.
SISTER Nathalie Becquart,
Xav. at the helm. A skipper
stays on course by paying
attention to the boat, wind,
and water. In vocation
discernment, it is important
to pay attention to the
currents in one’s inner life.
BY SISTER NATHALIE BECQUART, XAV.
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY ROBERT BULL
is a skipper and
spiritual companion. She is
director of the
for Youth Evangelization and
Vocations at the
Bishops’ Conference of France.
Navigating the right course