Aaahhh…the need to come aside for some refreshment…time with just me and God…time to recharge! Are you looking for ideas? Do you enjoy New England any time of the year? These three places are a feast for the (weary) soul…
1. Marie Joseph Spiritual Center — Biddeford Pool, Maine (www.mariejosephspiritual.org)
Run by a group of nuns (Sisters of the Presentation of Mary), the atmosphere gets into your veins the minute you walk through the door! The place was formerly a hotel purchased by the sisters in ’48 and used as an all-girl academy highschool with dorms until it became a spiritual center in ’72.
At Marie Joseph retreatants can walk the beach or walk around the point and view breath-taking splashes of waves over the rocks or walk to the quaint village.
People from all around the country find themselves at Marie Joseph. The place is open to individuals or groups of various populations…Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, etc. Go make a retreat under their sponsorship (see their calendar), spend a day in private retreat or a week or two; bring your own parish group and use their lovely, homey facilities. The sisters are most accommodating and give powerful prayerful witness to God’s tender love and mercy…bigger than the ocean which beckons at their door.
The chapel here overlooks the ocean. The view out the east show God’s creativity in spectacular sunrises and the windows on the west show forth awe-inspiring sunsets as only God can do them!
While there, pick up a copy of Sr. Claire Gagnon’s great CD or order one here: http://www.monasterygreetings.com/prod_detail_list/Music_by_Sr_Claire_Gagnon_and_the_Marie_Joseph_Spiritual_Center
If you prefer not to head to the beach, there is…
2. Our Lady of Hope House of Prayer in N. Ipswich, N.H. Run by the same sisters as Marie Joseph Spiritual Center, this sacred space is located on the edge of the woods in the quiet little town of N. Ipswich: http://presentationofmary.com/retreatwork.html
Silence is observed here from morning till Noon with daily Adoration. The sisters work hard and are very prayerful in their ministry of retreat work. The place also has a tiny hermitage building for individuals desiring still more quiet — however, it is only available from March – October, I believe.
3. Last but not least, there is the formidable Campion Renewal Center in Weston, MA: www.campioncenter.org
This inviting place is part of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (of Loyola) and and the availability of Spiritual Direction are what keeps retreatants coming back — as well as participating in Sunday morning liturgy (open to the public) at 10:00 a.m. The Chapel of the Holy Spirit is magnificent (click here http://www.campioncenter.org/panoramas/chapel/chapelpano.html for a virtual tour) and inspires one to pray. The bookstore is top-notch and is loaded with the latest publications — at this time, however, credit/debit cards are not accepted. http://www.campioncenter.org/galleries/bookstore1.htm
Of great worth at Campion are retreats by Fr. William Barry, S.J. and Fr. Jim Mattaliano, S.J., both of whom reside at Campion. Fr. Barry is the author of many books on Ignatian Spirituality. Of the others there, I have not had the pleasure. I’ve read some of Fr. Barry’s books and Fr. Mattaliano is director of the retreat center.