Monday, March 29, 2010

Keeping a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Last weekend I attended a women's Lenten retreat called "Keeping a Mary Heart in a Martha World." The retreat was held at a Catholic retreat center and the other women were all Catholic. The retreat was also a silent one - except for the "sessions" (small group discussions), a couple of the meals, and Saturday evening mass.

And the retreat was exactly what I needed.

Our Sunday School class is talking about BALANCE this spring and the retreat touched on a lot of the same topics in a very supportive, spiritually enriching environment.

I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

I was thrilled to learn that the retreat center is rarely used for retreats; it's actually a place where people of any faith can go for peace and reflection. Meaning that (for a suggested donation of $35/night) I can go back, any time, on my own, to recharge.

Vision of Peace Hermitages: "Vision of Peace Ministries exists to offer hospitality in a place where people of any faith, seeking solitude in their lives, can find a quiet peacefulness and an atmosphere conducive to private prayer and reflection."

A home sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Standing on the back deck, you don't realize that the gentle, grass-covered lumps just before the cliff's edge are the roofs of hermitages, each with a stunning view of the river. Inside each hermitage is a single bed, a single desk, a single rocking chair, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. The accommodations are simple, rustic, and adequate. Walking along the railroad tracks, down by the river, through the woods, or along the half-mile gravel path to the main road, there's no pressure to "meet and greet." There's no concern over what to say to a stranger or a friend. In a place of silence, a small smile of acknowledgment is all that's needed.

Inside the main house lives a year-round caretaker. (He's a former monk, very friendly.) There's also a library and chapel open to guests staying in one of the nine single-occupancy hermitages.

Have you ever been to a place like this? Do you have one near where you live?  Would you go to a retreat center sponsored by a faith tradition different from your own?


Elaine said...

Catholic retreat centers are a fabulous resource.

Norman, OK

Sarahlynn said...