Recently I was directing a retreat for young adults in Malta. We stayed at a retreat centre called Dar il-Ħanin Samaritan . The Centre is in Santa Venera in a built up area surrounded by industry, and when we first arrived I wondered where people would find space and silence in this urban landscape!
Entering in to the retreat house was quite something! Large walls, not visible from the outside, drop the Retreat Centre down two storeys into a sheltered and secluded space unlike any other retreat space I have visited. We were met by brightly coloured concrete and natural stone, by water features and prayer spaces.
Over the next few days I came to realise that this easily accessible place was an oasis of calm in the midst of urban life. The unusual and dramatic architecture highlighted the urban reality whilst enabling solitude and peace.