‘Betania’ is a kikuyu word for ‘Bethany’ and it’s the name of the group responsible for spiritual formation of all St.Martin programmes. Betania team is devided into 4 sub-groups. Each sub-group has 10 members and is responsible for formation of specific programmes. I was invited to join one of the sub-groups called Hosea team which is responsible for spiritual formation of street children and microcredit programmes.
Betania team has regular formations for its members to prepare them to form other people. There are two longest retreats twice a year and one reflection day every two months to help Betania team members to understand the message of the Gospel. All retreats are led by Father Gabriele and are led around the Gospel message chosen by him as a leading one for the year.
Apart of retreats each team meets ones a month when members study the prophet the team is named from and plan spiritual inputs during the forthcoming month.
There are always 3-4 invents during the month which need to be planned as each programme leads a few formations/trainings a month. Each training takes from 2 to 4 days and regardless the topic of the training always the first session is dedicated to spiritual input. This session is always from 8am to 9.30am. The facilitator of the session meets with training leader beforehand and they discuss topics covered during the training, so spiritual facilitator can chose the readings and focus his input on preparing participant to enter the training with open mind and heart. I like the idea that spiritual input is an integrated part of every training, not the separate ‘event’.
I’m very new in the group so for the time being I go with more experienced members to watch how they prepare their sessions but in the future I’ll be doing it on my own. I already feel that I’ve learnt a lot – not only practical tips, but most of all I grew spiritually. I find retreats the most helpful especially that Father Gabriele has a great gift to speak in a very interesting way. He passes to Betania team members a lot of knowledge as he is encoding the Bible and explains it in a very accessible way. So after the session with him everything become clearer and even the well known Bible stories have more meaning.
It’s a real privilege to be a part of this group. Not only because the great chance to grow, but as well to build a strong relationships between members of small teams. Last week our group visited one of the group members who gave birth to her daughter Karema. It was nice to organise the gift and visit Hilda in her house when we all had a simple, but very touching prayer for her and her baby. Those short moments are really important and keep me going.