A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
"Be still and confess that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth." Psalm 46:11
Windridge Solitude is an 83 acre retreat in Lonedell, Missouri that is owned and operated by a new religious community of nuns whose mission is "spiritcare and earthcare." They seek to balance their lives between the active and contemplative, between solitude and community, and offer their guests the essence of these same gifts where one can truly hear the still, small voice of God.
Mary, a retired psychologist, and Carolyn, a retired college teacher, tend to the everyday needs at Windridge Solitude. Michelle and Malia are involved in education--the former as a preschool special education teacher and the latter a resource person for teachers with special needs students. Anne Margaret works as a rural carrier substitute at a nearby post office.
These women came into my life in the most providential way. Sister Carolyn had four books to publish and felt that Bezalel was the answer to her prayers. She sent me drafts of each and explained how all the proceeds from these books would be paid directly to the retreat she managed called Windridge Solitude. Along with her daily chores at Windridge, this, too, was to be her contribution. Intrigued, I visited the Windridge website and ultimately accepted her books.
Very quickly, however, questions that focused on plot, character development, and dialogue soon centered on the philosophy of Windridge and what was offered to a retreatant. Our relationship took on a new dimension when Carolyn became my friend and spiritual mentor. Somewhere along the way her books were published but their significance easily took a back seat to my own growing desire to experience Windridge Solitude firsthand. Over the years I have both attended and facilitated a variety of workshops but had never been on a sabbatical, or retreat, where the keynote speaker was God! The very idea of such a time and place mesmerized me.
So this past week, amid blooming fall colors and skies smattered with clouds and intermittent bursts of sun, I flew from Michigan to Missouri. Windridge Solitude is about an hour's drive from the St. Louis airport and sits at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is where seekers of God encounter him in all His earthly glory.
It goes without saying that God, most certainly, is everywhere and in every human being we encounter; but it also goes without saying that there is something quite different, and maybe even necessary, about making the conscious effort to remove yourself from your daily life and actively search for God in the quiet and stillness of a place like Windridge.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an altogether easy thing to do. I spent the initial couple of hours of my first day staring lamely at my cell phone wondering if there was a way to turn it into a television receptor. Then I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to text message someone, anyone. I readily admit that there was a very real part of me nearing a panic attack as I looked around the beautiful, cozy room wondering if I could sustain myself without access to a computer.
I sat upon a couch where the total and complete view was the great outdoors. God and His creation was the focal point, not a television set. Funny, I soon realized as I calmed myself down, that I rarely watch television at home but the thought of it not even being an option made me a bit edgy. I looked at the books I brought and yet longed for technology. I had always complained in my home with three teenage boys playing computer games, listening to music, playing ping-pong, and watching t.v. that I couldn't hear myself think. Now, as I walked around the cottage, every inch inviting me to sit and be with God, my thoughts were bouncing off the walls, having nothing to run interference.
Fortunately, "Faithful Love" (the cottage I stayed in) was true to its name and as I began to relax I was overcome with the realization of God's presence and His very real interest in me. I had, after all, prepared myself for this time alone with Him. The week prior to departure, as I caught up on laundry, wrote columns, and bought groceries, I kept telling God that I would soon be "all His." I promised Him my full and undivided attention and looked forward to the ways in which Him and I would build our relationship. I eagerly anticipated what the retreat would hold, knowing that I ached for His presence in a way unlike any I had previously experienced.
It quickly became clear that once past my initial feeling of isolation, God and I had much work to do. We had to get to know each other on a whole new level. I knew God in the birth of my children and in my marriage vows. I knew Him in my work and in my family and friends. I even knew Him to be in the pesky human encounters that are sometimes part of life. I knew Him in time spent at Eucharistic Adoration, in the heartache of losing my beloved grandmother, and through the salvific blood of His Son. But I didn't know Him in the extended solitude of time and space that was available at Windridge. So when He began tugging at my heart to spend time at Windridge, I am grateful to have responded; and I am still in awe of His infinite love and at the ways in which He will work in our lives when we only give Him the chance.
For more information visit www.WindridgeSolitude.com. One of sister's books, "Gabriel, Blow Your Horn!" is being offered as part of the Bezalel Family Book club, which is being sponsored by Lisa Hendey of Catholic Mom, that begins in January, 2008. Sister Carolyn will be one the authors moderating online discussions for her book. For more information about the book club, visit www.CatholicMom.com and listen to podcast #15.
Ask, Knock, and Seek
http://www.AskKnockSeek.com MI, US
Cheryl Dickow - editor and author, 248 917-3865
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- New Jersey Mayor dismantles shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe
- Pope Francis asks for prayers following terror attacks in Spain HD Video
- Mother shares heartbreaking photo of her dying daughter as she pulls ...
- Pope Francis calls for prayers following terror attacks in Spain, Finland
- Mother shares tragic photo of dying daughter as she pulled the plug ...
- St. John Eudes: Saint of the Day for Saturday, August 19, 2017
- Daily Readings for Saturday, August 19, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, August 21st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, August 20th, 2017 HD
- Charlie Gard's mother opens up about the beautiful life of terminally ill Charlie HD