Spirit Center wraps up season of hosting retreats
The retreat center at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Spirit Center, has received a wide range of guests this summer including the Benedictine Scholars from St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington and the Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat. 
The Benedictine Scholars are a cohort of incoming students that study leadership and the values implicit in the Rule of St. Benedict. Father Kilian Malvey is Executive Director of the program and led them on the mid-May retreat at Spirit Center. He had already been to the Monastery several times and remembers when sisters from St. Gertrude’s cooked for the St. Martin’s students and monks.
“I am always touched by the wonderful spirit of welcome and hospitality the sisters always express,” he says. “All ten of the students absolutely loved every moment they were there. They are still talking about the profound impact the week had on each of them. A number of our scholars are not Catholic, nevertheless, the daily prayerful experience with the sisters was a deeply moving experience for them.”
A second group of Benedictine Scholars have started their first year at Saint Martin’s University and will be going on retreat at Spirit Center next May for their week of monastic immersion. “It is really a question of formation,” says Father Kilian, “and developing their gifts and skills so they become more conscious of their responsibility as instruments of God’s peace and justice in the world. They become familiar with the Benedictine values of steadfastness, perseverance and patience, not to mention hospitality, stewardship and prayer. They try to live out these values in their daily lives.”
In July, Sister Agnes Reichlin co-directed the Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat at Spirit Center. This is an event held at a different monastery every year for women from across North America who are preparing to make their final profession. Nine women from nine different monasteries (including St. Gertrude’s Sister Wendy Olin) participated in a variety of presentations and activities.
“It was an enriching time for all of us,” says Sister Agnes. “It’s always wonderful working with these women who are looking at committing their lives to Christ in this way.”
This summer, Spirit Center also hosted its third iconography retreat with Father Damian Higgins, a world-renown iconographer and teacher. Participants learn the sacred art of iconography and are often able to use this art form in their prayer and parish lives. “That was the most amazing experience I've had in a long, long time,” wrote participant Mary Hartman. “I've been babbling about it to my family and friends. I will not wait another 20+ years before I do my next retreat at the Spirit Center.” The iconography retreat will be offered again February 3-7, 2014 and will focus on painting St. Gertrude. 
The iconography retreat is part of extensive spirituality and the arts programming that included a filled printmaking retreat in July taught by Wil Smiley and Karla Neumann Smiley. Upcoming arts retreats include “Creative Courage: An Artist’s Voice for Justice,” September 23-29 and “Embracing the Artistic Call: A Cohort Program for Exploring the Mystery of Creative Experience” in January.
This fall, Spirit Center is also offering “Introduction to Centering Prayer,” October 25-27; “Tools for the Art of Spiritual Direction,” October 29 – November 1; “Losses of Our Lives,” November 15-17; and the annual Advent retreat.
To learn more about retreats at Spirit Center, visit www.Spirit-Center.org

The Benedictine Spirituality and Workshop Retreat, led by Sister Agnes Reichlin.

The “Mindful Impressions” printmaking retreat that took place in July.

The 2012-2013 Benedictine Scholars from St. Martin’s University.

The iconography retreat, led by Father Damian Higgins, that took place in August.

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