| A view from the Ridge, — a Dominican perspective
Father Bruno Gibson
For the past dozen years, Father Bruno Gibson, OP, has conducted occasional retreats, mediations from a Dominican perspective, from a home in Marin County. Since leaving St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley last month, the Dominican priest is embarking on a yearlong sabbatical during which he said he hopes to make these "A View from the Ridge" retreats more than occasional events.
Last month, for example, Father Michael Morris, OP, who specializes in Christian iconography, led an Advent meditation on "Images of Mary: The Blessed Mother in Art."
Father Gibson, a native San Franciscan, was ordained in 1960 and has served at Dominican parishes and centers in California, Oregon and Washington. His latest assignment at St. Mary Magdalen began in 1995. He had served the Berkeley parish from 1974 to 1979.
While he is currently assigned to St. Dominic Parish in San Francisco, he will spend this year in Marin County. A year's sabbatical will enable Father Gibson to spend this year in prayer, walking and building on a retreat program he began about a dozen years ago.
"It started as a Lenten meditation, 'With Christ in the Desert,' 12 years ago," he said.
"It became an occasional series," he said. "When I went on sabbatical a couple of years ago, it was every other month." After his return to parish life, the retreats "got a little more occasional."
A View from the Ridge offers the opportunity for daylong retreats, from a Dominican perspective, in a setting Father Gibson describes as "extraordinary."
"It's called A View from the Ridge because it's on a beautiful spot, perhaps the most extraordinary panorama that one could imagine," he said. "You see from Mount Tamalpais on one side, all over the Marin headlands, Belvedere Island, the Golden Gate, the Bay in between, stretching all the way over to Angel Island."
The beauty of the setting brings something important to the retreat, Father Gibson said. "The gift I've felt that this gives is the gift of silence."
The retreats themselves have a theme. "I try to follow the seasons," he said, "but I also try to follow whatever is topical."
The retreats are in the home of Marilyn Knight, who opens her home and provides gracious hospitality to the attendees. Retreats are usually on Saturdays. "It starts about 9 o'clock," he said.
Soon after, Father Gibson gives a presentation about the day's events. Then there is an invitation to prayer and silence.
"When I say silence, I mean no talking," he said. "To be able to be in this beautiful spot — there's plenty of room to wander, to be inside, to read books. We have plenty of books, meditative materials."
There's room for people to sit outside "and look and listen to what's surrounding them. Just look and listen. Be alert."
Two morning meditations are interspersed with silence. Noonday prayer and lunch, which is eaten in silence, follow.
"After lunch," he said, "there's time for what we call a walk on the ridge." A 20-minute walk takes one through an open space area. Afternoon mediation follows, ending with evening prayer and celebration of the Mass.
A social hour follows Mass. "Then we can yak."
An optimal number for a retreat is 26, Father Gibson said. Although there is no website at the moment, those wishing to get information on upcoming retreats could email him at email@example.com.
"What I like about this program is it fits into the Dominican charism," he said, translating it to: "to communicate to others the fruit of one's contemplation."
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