God has been leading me into silence all of my Religious life. I see that as I look back, but when I entered our strict rule of silence was very difficult for me. We also had what was called "greater silence" which meant no talking from night prayers until breakfast and breakfast was also in silence except for special occasions. When I told my Dad about greater silence he thought that was a marvelous practice!
When I was spending six transforming months at the Trinita Dei Monti in Rome, everyone who spoke French actually disappeared that summer; I was surrounded by Italian and so spent much of the summer in silence. Then, after five months at the Mother House, I made my final profession and was sent straight to Chile without knowing any Spanish. God was teaching me to talk to Him and so I began to love and value silence. Now He is giving me the opportunity again in isolation!
Some of the most treasured times in my life have been the 30-day retreats I have been priviliged to make and give. I have made the Ignatian 30-day retreat three times and at least twice a 30-day prayer experience so those have been special times of silence to just be with Jesus. Every year I look forward to at least a week or eight days of silent retreat. However, the silence of isolation due to illness is very different so I am having to reflect on the gift of this time while wishing it would end.